Who is eligible for UAE's five-year multiple-entry tourist visa and how do you apply?

The entry permit will be a boost to the travel sector and is expected to attract more visitors

Powered by automated translation

The UAE began issuing five-year multiple-entry visas in 2021, giving tourists more flexibility when visiting the Emirates.

Since March, families visiting the UAE can now apply for the five-year multiple-entry visa as a group.

Before then, each family member needed to apply separately, submitting the same set of documents for each person.

The visa, announced during a Cabinet session in March 2021, encourages longer and more frequent stays in the country for anyone without a residency visa, with multiple entries and stays of up to 180 days.

Now with the latest development there is an option for a family to apply as a group, as confirmed by the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security's website.

“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,” said Haider Hussain, partner at Fragomen, an immigration services company.

“This will enhance travel into the 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."

The entry permit works as a self-sponsored visa as individuals can apply for it themselves and their families directly online and do not need to apply via a travel agency, hotel or relative in the UAE.

The approval process is quick as long as the required paperwork is submitted.

Here are the details and process explained.

Who is eligible for the five-year tourist visas? What are the criteria?

The five-year multi-entry tourist visa is available to citizens of all countries. To be eligible the visitor must provide the following:

  • A recent colour personal photo with a white background for the sponsored
  • Proof of having a bank balance of $4,000 or its equivalent in foreign currencies for six months
  • A valid health insurance document approved in the UAE
  • A ticket to and from the country plus proof of place of residence (hotel / residence address)
  • Passport valid for at least six months

For each family member included the following is required:

  • A recent colour personal photo with a white background for the sponsored
  • Proof of a health insurance policy within the country
  • A ticket to and from the country
  • A passport valid for at least six months

“The six-month bank statement showing that the balance has never gone below $4,000 is key to even be considered,” Mr Hussain said.

“That is the main requirement that needs to be fulfilled, the other requirements are pretty standard. Applications go through scrutiny and extensive review because it is a five-year multiple-entry visa.”

How do you apply?

Applications can be made online via the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security website.

The service cannot be done at typing centres.

Applicants need to log on to the website, select smart channels and visa service then fill in the data and add the required attachments.

“Generally a week’s timeline is what we are seeing in terms of approval coming through,” Mr Hussain said.

Visitors and residents can log in at https://smartservices.icp.gov.ae/ to apply.

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 ICP website lists costs for all emirates except Dubai as follows:

  • Application fee: Dh100
  • Issuance fee: Dh500 per person
  • Electronic services: Dh50
  • Application fee: Dh100 per person
  • Electronic services: Dh50 per transaction

Dubai costs are slight different, and listed on the GDRFA as:

  • 30-day visit visa fee: Dh300
  • 60-day visit visa fee: Dh500
  • 90-day visitor visa fee: Dh700

All charges are plus VAT at 5 per cent.

A deposit of Dh2,060 is required, plus additional fees for health insurance and for applying from within the UAE.

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 citizens can apply for as long as they meet the eligibility conditions. In Dubai, you can approach a Customer Happiness Centre or an Amer Service Centre.

Companies can also issue this visa for international employees once the company registers with Dubai Tourism via their website.

An authorised typing centre, or a government service centre can help a person apply for it to ensure the eligibility criteria is met and the application is successful.

Individuals and families in other emirates can apply online.

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 company 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?

For anyone not receiving a visa on arrival, a 30 or 90-day single entry tourist visa can be issued by a UAE-registered tourist agency. Cost is between Dh300 and Dh600.

If a tourist overstays, what is the grace period?

There is no longer a grace period for tourists who overstay their visa and fines will be implemented from the first day after it expires.

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 Dh50 each day of overstay.

There is an additional fee for an exit permit that must be paid on departure by visitors who overstay.

This story was first published in November 2021 and has been updated to reflect new visa legislation.

Updated: January 29, 2024, 7:23 AM