Dubai Visas, Permits and Immigration

by Jose Marc Castro on August 11, 2009

costoflivingDUBAI200The visit visa allows foreigners to stay in UAE for thirty days. However, you will be allowed to stay for another thirty days if you apply for an extension and pay 500 Dubai dollars. Your passport will be marked with a visit visa as soon as you enter through the Immigration Section in any airport in the United Arab Emirates.

There are specific rules on visa entry into the United Arab Emirates, with specific countries allowed entry and stay for thirty days without need of a visit visa. All visitors should have a valid return travel ticket and a passport valid for a minimum period of three months for tourists and six months for employment.

Resident visas and work permits are issued by the concerned authorities in the UAE and the application is made through a prospective employer. Other nationals arrange their visa through a sponsor in the UAE.

Visit Visa

A citizen of the United Kingdom will be given a free of charge visit visa in the United Arab Emirates.  British overseas citizens who do not live in the United Kingdom do not need visas to enter Dubai.

The multiple-entry visa in Dubai United Arab Emirates is valid only for 6 months starting from the date it was issued. You are allowed to stay for thirty days per visit and the visa is non-renewable. You may avail of this visa if you intend to have business relationships with any multinational or other honest local establishments in the country. However, one initially needs a visit or tourist visa to enter the United Arab Emirates and eventually get the multiple-entry visa. To obtain this type of visa, you should submit two(2) photographs, a photocopy of the completed application form, a fax letter or  a letter from the sponsor in Dubai to the embassy concerned  , a valid passport, and a letter from your company .

Foreign nationals can get a Dubai United Arab Emirates visa upon their arrival at the Dubai airport of entry by the AGCC residents. Visitors who are representatives or company managers, accountants, auditors, engineers, businessmen or businesswomen and employees working in public sectors are also qualified for this type of visa. Servants and labor categories are not qualified for this type of visa.

The Transit Visa is good for four days or 96 hours. It is issued thru the sponsorship of airlines operating in Dubai. The transit visa may be issued to anyone who has a valid ticket for an onward flight to Dubai free of charge.

Foreign nationals who want to live in Dubai are required to get a residence visa, which is also called employment visa. If you bought a property in Dubai, you are entitled for a residence visa provided that such was stipulated in the purchase agreement and that you actually own the property. The residence visa is valid for three years and for as long as you get medical tests and a health card is issued to you. The health card costs around 300 Dubai dollars and has to be renewed annually. Applicants who fail the aids test shall not be issued a residence visa.

There are other documents issued by UAE to allow entry into the country, such as:

Entry Service Permit

An Entry Service Permit applies to the following categories and their families accompanying them: company manager’s representatives, sales managers, account auditors, delegations from companies or establishments to carry out a commercial activity in the UAE, consultants requested by companies operating in the UAE that are required to carry out an urgent task.

This visa is valid for use within 14 days from the date of issue. The duration of stay is 14 days from date of entry, exclusive of arrival and departure days. It is non-renewable.

In order to complete the application, the sponsor will require the visitor’s date of arrival and flight details, and a photocopy of the first few pages of the visitor’s passport which should be valid for at least three months. This type of entry permit will only be issued as urgent at a fee of AED 220.

The Entry Service Permit holder may enter and depart the UAE through any airport.

Multiple Entry Visas

Multiple-entry Visas are issued to business visitors who have a relationship with either a multinational or other reputable local company, and who are frequent visitors to the UAE. This type of visa is valid for six months from the date of issue and the duration of each stay is 30 days. The validity is non-renewable. The cost of this visa is AED 1,000.

The visitor must enter the UAE on a visit visa and obtain the multiple entry visa while in the country. The visa is stamped on the passport.

