UAE and Dubai visit visas free on arrival for some nationalities
Visit visas on arrival as of early 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. Confusion with visa rules in the UAE is common. Mind the gap.
Free Visit Visa on arrival nationalities (valid for 30 days)
From 01 June 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 (according to news reports and the UAE Embassy in Canada website).
Visit visas 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 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. 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 confirm you can get an Omani visa at the border first). This list is sometimes referred to as the visa-waiver countries or nationalities but that is not strictly correct as a visitor still receives a visa, it's just that they don't have to pre-apply for one before travelling.
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 seen). Non GCC national expat residents of GCC countries might be able to obtain a UAE visa on arrival. See separate heading below.
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 next paragraph...
The UAE Embassy in UK website says (last checked 09 November 2010): 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.
Some country spellings are slightly different on the DNRD website, with our guess in brackets - Liechtain (Liechtenstein), New Zeland (NZ)
25 December 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
Visa on arrival for AGCC / GCC residents
Resident visa holders in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (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).
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.
This section last updated 12 October 2009
Indian citizens visa on arrival
A 01 October 2009 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 / extension
Nationalities of countries that obtain a free visit visa on arrival in Dubai have two options for visa renewals and extensions.
Last update Wednesday 12-Jun-2013