Entry permit/visa to enter the UAE

GCC citizens do not need a visa to enter the UAE. Some of the other nationalities can obtain a visa on arrival while others need to apply for a visa in advance. Find out if you need a visa to enter the UAE.

Visa-free entry

Citizens of GCC countries do not require a visa or permit or to be sponsored by a national or resident in the UAE. They need to produce their GCC country passport or national ID card at the point of entry into the UAE.

Visa on arrival

  • 30-day visa on arrival
    Citizens of these countries do not require advance visa arrangements to enter the UAE and can obtain a visa upon arrival for 30 days with a 10-day grace period for extension.
  • 90-day visa on arrival
    Citizens of these countries do not require advance visa arrangements to enter the UAE and can obtain a visa upon arrival for 90 days:

Indian citizens
Indian citizens holding a normal passport and either

  • a visit visa issued by the USA or
  • a green card issued by the USA or
  • 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 provided that the visas or the green card is valid for at least six months from the date of arrival into the UAE. Read about the UAE visa requirements for non-US citizens.

Note: Passports must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into the UAE. Lists of countries eligible for visa on arrival may vary from time to time; therefore, please check with the UAE embassy in your country before travelling to the UAE.

Pre-arranged entry permits

Anyone who does not have the privilege of getting a visa-free entry or a visa on arrival will require an entry permit prior to arrival into the UAE and someone to sponsor it. 

What type of entry permit you need?
The entry permit you need depends on the purpose of your visit. It could be for:

  • tourism
  • visit
  • transit
  • work.

Requirements for an entry permit
These are the requirements for an entry permit:

  • You need a sponsor to apply for your entry permit. The sponsor could be:
    • an Emirati citizen
    • an expatriate resident with valid residency permit in the UAE
    • a UAE-based airline
    • a UAE-based hotel or tour agent
    • a government entity
    • companies in the private sector or free zones.
  • Prospective visitors seeking entry permits are required to have a genuine passport, valid for at least six months.
  • A visa ban prohibits a person from entering the country or taking up a new job. Prospective visitors must not have been deported or be banned from entering the UAE in which case, he needs to obtain special permission to re-enter.

Entry permit and visa policies

The visa and permit system works according to rules and regulations set by Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and its affiliated Directorates of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in each emirate.

Before you apply for a visa or an entry permit, check if you are eligible for a visa-free entry or to receive a visa on arrival or you need an eVisa prior to travel or an entry permit pre-arranged by a sponsor based in the UAE.

Validity of entry permits

The validity of entry permits and the time frame within which the visitor should enter the country depends on the type of permit issued. The validity permit for visit visas, tourist visas and/or employment visas is 60 days from the issue date. However, the validity of entry permits for GCC residents is 30 days from the issue date.

96-hours transit visas are valid only for 14 days from the issuance day. Different validity duration applies for multiple entry visas and temporary work permits. Check with the UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship- ICA and/or the local General Directorates of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) about visa validity.

Illegal to work on a visit or tourist visa

Visitors and tourists should be aware that it is illegal to work in the UAE with or without pay while being on a visit or tourist visa. According to the UAE’s labour and residency laws, a person cannot work if he has not been issued a work permit and an employment visa. Violators may be liable to fines and deportation.