UAE VISA (DUBAI VISA): Requirements & How to Apply

This post contains information on how to get a UAE visa if you’re traveling as a tourist, visiting a friend or family, or transiting on your way to another destination. If you’re flying to Dubai, Abu Dhabi or any of the other emirates for work or any purpose other than leisure, this guide won’t be of help.

One of the highlights of last year for me was my short stop in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I was there for two reasons: to visit one of my closest friends, who moved to Dubai a few years ago, and to take advantage of a stopover. I was coming from a longer trip around Morocco and Turkey, and my flight back to Manila (Philippines) was connecting at Dubai Airport, so I decided to just seize the opportunity and stay there for over a week.

UAE Visa is probably the easiest visa we got. It was expensive, but it was relatively effortless, especially given that we have a friend in Dubai, who served as a sponsor.

Yep, sponsor. If you’re applying for a UAE Visa, you need a sponsor. It can be a family member, a colleague, or a friend. This will make things a lot easier. If you don’t know anyone there, an airline, hotel, or travel agency can sponsor you.

In the beginning, we had a difficult time figuring out the process. There’s just so much info online and they somewhat say different things because they serve their own interest. For example, some UAE-based airlines also offer visa services but they require flight tickets booked with them. Dozens of hotels are also authorized to process visas, but many of them require that book rooms with them (for obvious reasons). In this post, I’ll try to summarize everything so you have all possible options.

Who needs a UAE Visa?

Since I am a Philippine passport-holder, I had to secure a visa first before entering UAE. Not everyone needs a visa, though.

  • If you’re a citizen of any member-state of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), no visa is needed. Here are the six GCC members: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar*. I’m putting an asterisk on Qatar because although it is a member, its diplomatic ties with UAE and other members have been severed in a rift that began in June 2017.
  • Visa-on-arrival is available free-of-charge for the citizens of the following countries:
    EUROPE: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, UK, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Finland, Spain, Monaco, Vatican, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria,
    ASIA: Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore
    OTHERS: United States, Australia, New Zealand

For the rest of us, a visa is required.

Note that this doesn’t get affixed to your passport. A regular 30-day tourist visa must be used within 60 days from the date of issuance.

Types of UAE Visa

Travelers visiting the UAE for leisure has three visa types to choose from depending on your purpose and travel duration.

  • Visit Visa, if you’re traveling to UAE to visit an immediate family member who is a resident of the UAE (sponsor). The family member must be earning more than AED 4000 or AED 3000 + accommodation. The sponsor should be the one to apply for you.
  • Tourist Visa, if you’re visiting a distant relative or friend or if you don’t know anyone there. The regular single-entry visa can let you stay for up to 30 days, although a multiple-entry visa is also available. If you know someone in UAE, it would be faster and easier if they apply for you. But if you have no connections, you can get a visa via an airline, hotel, or travel agency. (More info about that below)
  • Transit visa, if you’re visiting UAE for at least 8 hours but not longer than 4 days (including the arrival and departure days). This can also be pre-arranged. This visa can be used within 14 days from the issue date.

Here’s a quick summary of the validity, maximum number of days allowed, and costs per visa type. I’m also indicating a range of prices per type. Rates vary greatly, depending on where you apply.

As of July 2017

None of these visas can be extended.

Important: In a memo released on June 2, 2017, Dubai’s Immigration has ordered agencies to stop accepting applications for 90-day visit visas from Filipino and Pakistani citizens for the next 3 months. Not sure if this will be restored in the future but until further notice, this option is no longer available for travelers from the Philippines and Pakistan.

UAE Visa requirements

The following are the required documents when applying for a UAE visa. These are the basic requirements.

Your sponsor may add more. For example, if you book your visa via Etihad Airways, they will ask for Etihad flight tickets. If you book with a hotel, they can demand that you reserve a room with them. Travel agencies often don’t have these extra reqs, but as I scanned prices, I found theirs to be a bit more expensive. Some agencies ask for flight and reservations too, some don’t. The agency where we applied didn’t ask for these so we didn’t submit.

Anyway, here are the required documents when applying for a UAE (Dubai) visa:

  • Clear scanned passport copy (the bio page and the last page). Must have at least 6 months validity.
  • Scanned colored passport-size photo. 4.3 x 5.5cm. White background. At least 80% of your face must be visible.
  • Accomplished application form. It is usually the sponsor (travel agency, host) who does this.
  • Visa fee

If you’re sponsored by someone in the UAE, they will also be asked for a copy of their Resident Visa and their Emirates ID (resident card).

