Want To Extend Your Visa in the UAE? Start a Business!

The utopic dream – a perfect work-life balance, being one’s own boss and able to choose the hours at work, fulfilling one’s professional goals, and of course, an income that knows no limits. Is this what entrepreneurship means? It seems for a growing number of Emirates, it does.

When entering the United Arab Emirates, as a tourist, you may stay for 30 days with an additional 9-day grace period. Many visitors get around this restriction by going on a “visa run” or leaving the country and returning on a renewed visa. Some people consistently make timely visits to neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia or Oman for this sole purpose. Failure to do so could result in a fine and hassle at the airport. However, there is another way to extend your visa in the UAE. Entrepreneurship!

A recent report, Entrepreneurship in the Mena, from Bayt and YouGov, suggests that roughly 73 percent of respondents in the UAE would choose entrepreneurship over conventional jobs.

Government officials across the UAE believe that the future for the Emirati economy lies in entrepreneurial efforts. They also believe that the youth should focus more on self-employment opportunities and invest in non-corporate innovative ideas.

It’s not just lip service either. Since inception in 2007, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development has financed over 375 projects, strongly encouraging its citizens to invest in their own small and medium scale endeavours. This investment amounted to a whopping 700 million AED. The infusion of capital could result in opportunities for foreign entrepreneurs, particularly for business support services.

Entrepreneurial ventures come with their share of challenges though, even with the governmental support. The biggest consideration in going down this path is the insecurity of being able to consistently generate sufficient income. There is also the fear of being your own boss and all that comes with it, such as hiring employees and managing a business.

On the plus side, being self-employed has its benefits. If your employment contract is about to expire it leave with you with only 30 days to land another job. So if you are looking for ways to extend your visa in the UAE then starting your own business could be an option for you. There are free zones that provide a range of options including freelance permits and commercial licenses. Efforts from the government, coupled with a growing interest from UAE citizens, promises many opportunities ahead.