The UAE has been honouring some of the world’s most outstanding talents with the coveted golden visa. The programme, which first appeared in 2019, allows the recipient to live in the UAE for up to 10 years, which is renewable every decade.
The aim of the programme is to encourage the world’s most innovative and brilliant talents across all fields to become residents in the UAE.
To champion some of these talented individuals, Emirates Woman has curated a guide of some of the celebrities who have been granted a golden visa.
Chef Izu Ani
One of the most well-known chefs in Dubai’s culinary scene, Chef Izu Ani, was awarded his residency in April 2021. The profound chef’s restaurants GAIA and Carine are incredibly popular spots for royals, celebrities and locals. The golden visa means Chef Izu and his exquisite culinary creations will be gracing our palates for years to come.
Known as the Middle East’s first curve model, Ameni Esseibi was awarded the UAE golden visa in January 2022. The 23-year-old, who grew up in Dubai, shared the exciting news she had been awarded the long-term residency. “I’m super honoured to have received the Golden Visa with my family,” she said on Instagram. “No words can express my gratitude and love for Dubai… Dubai made me the person that I am today. Thank you for letting me grow in such an international hub with amazing safety in the most beautiful city.”
The world-famous footballer, who plays for Juventus, is a regular visitor to the UAE. Perhaps as one of the most famous faces worldwide, also boasting 466 million followers on Instagram, it's no surprise Ronaldo has a golden visa. Ronaldo also shares a close friendship with Dubai’s Crown Prince HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He received his golden visa back in February 2020.
Elissa, one of Lebanon’s most famous singers, was awarded the golden visa last year in October.
Ahead of his 10-year celebration of the Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa and 40-year anniversary of his fashion brand, the designer was awarded the golden visa in October 2021.
Karen Wazen has called Dubai home for the past decade. The influencer, who is originally from Lebanon, was awarded the golden visa in May 2021. “I am thankful for the safety [Dubai] has given us and constant inspiration and growth and hope it has instilled in us,” she said. “I have seen this city grow year on year… and l know the sky is the limit.”
Latifa El Arfaoui
One of Tunisia’s most renowned singer’s expressed how grateful she is to be a recipient of the golden visa. She said, “Thank you to the beloved UAE and thank you to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid for granting this golden residence permit, which has recently begin to be granted to artists, writers and scientists.”
In September last year, Egyptian megastar Mohamed Ramadan received the 10-year residency. His music video for his popular single ‘Versace Baby’ was filmed in Dubai.
The Lebanese singer announced she had received the golden visa in July 2021. She conveyed her heartfelt thanks to the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and said, “I am very proud of having received the honour of golden residency from my second, the United Arab Emirates.”
Nadine Nassib Njeim
As the most followed Lebanese actress on social media, Nadine Nassib Njeim is one of the most famous faces in the Arab world. The star was awarded her golden visa in 2021 and said she was “happy to be in the country of safety and security”.
Najwa Karam was the highest-selling Middle Eastern artist in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2008 which played a part in the Lebanese singer being awarded a golden visa.
Egyptian actress Nelly Karim was granted her golden visa last year. Discussing how often she travels to Dubai with ET Bil Arabi, she revealed that there isn’t any “space in my passport for any new visa stamp”. Having the golden visa now will surely make travel back and forth between Dubai a lot easier.
Entrepreneur, content creator and former Emirates Woman cover star Ola Farahat was granted a golden visa by the UAE in 2021. Announcing the news on Instagram, Farhat shared her “honour” at being granted the highly-coveted visa saying “living here has opened up doors to opportunities and dreams”.
The popular Bollywood actor received the golden visa in 2021 in the presence of Major General Mohammed Al Marri, Director General of GDRFA Dubai. After sharing the news on Twitter he wrote, “I vow to help the country whenever they are in need since that’s what our true purpose as humans is, to help each other grow.”
Shah Rukh Khan
Frequent visitor and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan who is also a property owner in Jumeirah has been awarded the golden visa. When he’s not filming in India, the star spends plenty of time in the UAE and is a household name due to his on-screen presence.
Known for make multiple trips to the UAE for different occasions, Ranveer Singh is one of the latest Bollywood actors to receive the golden visa. After signing on as brand ambassador of Yas Island Abu Dhabi, the actor was awarded with the 10-year visa by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism. In a statement he said, “I hope to spread the message of fun and excitement while highlighting Abu Dhabi as a must-visit destination.”
At the recent IIFA Awards weekend held in Dubai in June 2022, Salman Khan was bestowed with the UAE’s golden visa. In a statement, the Bollywood actor said, “I am honoured to receive a golden visa from Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi has always been a second home for me, and I have enjoyed shooting some of my favourite projects here.”
One of Bollywood’s most well-known celebrities also received the golden visa in August 2021. He thanked the UAE leaders and government authorities for their foresight and vision in championing talent from around the globe.
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