Visit Visa renewal and Hatta visa run from Dubai, UAE
Visit visa renewal and Hatta visa run from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Information about renewals and visa runs to Doha, Kish Island, Muscat, driving to Hatta border post in Oman, documents required, whether or not you need car insurance and registration.
UAE visit visa renewals latest updates
If doing a visa run, always bring cash and credit card (preferably two). Border controls have different and changeable policies regarding whether they accept cash or cards or both (and policies can and do change). None accept body parts even if it feels like they're trying to remove your fingernails. Also bring at least AED 1,000 cash with you for possible fines, even if you are sure you don't have any. If doing visa run within grace period, bring AED 100 + AED 200 per day of grace period for possible fines. Most sources say fine is AED 200 + AED 100 per day which is probably correct, but we once had to pay a fine of AED 200 per day after miscalculating the visa expiry day. Also bring a credit card even though most sources say credit payments not accepted, and no ATMs at border crossings. You never know when things might change.
Updates unconfirmed or unknown date:
- [April 2016] The 10 day (or 9 day) grace period for 30 day visit visas issued in Dubai emirate no longer applies. In other words you will or might be fined (AED 100 + AED 200 per day) if you do a visa change on the 31st day. To be safe, do a visa change on 29th day and ask at border how long next visa is valid for. Try phoning Dubai immigration but there are mixed reports of how helpful they are. Or try phoning one of the Dubai visa run companies, they go every day so are likely to have more up to date and accurate information than forum posts and website pages.
- [Jan 2016] Schengen (not the same as EU) zone country passport holders (not Ireland and UK passport holders) who receive a 90 day visa must stay out of the UAE for 90 days before returning for a new 90 day visa. See previous information, that might apply to those who exit after 90 days stay, but not if doing a visa change after 89 or fewer days in the UAE (but don't tempt fate and go on 89th day, go after 60 or 70 days). Or length of stay might be irrelevant. Possibly do a flight exit instead of road exit? Unknown if this applies to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania passport holders (EU but not yet Schengen countries). Note that Schengen zone country nationalities can still do land border exit if changing visa status from visit to employment for residence permit. Remember that the rule is maximum 90 days stay in 180 day period so if you do do a successful visa run after 60 or 70 days, and then try again 2 months later, you might or might not have a problem the next time since you'd be over the 90 day limit.
- [Unconfirmed, might just be speculation] Schengen zone country passport holders can request a 30 day renewable visa instead of 90 day visa, and continue doing repeated visa runs. Since the 90 out of 180 day rule depends on nationality irrespective of visa option chosen, this does not seem a likely possibility, at least not officially. Perhaps unofficially?
- [Dec 2015?] UAE exit fee AED 35 per person (exact cash or card - bring both since you won't know what option is available). Might not be all nationalities.
- [Dec 2015?] Oman entry/exit fee AED 50 per person (exact cash or card, bring both). Normally UAE cash is fine, we've never heard of an Oman cash requirement but if you have Omani Riyals, bring them.
- [Dec 2015?] Evidence of Oman car insurance now required at checkpoints. UAE or Oman or both? If driving rental car check if insured for Oman. If not, at Hatta it's a long walk from UAE to Oman border posts (10 km) and unknown if permitted anyway. Did anyone try cycling?
- [When? Not confirmed as consistent change] Residence visa (UAE) holders accompanying visit visa changers (husband, wife, gf, bf, random companion, peculiar first date, etc) must bring passport and also get UAE exit stamp and Oman entry exit stamp (fee payment required). Previously Emirates ID was sufficient and tell border posts you are just coming along for the ride. If you are in this category, bring your passport and cash and credit card for fee payment in case. If you are a nationality excluded from getting arrival visa for Oman, be prepared to sit at UAE border control for an hour and wait for your companion to go to Oman ... and hopefully come back.
01 Dec 2015: Oman enclave border checkpoints closed between Dubai and Hatta for non-GCC expat residents and visitors, and possibly closed for GCC nationalities also except for UAE and Oman (conflicting information about GCC nationalities). Note, this is not the main border crossing at Al Wajaja (which is open as normal), this refers to the military checkpoints on the E44 road to Hatta from Dubai. There is an alternative route through Sharjah emirate which avoids Omani territory and you end up on the main road from Hatta to Oman Al Wajajah border crossing. From Dubai, turn left at Al Madam roundabout onto the E55 to Al Malaiha, turn right onto the Sharjah-Kalba rd towards Shawka, turn right again after 25-30 km to Hatta. Don't do your visa run on the UAE National Day holidays because there will be long queues with all the holidaymakers. As in several hours long not just an extra 10 or 20 minutes.
