How to Apply for a UAE Visa: A Complete Guide

Are you planning a trip to the vibrant and cosmopolitan United Arab Emirates? As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Middle East, the UAE attracts over 16 million visitors annually. Whether you want to see the world’s tallest building in Dubai, watch a Formula 1 race in Abu Dhabi, or shop for gold in the traditional souks, you’ll need a UAE visa to enter the country.

How to Apply for a UAE Visa

UAE Visa Overview

The UAE has a standardized visa application process across the seven emirates. Foreign nationals looking to enter the UAE must obtain a visa in advance through an airline, travel agent, or directly through the government portal. The type of UAE visa will depend on the purpose and duration of your stay.

Here are the most common types of visas for visitors:

  • Tourist Visa: For tourism and leisure trips up to 60 days
  • Transit Visa: For stopping over in the UAE for 8 hours to 96 hours
  • 48-Hour Transit Visa: For airport connections between 8 to 48 hours

Once approved, your UAE visa will allow single or multiple entries within 60 days from the approval date.

UAE Visa Requirements

To successfully get a UAE visa, you must meet the following requirements:

Passport Validity: Your passport should be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival

Passport Photo: A recent color photo with a white background in JPEG format under 1 MB

Confirmed Travel Itinerary: A copy of your confirmed flight reservation entering and exiting the UAE

Sufficient Funds: Proof you have enough money to cover your trip and activities in the UAE

Additional Documents: Supporting documents may be needed depending on your nationality and purpose of visit

How to Apply for a UAE Visa

There are several easy ways you can submit your UAE visa application:

Government Portal

Apply directly through the eChannels portal managed by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. Processing takes approximately 3-4 days.

Airline Website

Many major airlines that fly to the UAE allow you to apply for a visa when booking your flights:

Hotel Accommodation

Contact them to facilitate your visa application if you have confirmed hotel reservations in the UAE. Many hotels are approved to sponsor tourist visas.

Travel Agency

Reputable travel agencies can submit UAE visa requests as part of a holiday package booking. This option may come with administrative fees.

UAE Embassy

In countries with a UAE diplomatic mission, you can directly apply for your tourist or transit visa at the embassy or consulate.

No matter your chosen method, the UAE visa requirements and process remain the same. Apply at least 4-6 weeks before your scheduled travel dates.

Who Needs a UAE Visa?

Citizens from certain countries can enter the UAE without applying for a visa. If you have a passport from one of the eligible countries, you will receive your tourist visa stamp automatically upon arrival:

  • USA
  • UK
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Schengen Zone
  • GCC Member States

However, most foreign nationals must get approved UAE visas before traveling.

How Much Does a UAE Visa Cost?

Visa fees are paid during the application process. Here are the current costs:

  • Tourist Visa: AED 510 (~ USD 139)
  • 48-Hour Transit Visa: AED 37 (~ USD 10)
  • Transit Visa: AED 206 (~ USD 56)

Additional charges may apply depending on which third-party service you use to submit the visa application.

Extending Your UAE Tourist Visa

If you wish to extend your stay as a tourist beyond 30 days, you can apply to renew your existing visa twice for an additional 30 days each time. A tourist visa can be extended up to a maximum of 90 days.

The 30-day UAE tourist visa extension fee is AED 960 (~ USD 261). Start renewing at least 2-3 days before your visa expires to allow enough processing time.

Traveling With Children or Dependents

There are additional visa requirements when applying with minors under 18 or dependents:

Children: Provide a birth certificate or family book showing the names of the parents

Dependents: Marriage certificates or other proof of relationship status

All supporting documents should be officially translated into English or Arabic if needed.

FAQs on UAE Visas

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about getting a visa to visit the United Arab Emirates:

How soon should I apply for my UAE visa?

Submit your complete UAE visa application at least 4-6 weeks before your scheduled travel date. This allows enough time for processing delays or requests for additional documents.

Can I get a visa on arrival?

Unless you are a passport holder from an eligible country, you must apply for your UAE entry visa in advance and have the approval before you depart for the UAE.

How long is my UAE visa valid for?

Once approved, tourist and transit visas allow entry within 60 days from the issue date. Check the “Validity of Entry” field on your ticket carefully.

Can I exit and re-enter the UAE on a multiple-entry visa?

Yes, a multiple-entry visa allows you to exit and re-enter the UAE as often as you want within the 30 or 60-day validity period after first entering the country.

My visa was rejected – can I get a refund?

Unfortunately, visa fees are non-refundable if your UAE visa application is rejected. Review the reason given and reapply, addressing any missing or incorrect information.

Following the application tips outlined here will give you the best chance of successfully obtaining your tourist, transit, or UAE visa for your upcoming trip. With some advance preparation, you can look forward to passing through immigration and customs quickly upon arrival and have more time to enjoy your stay in the UAE!

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