Dubai – Planning to visit the UAE? Here is all that you need to know about applying for a visit visa or tourist visa to the country.Tourism is a big part of the UAE’s economy, with the industry expected to boom to Dh116.1 billion by 2027. Here is a breakdown of all that you need to know about the regulations and costs related to visit visas.
There is a slight difference between tourist visas and visit visas, wherein a visit visa can later be converted (before expiry) into an employment visa or a residence visa without the need to exit the country upon payment of a fee.
What is the duration of visit visas? How long can I stay in the country?
A visit visa can be of 30 days or 90 days with two extensions possible of a maximum of 90 days each. Visit visas can be broken down into the following categories:
- 30-day single entry visa
- 30-day multiple entry visa
- 90-day single entry visa
- 90-day multiple entry visa
There are also options available for two-days, four-days or 14-days visa but they are considered transit or service/business visas and have different regulations around them.
What are the documents required?
To apply for a visit visa, you need to provide the following documents:
- Completed application form.
- Passport-sized photograph with a white background.
- Passport copy, with the passport valid for at least six months at the time of travel.
It is advisable to also have other official documents with you in case you are travelling with family members.
You may be asked to submit your marriage certificate if you are travelling with your spouse, birth certificates of your children, if they are travelling with you as well as your parents’ documents showing proof of relationship, if they are above 60.
For minors (including married females under the age of 18):
- Photo ID of parents or husband.
- The girl needs to travel with her parent or guardian. In case the parents are working in the UAE, their visa copy needs to be provided.
Who can apply for the visa?
A tourist/visit visa can be applied for by any of the following UAE-based agencies:
- Travel agency
What is the process?
There are certain requirements for each of these organisations if you would like to apply for a visa through them. UAE-based airlines – Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia and FlyDubai – offer tourist visa services.
Airlines or hotels would require you to book your travel or stay with them in order for them to process your visit visa. If you are booking with a travel agent, you would need to book the tour package with the agency. However, always check whether the travel agencies are registered before sending them your official travel and identification documents. You can do so by contacting the UAE embassy in your country. You can find a list of all the UAE missions abroad here.
If a trusted friend or family member lives in the UAE, he or she can also apply for your tourist visa through any of the approved platforms:
1. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) website.
2. General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) websites.
3. Mobile apps
- GDRFA Dubai’s mobile app – available on Apple and Android
- DubaiNow – available on Apple and Android
- Mobile apps
4. Typing centres
5. Amer centres in Dubai
How much will it cost?
It is important to note that the cost of the visa can vary based on which agency you have approached and which emirate you are applying from. For residents applying for a visit visa for a family member or a friend, they may also need to make a deposit.
You could also get a discount on the visa from agencies if the you are making a group booking. Find out more by speaking to people and agencies before you make the final decision. The cost for visit visa and tourist visa are different.
These are the costs for the visit visa, if you apply through Amer centres:
- 30-day single entry visa – Dh393
- 30-day multiple entry visa -Dh653
- 90-day single entry visa - Dh793
- 90-day multiple entry visa - Dh1,653
These are the costs for a tourist visa, if you apply through Amer centres:
- 30-day single entry visa – Dh253
- 30-day multiple entry visa -Dh553
- 90-day single entry visa - Dh603
- 90-day multiple entry visa - Dh1,553
However, applying through Amer centres requires a security deposit which is refunded when the sponsored exit the country.
Do I need to carry the visa copy with me?
With the automation drive in the UAE, visas are now issued online and at the immigration, you should be able to go through based on the e-visa associated with your passport. However, it is always advisable to carry a copy of all necessary documents while travelling.
Can I extend my visa?
All types of visit and tourist visas can be extended for 30 days twice, upon renewal without the need to leave the country.
To renew your visa for 30 days, you would need to pay approximately Dh1,450
To extend your visa for 90 days, you would need to pay approximately Dh2,000
This cost, too, can vary based on your agent and the emirate you are applying from.
If you overstay your visa, you will have to pay a fine of Dh100 for each day of the overstay, calculated from 10 days after the visa expiry.
However, the new rule for extension does not apply on the following categories:
- visitors and tourists who are residents in GCC countries
- residents accompanying GCC nationals
- those on special entry permits
- those on 96-hour permit for special missions.
Visa on arrival
Nationals from 59 countries can get visa on arrival in the UAE. The list of the countries can be found here.
However, the duration of the visa as well as provision of extension can vary based on which country you are from.
- a visit visa issued by the USA or
- a green card issued by the USA or
- a residence visa issued by the UK or
- a residence visa issued by the EU
They can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 14 days provided that the visas or the green card is valid for at least six months from the date of arrival into the UAE.
Should I get travel insurance?
It is always recommended that you get travel insurance when visiting a country. While the amount might seem like a lot, it protects tourists and visitors from extreme expenses in case of medical emergencies.