How many types of visas are there in UAE?
There are several types of visas and entry permits offered by the UAE Government for different purposes.
If you are planning for a holiday or looking for a job in UAE or want to set up a business in UAE here are some visa options. Some countries can obtain visa on arrival. However, you must check if you require a visa before you plan on travelling to the UAE.
You can check if you are eligible for a visa on arrival here.
There are different types of visas are available in UAE. If you are not eligible for visa on arrival you can choose any of the below options:
- Transit Visa-for 48 or 96 hours
- Tourist visa-30 day or 90 days
- Five Year Multiple Entry Visa
- Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) residents e-visa
- Job seeker visa
- Company-sponsored visa
- Sponsored by family
- Golden Visa
- Green Visa
- Student Visa
- Retirement Visa
- Company Shareholder Visa
- Golden Visa for Real Estate Investors
- Golden Visa for Entrepreneurs
Transit visa-for 48 or 96 hours
There are two kinds of transit visas available to travellers staying less than 48 or 96 hours in the UAE. You can apply for one at an UAE-based airline or a travel agency. You can also get one upon arrival if you’re flying with an airline headquartered in the UAE.
However, it’s important to note that transit visas are not extendable or renewable, and you must depart the country within 48 or 96 hours of arrival.
Tourist visa – 30-day or 90-day
The UAE tourist visa is available for a minimum of 30 days or 90 days and allows you to enter the country multiple times. It can be obtained from the following places:
- An airline
- Travel agencies or hotels
- Family or friends who can sponsor the visa.
Five-Year Multiple Entry Visa
Five Year Multiple entry visas are a simple way to visit the UAE without needing to apply for new entry permits every time you visit. If you regularly visit the UAE or have family and friends here, a long-term multiple entry visa is the perfect choice.
The tourist visa can be applied for via the ICP website. To visit the UAE for up to 90 days in a six-month period, you will need to provide a bank statement showing a balance of at least $4,000 ( Dh14,700) or its equivalent in foreign currencies.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Residents e-visa
You may apply for the GCC e-visa online through the ICP or GDRFA website if you are a citizen of a GCC country or the family member of one. You must ensure that your GCC residency visa and passport are valid for at least three months after arrival if you are applying for the visa.
The entry permit is valid for 30 days from the date of issue and you are permitted to stay for 30 days after entering the country.
Job Seeker Visa
Beginning on October 3, 2022, the new job seeker visa will come into effect, allowing individuals to work, invest, and establish businesses in the UAE without a host or sponsor. To obtain the visa, you must fulfil the following requirements:
- People who rank in the first, second, or third skill level as determined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).
- Individuals who have graduated from the world’s top 500 universities.
- You must have received at least a bachelor’s degree.
Ensure that you have an UAE work offer letter if you want to work in the UAE. Once you’ve accepted and signed the offer letter, the company will first issue an entry permit to allow you to visit the UAE.
Once you’ve arrived in the UAE, your employer will begin the visa application procedure. You will have to undergo a medical fitness test, give your fingerprints to the Emirates ID system, get a visa stamped onto your passport, and then receive your Emirates ID card.
For a step-by-step process on the UAE residence visa procedure, click here. It is also important to keep in mind that according to the UAE Labour Law, the employer must cover all of the visa and hiring costs.
Sponsored by Family
In April 2022, the UAE government expanded the categories for long-term residency visas. The UAE Golden Visa gives eligible residents the chance to stay for 10 years, and sponsor family members including spouses, children, and support staff.
Here are the categories:
Exceptional talents in the fields of:
- Culture and art
- Investors and innovators
- Digital technology
- Other vital fields
Scientists and professionals
- Chief executives and senior officials
- Science professionals
- Engineering professionals
- Health professionals
- Education professionals
- Business and Administration professionals
- Information technology professionals
- Legal, social and cultural professionals
Outstanding students and graduates
- Best performing students in secondary schools
- Best graduates from UAE universities
- Graduates of best 100 universities worldwide
- Distinguished members of international and regional organisations
- Outstanding members of associations of public benefits
- Recipients of recognition awards in humanitarian fields
- Distinguished volunteers and sponsors of humanitarian efforts
- Frontline workers who made extraordinary efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you do fall under the eligible categories and are interested in applying for the Golden Visa, read our guide here, which will give you a breakdown on the entire process.
The Green Visa, awarded to those living or working in the UAE for at least five years without the need for a sponsor, provides a permanent residency permit without a sponsorship.
After visa cancellation or expiry, a six-month grace period is provided for the sponsoring of first degree relatives. These individuals are eligible to apply:
- Applicant should obtain a freelance/self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).
- Minimum educational level should be bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma.
- Annual income from self-employment for the previous two years should not be less than Dh360,000, or that the applicant proves financial solvency throughout his or her stay in the country
- Applicants should have a valid employment contract.
- They should be classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per MOHRE.
- Minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
- Salary should not be less than Dh15,000.
Investors and partners
- Under this category, too, a sponsor will not be required for the holder of the Green Residency.
Higher education has become very popular in the UAE over the past few years due to the large number of international universities, a diverse student body, and a safe environment for students.
The student visa in the UAE is sponsored by the university but is administered and issued by the national General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) on each Emirate.
Students may stay on UAE visas for one year. They must provide official proof of their academic programme’s continuation in order to renew their visas.
The retirement visa is issued by Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), which means it’s only available in Dubai. Other Emirates haven’t introduced a retirement visa yet.
The retiree must be at least 55 years old to apply for this visa. It lasts for five years and can be renewed.
Company Shareholder Visa
If you want to establish a business or are listed as a shareholder, you may apply for a regular investor visa. A company shareholder visa is valid for three years.
Golden Visa for Real Estate Investors
Individuals who invest in real estate in the UAE and later obtain a Golden Visa can also qualify, but they must satisfy one of the following requirements:
- To qualify for a Golden Visa, an investment of at least Dh2 million in real estate must have been made.
- Investors may also qualify for a Golden Visa if they have taken out a loan from a local bank for the purchase of a property worth at least Dh2 million.
- Investors who buy an off-plan property worth at least Dh2 million from one of the five approved local real estate firms may also qualify for a Golden Visa.
Golden Visa for Entrepreneurs
To apply for a Golden visa, an entrepreneur must meet one of the following requirements:
- An entrepreneur must own or be a partner in a UAE-based start-up that is small or medium sized (SME) and generates more than Dh1m in annual revenue.
- An entrepreneur seeking to start a UAE-based start-up must first obtain approval from an incubator or local officials of the Ministry of Economy.
- If the person is a founder or one of the founders of a previous venture that was sold for more than Dh7m. Approval from local government or the Ministry of Economy is needed for ideas or projects.
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