Driver’s License

If you have an International license or driving license from your country of origin, you can rent a car to drive even if you have no residence visa. However, you need to acquire as a foreigner a Dubai driver’s license from the Traffic Police Office for a private vehicle. This license has one-month validity. A privately registered car cannot be driven with an international license as the car is insured for a United Arab Emirates license holder only.  To obtain this license, the applicant should complete the following requirements:

  • Original and photocopy of your driving license
  • Photocopy of your passport
  • Traffic police application form
  • NOC from your company or sponsor in Dubai

Driving in Dubai though is not easy, as shared by an expat in the Dubai Expat Forum last September 18, 2009:

I drive to Abu Dhabi almost every day and the only thing I can say is to expect the unexpected. Everyone drives as if they own the road so stay alert at all times. People will change lanes even when you are parallel to them, so you’re gonna be the one that brakes to save you life and your car. I actually prefer driving in Dubai as opposed to AUH! Drivers are still civil in Dubai compared to the behaviour that you witness on the AUH highway!

Yes, it is scary to get tailgated at 160 – 200km/hr but do not panic and take your time to get out of their way. Even when someone is bullying you out of the fast lane, check their position before you move aside cause they might just be about to undertake you.

I had to take a driving test here because my license is different to my passport and they wouldn’t swap it. Here are 2 things I got taught (Nr 2 is highly not recommended!!!)

If a slow moving car is blocking your way, it is ok to flash. This will alert them to your presence and let them know to give you way (Err, I’d hazard a guess that you can see me in your mirror but oh well, apparently, that’s the way to do it here) – I’m against this by the way!!

If you are on a roundabout in the left lane and your exit is coming up, indicate and move!!! (This floored me)

Dubai UAE Immigration Rules and Regulations

All passengers are required to have visas before their entry to Dubai. The only exemptions are nationals of the GCCS or Gulf Co-operation Council States. All the Dubai visas are valid for single entry status and cannot be extended. Anyone who leaves Dubai United Arab Emirates and intends to come back should apply for a new visa.

Immigration Law

Brigadier Obaid Moheir Bin Suroor, Deputy Director of Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD), issued new implementing rules and regulations regarding the entry and residency of foreign nationals. This law aims to expand the coverage of entry permits and offers all nationalities a chance to visit Dubai.  It is focused on attracting more tourists to Dubai. The tourist visa to Dubai is valid only for sixty days. The DNRD is the sole authority that deals with issuing visas to foreigners visiting Dubai.

Entry service permit

The Dubai entry service permit is applicable to families, sales managers, and delegations from establishments or companies to conduct commercial activities in Dubai. The permit is valid for fourteen days from the date it was issued.  To get an entry permit, you must complete the requirements such as the flight details, date of arrival and a photocopy of the passport (with three-month validity).

Working Permits

The Minister of Labor, Dr. Ali Bin Abdullah Al’ka’abi, issued new guidelines for temporary work permits. Temporary work permits are now open to all work categories. This new law allows foreign workers to acquire work permits twice within three years. It is an improvement from the previous law that requires foreign temporary workers to acquire their work permits every six months.

The working permit in Dubai is not the same as a residency visa. The residency visa allows any qualified foreign national to live in Dubai. To work in Dubai, a foreigner must apply for a labor card or work permit. The company where you will be working with will be the one to arrange the labor card and the residency visas for you and your family.

{ 166 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat Olayanju August 14, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Hello my name is Pat, i wanted to find out if i am able to get a visa with a (Convention of 28 july 1951) Travel document. I want to go to Dubai for a one week holiday with my family.


thamir September 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm

i got my work vis in uae.. sir any immigration is required.. bcz i'm completed my higher seconery education ….


Muhammad Azmat September 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm

hi! i want to know whether a person named Abdul Aziz Zafar exists on Dubai Airport as I sent him 1335 dirhams for work permit via western union, but still there is no responsee?


Rahmatulla September 30, 2010 at 6:38 pm

I heard that now if i have to sponsor my family. There is no salary certificate required i can deposit 5000aed and get a visa for my family. Is it true. If yes do i have to pay 5000 each for my son and my wife visa as deposit.


Edison Garcia October 1, 2010 at 11:27 am

Good Day to you all! I just want to inquire about my son’s visa, he left dubai four years ago and he is under fathers visa, i know that if he was not able to get back in 6 months the visa is automatically cancelled. But i did not cancel his visa after he left, will i not encounter any problems applying again for his visa or i need to cancel the previous one first?