- 02 Aug 2015 Dubai Eye Legal Matters (14m30s). If you receive a 30 day visa and leave after 30 or more days you must stay out of the country for 30 days before being able to obtain a new 30 day visa. If you leave after 29 or fewer days you can re-enter immediately with a new 30 day visa. Similarly for 90 day visas on arrival but not explicitly stated if must stay out of the country for 30 or 90 days. Note this is a change from previous rules visit visas on arrival. For pre-applied 30 and 90 day visas there was a 30 day stay out of the country period before reapplying.
- 2015 - the new UAE border crossing building on the Hatta road has opened. With drive-through counters for all nationalities (unless you have to pay a fine, then you'll have to park and go inside).
- 2011 or 2012 - there are additional army checkpoints on the road to Hatta. All car occupants should bring their passports, and car should have Oman insurance, even if just going to Hatta. Passports might be just glanced at as your drive through, or examined more closely if you have a bad haircut. Occasionally additional checkpoints are set up after the main checkpoint, where vehicle insurance and registration documents are checked. If you don't have current registration or Oman insurance, you can take an alternative route through Sharjah (the road past Fossil Rock) which bypasses these checkpoints. Car insurance and registration don't seem to be checked at the main Hatta border crossing, at least not for visa renewal runs. If driving a rental car for a visa run, check with car hire firm if you need Oman insurance - there will usually be an extra charge if they add it. Some might say it's not necessary but then to be safer, take the Sharjah route, and remember if anything happens to the car while you're in Omani territory, you could be liable for the entire cost of any damage.
- 17 Aug 2011 (Gulf News) - drivers crossing the border into Oman need to have an "Orange Card" from their car insurance provider from 01 October 2011. Check with insurer to obtain one of these cards.
- 19 Mar 2011 - Road toll fee at Oman border crossings cancelled according to Decision No. 1/2011 issued by Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, and reported by the Oman News Agency: Article No.1 : The provision of the aforesaid decision issued by the Finance Ministry about the transit fees on vehicles and trucks to outside the Sultanate from the border checkpoints is invalidated. Referring to the Finance Ministry Ministerial Decision No. 32/2003.
- Oct 2010 - land border crossing UAE visa fee increase to AED 200? Unconfirmed.
- 18 Jan 2010 - there are press reports that visit visa holders must stay away from the UAE for 30 days after exit before a new visa can be issued, resulting in some confusion over the "new" rule. It's not that new - it was announced when visa rules changed in July 2008. The rule does not apply to citizens of countries who can get a free visa on arrival in the UAE. Note that visit visas on arrival for these countries, and tourist visas, are renewable once.
- Feb 2009 - visit visas for free visa on arrival nationalities are only valid for 30 days. The period changed to 30 days in August 2008 then 60 days in the same month but from the beginning of 2009, there have been reports it is back to 30 days (even if the stamp says 60 days). Ask when you arrive (but even then double check with the DNRD if you're told it's 60 days and/or your stamp says 60 days), and add a comment to the UAE visit visa renewal forum topic.
- 29 Jul 2008 - New visa rules take effect from today. Conflicting reports about whether the visa runs can continue. If you're from one of the visa on arrival countries, you can probably continue to make visa runs but don't take our word for it, or anything you read in the papers. Even the official sources are giving different stories. Be patient and polite is our best suggestion.
- 11 Jun 2008 update - The Department of Naturalization & Residency - Dubai (DNRD) has set up a new e-system at the Hatta border crossing, with one instead of two checkpoints. The visa change procedure detailed below will involve fewer steps once this takes effect (assuming it is still possible to renew visit visas at the Hatta border).
- 09 Jun 2008 update - it has been reported that from 01 August 2008 there will be changes in the UAE visa rules and fees. The main change of relevance to this page being that visit visas will no longer be renewable. Nationalities who can get free visit visas on arrival can continue to renew them (once, or do a visa run and get a new one).
Dubai Abu Dhabi UAE visit visa renewals
A Visit Visa is normally valid for 60 days (update: only 30 days from January 2009). Be careful - that's not the same as two months (1 month), and note that if you aim to renew on the 60th day (30th day), your calculations may not agree with the ones done at immigration. The fine is 100 dhs for overstaying plus 100 dhs (or 200 dhs or 300 dhs) for each day past the limit. Expect to pay 200 dhs on the 60th day (30th day) or renew on the 59th day (29th day) at the latest.
November 2007 update - the fines for overstaying were reported in the press to be increasing to 2,000-10,000 dhs, and deportation would also be imposed. The good news was the daily rate would decrease. This information is unconfirmed as of December 2007.
