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Luxury hotels, man-made islands, the tallest building in the world, magnificent shopping malls — these are just some of the things that draw global travellers to Dubai. If you are planning to come here for business, pleasure, or both… then you should definitely come prepared!

Before you visit Dubai, one of the things you have to consider is your visa. The UAE government issues different kinds of visas, depending on your nationality, the purpose of your visit, and the length of your stay. Keep on reading to learn more about these visa types.

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Dubai Visa Information – How to Get a Visa to Enter Dubai

Your nationality plays a role in determining the type of visa you need — or whether you need a visa at all. If you belong to a GCC nation, or if you’re a citizen of certain countries, you don’t need a visa to enter the UAE. Here’s what you need to know, according to Visit Dubai, a website of Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing:

GCC Countries
The term “GCC” stands for Gulf Cooperation Council, a group of six Middle Eastern countries that have political and economic ties. The council comprises of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.

If you are a citizen of any of these countries, you don’t need a visa or sponsor to enter the UAE. However, if you are a foreigner traveling with a GCC national, or a GCC expat resident — you still need to obtain a visa before coming to the UAE.

30-day Visa on Arrival
If you are a citizen of the countries listed below, you do not need advanced visa arrangements before visiting the UAE. Upon your arrival, you can obtain a 30-day visa, which can be extended up to 40 days.

This type of visa applies to citizens of: Andorra, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Monaco, New Zealand, Russia, San Marino, Seyhelles, Singapore, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Vatican City.

90-day Visa on Arrival
Likewise, if you are a citizen of the following countries, you don’t need to make advanced visa preparations. Upon entering the UAE, you can obtain a 90-day visa. These countries include: Argentina, Bahamas, Nauru, Solomon Islands, and South Korea.

On the other hand, if you don’t come from a GCC nation or any of the countries listed above, then you will need a visa applied for by a sponsor before visiting the UAE. These visas include:

Service Visa
The service visa is valid for 14 days from the date of issue. A hotel, tourist company, or UAE organisation can apply for this on your behalf.

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Tourist Visa
This type of visa may be valid for 30 days (short-term) or 60 days (long-term), depending on the visa type. To obtain this, you will need sponsorship from a hotel or tourist company.

Visit Visa
The visit visa may be valid for 30 days or 90 days, depending on the visa type. For 30-day visit visas, a hotel, tourist company, or UAE organisation can apply on your behalf. If you have relatives or friends who are already residents of the UAE, they can apply on your behalf — although this would be subject to guidelines.

Transit Visa
If you are simply passing through the UAE as part of a stopover flight, you can get a transit visa that is valid for 4 days (96 hours). Airlines can apply for this visa on your behalf. Plus, you will need to present your ticket (showing a third destination), and a confirmed hotel booking.

Work Visa
If you are coming to the UAE not as a tourist, but as a worker, then you will need a work visa. This will be sponsored and applied for by your employer. Usually, the requirements include:

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months
  • Recent colour photographs on white background
  • Copy of confirmed flight booking
  • Visa application form & visa fee
  • Bank approval letter

Meanwhile, if you are already in the UAE, you can either apply for a change of status within the country, or exit the country first before getting a new entry permit. This would still be subject to approval, of course!

DISCLAIMER: The details above are presented for information-sharing purposes only. To learn more about the different types of visas in the Dubai and the UAE, please visit the official website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA)

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