Thank You


Najeebulla Khan October 5, 2010 at 10:14 am

Dear Sir Kindly Send Me The Work & Labour Visas Kindly Send Me The All Type Of Visas


Pawan Kumar October 12, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Respected Sir/Madam
I hear some of my friends. Now in dubai if similer salary worker can apply visa for family.?? If we put deposite some money in immirigation ?? Is that true sir/madam?? I am confuse in this imformation. So please i want know or procedure details from email.
Thank you.


Syed Zoheb Ahmed October 24, 2010 at 6:59 am


I got my brother visit visa how many days before i need to submit the original visa to the airport visa section.

Thank you.


yMOHAMMED ANEES October 24, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Asalamualikum may be family exit. after 9 months want to come back they have resident visa what ruels. I need conform that’s all


jabbar amani October 24, 2010 at 8:04 pm

i am fom iran . i am looking forward to immigrate to dubai for work .i am a doctor and gratuated in general physician from university of tehran and gratuated in radiology scince (M.D) from damascus university( syria ). i am married & i have wife and one baby & my age is 43 years .so can you tell me some possible ways to work in dubai?

thank you very much.


Len October 27, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Good Day to you all, i just want to inquire, i am married woman and i am living here in al ain uae.. and i am planning to be sponsor for my husband, i am working as Document Conrol in one Contruction Compamy my salary 5500dirhams monthly if possible that i can give residence visa for my husband, he is currently working here in uae…Please give for me full information regarding for my inquiring.

Waiting for your reply.

Thank you,


jenee November 4, 2010 at 4:51 pm

dear sir/madam,

i am a filipina and just got married to an indian man for about 1 month now and he wants me to sponsor me (husband visa) but recently i am connected to a company. what i want to know if the company will allow me to cancel my employment visa. and if our nationality will not affect the said application. thank you and am hoping for an answer.


Md Saidul Islam November 11, 2010 at 7:42 pm

dear sir/madam,

I am Bangladeshi and be-for tow month i wark Dubai but i am now in Bangladesh,i need now came to Dubai.what i do now,thank you and am hoping for an answer.


dianne November 27, 2010 at 8:53 pm

A person from saudi arabia (not necessarily a saudi nationality & is not on a business trip) goes to dubai & has a valid existing work contract in one of the hospitals here in ksa & a valid exit re-entry visa but has overstayed in dubai, what are the rules governing such act? can he be deported to his point of origin? if he was employed in one of the institution, would it be a ground for deportation if the company or the institution learned that he has produced illegal papers? is getting married there a solution not to be deported? he has left saudi arabia on February 2010 & is supposed to come back March 2010 but we learned that he has a job somewhere in dubai up to this present time


FARHAT MURTAZA December 17, 2010 at 4:59 pm



Anitha December 26, 2010 at 12:26 pm

now i am tourist visa holder, I want to change my visa to husband visa with out going home town


Haly January 4, 2011 at 3:10 am

Hi I am a British Citizen and I would like to go to Dubai on a holiday. Can I buy a one way ticket? Or will it cause any chaos for me? Please let me know as soon as possible. Thanks :)


shani January 4, 2011 at 3:39 am

Hi My Fiancée has got a job in Dubai and he will be processing visa only for him self as we are hoping to get married only in 3 months time,
I just want to know, once we get married in 3 months, can he sponsor me, If so how long will it take . Can I also get a work permit


S Balu January 7, 2011 at 4:13 am

HI! I am British Oversea Citizen Resident in UK and my passport issued by UK passport Agency, will I need A VISA to visit UAE?
I have tried to look at VISA RULES on UKFO has said I need it,can you pleae CLARIFY for me


Analiza Tolentino January 20, 2011 at 11:09 pm

My husband currently working in dubai for almost 5 years now. I would like to work there in dubai and my friends told me I can use my husband visa. How could it be? What are the papers we should prepare with my husband? What are the qualifications?
Kindly help me.

