Dubai: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has granted Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza and her husband and Pakistan cricket star Shoaib Malik the much-coveted 10-year UAE Golden Visa.
Mirza, 34, who hails from Hyderabad, and Malik, 39, a native of Sialkot in Pakistan, got married in 2010 and have been residents of Dubai for the past several years. The much-loved sports couple has a three-year-old son named Izhaan.
The Golden Visa was instituted by the UAE government in 2019 as a new system for long-term residence visas. It enabled foreigners to live, work and study in the country without the need of a national sponsor and with 100 per cent ownership of their business on the UAE mainland. These visas are for a period of five or 10 years and are renewed automatically.
The UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 56 of Organisation of Residence Permits allows investors (minimum of AED 10 million) entrepreneurs and professional and specialised talents like in the field of science and knowledge to apply for it.
The scope of the Golden Visa was recently widened to include bright students and for 100,000 coders last week under the National Programme for Coders.
On Thursday, Mirza and Malik issued a brief press release that said: “Both Sania and Shoaib are excited to spend time in the UAE with their son and explore the country. They are keen on launching their own entrepreneurial venture in the sports industry starting with Dubai.”
Other sportspersons who have been granted the Golden Visa include footballers Christiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo and reigning tennis world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. From the entertainment industry, Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Sanjay Dutt have received this visa.
Mirza, who has one WTA singles title to her credit, has made her mark as an ace doubles player, having won 42 titles, including six Grand Slams. Malik is a former Pakistan cricket captain who has played 35 Tests and 287 ODIs for his country.