Are you planning your trip to Dubai or Abu Dhabi and wondering if you need a UAE visa?
Well, despite the many conflicting information that you can find online, the answer is very simple! The UAE has over the years developed a fairly easy policy for the UAE Visa, which allows citizens of many nations to visit the country without too much hassle.
So, let’s find out together if you need a visa and what the requirements are, if any!
Do I need a UAE Visa?
To find out if you need a UAE Visa or you can directly obtain a Visa on Arrival you must see if the country in which you live falls within the UAE Visa Free program.
If you have the citizenship (and passport) of one of the countries in the list, you will be issued a Visa on Arrival (free of charge) which allows you to visit the country as a tourist or even meet business partners (you can participate in meetings or visits, but you can’t work).
These are the requirements for the Visa on Arrival:
- Passport (original), valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into the UAE.
- Confirmed return flight ticket. Or confirmed air ticket, for a flight from the UAE to another destination.
Travelers are also advised to take out good travel insurance, which can cover any medical expenses.
UAE Visa On Arrival: Which passports are eligible?
30-Day Visa on Arrival
If you hold a passport issued by one of these countries you are entitled to a 30-Day Visa on Arrival. You do not need to apply for a visa before leaving, you can easily take your flight to the UAE and after disembarking go to the Immigration desk: you will be issued a free 30-Day Visa stamp in your passport.
Andorra – Australia – Brunei – Canada – China – Hong Kong – Japan – Kazakhstan – Macau – Malaysia – Mauritius – Monaco – New Zealand – Ireland – Singapore – Ukraine – United Kingdom – United States of America – Vatican City
This is a multiple entry visa: you can exit and re-enter the UAE, its validity is however 30 days from the issue, regardless of how many days you spend inside or outside the UAE.
90-Day Visa on Arrival
If you hold a passport from one of these countries, when you arrive in UAE your passport will be stamped with a 90-Day Visa on Arrival.
UAE Visa on Arrival for EU Citizens and Other European Countries
This is a multiple entry visa: it is valid for 6 months from the date of issue and you can enter and leave the UAE as many times as you want, for a maximum stay of 90 days in total.
Austria – Belgium – Bulgaria – Croatia – Cyprus – Czech Republic – Denmark – Estonia – Finland – France – Germany – Greece – Hungary – Iceland – Italy – Latvia – Liechtenstein – Lithuania – Luxembourg – Malta – Netherlands – Norway – Poland – Portugal – Romania – Russian Federation – San Marino – Slovakia – Slovenia – Spain – Sweden – Switzerland
UAE Visa on Arrival to Other Countries
This is a multiple entry visa: it is valid for 3 months from the date of issue and you can enter and leave the UAE as many times as you want, for a maximum stay of 90 days in total.
Argentina – Bahamas – Barbados – Brazil – Chile – Costa Rica – Cyprus – El Salvador – Honduras – Kiribati – Maldives – Montenegro – Nauru – Paraguay – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Seychelles – Solomon Islands – South Korea – Uruguay
If you need to stay longer than 90 days you must apply for a valid Visit Visa, and this must be pre-arranged before you go.
180-Day Visa on Arrival
Citizens of Mexico can obtain a 180-Day Visa on Arrival. This is a multiple entry visa and allows you to stay in the UAE for 180 days within 6 months of the release date.
UAE Visa on Arrival for Indian Citizens
If you are an Indian citizen holding a normal passport and you have at least one of these requirements (valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival in the UAE):
- Visit Visa issued by the USA
- Green Card issued by the USA
- Residence Visa issued by the UK
- Residence Visa issued by the EU
You can get a special 14-Day Visa on Arrival, which allows you to stay in the UAE for a maximum of 14 days.
The 14-Day Arrival Visa for Indian Citizens will cost AED 120 (approx. 2,455 INR or USD 32.60). This visa is renewable once, for a further 14 days, at the cost of AED 250 (approx. 5.115 INR or 68 USD).
UAE Visa: Which one is right for me?
If your passport is not on the list of those eligible for a Visa on Arrival, or if you need to stay in the UAE for a longer time, or come to the UAE for work or study, then you need a pre-arranged visa.
Let’s see what are the different types of visa available and which one is best suited to your needs.
UAE Visa Types
It is the general visa for the UAE. You must apply for this if you go to the UAE for tourism or business and do not meet the requirements for a Visa on Arrival.
The Visit Visa is for tourists, for those who are on a business visit (but not for work) or for those who come to visit family or friends.
The Visit Visa can be valid for:
- 30 Days (Short Term Visit Visa)
- 90 Days (Long Term Visit Visa)
You can choose between a single entry visa or a visa that allows multiple entries. In any case, the visa is valid, depending on the type, 30 or 90 days from arrival (or from the first entry).
The Visit Visa can be extended for a further 30 days without leaving the country, for a maximum of two times. Each extension costs 600 AED.