Analiza Tolentino


Ares Fernandes February 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Hi…My wife is an Indian Passport holder having a UAE Resident visa, her passport is expiring on 17th March 2011….we need to travel to India for a week…Please let me know if there would be any problem whatsoever entering dubai again as i heard that the passport should be valid for min 6months?Please advise.


zeeshan March 11, 2011 at 8:36 am

i m zeeshan from pakistan i want apply dubai work permit so pls reply all detail at my mail . i m also study malaysia in 2 years i have studendt permit in malaysia but now i want working in dubai ……….. i m waiting ur reply


w.w.p.s.fernando March 23, 2011 at 10:22 am

Sir, On 28th of February 2011 I came for one month vacation, before finished my vacation i lost my passport with valid visa. i informed to my company & taken a new passport with attested police report from UAE Emberssy in colombo. at this morment i need to report for duty & my company informed me to go to the UAE Emberssy in colombo & take travelling approval from them. but they did not issue. i have 03 years visa copy, emirates id copy & other related documents. can you help me explain which way i can come


KJJ March 29, 2011 at 7:44 am

There is no such thing as a Dubai Dollar! It's a dirham


nelly April 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm

hi im nel
im from philippines but im in jeddah saudi arabia working here then my visa is finish ill be go home in april 22 2011 i get my exit visa and ticket from my boss here in jeddah but at the same time i get a working visa in dubai and ticket .it possible to go dubai or i need to go back to my origin country?


Shahzad Khalil April 19, 2011 at 8:47 am

Hi, I got deport from Dubai International because My passport has lost by my sponsored person and the immigration has scanned my finger print and my eyes and deport me back to pakistan, my visa was also expired, this was held in September 2007.
now can I apply visa again for Dubai???

my Email Address:


Thapa May 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Dear sir/madam.
One of my brothers is coming soon in Dubai for an employment resident visa; everything is already done from the new company of Dubai. But I don’t have an idea about the Dubai’s rules because in his passport he is still holding a valid of Saudi Arabia employment visa .So there is any problem for the new visa Dubai ? Or Should I cancel first Saudi Visa .please let me know as soon as .Thapa


Jayadev Menon May 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm

My wife is a Indian passport holder and has a UAE residence visa expiring in Sep 2012. She needs to go to India for 1 year (May 2011 to April 2012) from today. What is the procedure if she wants to stay out of UAE and return after 1 year. What will be the the entry permit charges for Residence visa holders if they stay out of UAE for 1 year.
Thank you


rajan July 19, 2011 at 9:00 am

i have emplyemnt visa having a salry of basic 3000+500+500,,so net salry i can bring my family upon my this much agreement….


Munaf September 6, 2011 at 8:04 am

please help me out.
i would like to know.
i have a valid visa upto 2013 but i am out of uae since more than six my visa is an investor visa ( business owner )but due to some personal reason i am out of UAE for more than six months.
how can i active my visa again.
is it possible to active the same visa again???


Faieina September 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I am employed in Sharjah company, have a working visa and residence permit. I want my husband to come in UAE. What documents he needs? Where and how can i apply for his visa? I also heard that those, who want to live in UAE with their families it is possible to write down husband in my residence permit?
Really really looking forward to hear from you soon
Many thanks


kanishk October 6, 2011 at 9:35 am

is there any restriction for getting an employment visa in UAE for an indian lady (profession on her visa shall be CLERK)?


MALIK KHALIL October 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Hello this is Malik Khalil from Saudi Arabia, i like to visit dubai during eid holidays, i have exit re entry on my passport
and i like to come by road from Dammam to Dubai by my car, please advice the peocedure of visa, can i get from saudi dubai border
on my passport i have profession Labour.
Please Reply


Ajmal khan November 19, 2011 at 8:02 am

Dear sir or madam i want apply visa for my family what is the rules & regulation for uae goverment specially dubai immigration rules
can you explaint to me my basic salary is 2300 aed – but all allowance getteing 5400 aed total

Thanks & Regards


shipon November 26, 2011 at 10:49 am

i have completed accounting honours and masters.i would like to work in dubai.please give me advice.


samreen December 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm

can anyone pls help with this question that how many days would it require to change name in passport at pakistan embassy in UAE.



ahmed December 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I have experienced in information technology and master degree in it i want to work and live in uae.
help me so i can make progress.


Muktader Khan Sumon December 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Hi, I am Bangladeshi. I want to job in Dubai. I have 10 years experience in business development manager in Bangladesh multinational company. i want to migrate in dubai and work , i saw lot of job vacancies , please help to understand your immigration law and how to get over there.


