Dubai Visa Information

Visa Requirements & General Information

Hi Sunil here to discuss getting a Dubai Visa

You will need a Visa to Dubai if you are not a National (Citizen) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The only restriction I can think of is that Dubai doesn’t let citizens of Israel in the country.

I won’t get into the reasons here.

The good news is that Dubai Visas are relatively easy to obtain.

Certain states that are in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Persian Gulf (GCC) and citizens of selected countries do not have to get a Visa prior to entering Dubai.

For GCC states, no Visa is required to enter Dubai. For citizens of some selected countries like Australia and the United States, you can get a Dubai Visa stamp upon entering Dubai.

It doesn’t cost any money to get this stamp and it allows you to stay in Dubai up to 90 days.

Visitors for most other countries are allowed to stay up to 30 days in Dubai.

These visitors usually require a local sponsor (such as a business or hotel) in order to get a Dubai Visa.

Kish and I are both US Passport holders and never have any trouble getting in and out of Dubai. Dubai government is very pro America and American’s are usually treated much better than other Dubai visitors.

Dubai Visa Requirement

Your passport must be valid for at least 2-6 months before you enter Dubai. So make sure you check your passport before planning your trip. Applying or renewing your passport can take a few months.

Visitor Visa to Dubai

Visitor Visas are the most common Dubai Visas granted by the Government of Dubai. Visitor Visas are typically short term and are meant for travelers who wish to visit Dubai or go for business purposes.

Whether you will require a Visa before going to Dubai depends on which country you are a citizen of. Like I stated earlier if you are a citizen of the GCC, you do not need a Visa to enter Dubai.

Nations in the GCC include Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia. These nations have very close ties with Dubai and share many political and religious perspectives.

If you are just a resident of the GCC counties, you can get a 30 day Dubai Visa upon entering the Emirate.

Tourist Visas for Citizens of Other Countries

If you are a British citizen, you don’t need to apply for a Dubai Visa beforehand. You can get a 60 day Visa upon arrival. You can renew it for an additional 30 days for just around 500 Dhs. This rule applies to holders of the British Overseas Citizens Passport as well (2009 Update: This may have changed so check the recent rules). I think the favorable treatment is because of Britain’s long and old history with Dubai.

There are 33 other countries (as of 2007) that can also get a Dubai Visa upon arrival. Only one month Visas can to be granted to citizens of these countries legally (based on a law enacted in 2003). The Government is also supposed to charge you 100 Dhs. for this Visa.

I say “supposed to” because the airport authorities don’t really follow this law. Most everyone from these countries is given similar treatment to the Brits.

These 33 countries are: Andora, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, United States and the Vatican City.

Citizens of all other countries need to be sponsored by a local resident of Dubai or the UAE. If you are from a country not mentioned above, you can get a relative or a friend that lives in Dubai to sponsor your Visa. The only requirement is that your friend or relative must earn at least 4,000 Dhs. per month.

You can also get your company, a travel agency or the hotel you plan to stay at to sponsor you. If you get a hotel to sponsor you, you will have to stay at the hotel. The hotel will hold your passport until when you check out and your payments have processed.

You must have your sponsor apply for a tourist Visa at least 7 to10 days prior to your arrival in Dubai. The procedure is not difficult but it does take a few days to complete. You will have to fill out a Visa application form and submit it to your sponsor along with a copy of your passport.

Your sponsor will then have to apply for the Visa on your behalf and drop the Visa at the airport immigration prior to your flight arrival. The entire process will cost your sponsor just under $200.

If you plan on visiting Dubai frequently, you might want to consider the Multiple Entry Visa. There are special rules and privileges that come with this Visa.

There is also a 14-day Visa or the Entry Service Permit. This is a specialized tourist Visa that requires sponsorship from either your company or the hotel you plan to stay at. This Visa takes approximately 3 days to obtain.

Transit Visas

If you are merely passing by Dubai on your way elsewhere, you can get a Transit Visa if you can show a continuing flight ticket. This Visa is only a 4 day (96 hour) Visa but is perfect for you if you are a tourist so that you can take a few days and tour Dubai.

