New rules governing the visa residency system streamline how visitors can enter the UAE.
From September 5, the Emirates will have 10 different types of visit and tourist visas ― catering for everything from tourists coming to see the Burj Khalifa to people wanting to seek out business opportunities.
The biggest overhaul of the visa residency system in years, announced by the Cabinet in April this year, will make it easier for people to visit and explore job opportunities for longer ― standard 60 days rather than the previous 30 days ― and does not require a sponsor or host.
The National breaks down the changes in the visa options for non-residents, which will come into effect this month.
If the visa is not arranged by a local organisation or company, people visiting Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates can apply for the relevant entry permit through the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security, while those coming to Dubai can apply through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners in Dubai.
Both authorities allow entry permits to be renewed without the need to leave the country. The new costs of each visa have not been announced yet, but some require a deposit of between Dh1,500 and Dh2,000.
People who are not eligible for visa on arrival or a visa-free entry for citizens of GCC countries can apply for a tourist visa. Females under the age of 18 are not eligible to apply for this type of visa unless they are travelling with their parents.
The visa can be arranged through the national airlines ― Emirates, Etihad Airways, Fly Dubai and Air Arabia ― provided you are flying with them.
Licensed travel agents and hotels in the UAE can also arrange a tourist visa provided you book and maintain a reservation with the specific hotel.
Travel agencies in the traveller's home country can also arrange a visa through a tourist package in collaboration with a licensed tour operator in the UAE.
Multi-entry tourist visa
A five-year multi-entry visa for tourists, announced in March 2021, allows visitors to enter several times during a calendar year or stay for 90 days at a time and extend it for another 90 days.
The entire period of stay should not exceed 180 days in one year.
This visa does not require a sponsor but it does require proof of having a bank balance of $4,000 or its equivalent in foreign currencies during the six months before applying.
Visit relatives or friend
People can apply to visit a relative or a friend who is a resident in the UAE after providing a document proving the relationship and reasons behind the visit.
No host or sponsor is required but this visa requires a deposit.
Job exploration entry visa
This visa is introduced with the aim of attracting young talent and skilled professionals to explore job opportunities. It does not require a sponsor or a host.
It is granted to those classified in the first or second or third skill level per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and to the latest graduates of the best 500 universities in the world. The minimum educational level should be a bachelor's degree or its equivalent.
Business exploration entry visa
This visa allows easy entry for people to explore investment and business opportunities without requiring a host or sponsor in the UAE. This type of visa requires a deposit.
Medical treatment entry visa
This visa is available through the sponsorship of a licensed medical establishment in the UAE.
The person should provide a certified medical report and a letter from the sponsored establishment to explain the reason behind the visit.
The patient granted the visa should have an escort under the same visa type. Medical insurance is required with a deposit.
Study or training entry visa
This type of visa is sponsored by educational, training or research entities and internship programmes for a specific time.
It requires a letter from the host including the studying or training programme and its duration.
The UAE issues two types of transit visa: one for 48 hours which is free of charge, and another for 96 hours for Dh50. Both are issued only by one of the four UAE-based airlines or shipping companies and are not extendable.
This special entry permit is for transit travellers, sailors and flight crews. The person should have a valid passport and a ticket.
Transit visas are sponsored only by UAE-based airlines and must be processed and approved before entering the UAE.
GCC residents entry visa
Residents of GCC countries and their companions can apply online for a visa before arriving in the UAE.
The GCC residency must be valid for at least three months from the arrival date and the GCC resident’s passport must be valid for at least three months.
Temporary work mission visa entry
This visa is the best option for temporary workers on projects or those on probationary periods. It must have a sponsor which will be the entity implementing the project. It can be a government, private entity or any establishment in the free zones.
The person applying for this visa should provide a temporary work contract, medical test and agreement from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation if the sponsor is under the ministry’s regulations or if the person is a domestic worker.
This entry permit is for holders of diplomatic, special and UN passports. It can be issued by UAE embassies and consulates outside the country.
Need more help?
For enquiries, call an Amer centre on the toll-free number 8005 111 from inside the UAE or +97143139999 from outside the UAE; requests can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security can be reached by calling 600522222 or email email@example.com