So you want to visit the United Arab Emirates? Well you’re not alone, in fact, millions of people make the trip each year to enjoy the Emirates’ beaches, resorts, events, culture, and shopping. Many of them find the place so appealing that they decide to make their home here by buying property, starting a business or landing a job.
In this visitor guide, we will inform you how to make the most from your trip to the UAE, and Dubai in particular. We’ll provide as much detail as necessary while keeping it as brief as possible.
You can use the table of contents on the right to navigate to a particular section that interests you or just read on.
What documents and visas do I need?
Whether you will need a visa to travel to the UAE depends on your nationality as well as the duration and nature of your visit. Please note that in all cases your passport must be valid for at least three months at your arrival.
A visit visa is needed to visit Dubai. In some cases, the visa is issued free of charge on arrival, and in other cases it must be obtained prior to arrival. Note that visitors are NOT allowed to work while on their visit visa. A separate residence visa is issued for that purpose.
Those who DO NOT NEED a visa prior to arrival:
- GCC Nationals: Citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council need only present their valid passport at the airport for a 30 day visit visa free of charge.
- AGCC Residents: Professional residents of the GCC (residence visa but not citizens) may receive a visa at the airport for themselves and their families/personal staff accompanying them for a non-renewable 30 day visit visa. Since this category is dependent on professional status, it should be confirmed with the UAE embassy prior to arrival. Also note that you must have a residency stamp from another GCC country for at least six months prior to your arrival. When traveling by road to UAE, the family of the sponsored person may travel only in the company of the sponsor. When traveling by plane, the family may travel without the company of the sponsor but will require a letter from the sponsor declaring that permission for the travel has been given and assuming responsibility. This should be verified with the airlines and border crossings before beginning your journey.
- Citizens of the following countries can obtain a 30 day visa on arrival free of charge in Dubai on their valid passport: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holand, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtain, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vatican.
If you do not fall in the above categories a visa will be required PRIOR to arrival. Normally, a UAE sponsor is required to obtain a visa which can be a UAE national, a company with operations in UAE, a local hotel, tour operator, or airline. UAE residents can also sponsor their immediate family members
For example, you can arrange with the hotel you are staying with to arrange your visa before hand. Emirates airlines offers a similar service if you are traveling with them to Dubai.
- Entry Service Permit: A 14 day visa issued for urgent professional or commercial tasks at the cost of 220 AED. A sponsor is required who will need the travel itinerary as well as a copy of the demographic pages from the visitors passport
- Visit Visa: Most people who need a visa fall in this category. The visit visa applies to tourists, family, and businessmen coming for a period of more than 14 days. A UAE sponsor is required which can be any UAE resident, hotel, company, tour operator or airline. A deposit of 2,000 AED may be needed to sponsor family members who are not considered as immediate family. There is a fee of 100 AED for the visa plus a 10 AED fee for DNATA travel services processing as well as up to 50 AED service charge applied by the sponsoring authority. Normally, the visit visa is valid for 60 days and renewable up to 90 days with a 500 AED renewal fee.
- Tourist Visa: This is a special class of visit visa valid for 30 days for citizens of the following countries and also requires a UAE sponsor: East and West Europe, Turkey, Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine, Albania, Russia, the Hellenic Republic, St Kitts-Navis, St Lucia, Mexico, Cuba, Bermuda, Belize, Guyana, French Guiana, Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent, Kingston, Palao other non-defined American nationalities, Thailand, South Africa, Singapore, China, Malta, Cyprus. The cost of the visa is the same as the visit visa described above.
- Multiple Entry Visa: A visit visa can be converted to a multiple entry visa for business visitors under the sponsorship of reputable multinational or local businesses. The validity of each stay is 30 days and the cost 1,000 AED.
- Transit Visa: A transit visa can be granted to those individuals travelling through Dubai with onward connections between 8 hours and 96 hours. This type of visa needs to be arranged prior to arrival with the airline and there should be evidence of an onward journey.
The above information is provided as a guide only and has been collected from various official sources. Specific entry laws and fees can change at any time so it is necessary to confirm the travel requirements before travel to the UAE is engaged.
Overstay of visa
Note that there are penalties of 100 AED per day for over stay beyond the visa duration, and after a certain number of days can result in difficulty in reentering the UAE.