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Important Information

Dubai Visa Requirements

It’s important to check Dubai visa requirements well before you go to any part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) including Dubai.

There are different Dubai visa requirements that are governed by the reason for your visit, the country you are travelling from and the country of issue of your passport.

Duba Visa

Important - Whilst general information is given below, you should be aware that Dubai visa regulations are subject to change and should always therefore be verified by your travel agent, nearest UAE embassy or consulate and/or your airline well before your date of travel and you would be wise to recheck the position again before setting off.

Passports must be valid for a minimum of three months from the date of arrival for tourism and six months for business travel – as this requirement is subject to change please check the up-to-date position.

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Your first holiday in Dubai? Look at Where To Stay in Dubai and Hotels in Dubai or our preferred hotels search site Hotels Combined.

Israelif you have a passport issued in Israel or a passport from anywhere else with an Israel entry or exit stamp, you will not be allowed into Dubai or the rest of the UAE on it.

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Citizens of the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia do not require a visa to travel to the UAE.

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Visitors from all other countries will require a visa, but the type of visa will depend on your reason for going to Dubai.

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If you are just visiting on holiday you will need a visit or tourist visa.

If your country of nationality appears on the list below, you do not need to arrange your visa before your trip to Dubai. All you do once you get off your plane at Dubai International Airport (DXB) is proceed, along with everyone else, to the massive immigration area, where you select one of probably 50 queues, (and if it’s busy expect to queue for over half an hour,) and at the desk your passport will be stamped with a 30-day visit visa, free of charge. This period on a free visit visa can often change – looking at my own passport, it was 60 days in 2008, but reduced to 30 days thereafter. However, this initial period can be extended for an additional 30 days for a fee. The country list comprises:

AndorraGreeceNew Zealand
AustraliaHong KongNorway
AustriaIcelandPortugal
BelgiumIrelandSan Marino
BruneiItalySingapore
(Canada – see below *)JapanSouth Korea
DenmarkLiechtensteinSpain
FinlandLuxembourgSweden
FranceMalaysiaSwitzerland
GermanyMonacoUSA
Great BritainNetherlandsVatican

*Canada – Canada used to be on this list, but a notice posted on 8th November 2010 on the website of the UAE embassy in Ottawa said ‘Effective January 02, 2011 Canadian Passport holders will need a visa.’ It’s thought the reason may be that Canada had been engaged in a dispute with the UAE over landing rights at Canadian airports which led to the loss of Canada’s secret military supply base in Dubai. Let’s hope this situation is resolved but for now Canadian Passport holders must check to see if the position has changed and if not should arrange a visa well in advance of travel.

Visitors from all other countries, probably still including Canada, but check, will need to arrange a 30-day visa in advance of travel and we suggest plenty of time is allowed to arrange this.

This can be done through the local UAE embassy, a local UAE sponsor – relative, friend, hotel, travel agency or company:

  • For a relative or friend in the UAE to sponsor a tourist visa, he or she must earn over Dhs 4000 per month and hold a valid residence visa.
  • Most of the major hotels will sponsor their visitors for a tourist visa, but only if the visitor stays at the hotel for a few days. The hotel will hold visitors’ passports until all hotel payments are cleared.
  • The procedure involved in issuing a tourist visa requires that visitors fill out a visa application form and submit it to the sponsor along with colour copies of the relevant bits of their passport and credit card. With these details, the sponsor can apply for a tourist visa, which will be charged for and take a maximum of 7 days to issue.
  • The sponsor must then deposit the visitor’s tourist visa at airport immigration at least three hours before the visitor’s flight arrives and a small process fee is charged.
  • Visitors need to look for a DNATA or DNRD (Dubai Naturalization & Residency Department) visa delivery counter at or near the arrivals area at Dubai International Airport, to pick up their visa.
  • If flying with Emirates Airlines, you can, in some countries, apply for your 96-hour or 30-day visa through Emirates ‘Manage Your Booking’ webpage after booking your Emirates flight. This service is only available to passengers with a confirmed Emirates booking where an Emirates e-ticket has already been issued and the flight itinerary includes the desired time in Dubai. A minimum of four international working days prior to arrival in Dubai is required for this facility – Emirates recommends that online applications are made as early as possible.

On your Dubai holiday...Think...Drink...Water.......Plenty of Water

Transit Passengers – Airline transit passengers travelling with a stopover at Dubai International airport (or other UAE airport) who do not leave the terminal building, do not need a UAE visa since they are not entering the UAE.