If you’re a parent traveling with a minor (18 years old and below), you must also submit a copy of birth certificate of the minor

If applying for a transit visa, a hotel reservation and onward flight ticket are usually collected too.

Search for Dubai Hotels

Additional requirements if visiting immediate family (visit visa):

  • If sponsored by a wife or husband: marriage contract attested from Ministry of Foreign Affairs or UAE Embassy
  • If you’re a minor getting sponsored by a parent in UAE, attested birth certificates
  • If your relationship with sponsor cannot be proven from family names displayed on the sponsor’s and the invited relative’s passports: Relationship proof attested from the Embassy
  • If your sponsor works for a private company: Attested work contract
  • If your sponsor is a UAE government employee: a salary certificate


The following documents are NOT required. These are often ignored, but the travel agency or sponsor may ask for in order to speed up processing of your visa.

  • If you have traveled to UAE within the past year, a copy of the entry and exit stamps on your passport
  • If you have traveled to the USA, UK, Schengen countries, Canada, Russia, Australia or New Zealand within the past 5 years, submit a copy of your visas.

Where to submit your application?

Once you have all the documents, it’s time to find a “sponsor”.

Like I said earlier, a sponsor can be a family member or a friend living in UAE. It will be much faster if they take care of the application. Just send them your papers. But if you don’t know anyone there, an airline, hotel, or travel agency in UAE can serve as your sponsor.

Etihad. You can apply here.
Emirates. More info here.

Most 3-star hotels (and up) are able to process UAE visas. So if you’re already eyeing a hotel, send them an email if they also offer visa services because there’s a big chance that they do.

You may also check their official website. For example, Jumeira Group — which owns and runs the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah Living World Trade Centre Residence, Jumeirah Creekside Hotel — provides plenty of visa info on their website. If you would be staying at any of them, you may apply here.

In our case, my friend in Dubai who took care of our application went to a travel agency and it went smoothly. We didn’t run into any problem. You can also avail of their services if you don’t know anyone. Here are the details of the agency that processed our application:

Tel No. : 00971-4224-3902
Address: Al Ghurair Mall (Opposite Rayhaan Rotana Hotel), Deira, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

That’s it! We got our visa after only 1 day. 😍

If you’re a Filipino, UAE is a destination that usually raises a red flag for Philippine Immigration officers. If you’re concerned about getting offloaded, please read this post: How to Avoid Getting offloaded.

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  1. Imran says:

    Hello here,
    I’m a Srilankan I need to visit dubai the purpose for work after I visit if I got any job offer ai need to transfer work visa workouts exit UAE so let me know which type of visa I should Apply.

  2. Ryan Biddulph says:

    Good stuff Yoshke. As a US citizen I have it easy 😉 Getting into Qatar – neighboring of course – was easy as pie. Not expensive, not free, $30 or something like that for us. It was a visa on arrival so the process flowed smoothly. Love those UAE lands. Fascinating places.

  3. ann says:

    Very informative ! btw, im planning to have my visa processed by travel agency in dubai, my concern is that since the they only issue an electronic visa, do you think this is acceptable by the Philippine immigration? coz i read that some were offloaded saying Pink visa or orginal is needed?

    Hope to hear from you.

    • Hi Ann. To be honest, in our case, we didn’t present the original pink visa, just a printed out online copy. We didn’t run into any trouble. However, we also heard stories (other travelers) na hindi daw nga tinanggap kung hindi original. So my advice is to just get the original copy to be safe.

  4. Joana Marie Quinola says:

    Hi thank you for the info very informative and helpful.! Just would like to ask if you also provide security deposit going to dubai? Thank you hope to hear from you soon

  5. Banana says:

    Hi. You said a friend in Dubai processed you visa there? Would you know how much? And may we know the agency name?

  6. mia says:

    hi…. i just want to know what is a “PINK VISA”, i got mine with the help of a travel agency and they only gave me a copy that looks like the one you posted on a short bond paper size. is there any other copy? and also is it ok if i fold the paper in an envelope size for easy carrying?

