UAE and Dubai visit visas free on arrival for some countries
Free visit visa on arrival additional new European countries
05 Mar 2014 (WAM) - the free UAE visit visa on arrival facility is extended to an additional 13 EU countries from 22 Mar 2014. The new countries are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia.
Visit visa on arrival validity period in Dubai different from the UAE
- Visit visas on arrival in the UAE from beginning of 2009 appear to be valid for 30 days (not 1 month, 60 days, or 2 months), irrespective of what the passport stamp or immigration officials tell you, except in Dubai, and possibly for UK nationals - see next points. Confusion with visa rules in the UAE is common. Mind the gap.
- In Dubai, there might be an additional 10 days grace period making the validity period 40 days, inclusive of both entry and exit dates. But ask when entering the UAE exactly what the last exit day is. This extension might not apply all the time or at all border crossings.
- The UAE Embassy in UK website says (checked 09 Nov 2010, no further update provided): Citizens of the UK (with right of abode in the UK) will be granted a free of charge visit visa on arrival in the UAE. No application in advance of travel is necessary. Your passport will simply be stamped with the visit visa as you pass through Immigration at any airport in the UAE. Although the visa may be stamped for 30 days, it entitles the holder to stay in the country for 60 days and may be renewed once for an additional period of 30 days for a fee of Dh500. Confused? Yes, we are too. Assume your visa is valid only 30 days despite what the UK embassy tells you - UAE immigration has not provided any information to indicate UK citizens are a special case. You can get a new visa for free by doing a Hatta visa run anyway.
Free Visit Visa on arrival nationalities (valid for 30 days)
Visit visas or entry permits can be obtained on arrival in Dubai and UAE if you are a national of one of the 32 (or 33 or 34 or 36) countries (+13 more countries from 22 Mar 2014) in the following table. No prior arrangements need to be made and the visa stamp is free when arriving at Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi Airport, or other airports and land or sea borders in the UAE. You might have to pay 20 or 30 dhs at UAE land borders. Nationals of these countries can also get their UAE visas renewed more easily, for example by driving to Oman and back (but first confirm you can get an Omani visa at the border). This list is sometimes referred to as the visa-waiver countries or nationalities.
Citizens of the GCC countries Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia either do not need a visa to enter the UAE, or can obtain one on arrival (conflicting information given). Non GCC national expat residents of GCC countries might be able to obtain a UAE visa on arrival. See separate heading below.
- Czech Republic5
- Holland (Netherlands)
- Hong Kong
- Netherlands (Holland)
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Vatican City
- Malta unconfirmed if included or not, is not on 33 country list on DNRD website (last checked 20 Jan 2010).
- Paraguay was not in the original list of countries but was seen in a list published by the the Gulf News on 25 Dec 2006. Is not on DNRD website 33 country list (last checked 20 Jan 2010).
- Included in list published by Gulf News 20 Jan 2010 but not in DNRD website list of countries (last checked 20 Jan 2010).
- Excluded from 02 Jan 2011 to 10 Jun 2013 as a result of airline landing rights dispute between Canada and the UAE.
- New countries added with effect from 22 Mar 2014 (announced 05 Mar 2014).
- Some country spellings are slightly different on the DNRD website, with our guess in brackets - Liechtain (Liechtenstein), New Zeland (New Zealand).
- 25 Dec 2006 - Gulf News (a UAE newspaper) reported that 'visas on arrival' were under review by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially for European countries that have more restrictive entry procedures for UAE nationals. So far nothing seems to have changed i.e. Western Europeans can still get a free UAE visit visa on arrival.
Canada-UAE visa changes
- 12 June 2013 - Website of the UAE Embassy in Ottawa, Canada had a statement that said "The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates is pleased to announce that beginning June 1st, 2013, the Government of the United Arab Emirates will be restoring the previous visit entry requirements to the UAE, whereby regular Canadian passport holders will not require a visa to enter the United Arab Emirates (UAE)."
- 01 Jun 2013 - Canadian citizens no longer need to apply for a UAE visa before traveling, they can get one on arrival, ending the UAE Canada dispute over visas that started in January 2011 (ref news reports and the UAE Embassy in Canada website).
