Every year, thousands of people travel to the United Arab Emirates, especially for commercial-related and sightseeing purposes. Therefore, you must apply for a UAE visa if you have a similar intention.
There are a few different types of visas for foreigners who want to visit the United Arab Emirates. The one to choose depends on your purpose of visit to the country. Even though the application procedures for UAE visas have become much more accessible, foreign nationals need to consider some things before applying for a visa. Of course, UAE has visas for international students, foreign workers, digital nomads, retirees, and close relatives of UAE citizens.
This blog post will provide an overview of how to get a visa for the United Arab Emirates, including its general requirements, application turnaround time, and validity period.
In this article
UAE Visa Exemptions
Some foreign nationals are exempt from applying for a visa (particularly a tourist visa) to enter the United Arab Emirates for 30 days, 90 days, or 180 days respectively.
#1. Citizens of the following countries can travel visa-free to UAE for up to 30 days.
- The United Kingdom
- San Marino
- The United States of America
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- Vatican City State
#2. Nationals of the following countries do not need to apply for a UAE visa, provided their stay is only for 90 days.
- Countries that are part of the European Union (excl. UK and Ireland)
- El Salvador
- The Solomon Islands
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- The Bahamas
- The Maldives
- Costa Rica
- South Korea
#3. Citizens of Mexico do not need a visa to travel to UAE for a maximum stay of 180 days.
#4. Foreign nationals with a valid passport or identification document from Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, or Kuwait can also travel visa-free to UAE.
#5. Foreigners who have a diplomatic or service passport of any of the following countries do not need a visa to travel to UAE for tourism purposes and are also eligible to get a visa on arrival.
- Equatorial Guinea
- Saint Lucia
(Only applies to foreign nationals who hold a diplomatic passport of any of these countries.)
- Burkina Faso
- The Democratic Republic of Congo
Types of UAE Visas
Below are the major types of visas for the United Arab Emirates.
#1. UAE Transit Visas
This visa allows its holder to journey to another country through the United Arab Emirates.
#2. UAE Tourist Visa
With a valid tourist visa for UAE, you can enter the country for any purpose that does not exceed 30 days, such as sightseeing.
#3. UAE Investor or Long-Term Residence Visas:
This type of UAE visa permits a foreigner to invest in the country and stay for a period ranging from five to ten years while managing their investment.
#4. UAE Residence Visas
These visas are ideal for international students, foreign workers, family members of UAE citizens, retirees, and freelancers who need to stay in the UAE for an extended period.
UAE Visa Requirements
Here is a list of the documents required to apply for a UAE visa.
- Copies of specific pages on your passport, such as its data page
- Duplicates of your sponsor’s passport
- A No Objection Letter from your father or hubby – required by females who are traveling by themselves to UAE
- Recent photographs of you (passport-size)
- A copy of your residence permit or visa (required if you are not a national of the country where you presently live in)
- Proof of travel insurance coverage for UAE
- Evidence of accommodation in the United Arab Emirates
- A confirmed onward travel ticket or a round-trip ticket to UAE
- A cover letter that clarifies your reason for visiting UAE, as well as your stay duration
- Proof of relationship, your sponsor’s Emirates ID or resident visa, as well as their proof of sustenance (supposing that someone wants to host you in UAE)
- Marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Copies of previous UAE visas’ entry and exit stamps
- Photocopy previous visas for Canada, the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Russia, or the Schengen Area. Besides, you must have obtained a visa for any of these countries not more than the last five years.
How to Get a UAE Visa
To get a visa for the United Arab Emirates, you are required to take specific procedures in person or online.
If you apply for a UAE visa in person, you must contact the Emirati diplomatic mission (embassy or consulate) in your country of residence. Make sure you submit all the required documents to avoid a declined visa application.
Another way to apply for a UAE visa includes using the internet to access ICP Smart Services Portal. However, remember that this application process can only be undertaken online by persons applying in your stead.
You can also procure the visa by logging on to the official website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) of the specific emirate you wish to live in.
Furthermore, an easier way to complete UAE visa application procedures is to download UAEICP mobile app on your Android or Apple (iOS) smartphone.
Most Emirati embassies and consulates take three to four days (workdays) to process a foreigner’s visa application. This is probably the same amount of time required by the Emirati diplomatic mission in your home country to process and grant your visa.
Validity Period of UAE Visas
The period in which a visa for the United Arab Emirates is valid varies depending on the type of visa, as follows:
- Transit Visas: either 48 or 96 hours
- Tourist Visa: 30 days
- Investor or Long-Term Residence Visas: varies from five to ten years
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is UAE visa-free?
No, but citizens of about 100 countries do not need a visa to tour the United Arab Emirates. They can enter UAE visa-free for a specified period. However, they may need to hold a valid identity document or passport.
Is a Dubai visa easy to get?
Of course, it is straightforward to get a visa for Dubai. There are several online and in-person application methods for UAE visas. Besides, you can request the professional aid of a travel agency in your country.
Do Canadians need a visa for UAE?
Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a UAE visa to visit the country for 30 days. These denote that all Canadians can travel to the United Arab Emirates visa-free and stay for no more than 30 days.
How long does a UAE visa take to get?
It usually takes not more than four working days to get a visa for the United Arab Emirates. Therefore, the most common way foreigners apply for UAE visas is through Emirati embassies and consulates overseas.
Do South Africans need a visa for Dubai?
Yes, all citizens of South Africa must obtain a visa to enter the United Arab Emirates. You can visit the Emirati embassy in South Africa at 992 Arcadia Street, Arcadia, Pretoria.
How long can you visit Dubai without a visa?
The maximum number of days you can stay in Dubai without a visa varies depending on the visa policy. However, no foreign national can visit Dubai for more than 180 days.
Is UAE visa-free for Indian citizens?
Yes, the United Arab Emirates offers visa-free entry to citizens of India who hold either a service or diplomatic passport. However, to qualify to enter UAE without a visa, you must also intend to visit the country for tourism purposes. Moreover, Indian nationals can apply for a visa at the port of entry in the United Arab Emirates.
How can I get a UAE visa from India?
To get a visa from India for the United Arab Emirates, you must visit the Emirati embassy in New Delhi at 12 Chandragupta Marg, Chanakyapuri. Remember that the embassy opens only on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm.
Can I get Dubai visa same day?
Yes, you can get a Dubai Express visa on the same day you applied. This type of Dubai visa processing costs $135 and is valid for a period ranging from 14 to 90 days.
In summary, applying for a UAE visa is not difficult, as it’s one of the most straightforward visas compared to all other countries in the Middle East. However, ensure that you purchase UAE Travel Insurance in advance.
No matter the type of UAE visa you want, you can visit any unique attractions spread across each emirate in the country.