Citizens from countries listed above (Andorra – Vatican) i.e. UAE free arrival visa countries (check Canada), do not need to pre-arrange any visa whether they are in transit or travelling to Dubai as a destination.

Any other passenger who does want to exit the airport will need a UAE entry permit (visa). By exit, we mean anyone who wants to go through passport control.

A 96-hour transit visa is available to visitors to the UAE and can be arranged in advance, as mentioned above, through the airline, travel agent or UAE hotel that you are booked with, but they’ll only help if you are a paying customer.

Alternatively perhaps as a last resort, and subject to ever-changing Dubai immigration department approval and you having the correct documentation including one or two photos, you should be able to obtain a 96-hour transit visa in Dubai at the Marhaba services counter in Terminal 1, or the Emirates Hotels and Visas for Dubai desk in Terminal 3. You will of course need to buy at least one night in a Dubai hotel from these desks to be issued a transit visa. It’ll prove less stressful to obtain your transit visa in advance!

Other Types of Visas

Residence (Employment) Visas – Dubai visa requirements are different for individuals planning to live in the UAE who must obtain a residence visa, sometimes referred to as an employment visa. A residence/employment visa will be issued by the immigration department (DNRD) and provided to you by your sponsor i.e. the company or person you are working for. If you have entered the country on a visit visa, which is the usual way, you can transfer to a residence visa by either re-entering the country or else by arranging a visa transfer at the immigration department.

After entering the country on a residency visa or an employment visa it’s necessary to complete all procedures and become a resident within 60 days – don’t leave it to the last minute.

If you are coming to the country to work and with other family members, you should obtain a family visa which will allow you to sponsor your parents, spouse, and children under the age of 18. Family visas are subject to a minimum earnings level.

Residence visas are normally issued for three years, on a renewable basis, and in order for it to be processed you will need to take a medical test and obtain a health card. Health cards have to be paid for and have to be renewed yearly. They can be issued at the Ministry of Health or else at a recognised private hospital. Be aware: individuals who test positive for AIDS in the medical test, will not be able to obtain a residence visa!

Entry Service Permit – an Entry Service Permit is available to the following categories and their families: Company Manager’s representatives, Auditors, Account Managers, Sales managers, delegations from companies to carry out commercial activities and consultants brought in by UAE companies to perform urgent tasks. This visa must be sponsored by a UAE company or hotel and will normally take two or three days to issue. The visa has to be used within 14 days of issue and is non-renewable. The ESP can be availed by all nationalities authorised to obtain a tourist visa, but it is for urgent purposes only.

Multiple Entry Visas – are for individuals who are continually visiting the UAE.

Student Visit Visas – for students registered for short courses at UAE universities who could also hold a residence visa for longer courses. It can be renewed twice.

Conference / Exhibition visas are valid for 30 days.

Medical Visit Visas are renewable for 90 days.

Investor Visas – are for expats who invest a minimum (Dhs 70,000 at time of writing) share capital under a business partnership with a UAE national. The visa has a three year validity.

Mission Visas come in two forms – a 90-day visa is called a Mission Visa and it is for the express purpose of permitting expats to be employed there for a short time (up to 90 days) and is also for probationary workers. The sponsoring company applies for it at the Department of Labor. It can be multi-entry and/or renewable. A Special Mission Entry visa is for 16 days and is referred to as a Dubai transit visa, but do not confuse it with the tourist visit transit visa that is good for 96 hours. It is only good for single entry and cannot be renewed.

Parent Visas – UAE residents can sponsor parents for a period of one year, which can be renewed under special permission from the Dubai Naturalisation & Residency Department (DNRD). A small visa fee will apply plus a more substantial refundable deposit.

For fuller and possibly more up-to-date details of these short-term visa types and all other visas, contact your local UAE embassy or look at the UAE Governments DNRD website pages.

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Overstaying - a daily penalty charge is imposed on any visitor who overstays their visa. If the overstay extends to a significant period of time a court hearing is issued and a judge determines the penalty.

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Reminder – Visa rules are subject to sudden change without warning. The UAE embassy in your country or the Dubai Naturalisation & Residency Department (DNRD), the relevant authority in the UAE, are the only sources of information that can be relied upon. Check everything with them!

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Drugs – the rules about bringing non-prescription and prescription drugs into Dubai are very strict. Find out more by visiting our Drink and Drugs page.

On a lighter note and to help you make the most of your holiday in Dubai, find out about some of the good things in Dubai by looking at our pages on Places to Visit and Things to Do and Food and Drink in Dubai.

In compiling this Dubai Visa Requirements page we have referred to the following websites:

Find other Important Information about Dubai

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