UAE Golden Visa Process For Software Engineer/ Computer Science Bachelors

Mudassir Shahzad
6 min readJan 31, 2022

Disclaimer: This guide is NOT an official guide on how to apply for UAE Golden Visa. This article is just my personal experience. Also, things might have changed since I applied.

Cabinet Resolution No. 56 of 2018 Regarding the Organization of Residence Permits for Investors, Entrepreneurs and Professional Talent regulates granting golden visas to

  • investors
  • entrepreneurs.
  • specialized talents and researchers in various fields of science and knowledge — Software engineers/ Computer Science graduates fall into this category
  • bright students with promising scientific capabilities

Emirates of Application

  • Dubai: GDRFA processes applications
  • Abu Dhabi: ICA processes applications

If you are thinking of applying with Abu Dhabi’s ICA, here’s an excellent article written by

I applied through Dubai GDRFA and here’s the complete process.

Steps required to proceed with Golden visa Application

This will cost you around 4000 AED per person and some employers reimburse the costs.

1 - Authorization Letter From Your country’s Consulate in the UAE (Prerequisite: Degree equivalency from Ministry of Education UAE)

2 - Attested Intermediate Certificate only. Attested from Board -> IBCC -> MOFA, Pakistan -> UAE Embassy(Pakistan)

3 - Degree equivalency from MOE

4 - GDRFA Pre-approval

Steps 1 and 2 are required only for degrees attained outside the UAE.

I have a degree from Pakistan so in this article, these steps are specific to Pakistani degree holders.

1 - Authorization Letter From Pakistan’s embassy in UAE

For this step, you need your bachelor's degree attested from both UAE Embassy Pakistan and UAE Embassy in Dubai.

Please note here that only an attested degree is required and not the transcript. But it’s better to have it since you never know when the rules may change.

a - Follow this process link. You have to manage everything.

O R

b - Data flow. https://www.dfgateway.com/Home/Index. They do everything and charge you 300 AED. This price is at the time of writing this article.

I personally went with option b. It’s hassle-free.

It takes around 3 to 4 weeks to get this process done. You’ll get an Authorization Letter (or DataFlow report) which is the pre-requisite of MOE equivalency application.

2 - Attested Intermediate Certificate

Important: Get your intermediate certificate attested in this specific order.

Board → IBCC → MOFA(Pakistan) → UAE Embassy Pakistan(Jerry’s)

3 - Degree equivalency from MOE

Now that you have the completely attested Intermediate certificate and Authorization letter(or DataFlow report), everything will be done online from here on.

Apply for the equivalency service on the Ministry of Education website for degree equivalency

MOE requires the following documents in scanned pdf format:

a - Current Emirates Id front and back (In a single pdf file)

b - Passport first page, second page, and last page (In a single pdf file).

c - Current UAE Employment Visa

d - Bachelor’s Degree front and back (In a single pdf file)

e - Degree Transcript front and back (In a single pdf file)

f - Previous qualification Bachelor/ High School (Intermediate in case of Pakistanis) - Upload Degree Certificate

g- Previous qualification transcript - I uploaded the certificate here as well because my certificate in also a transcript

h - Degree Transcript front and back (In a single pdf file)

i - Authorization letter from Pakistan consulate OR Data flow final report

j - Proof of residency in the country of study (Immigration Report / Entry-Exit Stamps / Student Visa/ Utility bills etc.) If your country of study is not UAE, you need the ICA Entry/ Exit stamps document. You can use the ICA app (now named ICP) or their website. I used the normal, they charged me 153.47 AED and I got the entry/ exit stamps document in 5 minutes. Use the last 20 years as the duration of entry/ exit stamp request. You will get an ICA sms saying “Approved” after which you can download the document.

While you wait for the MOE process, get your GDRFA account link arranged beforehand. You need to log in using your emirates id in order to be able to use the golden visa service once you get the equivalency. Here’s the link

It may ask you to update your phone number. Do that. Takes 2 – 3 days.

4 - GDRFA Pre-approval

Once you have the MOE equivalency of your bachelor’s degree. Your 70% work is done. You can now apply for a golden visa link or visit an “Amer center”. I personally applied using the online website.

  • Residency application fees at the time of my application: 2685.75 AED.
  • If your application isn’t approved, GDRFA will refund you 2239 AED.
  • GDRFA only accepts file types .pdf, .jpg (not .jpeg), and .png and each file should be less than 100KB. If you have large pdfs with multiple pages for example your offer letter or contract, you can upload each page separately.

GDRFA requires the following documents:

a - MOE Equivalency (Details mentioned above in Point 3)

b - Your current employment contract or offer letter

c - Passport first page

d - Latest photo with white background

e - Current Visa

f - Emirates Id front only

Submit the request.

If anything else is required, they will ask and once ready they will ask you for payment.

— — Visa stamping process — —

Once, you’ve got your pre-approval from GDRFA. Go to any DHA medical fitness center and get your medical done. Cancel your current visa and once cancelled, visit any immigration office (I visited Jafilliya) and get your golden visa stamped on your passport.

Apply for emirates id through ICA website. Cost around 1000 AED.

— — Visa stamping process for family — —

1- Apply for medical fitness test for above 18

2- After medical fitness report, apply for all family member at Amer center( documents required same as normal family visa, like marriage certificate for wife, Ejari, Birth certificate for child)

3- Proceed with Visa Stamping for family once you got approval message from GDRFA.

4- Apply for emirates id for family

Timeline for me:

The following is a timeline of my applications on Dataflow -> MOE -> GDRFA. It seems pretty fast (one and half months, if I did everything correctly from the beginning), but you should probably budget more time for it.

  • Day 1: Submitted Authorization letter request on dfgateway
  • Day 41: Got Authorization Letter stating validity of my bachelor’s degree
  • Day 41: Applied for MOE Equivalency, got SMS “Initial Verification
  • Day 44: Got SMS “Initial verification complete - Ready for payment
  • Day 44: Made payment. Got another SMS “Received
  • Day 44: Got another SMS “Assign To Equalization
  • Day 45: Got SMS “Under Auditor Review
  • Day 47: Got SMS “Equivalency Issued
  • Day 47: Applied on GDRFA website for golden residency
  • Day 48: Got approval for Golden Residency - Issue Residence
  • Day 49: Went for medical in DHA listed medical center (Al Qouz Center)
  • Day 50: Applied for current visa cancellation
  • Day 51: Current visa canceled. Went to Amer center for golden visa stamping on the passport. For Dubai, Airport Terminal 3 immigration will do the visa stamping faster.
  • Day 51: Applied for Emirates Id on ICA - 1,054.20 AED

Golden Visa Pros and Cons:

Pros

  • Your residency is no more tied to your employer. If you’re joining a new company, you just require an employment contract.
  • You get 10 years of auto-renewable residency.
  • It sounds amazing

Cons

  • You bear all the visa costs. Around 4k AED per person. When applying for family residency visas, multiply that by the number of people.
  • The process is time taking and complicated. Many times, I had to face some technical issues, follow-ups, and fiddling around with specific formats required by the stakeholders involved(DataFlow, MOE, GDRFA).

In the end, whether you apply or not depends on your personal preferences. I wanted this long-term residency status and also I like the term “Golden Resident”.

Makes me feel like a Jedi. Ok. sorry. Bad joke.

That’s it. I hope this guide is helpful to you. Please leave a comment if you have other tips that might help others. Good luck!

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Mudassir Shahzad

A seasoned and certified software professional having more than 12 years of software development and integration experience. A Polyglot, biker and a rain lover.