Have you ever been to UAE? If not, then you should know that tourist visa in UAE is a very basic and simple process. However, the rules have changed so in this article I’m going to explain exactly what you need to do to get a visa.
A tourist visa allows you to enter a country for a short period of time. It is usually valid for 6 to 12 months and allows you to stay in the country for a short amount of time. Visas must be obtained prior to arrival and normally include permission to work and access most social services. Below are the visa requirements that you should prepare before applying for a UAE tourist visa:
The visa process in the United Arab Emirates is a simple and straightforward one. You can apply for a tourist visa to enter the country if you are visiting for leisure purposes only. You do not need to have a reason or purpose for your trip.
To apply for a tourist visa, you must fill out an application form online at https://www.uae-embassy.org/en/visa-services/visa-applications/. You will also need to submit a copy of your passport, two passport-sized photos, and payment for the application fee. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry into the UAE.
Once your application has been approved by the embassy of the United Arab Emirates in your country, you can pick up your visa from them at any time during their business hours (Monday through Friday). If you plan on traveling outside of their hours, they will hold onto your documents until they open again in the morning so that you can pick them up then when it works best for your schedule.
What are the Types of UAE Visas?
The four main types of visas that the UAE offer are:
- UAE Tourist Visas, which, as the name suggests are issued for tourism purposes or any other purpose which is shorter than 30 days and does not require you to take up employment and long-term residence in the UAE.
- UAE Residence Visas are for foreigners who wish to relocate to the UAE. This includes:
- UAE Student Visa
- UAE Work Visa
- UAE Family Visa
- UAE Retirement Visa
- Long-Term Residence Visas (Investor Visa), which is issued for a period of 5-10 years and does not require a sponsor. However, you must invest a substantial amount of money in the UAE to qualify for this type of visa.
- UAE Transit Visas, which are issued to foreigners who have to transit through the UAE. These types of visas are issued for 48 or 96 hours.
What is a UAE Residence Visa?
Foreigners who want to move to the UAE need to have a Residence Visa. However, prior to that, they must also obtain an Entry Permit. The difference between an entry permit and a residence visa for the UAE is:
The UAE Residence Visa is the document you have to obtain after you are already in the UAE with an Entry Permit and want to stay longer than the number of days the permit allows. Your sponsor (who must meet GDRFA’s requirements) has to apply for your Residence Visa.
UAE Visa Requirements
When applying for a tourist visa for the UAE, you must have several documents to support your application, such as:
- Photocopies of your passport and the passport of your sponsor. You need a passport that has at least 6 months validity.
- Photocopy of the passport’s relevant pages. In some cases, you may not need to submit your original passport at all. You may include photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport (or all the pages on your passport).
- Passport-size pictures, in line with UAE visa photo requirements.
- If you are a female travelling alone: A No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your father or husband.
- A confirmed round-trip airline ticket or an airline ticket for onward travel. If you are applying through an airline, the ticket must be from that airline.
- Proof of accommodation, such as your hotel.
- Proof of purchased travel medical insurance for UAE
- A letter from you, stating the purpose and duration of your visit
- Proof of legal residence in your country (ie. your visa or residence permit). This only applies if you are not a citizen of the country in which you are living.
- If you have a host:
- Proof of your relationship to the host
- Proof of their residential status: A copy of your host’s UAE Resident Visa and/or their Emirates ID
- Proof of their financial status: Certified copy of their work contract or their salary certificate
- Proof of previous travels:
- If you have been to the UAE in the last year, submit copies of the entry and exit stamps on your passport
- Copies of any visas to the USA, UK, Schengen Area, Canada, Russia, Australia or New Zealand you have received within the past 5 years
- You may also be required to provide:
- Proof of your financial status
- Proof of your current address
- Marriage certificate
- Any additional documents required by the relevant visa issuing authorities in Dubai/UAE
How to Apply for a Visa for UAE?
Unlike most countries, the UAE does not issue visas through its embassies or consulates overseas. Additionally, you cannot submit a UAE Visa application yourself – you must have a sponsor in the UAE or apply through an authorized agency to submit it on your behalf, such as:
- A host or sponsor who is living in the UAE.
- A licensed travel agency through which you purchase the travel ticket. Travel agencies in your country may also be collaborating with a local tour operator in the UAE and offer tourist packages. Make sure that the travel agency you hire is reputable and licensed before you pay them.
- The hotel in which you are staying in the UAE.
- One of the following airlines provided that you’ll be flying with them:
- Etihad Airways
- Emirates Airline
- Fly Dubai
- Air Arabia
Where to Apply for a UAE Visa?
UAE visa applications can be submitted either online or in-person at one of the following agencies:
- Through the eChanel portal of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship – ICA ,through which hosts, travel agencies or other sponsors can apply for a UAE Visa on your behalf. (online only)
- Through the website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – GDRFA (online and in-person).
- The websites of the GDRFA in each emirate:
- Abu Dhabi
- Dubai (see also Amer, a website which Dubai citizens and residents can use to apply for family reunion and visitors can use to extend their Visa On Arrival)
- Ras Al Khaimah
- Mobile apps:
- ICA’s eChanel portal (for Apple and Android)
- GDRFA Dubai (for Apple and Android)
- The websites of the GDRFA in each emirate:
- Your sponsor or host can also apply through one of the licensed typing centres of the GDRFA in each Emirate or through one of the Amer centres in Dubai.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, there is some good news for you. You can apply to have a tourist visa issued to you, and when you travel to the United States, you will be granted a period of stay that allows you to visit for up to thirty days. This doesn’t make the procedure any easier, but it does mean that you can get into the country without spending too much time preparing for the trip.