This Visa can be issued by any airline operating in the UAE and is free. Emirates usually will allow you a multiple day layover since the airlines is based in Dubai. Very few airlines allow you this option so take advantage of it anytime you can. Consider this option whenever you have a layover in Dubai.

Do Not Overstay

You will be deported if you overstay in Dubai for an excessive period of time. You may be banned from entering back. That’s why it’s best not to overstay.

If you overstay, you will be charged a penalty of approximately $25 per day. This range varies but usually tops off at this amount. If you overstay for a long period of time, you will be taken to the court and a penalty decision will be ruled.

What If You Want To Move to Dubai?

If you want to move to Dubai, you will need a Resident Visa. Because the UAE does not grant naturalization, you must have a valid Resident Visa for as long as you settle in Dubai.

Resident Visas are also called Employment Visas because people often move to Dubai for work. So if you are moving to Dubai for work, your company will take care of sponsoring you for am Employment Visa.

The Visa is issued for 3 years and is renewable for as long as you are employed and are being sponsored. In order to apply for the Visa you must take a medical exam and get a health card.

The health card pretty much shows your medical history (so much for privacy eh) and it costs around $100 (as of 2007). You must apply for this and renew it through the Ministry of Health or certain hospitals. People with AIDS (HIV) are not granted the Visa.

If you enter the country on a Visitor Visa and later decide to settle in Dubai, you can transfer your Visa status through the Immigration department. And if you have family you are taking with you, I recommend applying for a Family Visa.

A Family Visa will allow you to sponsor your family members, including your parents, as long as you earn at least 4,000 Dhs. (approximately $1,100) per month.

A New Type of Resident Visa

Recently (I think around 2007) the Dubai government enacted laws granting property investors Dubai Visas. These are Resident Visas except now you have the option to go through your developer as your sponsor instead of your employer.

The government did this to encourage property investment. Now you don’t have to be employed in Dubai to live there. You can buy property and be granted a Resident Visa.

And if you do have a job and God forbid you get fired or quit, you will not be forced to leave the country as long as you own your property. Owning a property will entitle you to a Resident Visa.

There was quite a bit of confusion amongst the property buyer community when this law was initially enacted. But you don’t have to worry today. Government officials have specifically come out and stated that "anyone who buys a property can get a residence visa in Dubai.”

This statement comes from Dubai's Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD), who has further confirmed that anyone that buys freehold property in the Emirate is entitled to the Visa through their property developer.

Where to Get Your Visa

The DNRD is the official authority that handles visitor matters. The department is part of the Ministry of Interior. They control all Dubai Visa requirements as well as the procedures to obtain a Visa.

Their decisions fluctuate throughout the year, especially when Dubai is hosting an event and is expecting many visitors. Most Visas are granted at the Dubai International Airport upon arrival.

You can contact the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Administration Department for more Dubai Visa information at the following:

Official DNRD Website
Tel: 00 97 14 398-0000
Fax: 00 97 14 398-1119

Here is a summary schedule of Dubai Visas and related fees. This schedule is valid as of January 2008. You should not rely on these figures going forward but I don’t suspect they will fluctuate too much. Make a table of this

30 Day Visa 500 Non-Renewable
90 Day Visa 1,000 Non-Renewable
180 Day Multiple Entry Visa 2,000 Non-Renewable
60 Day Student Visa 1,000 Can Renew 2 times (Dhs. 500 fee)
90 Day Medical Treatment Visa 1,000 Can Renew 1 time (Dhs. 500 fee)
30 DayTourist Visa 100 Can Renew 1 time (Dhs. 500 fee)
30 Day Trade Show/Conference Visa 100 Non-Renewable
30 Day GCC Visa 100 Can Renew 1 time (Dhs. 500 fee)

I highly recommend visiting a UAE embassy near you for the most updated Dubai Visa information.

Check out this easy to read summary on Visa information and requirements. I recommend printing it and taking it with you for reinforcement.

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More Visa Information

Getting Dubai visa information is one of the first things that you need to do before you even start making preparations to go to Dubai. This information will provide you with what you need so that you can be allowed to enter the country. This information also informs you what kind of visa you need to apply for and if you are qualified for certain types of visa.

Visa Requirements to Dubai

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