Dubai City Information Site

Visa & Other Documents Needed to Enter Dubai

Hi, Sunil here to discuss what documents are needed to enter Dubai.

This discussion is inspired by the numerous emails Kish and I receive from our website visitors wanting to spend holidays in Dubai, who often ask what is really needed (in addition to a Dubai visa) to enter Dubai.

So instead of responding to individual queries, I decided to write about it.

The immigration laws of Dubai are very strict and change with the direction of the wind - one of the luxuries of a single man ruled sheikdom ;)

So before going further I do recommend checking up the latest and greatest information. This information is valid through June 2008 the last I checked.

Documentation required to enter Dubai

The following is a list of required documents to enter Dubai:
  1. A valid Passport (Passports must be valid for at least 6 months if you are going for business, or three months minimum if you are going as a tourist)

  2. Copy of your labor/tenancy contract (applicable to people going to Dubai for work. This can be obtained from your employer or sponsor)

  3. Marriage and birth certificates of all members of your family

  4. Passport size photographs (at least 6 are recommended)

Passport restrictions

If you are a citizen national of Israel, you might have problems entering Dubai. Alternatively, if you travel frequently for business and have an Israeli visa stamp on your Passport, you may also face some issues in Dubai. The best way to get around this is to apply for a new passport with a “clean slate” to avoid any issues upon entering Dubai.

Do you have to do everything yourself?

Not if you are going for business. If you are going to Dubai for work, chances are your company will have what is called a “fixer”. A fixer is pretty much a liaison who deals with the political aspect of your and your family’s Dubai visa. It is smart to be on the good side of your fixer as this person will guide you whenever you have a visa related question or issue.

What if you are denied entry?

You probably don’t want to hear this answer but reality is that there is not much you can do. Dubai is not a democracy. The ordinary person does not have a voice here. Appeals are very rare, let alone appeals that get the initial decision overturned.

What do you need while in Dubai?

Your responsibilities do not end after you enter Dubai. You must always have your identification documents on hand. This is an inconvenience but everyone must have documents like passport or national identity card at all times. In addition, you also must carry your entry permits and visa paperwork. The word is that these requirements will only continue to increase.

Why all the inconvenience of carrying legal documentation?

Dubai is a very desirable place for expats to work in. There is no personal income tax on wages earned. For that reason many immigrants try to enter the Emirate legally or illegally. It is common for officials to conduct spot checks on both people and businesses to catch the illegal immigrants who are working “under the table”.

For this reason employers are required to keep a copy of each employee’s passport. These are checked periodically to identify any illegal residents. Illegal residents are deported out of the country (UAE) immediately.

= = = = = =

If you want to work and live in Dubai to benefit from the favorable tax laws and high standard of living, then you must obey the rules and regulations. Despite it not being a democracy and a single person ruled Emirate, Dubai is generally a warm place to expatriates. After all, it is the foreigners that are keeping this place going. That said, it is also very important to respect the laws that the host has set up for you.

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