UAE and Dubai visit visas free on arrival for some countries
UAE visa on arrival (VOA) updates
Russia visa exemption, visa on arrival in UAE policy change
- 04 Feb 2017 check
- IATA Timaticweb page for RU citizens traveling to UAE says "normal passport can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days"
- UAE MOFA visa information page does not include Russia in list of VOA nationalities. Page says "Last Updated on 2/4/2017"
- EK website does not include Russia in list of VOA nationalities, but does say on visa requirements page for Russians: "Nationals of Russian Fed. with a normal passport can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days."
- Etihad visa application website does not include Russia in list of VOA nationalities, but appears to be out of date anyway - it still has Schengen zone countries in list for which a 30 day VOA is issued (is 90 days since late 2015).
- FlyDubai website includes Russia in list of 30 day VOA nationalities (but oddly, does not include China, which should also be in the list).
- 29 Jan 2017 (WAM news) - Russia joins the list of countries for which citizens can obtain a Visa on Arrival (VOA) in the UAE. The report said "Cabinet Decree Number 24 for 2017 ... states that citizens of the Russian Federation are granted an entry visa for 30 days for the first time, renewable one time only for another 30 days, as per UAE regulations."
- The report did not state from when the decree would apply.
Chinese citizens UAE visa on arrival policy change
- 04 Sep 2016, UAE announced visa on arrival (VOA) for Chinese citizens, but did not say from when the new rule would be implemented. Hong Kong was already in the VOA list. Macau unknown, not mentioned. Rule does not apply to Taiwan.
- As of 21 Nov 2016, IATA Timaticweb shows the new policy is in effect: "Visa required, except for Nationals of China (People's Rep.) with a normal passport can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days. They can apply to extend their stay for an additional 30 days." China included in UAE MOFA and UAE embassy lists but not DNRD list. Macau not in list (Timaticweb says need to apply for visa). Hong Kong was already in list.
- Many reports of the new rule quoted Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai as saying "We have approved a decision to grant visas on arrival at the country’s airports to visitors from the Republic of China". Note that the Republic of China (ROC) = Taiwan but the new visa rule applies to the People's Republic of China (PROC), which is usually what people mean when referring to mainland China. Presumably the press release meant to say PROC not ROC.
Free visit visa on arrival additional new European countries
- Important update to May 2015 news. From approx November 2015, the 90 day stay out of 180 days rules is being enforced for Schengen Zone country passport holders. Meaning if you are in that category, you get a 90 day multi-entry visa for the UAE, but after a 90 day stay (does not have to be 90 days consecutive) you must stay out of the UAE for minimum 90 days before you can get a new 90 day visit visa. The stay away rule does not apply if you come back on an employment entry permit for residence visa. It might be possible to enter the UAE under a different type of visit visa, for example company sponsored business visit. This rule includes Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and possibly Cyprus passport holders even though they are not yet Schengen Zone countries (as of end 2015). Information from anecdotal reports, no official update on DNRD webste. Phone the DNRD to confirm your visa status and last possible exit date from the UAE.
Note that information on this page is still being updated (not finished) in the light of the new "stay out of the UAE for 90 days" rule for Schengen Zone citizens.
- 06 May 2015 (PR) - the EU and the UAE jointly signed a short stay visa waiver agreement which, according to the EU press release, says "... visa-free travel for EU citizens when travelling to the territory of the UAE and for citizens of this country when travelling to the EU, for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period." This is good news for UAE citizens who previously had to obtain a Schengen visa. However, for Europeans visiting the UAE, the 90 day stay out of 180 days is not as good as the previous situation, which was that EU citizens could renew (or get new) 30 day visit visas indefinitely by doing visa runs to Hatta or other land border crossings. In practice though (for now), they get a 90 day visa on arrival, and do visa runs indefinitely for a further 90 days each time. But they should do this on the 89th day at the latest, not the 90th day, otherwise there is reportedly a risk they must stay outside the UAE for 30 or 90 days. UK and Irish citizens, although part of the EU, are not part of the Schengen Zone, which is presumably why they still only get 30 day visas on arrival.