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Mia! The pink visa is the original copy of the visa. We’ve heard from other commenters that Immigration asks for this, but in our experience, we just presented a printed our copy of the visa emailed to us and they accepted it. So we’re not sure if it’s really a requirement. If you can secure a pink copy, that would be best.

      • mia says:

        thanks! also is it ok if i fold the paper in an envelope size for easy carrying? do i have to print extra copies? are you gonna surrender a copy to the immigration officer?

        • Yoshke Dimen says:

          Hi Mia. In my experience, they did not take a copy. They just looked at it and gave it back to me. Not sure about folding, but I think it’s okay.

        • mae says:

          Hi Mia,

          Ask ko lang if nakapag-travel ka to Dubai using the printed e-visa?
          Tinanggap ba ng immigration dito sa pinas?


  7. Jake says:

    Hi, I’m planning to go to Dubai this coming July 2018. Let’s say my girlfriend process the visa for me, do I still need to book a hotel or accommodation to show to the Dubai immigration? I will be coming from Singapore after a 4 days trip.

    Any advise will really help.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Jake, sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. (I wasn’t asked, but Vins was.)

      But it’s generally best practice that you have hotel booking in case they look for it.

  8. gisel says:

    hi! just like to ask did Welcome travels buy tickets for you too? or just the visa?

  9. Jake says:

    Hi, I posted a comment yesterday and I’m afraid that its been deleted or what not. Anyways, would like to know if you were asked for a Hotel reservation or accommodation when you pass through immigration in Dubai?

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      It wasn’t deleted. All comments are held for moderation, and it takes time for us to read all the comments as we get lots a day.

  10. Sandy says:

    Hi. My boyfriend and I is planning to visit her sister in UAE, in Abu Dhabi to be specific. So how many visit visas does her sister needs to get? Will that be 2 also? Or on visa for the me and my bf already? Just asking since we are now calculating for the whole cost for the trip. And we really dont have any idea.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      I have no idea either. Your bf definitely should apply for a visit visa because he’s visiting immediate family.

    • Tey says:

      Hi. We have the same scenario but in our case the one sponsoring us is my auntie and my boyfriend will join me. What happened to your application? What visa granted to him? Thank you.

  11. Adrian says:

    Hi, when applying for the visa, are you allowed to choose a multiple entry tourist / visit visa? I’m asking cause I’m planning to visit my uncle in Dubai, then I’m going to fly to Russia then back to Dubai. I need to make sure I can get a multiple entry tourist visa. Many thanks.

  12. farah says:

    i submitted visa through a agency and he assured i would get visa within 2 days but its almost 3rd day is going to be end still he is saying it is in the last phase and neither giving me the application ID. How can i come to know that he really submitted the application,

  13. edc says:

    hello! thank you for the info. if i were to make certificate of employment as a supporting document for the visa, to whom shall i address it? thank you!

  14. Meldy Arienda says:

    Hi Yoshke, is it possible to get the contact person from Welcome Travels. I really would like to get into a partnership on visa sponsorship. Appreciate your prompt response. Thanks.

  15. H says:

    Do you still need to apply for a transit visa if it’s shorter than 8 hours?

  16. Jay Jay says:

    Hello. this will be my first travel abroad. to be specific DUBAI. I’ll be travelling with my cousin which is 8 years old only. But her parents are both working there. what should i do?
    P.S: My cousin has been travelling from manila to dubai twice and been stayed there for atleast 1 year and 3 months. Thank you for your honest response.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      You will still need a visa. Best if yung parents nya ung magpo-process kasi andun na sila.

      But please make sure you also secure a DSWD clearance since you’re traveling with a minor without either parent.

  17. Tey says:

    Hi Sir,
    ‘yung friend po ba na nag sponsor sa pagkuha nyo ng visa ay filipino or UAE national? Upon reading po kasi kapag hindi immediate family ang mag sponsor, kailangan UAE national lang. Is this true po? Thank you and hoping for your response.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Tey, yung sa amin ay friend na Pinoy. Pero this was 2016 so hindi ko alam if naging strict na sila since then.

  18. Chris B says:

    Hello! I have questions po. I have a relative in Saudi Arabia who can sponsor my visit visa. But I’m really planning to go to Dubai. Is it okay? Or do I need to go to Saudi first before going to Dubai?

    I have friends in Dubai but Im planning to get a 90days visa kasi. Any suggestion/s? Thanks po!

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