In May 2007 there were reports that the authorities would only allow two renewals of a visit visa, and then visitors would have to stay out of the UAE for a month before starting again. This means you could stay between 6 to 9 months at a time depending on if you extend your visit visa each time before renewing it. As yet, it is unknown how strictly this will be enforced, or where you have to go if you are refused entry at airport or land border.
According to the DNRD website, you can renew a visit visa twice for 60 days at a time, by payment of 100 dhs renewal fee + 100 dhs mandatory urgent processing fee. This sounds like out of date information. Our information as of January 2007 is that you have the following options:
- One time renewal before expiry of visit visa costs 500 dhs at DNRD, without leaving the UAE.
- Leave and return to the UAE with a new visa.
- If you find a job, change visit visa to employment visa for 1100 dhs in Dubai without leaving the UAE. Or leave the UAE and return on employment visa - cost will be 600 dhs for visa and processing.
- Note that Tourist Visas (from eg hotels) are not the same as Visit Visas, and are not renewable.
If a visit visa is not renewed after 60 days, then you may have to leave the country for at least a month before obtaining a new one. However, that information appears to be inaccurate as there are large numbers of residents, er "visitors" that renew their visas frequently by doing visa runs with a return to the UAE on the same day as their exit.
Nationalities who can get a Visit Visa on arrival in Dubai/UAE, and can get an Omani visit visa on arrival in Oman will be able to "renew" (they actually get a new visa) their visit visa by doing a road trip - see the route descriptions below for more details. See the table on the Dubai visas page for list of nationalities this applies to.
Visa regulations can and do change, sometimes with very little or no notice. Do your best to confirm whatever information you have is up to date, but even then you may find when you arrive at border crossings that requirements and procedures are not what you expected.
By Air to Kish Island, Doha, Muscat, or Bahrain
It's common for people to book a "Visa Run" or "Visa Flight" from Dubai/Sharjah/Abu Dhabi to either Muscat in Oman, Bahrain, Doha in Qatar, or Kish Island.
- Whichever one you choose, it should cost around AED 500 for the return flight plus any visa charges.
- Usually you can walk off the plane, into the departure terminal and straight back on again. That means you don't actually enter the other country even though you've left Dubai/UAE. The Dubai/UAE authorities appear to find this acceptable since so many people do this every day.
- If you have a choice, pick Doha or Qatar first as flights to Kish are less reliable in terms of sticking to scheduled times and keeping your seat bookings.
- By road (see below) its slightly different.
- After your flight you land in Dubai and get a new Visit Visa valid for another 60 30 days.
Update: after visa rules changed in July 2008, it might not be possible to do the visa flights for some nationalities as the UAE authorities have imposed a 30 day period of staying out of the country before a new visa is issued. Check with the immigration authority in the emirate in which you are staying, but so far it seems as if the visa run flights have continued as normal for most or all nationalities.
Hatta to Oman visa run from Dubai, UAE updated
Incorrect information: Many websites have information about the Dubai Hatta visa run, some have out of date information (this is not unusual), but watch out for sites that claim to be up to date with incorrect information. For example:
- Oman car insurance: Legally is required. It's possible to do the visa run without Oman car insurance if you are not asked to show your car insurance at any of the checkpoints, and you don't have an accident in Omani territory (if you do, your car won't have insurance cover). No one can say for sure if you will be asked, you might or might not.
- Visa validity period: 30 days plus 10 days grace period. Grace period seems to be only for Dubai issued visas, and might be removed at any time. Confirm or do your visa run on the 30th day (counting the issue date as the first day) to be safe.
- Some unconfirmed reports that visitors renewing a 30 day visa issued at Dubai Airport have been fined for overstaying when doing a visa run after 30 days. Check with the DNRD but information given can be inconsistent. Safest option seems to be just go and do a visa run before 30 days are up.
Documents needed: passport, car insurance for Oman if driving a private vehicle..
If you don't have your own car, check dubizzle.com for Hatta Visa Run vans or minibuses, there are several companies operating daily trips, cost is about AED 150 return from Dubai.
Cheaper petrol is available in Oman, at least until the government removes or reduces the subsidy, which is under consideration in 2014. Cheaper by about 30% compared to the UAE. Not worth making a special trip but if you are going for a visa run, fill up at one of the Oman petrol stations - in the Oman section between Dubai and Hatta, also between the Dubai-Hatta border checkpoint and the Oman-Al Wajaja checkpoint. Not all of them are open 24 hours though.
