The information in this article is a general overview of the UAE visa rules. However, it is crucial to remember that the requirements are subject to change. Therefore, check them before your trip to the UAE to make sure you comply with all the eligibility criteria.
First off, let’s outline what an entry permit is. This document provides a foreigner with a legal right to enter and stay in the territory of the UAE for a certain period.
Before visiting the UAE, you need to check whether you are eligible to get an entry permit on arrival. In other cases, you need to pre-arrange it online and be sponsored by a person or a company in the UAE.
There are different types of entry permits with varying periods of stay, depending on your purpose of visiting:
Thus, with a transit entry permit, you must leave the country in four days. Meanwhile, a work entry permit enables you to stay in the UAE for 2 months, during which you are required to arrange a residence visa.
You may make a two-time request for an extension of your visa or an entry permit for 30 more days, without the need to leave the UAE.
You will have to pay a fine every day of your excessive stay, which starts to count on the 10th day following the visa’s expiration.
Citizens of most countries in Europe, the United States, Australia, and some Asian nations do not need any prior visa preparations, getting their visa in the UAE upon arrival.
After you arrive at the airport, you will pass through the immigration section where your passport will be stamped with an entry visa for free. If you want to extend your stay, you may apply for it at an immigration office in the UAE.
Pre-applying for the entry permit is not required for the United States nationals. The same is for US citizens who have valid visas from other countries in their passports.
Make sure you have an original passport signed by you, valid at least 6 months from the due date of arriving in the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, you need to have an airline ticket entitling you to travel to the UAE and back again, or a ticket to other destinations.
You will get a one-month entry visa right at the airport. Requesting an extension is possible at a regional immigration office.
If you are a holder of a British passport, you are not required to arrange a UAE entry permit beforehand. You will receive this one-time 30-day visa when you arrive in the UAE. It will be automatically ended as soon as you leave the territory of the UAE.
You may apply for an extension twice while you are staying in the country, with each extension granting 30 more days.
Your passport should have two blank pages or more, with a validity period of at least 6 months, starting from the planned date of your arrival in the UAE.
It is worth noting that British Overseas Citizens are eligible for a different entry procedure.
If you hold an Indian passport and either a UK-, EU-, or US residence visa or a green card, then you can get a visa on arrival that will enable you to stay for up to 14 days in the UAE. This assumes that your existing visas are valid for six months and over. You can request a 14-day extension of your stay.
The list of countries qualified for a visa on arrival varies from time to time. Therefore, it is better to check this prior to coming to the UAE.
If you are of some other nationality than mentioned above, you cannot qualify for a visa on arrival. You need to arrange a UAE entry permit in advance. You also need to confirm your sponsorship. It could be a UAE national or resident among your relatives or colleagues. As an alternative, a UAE-based airline, travel company, hotel, or any other organization can act as your sponsor.
Potential visitors must not have a UAE entry ban or prior deportation.
You might wonder what a residence visa and an entry permit differ in. It is quite simple. An entry permit allows travelers to come and stay in the UAE legitimately for some period. Meanwhile, applying for a residence visa is possible only after a foreigner arrived in the UAE with the use of an entry permit. After obtaining the residence visa, they can stay in the UAE for a longer or indefinite period.
Moreover, it is impossible to apply for a residence visa on your own in most cases. You need a sponsor to do this on your behalf. For example, this may be your employer.
Staying on a residence visa covers the period of up to three years, which depends on the type and the sponsor.
The UAE long-term residence visas are categorized according to the purpose of your stay.
Real estate investors may apply for a multiple-entry residence visa. This is a kind of visitor visa; however, it allows its holder to arrive in the UAE several times during a 2-month or 6-month period.
The visa is subject to renewal every six months with the need to leave the country and come back again.
Real estate investors in a property of a value no less than AED 1 million (approx. $272,000) are eligible to apply for this type of visa.
In 2019, the UAE amended requirements for its visas granting residency for a long-term period. They are also known as golden visas. According to new rules, foreigners are allowed to live, study, be employed in the UAE and do not need to provide a UAE national’s sponsorship. It also entitles a potential expat to settle an enterprise in the UAE mainland territory, holding 100% of this company. The period of stay on this type of visa is 5 and 10 years. They are extended automatically.
The following categories are eligible to apply for a UAE visa granting a 5-year residence:
1. Real estate investors
The following conditions should be satisfied:
Entrepreneurs having a business priced at AED 500,000 and over can count on a multi-entry 5-year residence visa. The visa extends to the applicant’s spouse, children, and business partners.
3. High-ability students
This category includes:
The visa grants residency to students’ families as well.
The 10-year golden visa is issued to the following categories of foreign nationals:
Investors and entrepreneurs eligible for a 10-year residence visa should make a minimum public sector investment worth AED 10 million.
Investments must comply with at least one of the following criteria:
Other requirements include:
People with extraordinary talents represent the other category of foreign nationals entitled to the golden visa.
They are the individuals with exceptional achievements or contributions to medicine, science, art, and culture. The applicant must have a UAE employment contract in the respective field. In other words, the applicants must have expert knowledge in areas that add to the UAE’s competitiveness in the global arena. The visa privilege extends to the applicant’s spouse and children.