Overstay is automatically sanctioned with a fine of 100 AED for each day of overstay. Keep in mind that outbound checks are rigorous, and that authorities can prevent you from leaving the country if you have ongoing legal problems, including unpaid fines.
Visit Visa Requirements:
You need a sponsor to apply for your UAE Visit Visa. The sponsor could be:
- A UAE citizen
- An expat residing in the UAE (with a valid Residence Permit)
- A UAE hotel or an authorized UAE travel agent
- A UAE based airline
- A private company from the UAE or a UAE Free Zones
- A government entity
You need a genuine passport, with at least 6 months of validity from the date of entry into the UAE.
As a rule, it is necessary to complete a procedure (for some countries it is online, e-Visa), fill in a form and send documents (copy of passport, color photograph, copy of airline tickets), as well as paying the Visa fee.
Keep in mind that the requirements and documents can vary widely depending on your citizenship, and they change often. So the only way to be sure of a successful application is to inquire with the Embassy and strictly follow the procedure.
If a relative or friend of yours chooses to sponsor your visa, he must check with the Embassy that his salary meets the minimum requirements for applying for sponsorship. A minimum wage of 4000 AED is normally required to sponsor a wife or parents, up to 10,000 AED to sponsor a friend.
The application for the Visit Visa can be easily made through an expert agency, which takes care of checking all the requirements and proceeding with the procedure until the successful application of the Visit Visa.
If you choose to apply through an expert agency, all you have to do is follow their online wizard and send a copy of the documents they require.
The Tourist Visa is a particular type of Visit Visa reserved for individual tourists who do not meet the requirements for a Visa on Arrival.
This type of visa is not issued by embassies, but only by some airlines and by some authorized hotels and tourist agencies.
You can apply for a Tourist Visa if you have a confirmed airline ticket with one of these airlines:
- Emirates Airline
- Etihad Airways
- Fly Dubai
- Air Arabia
The application must be done directly through the airline, following what are the requirements established by each of them.
The UAE Tourist Visa can also be pre-arranged for you by licensed tourist agencies, UAE hotels and tour operators where you bought your trip, your tickets or your hotel reservation.
The easiest way to apply for a Tourist Visa is to do it online with a reliable operator, it is simple, cheap and fast.
UAE Tourist Visa Requirements:
The visa must be pre-arranged before your trip to the UAE. The requirements must be checked with the airline with which you will fly, as a rule you require: a photograph, a copy of the passport, a copy of the air ticket and a completed form. The issuance of the UAE Tourist Visa is subject to a fee.
Transit Visa (Visa for stopovers longer than 8 hours)
If you make a stopover longer than 8 hours in one of the UAE airports (for example your flight makes a stopover in Dubai or Abu Dhabi), and you do not meet the requirements for a Visa on Arrival, you need a Transit Visa.
The Transit Visa allows you to stay in the UAE for up to 4 days.
There are two types of transit visa:
- 48 Hours – UAE Transit Visa: for those making a stopover of more than 8 hours and up to 48 hours
- 96 Hours – UAE Transit Visa: for those making a stopover of more than 8 hours and up to 96 hours
The UAE Transit Visa must be used within 14 days of the issue date.
Applying for a UAE Transit Visa is quite easy, it can be done online on the Emirates and Etihad airline websites, regardless of which airline you fly with. More info here.
UAE Transit Visa Requirements:
To apply for a UAE Transit Visa you must follow the online procedure shown on the airline websites, upload a completed form, a color scan of your passport, a passport photo, and an onward ticket booking to a 3rd destination other than the one from which are you coming. Your departure flight must be before your visa expires.
The UAE Business Visa is required for experienced entrepreneurs who intend to start a new business or branch in the United Arab Emirates.
The procedure for obtaining a UAE Business Visa is different depending on your passport and the sponsor you need, and must be checked with the Embassy, with the government offices of the city where you want to do business, or with the competent Free Zone Authorities.
The UAE Work Visa is required to work in the United Arab Emirates. Working without a specific visa is strictly prohibited and can lead to ban and deportation from the country.
The Work Visa requires that a UAE-based company, a government entity or a UAE Free Zone Company, apply for your visa. A series of documents is required, in addition to certifications, medical visits and health insurance.
If you are interested in a work visa you must inquire with the embassy or with your contact person who will sponsor your visa, because the procedures may be different and because it is better to make sure that the offer you have received is not a scam.
UAE Visa for US Citizens
If you are an American citizen (US Citizen) you do not need to pre-arrange a visa to visit the UAE.
Upon arrival in the UAE, you will be issued a free 30-day Arrival Visa. If you need to stay longer, you can contact the local immigration office and request an extension.
UAE Visa for US Citizen Requirements:
- Normal passport, which does not expire within 6 months from your arrival in the UAE
- Return air ticket confirmed, or air ticket for a 3rd destination
According to information from the US Embassy, US Citizens can enter the UAE even if they have a stamp from Israel or other countries on their passport.