Abu Dhabi Visas & Permits

As a foreign resident, what is my status in your country?
All visitors, except for nationals of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (AGCC), which includes visitors from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, require a visa sponsored by a local entity, such as a hotel or tour company. This should be arranged prior to arrival. British citizens with the right of abode in the UK and expatriate residents of the AGCC of certain nationalities and professions may qualify for automatic 30-day visit visas on arrival, but regulations should be checked before traveling.

German and US citizens may obtain visas from the UAE Embassy in their respective country.

A passport, valid for at least three months prior to the date of arrival, is required by all. Often the sponsor will hold a visitor's passport. In these cases, a receipt will be issued. This will generally be accepted in place of a passport where a transaction may require one. There are two types of visas: transit visas (lasting for 14 days) and renewable visit visas (lasting for 30 days). Airlines may require confirmation that the sponsor is holding a valid visa for incoming visitors. Entry is forbidden to travellers whose passport bears Israeli stamps. Regulations and requirements may be subject to change at short notice and you are advised to contact the appropriate diplomat or consular authority before finalizing travel arrangements.
↑ Top

What kinds of visas are available?
For tourists, there are broadly two types of visas; Visit Visas and Transit Visas. The type issued depends on the duration of stay requested.

  • Visit/Working Visa: Issued for people who are sponsored by a company operating in the UAE. It is valid for two months from the date of arrival, with the option of being renewed for one more month.
  • Transit Visa: Issued to individuals at the request of any licensed company, such as a hotel or trading company that holds an authorization for applying for this visa. It is valid for 14 days and it cannot be renewed. It is intended for the short-term traveler or tourist.

The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs - Dubai (GDRFA-D) (formerly known as the Department of Naturalization and Residency Dubai (DNRD)) renews the Visit Visa at its expiry date if the sponsor so decides. Renewals can be made by exiting and re-entering the country to gain an exit stamp and a new entry stamp on the passport or by paying the extension fee of Dhs 500 (US$137) at the GDRFA-D. If you overstay your visit visa, there's a ten-day grace period in which to leave the country. After that period, each day overstayed will attract a fine of Dhs 100 (US$28).
There is also a Residence visa, of which there are two types: sponsorship by employer or sponsorship by family which is renewable every 3 years. Once you become a resident, you must not leave the nation for more than 6 months or the residency will lapse.
↑ Top

What is required to obtain these visas?
In order to obtain a visitor's visa, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Photocopy of the visitor's passport
  • Visit Visa Application form, completed and signed by the sponsoring company
  • Photocopy of the trade license of the company
  • A Guarantee letter from the company stating its responsibility of the visitor during his visit

To obtain a transit visa, you will need the following:

  • Photocopy of the visitor's passport
  • Application form, completed and signed by the sponsoring company
  • Authorization card of the company

↑ Top

Are spouses permitted and/or likely to find work?
Yes, usually female spouses will be on husband's sponsorship. There are a lot of opportunities for employment.
↑ Top

What are the main forms of identification and how does a newcomer obtain them?
Labor card issued by the employer (Immigration). Usually the Public Relations Officer of a company will obtain this document on the employer's behalf.
↑ Top

Are there any other important permits I must obtain, or places where I must register right away?
The only other important permit you might need is a driver's license. Expats cannot drive on an international license forever but those can be easily converted into the UAE one. It is, however, always a good idea to register with your local embassy or consulate.
↑ Top

What items should I avoid bringing into the country?
Alcohol, drugs, ammunition/guns, pornographic material, religious articles and anything that can be deemed offensive to the Muslim religion.
↑ Top

Is there anything else I should know about entering and remaining in the country legally?
↑ Top

Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.