VISAs in the UAE

The movement of foreigners is tightly regulated in the UAE and the issuing of Visas and permits is subject to a strict series of bureaucratic procedures. There are some circumstances when a Visa is not required but it all depends on where you from and for how long you wish to stay in the country. The citizens of some nations will be exempt from needing one if they plan on being in the country for only 30 days. This period can be extended to 90 days but approval from the authorities must be granted first. Citizens of most European nations, the USA, Australia and the UK fall under this category. For UK citizens your passport must make it clear that you are a British citizen before you are allowed access.

Whilst in the country all visitors must adhere to a strict set of rules. You must have a valid return ticket to your home country in your possession, have a passport with a minimum of three months remaining and those wishing to stay on longer need six months left on their passport. You must always have a form of ID in your possession as the authorities often carry out spot checks. If in the country for work you should carry ID and an appropriate residency Visa.

How to get a VISA

Visa requirements in the UAE change on a regular basis so it’s a good idea with the UAE embassy in your country or check out their website.  If you’re moving to the country to work then your employer should act as a sponsor and arrange all of the necessary Visas and permits needed. The cost of the Visa is often paid for by your new employer.

As an expat the most likely Visa you will need is the residence Visa and a labour card. To obtain these, you must first undergo a medical examination. Non-westerners tend to be given more thorough medical then westerners. If you pass the medical you will granted the Visa and card. The labour card will act as a type of ID and is to be carried at all times. Residence Visas are relatively easy to renew. New arrivals to the country should stay in the country for the first six months of their stay.


The UAE government wants to protect the nation’s status quo and to not compromise its cultural values by allowing foreigners to become a permanent part of society. The only route to becoming a citizen is to marry a citizen of the UAE, however even this does not guarantee you being accepted, especially for Non-Muslims.  In exceptional circumstances a sheik of the UAE might grant citizenship to a foreigner who has provided excellent service to the country over a long period of time.

Children of foreigners born in Dubai don’t have rights of local citizenship and automatically assume the nationality of the parents. If the father is a national of Dubai, the child will usually be granted local nationality and may later become a national of Dubai and obtain a local passport.