What is a UAE Visa?
There are over 50 nationalities that are eligible to enter the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by obtaining a visa on arrival for stays of either 30 or 60 days depending on the passport they hold. Nationals of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries can enter the UAE visa-free for unlimited periods of time provided they show their GCC country passport or national ID card.
All other foreign nationals must obtain a visa to enter the UAE. A UAE visa is a travel document that allows the holder to travel to the UAE for a specified purpose and duration of stay. UAE visas can either be issued electronically through one of the official government websites or through an accredited UAE-based enterprise (hotel, airline, travel agent, etc.).
The UAE offers a variety of visa types for different purposes and durations of stay. All UAE visas are valid for 60 days from the date of issuance until the date of entry into the UAE except for the Transit Visa which is issued for a period of either 48 or 96 hours. Each visa type allows for a different duration of stay depending on the purpose of your trip. The duration of stay starts from the date of entry into the UAE.
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Types of UAE Visas
The UAE offers visas in two main categories: visas for visitors and visas for residents. Each category has several sub-types that travelers can choose from when applying for their UAE visa.
The following visa types are available to foreign nationals coming to the UAE:
Visas for visitors
Visas for residents
The UAE also offers entry permits for foreign nationals who need to enter the country to finalize their residence visa procedures. Entry permits are either valid for two (2) months for normal visas and green residence visas OR six (6) months for multiple-entry Golden Visas.
Travelers interested in visiting the United Arab Emirates for tourism can also apply for a Dubai Tourist Visa, which is issued by the Emirate of Dubai through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). This visa grants its holder access to the entire United Arab Emirates for purposes related to tourism.
Applying for a UAE Visa (Application Steps)
Applying for a UAE visa is a straightforward process that can be done online.
You can take the following steps to apply for a UAE visa online:
You must log on to one of the official websites or the mobile application and create a secure account.
Complete all forms accurately and ensure that any personal or travel details match your official documents.
All applicants are required to upload some required documents depending on the visa type and their nationality. Be sure your files are in the correct format as stipulated by the online portal.
Visa fees can be paid online using a valid method of payment. Fees will vary depending on the visa type, the expected duration of stay, and the number of entries.
Once you submit the application, it will be processed by the relevant authorities. If approved, you will be issued an eVisa and can proceed with your travel plans to the UAE.It is advisable to check the official website or contact the Saudi Arabian embassy or consulate for an estimate of the processing time. If the visa application is approved, the applicant will receive the visa either affixed to the passport or as an electronic visa. It is important to carefully review the visa details to ensure that all the information is correct and matches the passport details.
In some cases, the visa application will be completed and submitted by an individual sponsor residing in the UAE or through an accredited UAE-based enterprise such as a hotel, airline, or travel agent. Individual or enterprise sponsors are responsible for completing the visa or entry permit application and sending it to you before you travel to the UAE.
UAE Visa Requirements
To apply for a UAE visa, you will have to submit several documents depending on the purpose of the trip and the visa type.
The following are the basic documents required for all visa types:
Where to Apply
Most foreign nationals who require a visa to enter the UAE will apply online through one of their official websites or mobile applications. There are two websites available: the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICP) eChannels portal and the website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA)- Dubai. The ICP App and the Dubai Now applications can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.
Sponsors can also apply for a visa offline through a typing center that is registered by ICP or GDRFA. These service centers can type and process the online application for your sponsor. If the application is approved, your sponsor will receive a digital notice.
Embassies and consulates in the UAE may also accept applications for UAE visas depending on your country of residence and the visa type.
Accredited enterprises that can sponsor your application include national airlines such as Etihad Airways, Emirates, Flydubai, and Air Arabia. Hotels and travel agencies can also complete the visa application for you provided they are accredited by the relevant authorities.
Visa Processing Time
The processing time will vary depending on the type of UAE visa you are applying for and the amount of time you plan to stay in the UAE. It will also depend on whether you have a sponsor or are applying as an individual from outside the country.
There are over 50 countries that can enter the UAE by obtaining a visa on arrival. Nationals of the GCC can enter the UAE visa-free. All other nationalities must apply for their visa online or have a sponsor apply for them in the UAE before they can enter the country. You can find out about your visa status for the UAE online.
Whether or not you can extend your UAE visa will depend on the visa type and your intended purpose of stay during the extended period of time. Some visa types are extendable while others are not, so it’s important to check the guidelines in advance.
Most foreign nationals who require a visa to enter the UAE can apply online or have a sponsor apply for them from inside the UAE. Eligible sponsors may include an individual like a family member or employer, or an enterprise such as a hotel, airline, or travel agency.
The conditions of your visa type and your purpose of stay in the UAE will determine whether or not you are permitted to work. Many visas were created specifically to encourage certain types of work, while others do not permit any lucrative employment.