- 28 May 2013 - AFP reported that Canadians would be able to obtain a free visa on arrival in the UAE from 01 June 2013.
- From 02 January 2011 (until 01 June 2013), Canadian citizens needed a visa to enter the UAE. The notice on the UAE Embassy in Canada website said Effective January 02, 2011 Canadian Passport holders will need a visa to enter the UAE. The announcement was made around the same time as reports of the UAE Canada flights dispute. Update 01 June 2013 - Canadian citizens can obtain visa on arrival in the UAE again.
Visa on arrival for AGCC (GCC) residents
Resident visa holders in Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC) (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia) of any nationality might be able to obtain a visit visa on arrival in the UAE. Confirm with an airline, UAE embassy, or UAE immigration department before travelling though, information about this type of visa seems to be sketchy (possibly to allow passport control officers more flexibility in admitting or rejecting travellers when they arrive in the UAE).
- Visitors should be of a higher-level profession (doctor, engineer, professor, teacher, lawyer, manager, etc).
- Valid passport with valid GCC residence stamp is required, along with proof of employment in the country of residence (residence stamp in passport might be sufficient, or bring labour card and/or letter from employer stating job title).
- Visa fee is apparently AED 100 but some reports of visitors paying up to AED 200 as an entry fee.
- Probably renewable once for AED 500-600 (some sources say not renewable but that might be old information).
Dubai DNRD website says "GCC nationals (Resident) - To be issued to GCC resident nationals and those who accompany them. Fees: AED 165 e-form fees. Valid for 30 days and renewable once for a similar period (30 days). Renewal fees AED 620 (e-form fees)." which sort of sounds like they're referring to GCC citizens rather than any GCC resident. But GCC citizens have visa-free entry to the UAE anyway. And it's not clear if pre-travel application is required or if it is available on arrival in the UAE.
UAEinteract.com (a UAE government supported website) says "The following categories of visitors may receive their visit visa at the airport, upon arrival. 1. AGCC Residents who are not GCC nationals but who have a high professional status such as company managers, business people, auditors, accountants, doctors, engineers, pharmacists, or employees working in the public sector, their families, drivers and personal staff sponsored by them, are eligible for a non-renewable 30-day visa upon arrival at the approved ports of entry." That might be out-of-date information after the change in visa rules in July 2008.
The Sharjah Airport website says "GCC country residence visa holders: Certain category of visa holders of GCC Countries can enter the UAE and the visa will be issued up on their arrival. Prior approval is not required." Exactly what categories are being referred to is not clarified.
Indian citizens visa on arrival
- 01 Oct 2009 - a report in the Khaleej Times said that Rajinder Rai, the President of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), had proposed to the Dubai Department of Tourism and Marketing (DTCM) that a visa-on-arrival facility for Indian nationals visiting the UAE would be a good idea, and result in at least a 20% increase in the number of Indian tourists to the UAE.
Visit Visa renewal or extension
Nationalities of countries that obtain a free visit visa on arrival in Dubai have two options for visa renewals and extensions.
- Visa extension - can be done once for 30 days at the DNRD or other UAE immigration department if you arrived in a different emirate. Cost is about 500 dhs and procedure is relatively quick and painless - bring passport of course.
- Visa renewal - cross a border and come back into the UAE with a new 30 day visit visa (which is not actually a renewal). This takes longer depending on how far away from a border you live, but you don't have to pay 500 dhs. Can be repeated multiple times (unknown how many - there are some residents who have been doing this for years, literally, but you never know when that might change). A Gulf News report 20 Jan 2010 quoted Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, Acting Assistant Undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior for Naturalisation, Residency and Borders as saying "They can come and go as much as they want and at any time they want," referring to the "citizens of 36 countries who do not need a visa in advance."
- Update after new visa rules from 29 July 2008: It appears that the free visit visa on arrival nationalities can still do visa runs as before but mixed information about visa duration - it was 30 days from start of new visa rules, then changed to 60 days sometime during August 2008 for the free visit visa on arrival nationalities, but back to 30 days in January 2009 (with visitors being given conflicting information from various authorities). Except maybe for UK citizens? See UK embassy information at top of page.
Last update Tuesday 27-May-2014