The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the few countries that provides a variety of visa options tailored to individual needs. It caters to everyone’s requirements, from long-term residencies for investors to short-term trips for job seekers.
Before planning your visit to the country, it is essential for you to know about the visa options that UAE has to offer. Overall, these permits are classified into two categories, one for the visitors and the other for the residents.
Here is all you need to know about visa types in UAE:
Going to UAE as a Visitor
Transit Visa (48 or 96 Hours)
If you have a short layover in the UAE, you can apply for a 48-hour or 96-hour transit visa. You can get a transit visa from a UAE-based airline or a travel agency. It is essential to know that this visa type is not extendable or renewable and the visa holder must leave the country within the specified time.
Tourist Visa (30 or 90 Days)
Tourists visiting the UAE can get a single or multiple-entry tourist visa that is valid for 30 or 90 days, depending on their plan. Tourist visa applications can be submitted through a variety of channels, including airlines, travel agencies, hotels, or through a sponsor, such as a family member or friend.
Applicants can also apply for tourist visas through online platforms operated by UAE immigration authorities such as the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) or the General Directorate of Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai.
Five-Year Multiple Entry Visa
For those who frequently visit the UAE for business or personal reasons, a long-term multiple-entry visa offers a convenient option to avoid the hassle of applying for a new entry permit every time. The five-year multiple-entry tourist visa can be applied for through the ICP’s official website.
According to the ICP’s website, individuals with this visa can stay for up to 90 days on each visit, with an option to extend their stay for an additional 90 days. One of the mandatory requirements for this visa is to submit a bank statement of the last six months, showing a minimum balance of $4,000 (AED 14,700) or its equivalent in foreign currencies.
GCC Residents’ E-Visa
GCC residents can apply for an e-visa via the ICP or GDRFA website. One must have a GCC residency visa and passport with a validity of at least three months from the date of arrival. This visa has a validity period of 30 days.
Job Seeker Visa
The UAE introduced a new visa for job seekers that came into effect on 3 October last year. Individuals can use this visa to explore jobs, investments, and business prospects in the country without the necessity for a sponsor or host.
To be eligible for the visa, applicants must belong to the first, second, or third skill level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE). Moreover, fresh graduates from the top 500 universities worldwide are also eligible to apply. The minimum educational requirement for the visa is a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
Visas for Residing in UAE
Securing a job offer letter from a company in the UAE is a prerequisite for individuals wishing to work and reside in UAE. After accepting and signing the offer letter, the company will issue an entry permit, allowing the applicant to travel to the UAE.
Upon arriving in the UAE, the employer will initiate the visa application process, which includes undergoing a medical fitness test, providing biometrics for Emirates ID, and getting the visa stamp on the passport and Emirates ID card.
Individuals who wish to bring their family, spouse, or children to the UAE may sponsor their residence visa, provided they are employed, an investor or business owner in the country, or a property owner in the UAE.
The UAE government expanded the categories eligible for the long-term visa in April 2022, allowing residents in various fields to apply for the 10-year Golden Visa. Eligible categories include exceptional talents in culture, art, sports, digital technology, and more, scientists and professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers, and frontline heroes.
Those who qualify can stay in the UAE for 10 years and sponsor family members and support staff for the same duration. Check out our guide for the application process if you are eligible for the Golden Visa.
Because of its diverse student population, international universities, and safe environment, the UAE has become an attractive choice for higher education. The university sponsors candidates for a student visa, which is handled and issued by the relevant GDRFA in each emirate. The visa is valid for one year and can be renewed with certified proof of continued education.
This is a five-year residency permit that can be acquired without a sponsor. Green Visa-holders can sponsor their first-degree relatives and have six-month leverage after visa expiry or termination.
This visa is only issued by the GDRFA in Dubai; hence it is only valid there. Other Emirates have not introduced such a visa for retirees. It has a five-year validity period, and the retiree must be at least 55 years old at the time of application.