Visit visa extension fee for visa on arrival countries
- 13 Aug 2014: A fee of AED 600 will apply to visa on arrival nationalities (see list below) who wish to extend their visa from the initial 30 day period according to Article 14 of the decision of the Council of Ministers (Ministerial Resolution) No. 22 of 2014, UAE Ministry of the Interior. Which doesn't sound like much of a change to the extension rules and fees which existed already. Presumably also applies to countries eligible for 90 day stay on arrival.
- Possibly the decision was to include the new EU countries added to the arrival visa list in March 2014, although one report (original source unknown, confirmation not found) said the extension period was 90 days (previously it was only 30 days). However, timaticweb.com states "Extension of stay possible for additional 30 days".
- Apply for an extension at least 2 days before original visit visa expires according to timaticweb.com.
- Reference (10 Aug 2014): https://www.moi.gov.ae/en/media.center/News/NEWS13.aspx
Visit visa on arrival validity period in Dubai different from the UAE
- Visit visas on arrival in the UAE from beginning of 2009 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 (40 days), 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. During 2014-2015 there were some unconfirmed reports that the extension no longer applied, ask when you arrive what your last exit date is.
- 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 or 90 days)
Information in this section needs to be updated to reflect Nov 2015 change to rules for Schengen Zone citizens who are visiting the UAE (not residents). They can no longer renew their 90 day visit visas indefinitely, they must exit the UAE for minimum 90 days in every 180 day period. Keep that in mind when reading anything below.
- Since May 2015 when the EU permitted visa-free entry to UAE nationals, under the reciprocal arrangement EU nationals now get a free 90 day visa on arrival in the UAE (instead of 30 days). What's not clear is how the 90 days out of 180 clause operates in the UAE. It seems as though it is the official rule but is not applied to EU citizens visiting the UAE, meaning they can still do visa runs to Hatta, but every 90 days instead of every 30 days. Well, until someone decides the rule should be applied.
- On 02 Aug 2015, a Dubai Eye radio interview said that if exit from the UAE is on or after the 90th day, the person must stay out of the UAE 30 or 90 days before being allowed to re-enter, however if renewed on 89th day or sooner, then the person can re-enter with a new 90 day visa immediately (not confirmed with any official government source).
- The correct wording of the new 90 day rule for EU citizens is now that they are entitled to "visa-free" or "visa exemption" entry for up to 90 days, rather than getting a free visa on arrival. In reality it might mean one less stamp in your passport. Other nationalities who were entitled to a visa on arrival still get a visa on arrival rather than "visa-free" entry.
- The European Union area is not the same as the Schengen Zone. However citizens of all of the following
get a 90 day stay on arrival in the UAE.
- Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland are not EU members but are in the Schengen area.
- Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania are EU members and in the Schengen Zone but still issue their own visas, not Schengen visas.
- Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City are not EU or Schengen Zone members but do not issue their own visas, and allow entry to Schengen visa holders.
- United Kingdom (Great Britain [England + Scotland + Wales] and Northern Ireland) and Ireland (Eire) are EU members but not part of the Schengen Zone for visas. British and Irish citizens still only get a 30 day visa on arrival. Ref: Timaticweb 10 Aug 2015.
- Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man (EU/British passports) assumed to also still be on 30 day arrival visas.
Visit visas or entry permits can be obtained on arrival (VOA) in Dubai and UAE if you are a national of one of the 49 (previously 48, 47, 46, 32, 33, 34, or 36) countries (13 added from 22 Mar 2014, Seychelles from 16 Jul 2015, China from 04 Sep 2016, Russia from 29? Jan 2017) 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).
The terms visa on arrival, visa-free, visa-waiver, visa exemption are often used interchangeably, and confusingly. In practical terms it shouldn't really matter, you'll go to the same immigration desk whatever term is used. For example:
- UAE MOFA says both European and other VOA nationalities "are exempted from UAE Entry Visa Requirements".
- Emirates Airlines says European nationality passports "will be stamped with a multiple entry 90-days visit visa", and other VOA passports "will be stamped with a 30-days visit visa".
- IATA Timatic includes European citizens (most, but not all) in the "Visa Exemptions" list, and other VOA citizens (and some European citizens) in the "Visa required ... Visa Issuance" list. Wikipedia information is mostly sourced from IATA Timaticweb, so has similar "Visa-free" and "Visa on arrival" lists as IATA.
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.