Marbert January 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I resign to my old company, and work to a different company but. almost a year they didn't provide me a visa. Just this December i get a visa. I was asking them so what is my status in the immigration. I was illegal for around 8 months.. They didn't tell me anything.. Now i have apply to another company and they are willing to provide me everything.. A freezone company is hiring me.. can anyone give me an advice.


kumarmaroli January 24, 2012 at 9:06 am

A minor girl Krithi Prakesh , 10 years old wanted to visit Abu-Dubai, where her mother’s brother is working. She is to be accompanied by her uncle’s wife .Can she travel without her parents.


James February 11, 2012 at 10:19 am

Am a Kenyan citizen i used to work in DUBAI FREEZONE company but the name LOGIX,I left the company for vacation. But my return date to work i did show up reason why i had some problem’s. few months ago i applied for a visit visa but unfortunate it was rejected because the company cancelled my resident visa with absconding. i have tried to contact the HR of that company but she don’t reply. Can you kindly advice whether i can pay the company back so as i can get a chance in UAE.


prylle March 10, 2012 at 6:50 am

good day! i resigned now in my current employer here in Qatar. i just want to ask if I can go directly to Dubai even if my point of origin is Philippines? But I have a working visa going to Dubai sent by my employer there, or do i need to go back to Philippines first? . my employer in Dubai will be the one to shoulder my air ticket going to Dubai. Thanks a lot..


Afzaal Khan March 26, 2012 at 9:32 am

I m married and have a 3 months baby. Graduate and 9 years exp of textile.
I want to SETTLED in DUBAI.

Please advice…


EdRooney April 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Hi there. I posted this question on another forum and got pointed in this direction, so any help is gratefully received.

I am coming over to Dubai from the uk and will be working in 2 or 3 week periods over the next 4 months. My client is one of Dubais largest employers and as such I class them s reputable! My work as a management consultant is through a uk based consultancy with the Dubai client.

From reading all of the above I gather I can obtain a visit visa and then apply for a multiple entry visa, is that correct?

I do not wish to break any law and am told that working under a visit visa is not legal but seen as an 'acceptable practice'. Any thoughts?

Finally my wife is travelling with me but will NOT be working. I assume she can travel under a regular tourist visa?

Thank you in advance for any feedback and help.



rosilly May 6, 2012 at 7:44 am

hi i want to bring my daughter here under my name, I want my dauughter to stay here as long as i'm here, i'm working in a private company what are the requirements that i will prepare to get visa for her..thanks


lancer Shou May 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I am a filipino and I exited in Kish, Iran waiting for my employment visa. Unfortunately my passport validity for 6 months is about to expire and my employment visa has not yet process because of some problems the company is trying to solve…Can the Ministry of Labor in Dubai still approves for employment even if less than 6 months validity of my passport? If not, where can I renew or extend my passport?Please advice me..thanks


Shiv Kumar June 21, 2012 at 8:28 am

hi i am on visit visa to Dubai if i get employment visa from my company what are the procedures to get my spouse to Dubai & on what visa i can take her here & what are the charges, duration & procedures to get the visa


Rey Dungo August 1, 2012 at 5:38 am

Hi, i’m Rey, im planning to go to Dubai (by land) with my family this coming Holiday on Aug.18, 2012. im working here in saudi arabia as Architect/site engr. and my wife working at the national guard hospital as Reg. Nurse, unfortunately my title or position in my Iqama (resident permit) was Production Supervisor, with this regard may i know if i’m allowed to get a visit visa at dubai immigration section?


kiran October 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm

last year i came to india on saudi exit re entry visa and coulnt go back on my personal reasons. Now my Iqama also expired. I am working now in south africa. I want to go to India by emirates airlines and I need any information. Will i get any problem in Dubai airport as it is a part of GCC country. I am going to stay in Dubai airport for few hours for connecting flight. Your kind response is higly appreciated


K.R.BOBY October 16, 2012 at 9:45 am

Can any one tell the profession Quantity Surveyor will get a visa on arrival. My family is residing in UAE and I am working in Doha.
If any one knows kindly advise me regarding this.


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