Dubai: If you are a UAE resident planning to travel internationally for the summer break, what are your options if you do not want to go through a lengthy visa process? As long as you have a valid UAE residence visa and passport, you can get an eVisa for Saudi Arabia, Japan, Azerbaijan, Oman, Qatar, Albania and Madagascar within a few days.
Applying for an eVisa is much easier because you can complete the process online within a few minutes and do not have to physically go to the country’s consulate for the visa application or go through a third-party agent, either.
Here are the details:
1. Saudi Arabia GCC eVisa
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) residents of all professions can apply for a Saudi eVisa online and stay in the country for up to 90 days.
With this eVisa, you can explore the country, visit family and friends and perform Umrah anytime during the year, except during the Hajj season.
UAE residents must have a valid residency permit of three months and a passport with a validity of at least six months. You can apply through the visa platform of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) - https://visa.mofa.gov.sa/
According to Saudi Arabia’s official tourism website – visitsaudi.com – the duration of stay depends on the type of visa you apply for:
• The multiple-entry tourist visa is valid for one year from the date of issuance, and you can stay in Saudi Arabia for 90 days.
• The single-entry tourist visa is valid for three months from the date of issuance, and you can stay in Saudi Arabia for 30 days.
How much does the visa cost?
The e-visa for GCC residents costs approximately 300 Saudi riyals (Dh293.25) along with the cost of the health insurance fee, which is included in the application process. The total cost will vary depending on the health insurance coverage you select.
For a more detailed guide on the Saudi eVisa application process and eligibility criteria, read our article here.
2. Japan eVisa
Applying for a visa for Japan is also a lot easier for UAE residents now, as they can apply for a 90-day eVisa, following an announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan earlier this year.
As per the announcement all foreign nationals who reside in the UAE and Saudi Arabia can apply for a short-term tourist visa online through Japan’s official eVisa platform - www.evisa.mofa.go.jp.
Before you apply for the eVisa, you must make sure you have a valid passport, Emirates ID and UAE residence visa.
eVisa duration and validity
• Duration: A short-term visa for tourism is for 90 days, as per Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
• Validity: The eVisa is valid for three months from the day after the date the visa is issued.
According to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the visa issuance fee is 3,000 yen (approximately Dh82), but certain nationalities are exempt from paying a visa fee or can pay a reduced fee.
As per the Consulate General of Japan in Dubai, there are over 30 countries exempt from paying visa fees. You can find the complete list here: https://www.dubai.uae.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_ja/visa_fee_eng.html
Here is a breakdown of the visa fee, as per the Consulate General of Japan in Dubai:
• General cost: Dh80
• For Indian nationals: Dh20
• Free for certain nationalities
3. Azerbaijan eVisa or visa on arrival
UAE residents planning to travel to Azerbaijan can either get a visa on arrival stamped on their passport when they land in the country, or apply for an eVisa in advance. You can stay in the country for up to 30 days on either of these visas.
Recently, Gulf News spoke to Haris Bashir, a travel consultant at Dubai-based travel agency, Chinnar Travels, who explained that the advantage of applying for an eVisa was lesser time spent at the airport, once you land.
“If you are choosing a visa on arrival, you would need to scan your passport at the smart machines that have been installed at the airport, and enter your trip details, to get the visa on arrival. If you have an eVisa, you can directly go to the immigration counter,” he said.
The cost for both of these visa options is Dh140.
You can apply for the eVisa through Azerbaijan’s official online visa portal - evisa.gov.az and the visa is issued within three days.
4. Oman eVisa for GCC residents of approved professions
If you are a UAE-based expatriate planning to travel to Oman, you can apply for an eVisa that allows you to stay in the country for up to 30 days.
The ‘GCC Resident Visa’ issued by Royal Oman Police (ROP), is an unsponsored visit visa, which GCC residents can apply for through Oman’s official eVisa platform - evisa.rop.gov.om
Only professions approved by the ROP are allowed to apply for the online visa. There are over 30 professions eligible for the eVisa. If your occupation is not eligible for eVisa, then you must apply for a sponsored tourist visa from an authorised travel agency.
The cost of a 30-day visit visa for GCC residents is Omani Rial 5 (Dh47.50).
To find out if your profession is eligible for the eVisa, click here.
5. Qatar eVisa for GCC residents
Recently, Qatar announced that GCC residents of all professions can apply for a 'GCC Resident Visa' on the new Hayya Portal - haya.qa and stay in the country for up to 30 days.
To be eligible for the visa you should have a valid UAE or GCC valid residency of a minimum of three months, from the date of arrival in Qatar and your job title must match the profession stated in the residence visa.
The visa fee is QAR100 (Dh100.49). It has to be paid after your visa is approved. The fee is non-refundable.
6. Albania eVisa
The eVisa for Albania is for all nationalities, and it allows holders to stay for up to 90 days in the country. The application process is entirely online, which means you do not have to visit the consulate in person or apply through a third-party agent.
UAE residents must apply for the visa online through Albania’s official eVisa platform - e-visa.al, and fill out the application form for a ‘Short Stay Visa’ or ‘Type C’.
According to e-visa.al, Golden Visa holders in the UAE can get visa on arrival for Albania. "Foreign citizens who have a 10 year residence permit issued by the competent authority of the United Arab Emirates, valid not less than one year from the moment of entry," according to e-visa.al .
Depending on the type of visa, and duration, the cost can come to Dh300 to Dh700. The cost can differentiate as per the application detail
The approval process for the visa can take up to 15 working days and in some cases it can take up to 30 working days.
All nationalities are eligible for an eVisa for Madagascar. You can register for the tourist visa online through the official eVisa platform for Madagascar - evisamada-mg.com.
According to the website, you can also get visa on arrival - Visitors can fill out the eVisa application at one of the visa countres located at Ivato International Airport in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.
Before you apply for the visa, you must have a passport with at least six months validity.
Visa validity and duration:
• Validity: The visa is valid for six months.
• Duration: The visa is issued for 15, 30 or 60 days.
• 15 days: $10 (Dh63)
• 30 days: $37 (Dh135)
• 60 days: $45 (Dh165)
You need to visit the eVisa platform - evisamada-mg.com - and first set up an account using your email address and phone number. You will be sent a validation code to your email address, which you need to enter to complete the registration process.
Next, log in using your online credentials, and click on 'Apply for visa'. Select the details, like the duration of stay for which you need the visa and make the payment accordingly, using your credit or debit card.
Once the application is approved, you will be issued an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) in three working days. You must print out the ETA or save it on your smart phone and provide it to border control upon your arrival.
While you may struggle with getting a direct flight to Madagascar, there are several option which include a layover in an African country, from where you can choose to travel to Madagascar.