As well known global trade hubs and sought-after tourist destinations, Dubai and other parts of the UAE, receive a huge number of visa applications from visitors, new employees and business travellers. The government grants several different types of entry permits and visas based on the purpose of your stay. The most common types of Dubai visas issued during the year include tourist visas, transit visas, residence visas, and business visas. Read on as we delve into all the essential Dubai visa information you could ever need.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF INDIVIDUAL DUBAI VISAS
Anyone who wants to visit Dubai can apply for one of the following visas, depending on the purpose of their visit.
DUBAI TOURIST VISA
The tourist visa allows people from all around the world to visit Dubai for a 30 to 90-day duration. These visits could be purely for tourism and leisure purposes or a business-related trip to the emirate. Dubai tourist visas are valid for single entry or multiple entries, depending on the application. The tourist visa is for those who are not eligible for visa on arrival or visa-free entry to the UAE.
To apply for a Dubai tourist visa, one must be aged 18 and above. Female travellers aged under the age of 18 are not eligible for a tourist visa in Dubai unless they are accompanied by their parents or legal guardians. The cost of tourist visas varies between AED 350 to AED 2,500.
All tourist visas in Dubai can be extended for thirty days twice without having to leave the country. Each time, a renewal will cost AED 600. If for any reason you apply for a Dubai tourist visa renewal after expiry, a penalty fine is incurred, subsequent to a 10-day grace period.
DUBAI TRANSIT VISA
This visa is perfect for travellers with long stopovers at Dubai Airport. If these visitors do not qualify for a visa on arrival or visa-free entry, they can apply for the UAE transit visa. The transit visa is issued for either 48 hours or 96 hours. Once issued, you cannot extend the 48-hour transit visa to a 96-hour one.
While the 48-hour Dubai transit visa is issued for free, the 96-hour transit visa costs AED 50. You must have the following documents to apply for a transit visa:
- A passport with minimum three-months validity for the 48-hour transit visa
- A passport with minimum six-months validity for the 96-hour transit visa.
- A recent photograph with white background
- A ticket to your final destination after the stopover in Dubai
STUDENT VISA IN DUBAI
Students who wish to pursue higher studies in Dubai, must have a valid student visa. To be eligible for the Dubai student visa, the applicant must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Pass the medical fitness test
- Have a visa sponsor (university, relative or parent)
- Get the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) approval
The Dubai student visa is valid for one year and can be renewed for the same duration upon proof of continuation of study from the respective university.
WORK PERMIT/RESIDENCE VISA IN DUBAI
Anyone who wants to legally work in Dubai needs to have a UAE work permit. Normally, the work permit requirements and application in Dubai is taken care of by the company (sponsor) that hires you. However, you do need to get:
- A medical test
- Your educational certificates attested
- Recent photographs
- Copies of your passport (with at least 6 months validity)
Once you get the Dubai work permit finalised, it doubles as your residency permit for living in Dubai. The permit can be transferred if and when you change jobs within the UAE.
RESIDENCE VISA FOR REMOTE WORKERS
Dubai’s latest residence program, grants a one-year residence visa to remote workers and their families to live and work in the emirate. Remote workers across the globe can now choose to live in Dubai and enjoy the best of the emirate including the distinctive lifestyle, top-notch amenities and well-planned public services with zero income tax.
To be eligible for the Dubai remote workers residence visa, one must have
- A passport which is valid for at least 6 months
- Health insurance that includes valid UAE coverage
- Proof of employment/ownership (in case of businessmen)
- Employment contract/Company ownership documents with at least one-year validity
- Previous month’s payslip
- Bank statements for 3 preceding months
- Monthly salary or average monthly income (in case of businessmen) of at least USD 5,000
The cost of this Dubai visa is AED 1058 (USD 287) per person. The remote worker residence visa in Dubai is valid for one year.
DUBAI RETIREMENT VISA
The retirement visa in Dubai is issued only to the residents who meet the eligibility criteria. Retired residents or foreign nationals who wish to obtain the long-term visa for retirement in Dubai must be more than 55 years old and be able to meet at least one of the eligibility criteria as shown below:
- Purchase a property worth at least AED 2M
- Have at least AED 1M in financial savings
- Have at least AED 20k of active income every month
The retirement visa is valid for 5 years after issuance and can be renewed if the applicant still meets the eligibility criteria.
BUSINESS AND OTHER VISAS IN DUBAI
There are certain types of Dubai visas especially handed out to entrepreneurs, investors and other specific categories of people. These visas include:
The UAE long term visa, more commonly known as the UAE Golden Visa, allows people who meet specific criteria to apply for long term residency in Dubai and the UAE. The golden visa is available in 5 year and 10 year categories.
