Do you need a visa for Dubai? The full review


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The question of a visa for Dubaï is important if you are leaving soon for the Emirates!

It is important to understand which travelers need a visa to enter Dubai, and which do not. 

What about you? Do you need a visa to enter Dubai? And if so, how do you get it and how much will it cost you? I explain everything in this article!


Good news! If you have a US passport, as of May 6, 2015 you no longer need a visa to travel to Dubai... Or any other states of the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah).

You will be exempt from visa requirements as long as your stay is less than 30 days. Actually, you will be able to obtain a 30-day permit upon arrival in Dubai, and if you are from some other (specific) country, you can obtain a 90-day permit upon arrival in the emirate.

The US citizens are not the only ones who are exempt from visa requirements for Dubai. Nationals of the following countries do not need a visa: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Andorra, Australia, Brunei, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Monaco, New Zealand, People's Republic of China, United Kingdom, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, and finally the USA.

By the way, citizens of the United Arab Emirates do not need a visa to travel to the Schengen area. The bilateral relationship between these nations means that, so if you’re a citizen of the Schengen zone (and therefore not an American), you don't need a visa to travel to the Emirates either 😊Depending on your nationality, you may even get a 90-day permit!

Obviously, there is one condition: you must have a valid passport.
Additionally, your passport must not expire within 6 months of the date of your entry into Dubai.


permission to stay in dubai

As soon as you arrive at the Dubai airport  - even before passing through customs - the immigration department will issue you a residence permit. In concrete terms, a stamp will be placed in your passport.

This authorization will be valid for 30 days (the starting date of the 30-day visa is the date of issue of the visa) if you are a US citizen. You can use these 30 days all at once, or through several trips over a period of 180 days maximum (i.e. 6 months).

This permit is also valid for the other states of the Emirates. You can even move freely between the states (no border, no control).

The entry on the territory of Dubai is consequently free for this 30 days duration.


The 30-day stay permit is not renewable. After 30 days, you will have to apply for a new tourist visa, or residence permit, to visit Dubai.
Different types of visas will be offered to you. But to obtain one, you will first have to find a sponsor.
This sponsor can be a person (a resident of Dubai), a company, or an organization in the field of tourism (an airline, a travel agency, a hotel...). This sponsor can take care of the procedures for you.

To prepare your trip to Dubai, you can visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which can also help you.


Foreign nationals who do not have a visa waiver but wish to visit Dubai must apply for a Dubai visa (30-day tourist visa) before entering the emirate.

Embassies and consulates do not issue visas. So how do you get one? There are two ways to apply for a visa to Dubai:

  • You can fly with Emirates ("Emirates" is a Dubai-based airline and the largest in the UAE) and ask them to provide this visa for DubaiOR
  • You can go through a specialized agency that will submit the application to the Ministry of Immigration.

In the second case, you will have to apply online. Indeed, there is no paper visa, so you will get an electronic visa (E-visa).

Many organizations approved by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC can provide you with this visa. The two most popular are VISA OFFICE and VISA CONNECT.

Remember to apply at least one month before your departure!

To obtain your e-visa, here is the procedure to follow:

Step 1: Apply online

Step 2: Send the necessary documents by email

The required documents are generally the following:

  • A copy (color) of the identity page of your biometric passport
  • One passport photo (color)
  • A copy of both sides of the American ID card
  • For minors: copy of both parents' passports + birth certificate or family record book.

Step 3: Make your payment

The cost of a visa for Dubai depends on the type and duration of your stay. You should expect to pay between:

  • $107 to $145 for a visa "entry - maximum stay 4 days”;
  • $140 and $168 for a visa "entry - maximum stay 14 days”;
  • $186 and $213 for a visa "entry - maximum stay 1 month”;
  • and at least $851 for a visa " multiple entries - maximum stay 3 months ".

There is an emergency procedure to obtain a visa within 24/48 hours. In this case, the rates will increase: expect it to be between $247 and $1070.

Payment is made by credit card at the time of application.

Note that: if your visa is refused, you will not be refunded!

Step 4: Receive your visa

The average time to obtain your visa varies from 2 to 4 days. The visa will be sent to your mailbox. You will only have to print it in order to present it upon your arrival in Dubai.

Please note that this visa is valid for 60 days after it is issued.


visa for dubai

Dubai is a young and modern country with a very attractive lifestyle. Every year, it attracts thousands of people who wish to settle there. If you wish to live in Dubai, you will need a residency visa.

There are three ways to obtain one:

  • by becoming an employee of a local company (this is the most common case, which I detail below),
  • by investing at least 10 million AED in the UAE (about 2.7 million dollars).
  • by buying a property in the UAE.


The residency permit, is valid for an average of 2 years. It is obtained through employment, and it is your employer who will apply for the work permit and the residency visa on your behalf.

Your employer will be your sponsor: send them a photocopy of your passport, 4 passport photos and your diplomas legalized by the UAE embassy located in the country where you obtained them. He or she will submit the visa application to the local authorities.

Please note that you will have to undergo a medical examination (at an approved clinic or laboratory) and that you will be tested for tuberculosis and HIV, among other things. You will also be fingerprinted and it will be mandatory to subscribe to health insurance.

If you have not yet received your visa (it takes two to three weeks) before you arrive in Dubai, your employer can provide you with a pink document stating that the residency visa process is underway. You will have to present it at the airport, at the counter specially dedicated to future residents.

The residency visa is renewable, but this renewal is not automatic.

To keep your resident card, you will have to present yourself to the immigration services at least once every 6 months.

The residency visa will be affixed to your passport. You will also be issued an Emirati identity card.

What about your family?

If you meet certain criteria - such as having the minimum salary required for sponsorship - you will be able to apply for a visa for other members of your family (spouse, children). You will then become their sponsor.


  • You can obtain a residency card by becoming the owner of a free zone company.

In the past, a foreigner could not own the majority of the shares of a company based in the UAE. Now, you can establish a company and own 100% of its shares.

The company you set up in the free zone will act as your sponsor.

Please note that you must stay at least 183 days per year in Dubai. For example, you can stay 6 months in Dubai and 6 months in America. If you don't know when to go to Dubai,  I have written a complete article on the subject!

  • You can also become a resident of Dubai by buying a property there (property residence visa). Be careful, this visa does not allow you to work in Dubai.

Registration at the American Consulate

If you intend to stay in Dubai for more than 6 months, you will have to register with the Office of the federal register of Americans Abroad. This will allow you to facilitate the completion of certain administrative formalities on site, such as the renewal of your identity documents in case of loss, registering for consular elections....

This will also allow you to be contacted by the Consulate and/or the Embassy of the USA in the UAE in case of security problems on the UAE territory. Your relatives can also be informed in case of emergency.


The transit visa is required when you stop over in Dubai for a period of 48 to 96 hours. You can obtain it by presenting your (confirmed) ticket for a flight from Dubai, as well as your hotel reservation in Dubai.

The transit visa is not renewable. It is valid for 14 days from the date of issue.

Additional information to know:

  • The tourist visa does not give you the right to work in Dubai (neither paid nor unpaid activity).

  • If your passport has been stamped at an Israeli border crossing, you may be denied entry into Dubai. You may even be interrogated on the spot.

  • If you have HIV, hepatitis B or tuberculosis, you will not be allowed to stay or become a resident of Dubai.

  • Travelers with refugee status cannot obtain a visa for Dubai.

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auteurs blog dubaï
A first trip to Dubai 8 years ago – and a first love. I created this blog about Dubai to share with you my good deals and my recommendations about visiting this emirate. Ever since my first trip, I try to go back to Dubai at least twice a year, alone or with family!


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