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.

In June 2018, the UAE Government approved the waiving of fees for transit visas for 48 hours. However, I have no idea about details of this: until when it will be implemented or what requirements are needed. The announcement, however, states that transit visa may be extended for up to 96 hours for a fee of AED 50.

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. Update (Oct 2018): This has been restored.


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.


Additional requirements for visit visa

Additional requirements if visiting immediate family:

  • 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

Optional Documents

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 UAE VISA 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.

UAE-based Airlines

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

UAE Hotels

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.

UAE Travel Agencies

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:

WELCOME TRAVELS LLC
Tel No. : 00971-4224-3902
Email: welcomettc@gmail.com
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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Yoshke Dimen

Yoshke Dimen

Storyteller at Yoshke.com
Yoshke is a part-time digital marketing consultant, part-time travel blogger, and full-time dreamer. He has three passions in life: social media, travel, and --- wait for it --- world peace. Yoshke has won 3 PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS and received 9 nominations. Learn more about his personal journeys at Yoshke.com.
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Comments

  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:

    hi,
    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?

          Thanks!

  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!

  19. Saysay says:

    Hi Po. Good evening. I have a questions po. This year lang Month of May pumunta kami ng Foreigner Boyfriend ko sa Hongkong, Thailand, at Singapore. And this coming October po pupunta po kami ng Dubai with his mom for 7 nights and 8 days. Tapos doon na po kami magkikita sa Dubai at wala po akong work kasi nag aaral po ako. Ano po ba yung dapat na requirements na e submit ko since I am a student(Aside sa Student ID, certificate of enrollment) and since my sponsor is my boyfriend, Ano po yung mga documents na hingin ko sa boyfriend ko para Magamit ko sa tourist visa or maipakita ko sa immigration officer. Kumbaga ayoko na syang pumunta pa ng PHILIPPINES because malayo na kasi pag nag travel pa sya papuntang Philippines bali 48 hours na in one way, aside sa 15 hours from their home to dubai. Natatakot kasi akong ma offload sa immigration. Thank you. Hoping matulungan nyo po ako. God bless u po.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Saysay! Pagdating sa visa, as you can see sa taas, very straightforward naman ang UAE visa application. Wala masyadong documents na kailangan. Read na lang sa taas.

      Mas tricky ang PH Immigration kasi if I remember correctly, Dubai is a hotspot for them. Are you flying to Dubai alone?

  20. Lasyl says:

    Hi, just want to know some details if you know for the one who will go to Dubai with Working/Entry visa. Is it gonna be hard compared to those who have visit visa? Please need some who knows.

  21. Janelle says:

    Nag email na po ako sa welcome travels and Shabab (travel agent) replied me na sa whatsapp lang kami mag commuicate. But I don’t feel safe replying him through whatsapp. I would like to hear po yung opinion about this. Thanks

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Janelle, I have no opinion about it. It wasn’t us but our friend in Dubai who submitted the documents to them, so I have no idea about how they do business. But we got our visa and it was accepted by Immigration.

  22. Marie says:

    Hi, do you have an idea how I could get a multiple entry visa. I will go to 10 day cruise with the family of my boyfriend. the list of the route includes Oman, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and etc. You think that the Cruise Company could fix my visa if the Cruise is already booked?

  23. joe says:

    hi po good afternoon po..may concern po sana ako..my pinsan po kasi ako na nagwowork sa dubai and gusto ko sana na mgpatulong in order for me na makakuha din ng work dun ang kaso mejo busy xa or should i say wla tlga xang time pra mtulungan ako n mkakuha ng visit visa..tanong ko lng po sna madali bng mkakuha ng visa if in case n ako lng ung mgpapaprocess nun at roughly estimation mga mgkano kya ang mgagastos ska po bka nmn pwede nyo akong mbigyan ng agency n pdeng mgprocess nung visa ko po or any concern n maipapayo nla saken..
    thank you

  24. Emz says:

    Good day po. pde po ba mg ask kng anung legit agency na ode applyan ng tourist visa for dubai na mei ksama ng accommodation. Thankn you

  25. Elai says:

    HI! Is there any accredited travel agency here in the Philippines na nag aayos ng visa?

  26. Jheyann says:

    Hi, just want to clarify.

