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As bank deposit rates hit 5.5%, investors find 2-year lock-ins are just right for them

The Golden Visa schemes have been a blockbuster hit with UAE residents, current and new aspirants alike. While property is still the most utilized option for a 10-year visa, some are turning to Dh2 million bank deposits.

Dubai: Planning to get the UAE 10-year residency Golden Visa? How about through a Dh2 million bank deposit?

More aspirants for the longer-term visa are starting to use this route to get the approvals they seek. And putting up the Dh2 million in a bank deposit these days in itself makes for a relatively solid investment, with deposit rates fetching between 3.99 per cent to 5 per cent. The rise in interest rates started by the US Federal Reserve in March 2022 - and repeated 11 times until now - are reflected in the deposit rates, which are just fine with many investors.

“The bank deposit option is perfect for those investors who have the funds but are not necessarily inclined towards putting this into a property buy,” said a consultant. “The near 5 per cent returns on deposits – which come with a lock-in period – work well for these investors.”

Market sources say that the popularity of this residency scheme is far from reaching its full potential, with property investments still being the main driver. But with the UAE making its visibility felt as the place for retirees and freelance professionals who have reached a certain stage in their careers, the bank deposit scheme will find more takers.


For the longer term residency visa, this option requires a letter from a UAE-accredited investment fund and providing this to the immigration authorities.

A straight 'deal'

That’s exactly the point. Investors have a clear roadmap as to how long these funds should remain in their deposit, and what sort of returns they can get on the same.

“The deposit and interest rates are fixed and therefore tends to be a very straightforward way to obtain the UAE Golden Visa,” said James Swallow, Commercial Director at the consultancy PRO Partner Group.

“Whereas real estate and business investments undergo a much more thorough evaluation process - involving other approvals, including that from the Dubai Land Department.

“The reason for the growing popularity of a deposit scheme is its simplicity. The option requires obtaining a letter from a UAE-accredited investment fund and providing this to the immigration authorities.”


Property and business investment options also have the possibility for volatility on the return on investments.
Real estate is assessed on the equity (cash value) of the property, which can fluctuate depending on the market and would be required to be re-evaluated after 5 years," said James Swallow of PRO Partner Group.

"Businesses would be required to submit audited financial reports and other supporting financial and company documents as well as considerations for other ongoing business operation and maintenance expenses."

Deposit's term limit

The Dh2 million ‘must remain in the individual’s account for a minimum fixed period’ of 2 years after which it can then be withdrawn. Individuals should review the terms of their bank's fixed deposit letter as for some banks the fixed period terms could be longer than the 2 years required for the Golden Visa.

This is something that all individuals seeking this route to the long-term residency visa should take note of. According to one market source, “The pre-condition for the visa was that the funds should have a 2-year lock-in. The visa processing authorities clearly mentioned that bank will hold this as lien for 2 years only.

“Now, my client’s fixed deposit term has matured and the bank is unable to clarify their position.”

Banking sources said that the fixed deposit term can at times vary depending on the institution and that investors should ‘shop around’ for one that suits their interests.

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