Those eligible for the UAE golden visa include:
- Real estate investors
- Supremely talented individuals such as doctors, researchers, innovators and outstanding students
- PhD holders in the UAE
- Graduates with a 3.8+ GPA from UAE-accredited universities
- UAE-based doctors and physicians
- UAE-based biotechnology, computer science, programming, electronics and electricity engineers
- Specialists in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, epidemiology and virology
- Top graduates from UAE’s high school and their families
DUBAI BUSINESS VISA
The UAE Business Visa is another category of the Golden Visa scheme. Entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world can apply for the UAE Business Golden Visa, as long as they have set up their own business at least once in their professional career. To get a UAE Business Golden Visa, the eligible entrepreneur must:
- Authenticate their entrepreneurial experience
- Hold/have held the majority shares in a startup and/or a senior leadership position in it
- Be willing to legally set up a business and relocate to the UAE
- Have a business plan or ideas for their entrepreneurial venture in the UAE
Besides allowing you to set up your business in Dubai, the business visa also allows you to:
- Obtain long-term residency visa for your dependents (parents, children and spouses), subject to certain conditions
- Get an initial 6-month multiple-entry visa to expedite business establishment procedures
- Nominate up to 3 senior business personnel for residency
DUBAI INVESTOR OR PARTNER VISA
This type of Dubai visa is ideal for foreign nationals who want to start their own business in the emirate or invest in an existing business. The Dubai investor visa is valid for three years and allows the holder to live and work in the UAE and also sponsor their family members.
To be eligible for the partner/investor visa in Dubai, an individual must:
- Have shares worth a minimum of AED 72,000 in an existing UAE company or…
- Establish a company with a capital investment worth AED 72,000
PATIENTS AND COMPANION ENTRY PERMITS
Foreigners who wish to be treated in the UAE can obtain a patient’s entry permit with the sponsorship of a hospital registered in the country. A companion can accompany the patient as well with a similar entry permit for them. These entry permits in Dubai come in two categories for both the patient and the companion:
- Single Entry Medical Treatment Permit
- Multiple Entry Medical Treatment Permit
- Single Entry Permit for Patient’s Companion
- Multiple Entry Permit for Patient’s Companion
Both types of Dubai medical entry permits are extendable. However, the patient companion permit is only extendable where the sponsor certifies the need to continue the patient’s treatment and verifies the requirement of a companion in the UAE.
Documents required for these entry permits in Dubai include:
- Passport copy (patient and companion)
- Health insurance (patient and companion)
- Financial security (patient and companion)
- Letter from a UAE-registered hospital stating reasons for the visit (patient)
EVISA FOR GCC RESIDENTS
GCC residents who wish to visit Dubai only need to apply for the eVisa before arriving in the country. This Dubai visa has a 30 day validity and can be extended once for 30 days. To be eligible for the eVisa, applicants must have a passport and GCC residency valid for at least 3 months from the date of arrival.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Now let’s delve into some of the most oft-asked questions about Dubai visas:
DO I NEED A VISA OR ENTRY PERMIT TO ENTER THE UAE?
Yes, in most cases, people travelling to the UAE need a visa or a permit to enter. There are exceptions to the rule in case of GCC citizens, who can enter the UAE without a visa. Citizens from countries that have a visa-on-arrival accord with the UAE are also exempted from entry permits.
HOW IS A RESIDENCE VISA DIFFERENT FROM THE ENTRY PERMIT?
Through an entry permit the UAE government allows you to enter the country for a specific time and purpose. In contrast, the residence visa allows expats to continue living in the UAE for an extended period of time. The UAE Residence Visa is issued to foreign nationals already residing in the UAE with an entry permit.
WHERE CAN I APPLY FOR A DUBAI VISA OR ENTRY PERMIT?
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A DUBAI VISA?
If you have submitted the complete and correct information/documents required for the visa, it usually takes between four and seven working days to get the entry permit.
HOW DOES THE VISA AUTHORITY IN DUBAI SEND THE VISA TO THE APPLICANT?
The visa, once granted, is sent to the same email address that was used by the applicant to apply for one.
IS A DUBAI VISA REQUIRED FOR INFANTS AND CHILDREN?
Yes, UAE law requires all individuals – adults, children and infants – to have a valid visa to visit Dubai.
That’s all we have for you now on the different types of Dubai visas and entry permits. But whilst we’ve comprehensively covered all the basic types of visas in Dubai, it should be noted that there are certain sub-categories available for special circumstances. For example, frequent travellers to Dubai can also apply for the multiple-entry 5-year UAE tourist visa. In addition, resident mothers can sponsor their children in the UAE, if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Just be sure to do your research to ensure you’re getting the right visa that perfectly suits the the purpose of your visit.
A note of caution – anyone visiting Dubai must ensure they do not stay beyond their visa expiry date to avoid any overstay fines in the UAE. You can easily check your UAE visa status online to cross check your Dubai visa validity.
For expats within the country, Dubai offers a comprehensive range of UAE visa services. These services include the transfer of residency to the new passport for residents whose existing passports expire.