    Kung yung expiration ng visa is magstart once dumating na sa dubai? Like yung validity is 2 months (example, Oct na-release validity is until Dec) but then you will leave the ph dec pa then will return January. Is the visa still valid til Jan? Thank you for the response.

    I’m a follower of your blog. All the best!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Jheyann, the validity of the visa is different from the duration of stay. The length of stay depends on what you’re applying for. The standard visa is good for a 30-day stay. A 90-day-stay visa is available now too, but I think you have to justify why you need to stay that long.

  27. Chacha says:

    Hi my bf currently suffered from a serious car accident in abu dhabi, thank God he survived. But I think he is going through depression ever since the accident. He is not in good terms with this family and so he’s been badly asking me to visit him there in UAE. He works there with a single entry, unlimited years visa so leaving uae to have a vacation in the philippines or anywhere else outside uae wouldn’t be a good choice. Best thing is for me to visit him there so he offered to sponsor all my expenses just to get there. What worries me most is that I’m currently unemployed, I just worked as an online marketer but income wasnt good there. Does the uae embassy also asked for some kind of show money? And will they also asked about my work and income? I did have some travel experience outside the country, I was able to travel Japan alone before (which was sponsored by my ex bf) and last month I was able to get a 10yr tourist visa for USA with my parents (but this time sponsored by my parents). Will these visas help me get one for uae? So sorry for the long message, I just want to fill you in what I have and maybe you can suggest something to help get me a visa. This is just so rush for me, if it’s not because of the accident I wouldnt be rushing on visiting him in uae since I have plans of applying as a flight attendant.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Chacha, I don’t think your income matters in the visa application. Your occupation will be displayed on your visa, but they usually don’t ask for proof.

      However, even if you’re able to get a visa, you still have to go through PH Immigration, which is by far stricter. If you’re unemployed and your destination is Dubai, you’re likely to undergo secondary inspection because UAE is a “hotspot” destination for them. In this case, you will have to provide proof of your relationship with sponsor and proof of employment/financial capability of your sponsor.

  28. Jeffrey Viri says:

    Hello Yoshke,

    Thanks for providing information on UAE Visa. I’m planning to visit Turkey this April 2019 and since im only transiting, do you have news kung effective na ung new policy regarding waiving of fees for transit visas for 48 hours extended to 96 hours at AED 50. I plan to have a stopover in Dubai for 4 days. Is it upon arrival in Dubai?

  29. Quennie says:

    Sir, question lang.. Mag stopover kami at Dubai for 8hrs and we’re planning to meet our friend (living in Dubai) inside the airport. Do we still need to get a transit visa since lalagpas parin kami sa immigration? Thank you sir.

  30. Helloha says:

    Hi. Even if I don’t have any sponsor in Dubai, I can still apply through the travel agency you mentioned right? Usually 1 day lang ba processing nila?

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Helloha, ang alam ko, yep.

      Di ko sure though because yung friend ko sa Dubai yung nag-apply for us. She just shared with us ung details nung agency kung saan sya nag-apply.

  31. Amore says:

    Hi! sir good morning, me and my cousin are planning to apply visa in dubai tru her sister sponsoring it, 1st cousin po kami by father side, but im illegitimate child so my papers are no proof na mgpinsan po kami, so anu po ba dapat ko applyan na visa? since visit visa is for immediate family at ako po matatawag na hindi immediate family kasi nga no proof. pwde po bang parehas na visa applyan namin ng pinsan ko or iba2 kami ng visa peru isang tao lang mg sponsor at pwde bang sabay kami umalis ng pinsan ko.? slamat po at sanay masagot po itong tanong ko. god bless po.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Amore, di ko po alam pag ganyan. Pero hopefully ung ibang readers namin may idea sila.

  32. Harry says:

    Hi Yoshke, I have traveled to UAE (Dubai) last October 2017 but it was sponsored by my employer. I am planning to travel back to UAE but at my own expense. I have relatives working there and I am planning to apply for a tourist visa and look for a job there. I do not want to involve my relatives with my application.

    Will it be possible that my application be denied even if I already had a visa before?

    Hope you can response. Thank you

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Harry, there’s always that chance naman. Pero malaking-malaki na yung probability that you’ll be granted a visa if may visa ka na before.

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