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Dubai: The UAE has a large selection of international universities, a diverse student body, and a safe environment for students, making it an attractive destination for higher education students.

If you have been accepted into a college in the UAE, one of the most critical tasks you must do is finalise your student residence visa application. Here is all you need to know about the student visa application procedures.

Who issues the student visa?

A student visa in the UAE, can be sponsored by a parent, relative or the university. The student visa application is processed and issued by the relevant General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in each Emirate.

How is a student visa issued by universities in the UAE?

Whether you are an international student, who has come to the UAE to study, or you are already a UAE resident who now needs to switch to a student visa, your residency visa application process will be facilitated by the student affairs or registrar office at universities.

According to the UAE’s official government website u.ae, a student visa is issued to expatriate students who are over 18 years and residing in the UAE.

What are the requirements for a student visa in the UAE?

According to u.ae, to secure a student visa, you need to fulfil the following requirements:

• Obtain an official admission letter from a UAE university. For older students, a certificate of continuation of study is needed.
• Pass the medical fitness examination 
• Have a sponsor. This can either be an accredited university, parent or relative who is a UAE resident.
• Receive the residence visa approval from GDRFA.

It is important to note that students must contact their university to find out if there are any other specific requirements by the university for the visa application process.

Which documents do you need?

According to visitdubai.com, the official website of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, to apply for a student visa, you must submit the following documents:

• Valid passport copy
• Passport sized photograph
• Admission letter from your chosen university in the UAE
• Bank statements showing proof of funds for tuition fees and living expenses
• Tenancy agreement or proof of student accommodation
• Copy of tuition fees receipt for first year of study
• Proof of your undergraduate degree if you are applying for a post-graduate programme.

Once you submit these documents to your university, the establishment will apply for your visa.

If you are being sponsored by a family member of relative, they can apply for your student visa through the following platforms:

• the eChannels portal of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) – smartservices.icp.gov.ae
• the website of GDRFA – Dubai – gdrfad.gov.ae
• the mobile apps:
o ICA app – ‘UAEICP’ on Google Play and App Store
o ‘DubaiNow’ on Google Play and App Store


According to visitdubai.com, the cost of a student visa is around Dh3,000 to complete the entire process. However, you may also need to submit a refundable security deposit in some cases.

How long is a student visa valid for?

A student visa is valid for one year. To renew the visa, the applicant is required to provide an official proof of continuation of study from his or her university.