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Do I Need a Visa to Travel to UAE?
United Arab Emirates has many bilateral or multilateral visa agreements with different countries all over the world that eliminates lengthy visa processes. Citizens of these countries are allowed to stay in the United Arab Emirates for 30 days or 90 days within a 180 days period starting from the date of first entry, given that they do not take up employment. Countries that are eligible for a visa on arrival entry to the United Arab Emirates are listed below.
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong*
- New Zealand*
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- San Marino*
- Saudi Arabia****
- Solomon Islands**
- South Korea**
- United Kingdom*
- United States of America*
- Vatican City
* Countries that can obtain a visa on arrival that is valid for 30 days with a 10-day grace period for an extension. An extension would be 60 days from the first day of the entry.
** Countries that can obtain a visa on arrival that is valid for 90 days and extendable.
*** Indian citizens with UK or EU residence permits, US visas or green card can obtain an extendable visa on arrival that is valid for 14 days.
**** Gulf Cooperation Council states that are eligible for a visa-free entry to the United Arab Emirates.
Other listed nationalities can obtain a visa for 90 days within a 180 days period whereas non-listed nationalities have to apply for a United Arab Emirates visa beforehand with varying regulations and requirements.
United Arab Emirates Visa Types
We covered United Arab Emirates visa types that vary depending on the duration and purpose of the stay.
C Type (Short-Term) Visas
Depending on your purpose of the visit that is limited to 90 days or less in a 180 days period to the United Arab Emirates; it is possible for you to obtain one of the following visa types.
United Arab Emirates Touristic Visa
A United Arab Emirates touristic visa issued for individuals or groups who wish to visit the United Arab Emirates for sightseeing purposes. It is possible to enter the country without a visa for many nationalities around the world with a duration of up to 90 days. If your nationality is not eligible for a visa-free entry to the United Arab Emirates, it is expected from you to provide additional documents regarding sufficient financial means, proof of accommodation and travel insurance which are valid through the duration of the stay and a return flight ticket.
United Arab Emirates Business or Fair Participation Visa
A United Arab Emirates business or fair participation visa is granted for individuals who are planning to visit the country for business-related purposes such as meetings, events, business fairs, or unpaid trainings without labor or gainful employment. Invitation documents from professional chambers and organizations are must be included to the application.
United Arab Emirates Family, Relative or Friend Visit Visa
A United Arab Emirates family, relative, or friend visit visa is issued for individuals who wish to visit a family member or a friend residing in the United Arab Emirates. In order to get one, it is vital to include an invitation letter from the person whom you are visiting.
United Arab Emirates Cultural, Sports or Conference Visit Visa
A United Arab Emirates cultural, sports, or conference visit visa is granted for individuals or groups that are going to attend a cultural event or activity held in United Arab Emirates. An invitation from the receiving association and confirmation documents from the sending association, proof of accommodation, and sufficient financial means must be included in the application.
United Arab Emirates Short-Term Education or Internship Visa
A United Arab Emirates short-term education or internship visa is issued for international students who wish to study in the United Arab Emirates for university projects or special occasions for less than three months. The applicant has to include documents of sufficient means of subsistence, proof of accommodation, and admission letter from the receiving institution.
D Type (Long-Term) Visa
United Arab Emirates category D visas are required for stays that exceed a three month period with varying purposes in the United Arab Emirates even if the applicant’s nationality is on the visa-free list. It is possible for you to apply for a long-term visa to the United Arab Emirates if you are one of the following:
- A student planning to study at a higher education institution, have a language course, or long-term internship
- An employee going to work for a United Arab Emirates -located business
- An academic, researcher or scientist to work in a certified United Arab Emirates research center
- An individual whose family member is a United Arab Emirates citizen
- A patient going to receive medical treatment in a UAE-located medical institution
- An investor who had at least 5 million AED invested in UAE-based businesses or projects
United Arab Emirates Transit Visa
If your nationality is not eligible for a visa-free or visa on arrival entry to United Arab Emirates, then you will need to obtain a 48-hour or 96-hour transit visa. In order to get the visa you must have:
- A passport that is valid for more than three/six months
- A clear photo of self on a solid white color background
- A flight ticket to a third destination
General Requirements to Apply for UAE Visa
In order to successfully obtain a United Arab Emirates visa it is important to be prepared and gather all the necessary information regarding your nationality and purpose of the visit beforehand. There are certain stages to obtain a touristic United Arab Emirates visa:
Have a Sponsor
Since the UAE does not issue visas without a sponsor except for specials occasions, it is important to have one to apply for a touristic visa on your behalf. This sponsor could be a business, individual, authorized travel agency, or a legal entity.
