UAE tourist visa: can you visit the Emirates visa-free?

Tourist visa is for those who are not eligible for visa on arrival or a visa-free entry to the UAE

The new tourist visa announced by the UAE Cabinet hopes to boost visitor numbers to the country. Courtesy DXB
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The UAE introduced its first multiple-entry long term tourist visa this week.

On Monday, the Cabinet announced the country would begin issuing 5-year tourist visas to all nationalities in an effort to boost the number of visitors to the country and make holidays a hassle-free affair.

It said the new visa will be brought in within the next four months.

Until then, the current immigration rules require a visit visa for several countries and the stay can vary depending on the passport you hold.

Here is a list of all the visa requirements for each nationality for those planning to travel to the UAE in the near future.

Visa free entry

Citizens of the GCC nations of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia do not require a visa to travel to the UAE.

However, GCC residents and companions travelling with GCC citizens must apply for a visa online and obtain it before arriving in the UAE.

Visa on arrival

30-day visit eligibility

The UAE issues a 30-day visit visa to citizens of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan and China among others. No advance visa arrangements need to be made. The month-long visit visa can be obtained at the airport on arrival, free of charge.

90-day visit eligibility

Most of the world can visit the UAE for up to 90 days at a time on a multiple entry tourist visa. Citizens of countries from Barbados and Brazil to Russia and Uruguay can have a visa issued on arrival at the airport. The visa is valid for six months from the date of issue. Citizens of the European countries in this category are also entitled to apply for a prearranged visit visa if they exhaust their 90-day visa on arrival.

180-day visit eligibility

Visitors of the UAE with a Mexican passport are eligible for a multiple entry 180-day visit visa. This is valid for 6 months from the date of issue, and for a stay of 180 days.


Visa on arrival for Indian citizens in certain categories

The visa situation for Indian citizens is a little more complex.

Indians require a prearranged visa to the UAE but as of May 1, 2017, they may be exempt in certain cases. Indian citizens holding a normal passport and either a visit visa issued by the United States; a US green card; a residence visa issued by the UK or a residence visa issued by the EU can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 14-days. The visas or the green card should be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival into the UAE. The visa can be extended for an additional 14 days.

Prearranged visa

The countries excluded in the above list must arrange for a visit visa before travelling to the UAE. This includes countries like India, Pakistan, Philippines, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and many more.

Citizens of countries in this list should have a confirmation that a visa has been approved by the immigration in the UAE before their departure and can obtain it on their arrival. The approved visa must be deposited by the sponsor at the Immigration Authorities.

Tourist visa

A tourist visa is needed for anyone not eligible for visa on arrival or a visa-free entry to the UAE. These visas can be obtained from travel agencies and UAE airlines - Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, Air Arabia and flydubai. Women below the age of 18 are not eligible to apply for this type of visa unless they are travelling with their parents. Children under the age of 18 years, travelling with adults, can get a free visa for their visit from July 15 to September 15 each year.

A tourist visas can be for either 30 or 90 days (single and multiple entry) and can be extended.