If doing this trip at night, at any checkpoint where you should slow down or stop, turn your lights off. There are signs telling you to do this but they are not so visible at night. Also switch on your interior light to make it easier to see you. If you don't turn off your lights, you'll annoy the officials present and give them an excuse to scrutinize you more closely.
There is a new border checkpoint building under construction in 2013-2014, it looks like it might be ready to open in late 2014. That will mean some of this information is out of date. New border crossing building is for the UAE (Dubai emirate), not Oman.
If doing a visa run, friends and relatives can come along for the ride without needing an Oman entry permit - don't get a UAE exit stamp of course, otherwise they can't get back into the UAE without having an entry and exit stamp from Oman. On your way back into the UAE, make sure you tell the immigration desk how many people in the car with you when you get your new visa - usually they'll ask. They will also want to see the person or persons and their passports with a valid UAE residence or visit visa.
This section last updated December 2013.
- Drive to Hatta. The road goes through a section of Oman before Hatta where there are drive-through UAE or Omani checkpoints (prior to 2011 or 2012 there weren't) and you might or might not be asked to show your passport and other documents.
- At the Hatta roundabout continue straight on towards Oman. After a few km there will be the main UAE border checkpoint where you need to stop, park your car (after or behind the building), go to the passport counter and get an exit stamp from the UAE.
- Drive on a few more km to the Oman border post, customs, immigration. First stop will be Omani customs checking your car. They might or might not search your car. Usually you get out, open the boot (trunk), they glance inside and wave you on your way. This is not the immigration department yet.
- Next stop a couple km further on is a large building where you get your entry and exit stamps for Oman. There is a large sign that says "New Visa" or similar, with an arrow pointing to a car park in front of the building - park there.
- Walk inside with your passport, go to the immigration counter (on your right as you walk in, or left if you drove too far and came in the other side). You might be asked if you are going to Oman or just "in and out" or similar. If you're not asked, say you are doing a "visa change". You should get both entry and exit stamp for Oman at that counter. If not, then walk to other side of building and get an exit stamp.
Go back to car, start driving back towards Dubai. At the Oman car searching place you don't need to stop, carry on.
At the UAE border post you need to park your car and go into the immigration building to get an entry stamp. The drive-through booths are for Emiratis (and probably GCC citizens).
Just after you exit the car park there's a booth where someone collects the small piece of paper you were given, with the number of vehicle occupants written on it.
You're finished, go back to Dubai. Or Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, etc.
- Bring a pen with you, you might or might not be required to fill in an Omani entry visa form. The situation seems to change irregularly. In our experience if we filled one in, it was accepted and a visa fee was paid (AED 50 for those nationalities who have to pay). If we said "visa change" no form was required.
- Keep any small pieces of paper you receive at various checkpoints - you'll need to hand them over at the next one or somewhere else. Hold them tightly - it can often be quite windy in that area.
- Watch out for speed bumps between the border posts and checkpoints, especially at night. There are quite a few, sometimes not obvious or clearly marked - faded paint on some of them means you might not see them.
- Watch out for speed cameras, there are also a few of them, and the speed limit between Hatta roundabout and Oman Al Wajaja border post varies from 60-100 km/hr - watch the signs.
- Dubai Duty Free has a small shop when you enter the UAE from Oman at the UAE border post. No alcohol though.
Visa renewal by road to Hatta and Oman old information
Update (2011 or 2012): You will need Omani insurance for the car you are in as there are more checkpoints along the way before you get to the Hatta border. The road passes through a section of Oman territory before Hatta. Unrelated to visa renewal but anyone driving to Hatta should have their passport with them for the checkpoints.
- From Dubai to Hatta takes a little over one hour. There's an immigration department on your right as you come up to the main Hatta roundabout (with a large fort on it, Hatta Fort Hotel turnoff at 9 o'clock). Don't stop there, continue on towards Oman and a few kilometers later you'll see Dubai customs post on both sides of the road. Stop there, go to one of the windows and get an exit stamp for the UAE. You'll pay a fine here if you've overstayed. Update: as of 01 May 2008, exit visas are no longer required, from either the UAE or Oman, according to news reports in UAE newspapers. This is a temporary trial by the DNRD, unknown how long for or whether it will become permanent.
- Then continue to Oman border control a few km later. First stop is where they check your car for any items you shouldn't have. They'll give you a small piece of paper with a stamp. Don't lose it.
- Next stop a few kilometers later is a large building that says Al Wajaja Border Crossing (or similar). If you really are going to Oman, stop at the window where you'll be told to park the car and go inside to get your visa (GCC Nationals can carry on after showing ID), or drive past the window and park behind the building. Alternatively park before the building, walk in the front entrance and when you're done processing, just drive past the window to the final border check a bit further down the road.
