The government of UAE has halted all prepaid visa processing from the 17th of March 2020 as a precautionary step towards limiting the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. This does not affect anyone who's visas have been issued before the 17th of March 2020. But, 30 day and 90 day on arrival visas are still processed and individuals holding certain country passportsand diplomatic passports can get on arrival visas with additional screening.
This guide is a thorough breakdown of the different types of visa in UAE, the procedures you can use to extend your visa and many other important details that will make planning a trip to UAE or preparing for an extension to your UAE visa an easy procedure.
Keep scrolling to understand the UAE visa types.
01 International travelers – Visitors Visa (Tourist Visa)
Depending on the country of origin, certain travelers are eligible for on-arrival visas. The number of days they are permitted to stay in the country is also decided by their nationality or the originating country of the passport they hold. Individuals who aren’t eligible for on-arrival visas need to get a prepaid UAE Visit visa(Pre- arranged). Here we have covered the different types of visas and their extension procedures.
An extension the process of increasing your lawful stay period in the UAE. The UAE government is very understanding of their visitors and have simplified the visa extension process for the on arrival and prepaid UAE visas. Checkout our visa extension guide for more precise information
Extend using Amer service
This service is a new initiative introduced by the GDRFA (General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs) for UAE visitors. Amer services can be availed by their app or by visiting their centres in many parts of the Dubai Emirate. Amer centres help with the visa process by typing your data, uploading the necessary documents and encoding these details to be processed by the government visa application system. Some of the services that can be obtained from the Amer centre include UAE visa application, UAE visa renewal, UAE visa cancellation and more. If you want to extend your visa with this procedure, simply visit any of the Amer centres and submit your documents. After updating your details into the government system simply wait for their reply that your visa has been extended.
Oman Border Visa run
This visa change procedure is done by leaving UAE to Oman by road and entering back to UAE after your visa is extended. Individuals opting for this method need to apply for an Oman visa through the Royal Oman Police official website at least 5 days before the scheduled day of entry. Checkout our detail guide about Oman visa run
Airport to Airport Visa Change
This was one of the first visa extension procedures implemented by the UAE government that many travelers used to follow if they require an extension. It’s plus points are quick processing, time-saving and doesn’t require any large deposit sums to be paid at the airport. The process is to book an airport to airport visa change package from a reputed travel firm. You can choose to fly from Dubai or Sharjah depending on your convenience. The package includes the visa fee and a two-way ticket to either Oman or Kuwait. Depending on the availability you will fly to either Kuwait or Oman. The procedure after purchasing a visa change package is easy. Depending on the package you booked, go to Dubai International or Sharjah International Airport at least 3 hours before your scheduled flight. Your representative will guide you through all the airport procedures before receiving the exit stamp. Make sure to send a photo of this exit stamp to your visa change representative via WhatsApp or email. Board the flight and upon reaching Oman or Kuwait Airport wait for your visa to get issued. Board the flight back after your representative announces that your new visa has been issued.
No exit inside country Visa change
This procedure is by far the priciest of all, but it saves a lot of time and lets you continue your visit without any glitches and unnecessary procedures. To get your visa extended through this service, contact a reputed travel company offering this service at least three days before your visa expires. Submit the necessary documents and wait until your visa is processed.
Other type of visas
Entry visas are issued by the GDRFA (General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs) and are documents that approve foreign travelers to legally enter and reside in UAE for an allowed time period. These documents are issued in both softcopy and hardcopy format and will vary depending on the reason of travel to UAE. Some nationalities don’t require a pre-paid entry visa so make sure to check if you need one or not. Before we get into the different types of entry visas let us understand the terms that are stated on the document.
The validity period of the entry visa states the duration within which the holder should enter the UAE through any of its land borders, airports or seaports. Most travelers mistake this as the duration until which they can stay in the UAE. Almost all entry visas have a validity period of sixty days from the date of issue.The duration of stay mentioned in the entry visa states the number of days the holder can legally stay in the UAE. This value differs from one permit to the other and usually the holder can stay longer by get an extension twice after which they have to return or change it into a residence visa.
02 All about the Oman visa run
These visas can be issued only by applying through a UAE-based airline before arriving in UAE. The Transit visa is not extendable, but travelers can choose between two types of transit visas. The 48-hour transit visa can be issued free of charge, but the 96-hour visa requires a payment of 50 AED.
Transit visas are a must for travelers who are not eligible for an on-arrival visa or a visa-free entry. If you are having long-layovers and are not eligible for any of the free entries, applying for a transit visa is mandatory. Documents needed to apply for transit visa are passport with at least six-month validity, photo with white background and a ticket showing the departing and arriving destinations (other than UAE).
03 Student Visa
A student visa is issued for two categories of individuals; international students who are studying in a university in UAE or the children of expatriates (who are residing in UAE) who are enrolled in one of UAE’s higher education institutes. A compulsory criterion to complete for being eligible for a student visa is to hold an official entry letter from the UAE university. Other requirements are a visa sponsor (the university or a parent/relative residing in the UAE), passing a medical test and approval from the GDRFA.
Student visas are issued for a stay period of one year and can be extended for a similar time period if proof from the relevant university is submitted that the student needs to continue studying.
04 Residence Visa
The foreigner’s residence visa is issued for foreigners who have already entered the UAE with an entry visa. Individuals who fulfill the GDRFA’s requirements can sponsor for a foreigner’s residence visa. The applicant should pass a medical test and a security check. The stay period varies between 1, 2 and 3 years depending on the sponsor and the type.
05 Retirement Visa
This visa is issued for retired residents exceeding 55 years of age and was implemented by the UAE cabinet to be issued after September 2018. The retirement visa is for 5-years and can be renewed if certain criteria are met. To obtain a retirement visa the retiree should fulfill any one of the following:
Have financial savings worth 1 million AED or more
Have an active income of 20,000AED /month or more
Have invested in property worth 2 million AED
06 Medical Visa
International patients can obtain a medical visa to obtain treatment in any public or private sector medical establishments in UAE. The governing body for issuing medical Visa in Dubai is the GDRFA while medical visa for all other emirates (Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah) are governed by ICA (Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. If seeking medical treatment in Dubai, the patient can only apply for a medical visa via the hospital they are obtaining treatment in whereas for any other emirate patients can apply for a medical visa through the ICA’s online portal.
The single-entry medical visa allows the patient to stay in the UAE for 90 days from entry date and can only be extended one time. The multiple entry visa allows a stay period of 90 days with multiple entries. It can also be extended. Extension for medical visa is only given if a certified medical report proves that the patient requires to continue with treatment. The patient’s companion can also receive an entry visa. Dubai only allows a single entry or multiple entry visa for patient’s companion whereas other Emirates also provide single and multiple entry visa for patient’s family group.