The main entry requirement of obtaining a visa in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its seven emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah) are that your passport is valid for at least 2-6 months before your arrival. Information about the various UAE visa categories are explained in detail below.
A visit visa applies to tourists who wish to spend more than 14 days in the UAE, whether it is to visit relatives or for business purposes. The categories given below identify whether an individual requires a visit visa before arrival or whether one can be issued to them at the airport or entry point.
Citizens of the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia) do not need a visa.
AGCC expatriate residents may obtain a non-renewable 30-day visit visa upon arrival.
Residents of the UK, with the right to abide in the United Kingdom, may obtain a free visa on arrival, which is valid for 60 days and can be renewed for an additional 30 days for Dhs. 500 (US$ 137). Holders of the British Overseas Citizens Passport, who dont have the right to abide in the UK, will also obtain the free visa.
There are 33 countries that are given the same on arrival free UAE visa on arrival similar to UK citizens. These countries include citizens of France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Finland, Malta, Spain, Monaco, Vatican City, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, United States (US), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. A new law was passed on March 31st 2003, where the citizens of these 33 countries can only obtain a one-month non-renewable visit visa on arrival, which costs Dhs. 100 (US$ 28). Though the government officially passed this law, it does not seem to be always implemented.
Citizens of countries that are not mentioned above require the sponsorship of a UAE resident (relative or friend), hotel, travel agency, or company, in order to obtain a visit visa. This type of visit visa is also known as the tourist visa. For a relative or friend to sponsor a tourist visa, he or she must earn over Dhs. 4,000 per month and hold a valid residence visa. A hotel can sponsor a tourist visa, only if the visitor stays at the hotel, and they will hold your passport until all hotel payments are cleared. Procedures involved in issuing a tourist visa require that the visitor fill out a visa application form and submit it to the sponsor along with a first few pages of their passport. With these details, the sponsor can apply for a tourist visa, which will cost Dhs. 650 (US$ 178) and take a maximum of 7 days to issue. The sponsor must deposit the visitor's tourist visa at the airport immigration atleast one hour before the visitor's flight arrivals, which will cost Dhs. 10 (US$ 3) for processing.
This type of visa is a 4-day (96 hour) visa, which is issued by sponsorship of an airline operating in the United Arab Emirates. A transit visa can only be issued if a visitor has a valid ticket for an onward flight and the issuing of transit visas are normally free of cost.
There are two other types of visit visas issued by the UAE government. The first is a 14-day visa, also known as an Entry Service Permit. This visa must be sponsored by a United Arab Emirates company or hotel and will normally take 2-3 days to issue. The second is a Multiple Entry Visa, which is useful for individuals who are continously visiting the UAE. This visa has special privileges for visitors from Germany and the United States. More information and requirements about these two visas can be found to your right.
For individuals planning to live in the United Arab Emirates, you have to obtain a residence visa, which is also reffered to as an employment visa. A residence visa will be issued by the Immigration department of the emirate you will be staying in and provided to you by your sponsor (the company or person you are working for). If you have entered the country on a visit visa, you can transfer to a residence visa by either re-enter the country or else make the transfer at the Immigration department.
If you are coming to the UAE with family members, you should obtain a family visa, which will allow you to sponsor your parents, spouse, daughters, and sons under the age of 18. Family visas are only possible if you earn more than Dhs. 4,000 (US$ 1,100) a month.
Residence visas are normally issued for 3-years and in order for it to be processed, you will need to take a medical test and obtain a health card. Individuals who test positive for AIDS will not be permitted to obtain a residence visa. A health card costs around Dhs. 300 (US$ 82) and should be renewed yearly. It can be issued at the Ministry of Health or else at a recognized private hospital.
A penalty charge of Dhs. 25 (US$ 7) - Dhs. 100 (US$ 28) per day is imposed on visitors who overstay. If the overstay extends to a significant amount of time, then a court hearing is issued and the judge will decide what penalties will occur.
Note: We would recommend that after you finish reading this webpage, that you also contact the UAE embassy or consulate in your country, as visa issues may have changed. Links to online UAE embassies and contact details of many UAE consulates have been included on the right.