- Go inside with your car registration, car insurance for Oman, passport, paper you got at the car checking stop, and drivers license. You'll get a visa there and they'll scribble something on that small bit of paper from the previous stop. You might have to pay 30-70 dhs (or 3-7 Omani Riyals) (update October 2010 - possible visa fee increase to AED 200 or OR 20?) for the visa depending on which country you're from. The rules change frequently enough so check the Royal Oman Police website or another reliable source. Or just bring a couple of hundred dirhams with you to be prepared.
- Steps 6 to 8 apply if you drive into Oman. It is also possible to skip them. Park you car on the Dubai side of the main building, not on the Oman side. Walk in, queue, say you're doing a visa change (visa renewal - there might even be a sign) and after you get stamped, walk back out the front, turn right and go to the outside counter where the cars exiting Oman are queuing up. Handover your passport and get an exit stamp. The advantage of this is that you save 20 dhs on the exit permit for the car, a bit of time, and you may not be asked for proof of Oman insurance. Now go to step 9. Note that just because this has worked in the past is no guarantee that it will continue to be the case. Rules can change or be implemented more strictly without warning.
- Drive on towards Oman, there's a final checkpoint where you hand over that bit of paper and say "Shukran, ma-asalama" ("Thank you, goodbye"). Drive on and enjoy the scenery until you're ready to head back to the UAE, and turn around.
- Returning towards Dubai/UAE you'll see a small booth on your left where you buy an entry ticket for your car - cost is 2 Omani Riyals or 20 UAE Dirhams.
- Drive on to the next window in that big building where you got your Omani visa. Stop at the window and hand over your passport and car ticket. You'll get the Omani exit stamp there.
- A little further is another hut with a gate where you might have to stop and handover the car ticket or whatever bit of paper it was replaced with when you got your exit stamp. Sometimes there's no one there and you can just keep driving.
- Continue on to the UAE customs post (several km), park there and go to one of the windows with your passport. You'll get get a new 60 30 day visit visa and another small piece of paper for the car (with the number of passengers written on it).
- Hand over that piece of paper at the next stop and say "Shukran, ma-asalama".
You're done until your visa expires again. Arrive back in Dubai about an hour later. Whole process will take you about 4 hours if no or small queues. Avoid holiday weekends when many people travel between Oman and the UAE and there are long queues.
You may or may not be able to do this repeatedly. Some people have said the authorities frown on this practice. One option is to consider going to Muscat for a weekend or a night and actually be a tourist in Oman for longer than 5 minutes.
By Road - Ras Al Khaimah to Khasab
The procedure is much the same as going via Hatta to Oman but from Dubai or Abu Dhabi will probably take longer since the border crossing is about 30 minutes north of Ras Al Khaimah, and it can easily take about 20-30 minutes to drive through Ras Al Khaimah. This route would be useful if you live in Ras Al Khaimah and/or wanted to see the Musandam Peninsula (which is a worthwhile trip to do).
By Road - Al Ain to Buraimi
Again, the procedure would be much the same as the Hatta to Oman crossing at Al Wajajah but note that although Al Buraimi is in Oman, the actual border crossing is quite a long drive into Oman after Al Buraimi - about 30-40 minutes. This is of course quicker for people coming from Al Ain, and possibly from Abu Dhabi.
The border crossings within the Al Ain city area are for Emiratis and GCC nationals only, not for non-GCC expat residents, tourists, or visitors.
By Road - Fujairah
There is another border crossing into Oman about 30 minutes south of Fujairah where you could go through the same process. Handy if you live in Fujairah or wanted to go there for a weekend. On the Oman side is nothing spectular until you get further down the coast to Al Suweidi Beach Resort - which is more easily accessible from Dubai and other emirates via the Al Wajajah border crossing.
There are buses that travel between Dubai and Muscat so you could try that if you don't have a car. But you're either in for a long wait at the border if you get off to catch the return bus, or you have to go all the way to Muscat. Daily departure from Dubai is 0730 or 1630, cost is less than 100 dhs each way. Remember to stay with the bus to Al Wajaja Oman border post if you do this. If you don't, it's a 10 km walk from UAE to Oman border posts at Hatta, if you are even permitted to walk.
As there are (or were - the ferry may not be in operation) ferries from Sharjah to Iran (Bandar Abbas) and Dubai to Iran (Bandar Abbas or Bandar Lengeh, possibly Bushehr), you could try to renew your Visit Visa via that route. However, for nearly all nationalities, that would mean getting a visa for Iran which will cost money and take time. It's probably easier to do a flight or go to Oman via Hatta.
Last update Sunday 10-Apr-2016