[Check error, too many countries? Only 46 according to UAE MOFA (21 Nov 2016), but Seychelles not in their list. Nor is Russia as of 04 Feb 2017.]
- Czech Republic5,6
- Great Britain
- Hong Kong
- Netherlands (Holland)6
- New Zealand
- San Marino6
- South Korea
- United Kingdom (UK)
- United States (USA)
- Vatican City6
- 22 Mar 2014 (update): Malta included in list of new countries with visa on arrival option. 20 Jan 2010 (DNRD): Malta unconfirmed if included or not, some sources listed it but was not on 33 country list on DNRD website.
- Paraguay not included in arrival visa country list according to official sources we checked (DNRD 20 Jan 2010), but was included in a list published by the the Gulf News on 25 Dec 2006. Paraguayans (and most other South American citizens) can get a visa on arrival for Oman but not UAE.
- 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.
- 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.
- Length of stay on entry changed from 30 days to 90 days after implementation of new visa-waiver agreement with Schengen Zone countries. UK and Ireland still on 30 day visas.
- Effective from 16 Jul 2015, 90 day stay permitted. Visa waiver agreement signed 23 Nov 2014. Ref: Seychelles MFA, www.mfa.gov.sc/static.php?content_id=8. As of 21 Nov 2016 Seychelles still not in UAE MOFA website list, but is included in Timaticweb, UAE embassy, Emirates Airline websites as a VOA country.
- 04 Sep 2016, UAE announced visa on arrival for Chinese citizens, but did not say from when the new rule would be implemented. Note that this means citizens of the People's Republic of China (PROC, commonly referred to as China), not the Republic of China (ROC or Taiwan).
- 29 Jan 2017, UAE announced VOA for Russian citizens but did not specify from when. Update 04 Feb 2017, new policy seems to be in effect based on information from EK and IATA Timatic websites.
- Official or authoritative sources to check are MOFA, DNRD, Dubai Airports, UAE based airlines. Don't rely on websites being up to date though.
- 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.
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 can obtain a visit visa on arrival in the UAE depending on their profession. Confirm with an airline, UAE embassy, or UAE immigration department before travelling though, information about this type of visa is a little vague, possibly to allow passport control officers more flexibility in admitting or rejecting travellers when they arrive in the UAE.
- Female nationals of CIS countries who are under 30 years old might or will be denied entry to the UAE. They should pre-apply for a visa even if resident in another GCC country.
- Palestinians with documents issued by Egypt or Iraq might or will be denied entry to the UAE.
- Residency requirements are that the traveler must have been resident in the GCC country for at least 1 year, and the residence permit is valid for a minimum of 3 months from arrival date in the UAE.
- The traveler must have confirmed return tickets. Presumably this doesn't apply to those arriving at land borders.
Note that this visa is not renewable, and there is a fee of AED 185.
- Visitors should be of a higher-level profession (doctor, engineer, professor, teacher, lawyer, manager, etc). UAE MOFA says (last checked 03 Aug 2015) "... 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."
- 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.
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.
- http://www.mofa.gov.ae/EN/ConsularServices/Pages/Visa-information.aspx, Seychelles not in list of visa on arrival countries, 10 Aug 2015. Update 21 Nov 2016: China included but Seychelles still not in list.
- [Some inconsistencies] https://www.timaticweb.com/cgi-bin/tim_website_client.cgi?FullText=1&COUNTRY=AE&SECTION=VI&SUBSECTION=00&user=KLMB2C&subuser=KLMB2C
- Israel exclusion not listed.
- 90 day arrival visa note says maximum 90 days in 180 day period.
- https://www.ttsuaevisas.com/en/global/do-i-need-a-visa/, Etihad Airways online visa application site, says 90 day arrival visa countries only get 30 days, 10 Aug 2015.
- http://www.emirates.com/english/plan_book/essential_information/visa_passport_information/uae_visas.aspx, Seychelles not in list of visa on arrival countries, 10 Aug 2015.
- http://www.uaeinteract.com/travel/visas.asp, Seychelles not in list of visa on arrival countries, 10 Aug 2015.
- http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-tourism-and-culture-internationalrelations/1395306568690.html, 29 Jan 2017, "UAE Cabinet endorses Decree to grant Russian Federation citizens 'visa on arrival' in UAE".
Last update Saturday 04-Feb-2017