It allows visitors to enter several times over a calendar year or stay for 90 days at a stretch and extend it for another 90 days.
The scheme will be a boost for those with families based outside of the country and is also set to be a crucial tool for businesses aiming to bring employees in and out of the country for conferences and other events.
“It is absolutely a game changer on all fronts,” said Haider Hussain, partner at Fragomen, an immigration services firm.
“Now more and more individuals who are eligible will apply for this five-year visa and will be able to travel to Dubai and the UAE as and when they wish.”
It allows tourists who are in the country the option of extending their stay for another 90 days.
“This will enhance travel into UAE and make life easier for residents and their extended family members,” he said.
“People can stay for six months at one go if they want to.
“It will help relatives travel back and forth and will also attract a lot more tourists without any connection to the UAE so there will be more footfall.”
The new visa scheme was announced in March during a UAE Cabinet session, with the first visas issued about a month ago.
“It’s a relatively quick process and we have had a few visas issued,” he said.
“Generally a week’s timeline is what we are seeing in terms of approval coming through.”
The move expected to attract more visitors, with Dubai gearing up for an influx over the winter.
The emirate welcomed more than 2.85 million international overnight visitors in the first six months of the year, according to the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
The entry permit works as a self-sponsored visa as individuals can apply for it themselves directly online and do not need to apply via a travel agency, hotel or relative in the UAE.
Here are the details and process explained:
Who is eligible for the five-year tourist visas? What is the criteria?
The five-year multi-entry tourist visa is available to citizens of all countries. To be eligible, the visitor must provide a passport with six-month validity at the time of submission, a passport size photograph, medical insurance valid for the UAE and a bank statement of the last six months with a minimum balance of $4,000 or equivalent in another currency.
How do you apply?
Applications can be made online via the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security website.
Applicants who want to obtain the visa from within the country can approach accredited typing centres.
The ICA has posted information on how to apply.
Log on to the ICA website, select smart channels, the visa service, fill in the data, add the attachments required.
The application process in Dubai can be done by multinational companies for employees who travel frequently for international business
How much does it cost?
The multiple entry five-year visa costs Dh650 plus a service fee of Dh50.
Can I extend my visa when I’m still in the UAE?
The initial visa is issued with a 90-day duration of stay in the UAE in a year from the date of first entry. This can be extended once for an additional 90-day period. The maximum permitted duration of stay under this visa cannot exceed 180 days in a year.
Which authority do I approach to issue the visa?
This is a self-sponsored visa foreign nationals can apply for as long as they meet the eligibility conditions. In Dubai, companies can also issue this visa for international employees once the company registers with Dubai Tourism via their website. An authorised typing centre, a government service centre can help a person apply for it to ensure the eligibility criteria is met and the application is successful. Individuals can apply for it on their own.
How can companies get a five-year visa for international staff?
Dubai introduced a five-year multi-entry visa for employees of international companies based in the emirate to simplify the application and provide easy access to the city for global visitors.
Companies need to register with Dubai tourism, open a file for the firm and then start filing for their employees instead of through a tourist agency. The employees will get the same five-year multi-entry visit visa but it will be via the company. This is open to those companies who have been approved.
What are the other tourist visa options?
A 30 or 90-day single entry tourist visa can be issued by a UAE registered tourist agency that cost between Dh300 to Dh600.
If a tourist over stays what is the grace period?
The grace period to exit without incurring any overstay fines is 10 days from the date of expiry of the tourist visa.
What is the fine per day for lapsed tourist visas?
Overstaying the permitted stay in the UAE under a tourist visa attracts a fine of Dh100 each day of overstay.
There is an additional fee for an exit permit that must be paid on departure by visitors who overstay.