• published on 3/28/2022
  • 5min

Getting a visa for the United Arab Emirates

Whether you wish to visit Abu Dhabi or go on a business trip to Dubai, a visa will generally be required to enter the UAE. Depending on your nationality, the requirements will vary. Visa waiver possibilities, sponsorship, required documents: let's have a look at the UAE visa application process.

Getting a visa for the United Arab Emirates

Who needs a visa to travel to the United Arab Emirates?

With the exception of a few nationality exemptions, people wishing to travel to the UAE must either apply for a visa before departure or obtain an entry permit on arrival. The main types of visas are:

  • the 30- or 90-day single or multiple-entry tourist visa, which is obtained through airlines and licensed hotels and tourist agencies in the country;

  • the 48 to 96 hour transit visa, which is for travellers passing through the UAE;

  • the "exceptional student" visa, issued on the basis of grades and results for a renewable period of one year;

  • the "retiree" visa, valid for 5 years for those over 55 years of age who can justify a certain level of assets or resources;

  • the "digital nomads" visa (Remote Work Visa), valid for 1 year and renewable, which is intended for foreigners wishing to telework from the UAE. They must attach proof of salaried employment or business ownership to their application, as well as proof of income (greater than or equal to USD 5,000 per month);

  • the "Business" visa, or Golden Visa, dedicated to foreigners wishing to settle in the UAE for business purposes, and who benefit from a sponsor. Certain specific profiles (highly qualified talents, investors and entrepreneurs) can also obtain a long-term Golden Visa in Dubai, valid for 5 to 10 years. Also in Dubai, a specific Freelancer visa of 1 to 3 years also exists, dedicated to candidates wishing to create activities in the media, education, technology or design sectors.

  • The “Greenvisa, which is the latest visa targeted at exceptional talents, skilled professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs, without the need of a sponsor or employee. This visa is valid for 5 years and permits the holder to sponsor children, spouses and first-degree relatives.

> Read also: How Dubai managed to attract expatriates during the pandemic

Good to know: these different visas do not allow their holders to exercise a professional activity. To do so, they must be accompanied by a work permit.

Visa exemption cases for the UAE

Nationals of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries can travel to the United Arab Emirates without a visa. The countries concerned by this exemption are: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

Since 2015, French citizens have been exempt from visa requirements for entry into the UAE for stays of up to 90 days.

Cases of obtaining an entry permit at the United Arab Emirates entry point

Nationals of the following countries can obtain a free 30-day tourist visa on arrival in the UAE: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, St. Maarten, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA, Vatican City.

As this list may vary from time to time, it is recommended that you check with the consulate or embassy in your country when preparing your trip.

Visa requirements for the United Arab Emirates

Are you in a situation where you need to obtain a visa before travelling to the UAE? You will often need to find a sponsor and provide a set of documents.

The sponsor

In order to obtain a visa for the United Arab Emirates, a sponsor is usually required. In some cases, the sponsor will take care of some of the visa application process for you. There are several types of sponsors available:

  • organisations working in the field of tourism: airlines, hotels, approved tourist agencies, etc;

  • legal entities under public and private law: companies, employers, administrations;

  • individuals (family or friends).

Green visa

In the case of the Green visa, eligible applicants can apply for the visa through the GDRFA-Dubai Smart Application without the need for a sponsor.

  1. Here are the steps to applying for a Green visa:

  2. Download the GDRFA-Dubai application the App or Play store

  3. Register a new user account if you have not done so

  4. Select the required service. In this case it would be “Issuance of entry permit for green residence under Entry Permissions”.

  5. Select the relevant subcategory: Skilled worker, investor, partner or freelance work

  6. Attach the required documents

  7. Pay the required fees

  8. Submit

Documents to be provided

For any visa application, you must provide at least the following documents

  • the visa application form,

  • a copy of your passport valid for at least 6 months,

  • documents relating to your possible sponsor (e.g. documents proving the existence of a family link, letter of invitation, etc.),

  • a passport photo;

  • proof of assets and/or income, if applicable.

Please note: most Emirates require proof of health insurance to issue a visa. In some cases, this may be provided by your employer.

Find out more about visas for the United Arab Emirates

Visit the official website of the United Arab Emirates.

You can also find advice for travellers to the United Arab Emirates on the France Diplomatie website.

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