UAE: American expat in viral video gets golden visa from Sheikh Mohamed

Estimated read time 3 min read

Dr. James Welch is now a consultant in Abu Dhabi. NASSER SAEED

An American expatriate who is a long-time resident of Abu Dhabi has gotten a Golden Visa from UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Dr. James Welch said it happened shortly after he returned to the US when his job as professor at Rabdan University in Abu Dhabi ended, and his video interview with Emirati filmmaker Nasser Saeed went viral on social media. Watch it here 

In the video, Welch talked about how he has grown to love the UAE and how he wished he could continue to stay here to raise his son and family.

Just weeks after leaving Abu Dhabi, Welch received a personal call from the governor’s office to return to Abu Dhabi. When he returned, someone from the royal office visited him and informed him that he would be transferred to a 5-star hotel and given the Golden Visa! That’s not all. He was also assured that he would be employed as a consultant.

“I was shocked. It was surprising, I almost shed tears,” Welch said, “I never expected the video to reach Sheikh Mohamed and for him to see it; this indicates the President’s attention to detail and his notice and care for everything.”

“The rulers here care not only for their people but also for the residents of this country,” the American remarked.

Welch was a grade school teacher who also served in the US army. He was deployed in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. “Because of these positions I reached, somebody reached out to me and said, ‘Would you like to teach the police here in Abu Dhabi?’ I said, ‘Sure’,” he said, recalling how he ended up working in the UAE.

The American said that over the years, he has felt so much at home in the emirates, calling it “one of those magical places”. Welch said that as an expat “we leave and we always miss it.. I keep coming back like a ping pong ball.”

“My son celebrated his first birthday here,” he said, adding that he loves that his son is learning Arabic. He lives in Abu Dhabi with his wife and their son.

His wish? “To live here permanently. To contribute to Abu Dhabi [and] to the UAE to the best of my ability and to raise my child. To raise him in a healthy, safe environment,” he said. ICA/Expat Media

ALSO READ: Guide to UAE Golden Visa


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