Gather Required Documents
Keep a good track of the required documents and submit them accordingly through the internet portal of residency and foreign affairs of the UAE.
Receive Your Visa
If your application resulted positively you will be informed through your sponsor and will be eligible to visit the UAE with your travel documents at hand.
United Arab Emirates Visa Applications
You are required to present following documents if your nationality is not eligible for a visa on arrival or visa-free entry to the United Arab Emirates:
- Passport copies of the applicant and the sponsor
- Two passport-sized pictures
- Proof of previous travels
- Proof of accommodation and sufficient financial means in the duration of your stay
- A cover letter stating your purpose and duration of the visit
- A round-trip flight ticket
- Proof of civil status if required
- Sponsor documents
There are additionally required or supporting documents from certain applicants:
- Employment contract
- A letter from the company that states your absence, duration of the stay, and confirms returning to current job
- Bank statement of the last six months
- Sponsorship documents if the applicant cannot support himself/herself financially during the period of the stay
- Copy of business license
- Company bank statement of last six months
What is Visa Sponsorship for United Arab Emirates?
If your country is not eligible for a visa-free or visa on arrival entry to the United Arab Emirates, then you need have a sponsor or a guarantor based in the UAE in order to obtain an entry permit for tourism, visit, transit, or work purposes. This sponsor could be:
- A United Arab Emirates citizen
- A person with a residence permit in the UAE
- A private company based in the UAE
- A government entity
- A UAE-based authorized hotel or travel agencies
- A UAE-based airline company
It is also possible to apply through a sponsor for certain individuals who cannot provide sufficient means to cover themselves financially in duration of their stay in United Arab Emirates. You can check our website for more details about visa sponsorships.
United Arab Emirates Visa Rules
There are many countries across the globe can enter United Arab Emirates without a visa or can obtain a visa on arrival. In order to obtain a United Arab Emirates visa you need to take consideration of following visa rules:
- The passport should be valid for more than six months from the expected day of arrival to the United Arab Emirates.
- Females under the age of 18 cannot apply for a visa to the United Arab Emirates if they are not going to be accompanied by their parents or guardians.
United Arab Emirates Visa Requirements
United Arab Emirates Visa Requirements for Schengen Countries
Citizen of Schengen countries should not have any problems while entering the United Arab Emirates since they are eligible for a visa on arrival to the country.
United Arab Emirates Visa Requirements for US, UK, and Canada
Citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada can enter the United Arab Emirates without a visa if their passport is valid for more than six months from the expected time of arrival to the UAE.
United Arab Emirates Visa Requirements for GCC Countries
Gulf Cooperation Council nationals (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia) can enter the United Arab Emirates without a visa.
United Arab Emirates Visa Requirements for Indian Citizens
Indian citizens only with a visit visa or green card issued by the US or a residence visa issued by the UK or the EU can enter the United Arab Emirates without a visa for a maximum stay of 14 days.
United Arab Emirates Visa Fees
United Arab Emirates transit or touristic visa types listed below exclusively includes the visa fee. Keep in mind that there might be additional payments expected from the applicant such as consular fees, service fees of the outsourced companies, or application form fees.
NOTE: This article was prepared in March 2020. Please check up-to-date information published by official sources.
Frequently Asked Questions