Skip to content

UAE Visa Options: What’s the Right Choice for You?

uae visas

If you’re looking into moving to the UAE or staying in the UAE for more than just a few months, then you will want to consider your visa options. There are different types of visas in the UAE, and having one is important if you want some freedom in the country without limitations you’d have as a visitor.

In the UAE, a visa is more than just a permit to enter; it’s an official document that grants authorization for travel and stay in the United Arab Emirates. Unlike some other countries, obtaining a visa here is exclusively facilitated through sponsorship by a legal entity.

The exceptions to this sponsorship rule are Visit Visa, Freelance Visa, and Investor Visa, where individuals can represent themselves in the application process. Understanding these nuances is crucial as you navigate the various visa options available in the UAE.

Professional Disclaimer

The rules and laws in the UAE are subject to constant changes and updates. It is crucial to always double-check the current regulations independently. As a human, I am not immune to mistakes, and the information provided here should not be considered as legal or professional advice.

The insights shared are derived from my personal experiences, online research, and discussions with family and friends. For accurate and up-to-date information, it is recommended to consult official sources or seek professional advice when necessary.

Importance of Visas

In the UAE, the scope of activities available on Visit/Tourist Visas is quite limited. As a visitor or tourist, your options are mainly confined to booking a hotel, renting a car (with the rental office possibly requiring your original passport), obtaining a temporary phone number, and engaging in a few tourist activities. However, these activities represent the legal extent of what you can do under this type of visa.

If your plans in the UAE extend beyond these basic activities – like renting an apartment, purchasing a car, opening a bank account, making investments, or pursuing studies – then having a specific visa becomes essential.

The perks of having a visa extend beyond just legal access; in the UAE, everything is interconnected through your Emirates ID Card (EID), linking your health insurance, passport details, visa number, and licenses. This interconnected system proves to be remarkably convenient, especially when you find yourself in need of a document without a physical copy on hand.

The UAE pass app

There is an app called UAE PASS in the UAE this app is like a smart log in for all UAE’s official legal websites that you log in by confirming on your phone whenever you log in to a website.

Types of Visas

In the UAE Visas are of many different types they are listed as follows;

Visit Visa

You represent yourself for 30 days legally for 30 days and it can be renewed by leaving the UAE and entering again click here to book a ride cross the border.

Cost: Free
Documents: Passport

Tourist Visa

Travel Agencies represent you and there for you must check their policies. You will always receive it as an electronic document. Depending on the duration and rather you are renewing or getting the Tourist visa from inside or outside the UAE.

Difference between renewing inside and outside

It is much cheaper to get it from outside the country, and if you are renewing you will need to leave out of the country and comeback.

Cost: starting from 550 AED to 1450
Duration: starting from 30 days to 90 days
Documents: Photo, passport copy, Visa copy (for renew)

Work Visa

(A company sponsors you for the duration agreed upon in the job offer usually 1 to 2 years but can be renewed or extended)

Cost: varies but the company is supposed to cover the cost.
Duration: 1 to 2 years although there are exceptions.
Documents: photo, passport copy, educational documents stamped by MOFA (ministry of Foreign affairs UAE).

There is a service offered to pay a company to sponsor you click here for more information.

Investor Visa

(You invest into the UAE and receive the investors visa representing your self but the duration is not like the Work Visa)

Cost: varies starting from 6000
Duration: 2 years
Documents: proof of investment, bank details (including 6 months bank statements), establishment card, Memorandum Papers (MOA) as evidence of the ownership stake, photo, trade license copy.

Student Visa

(The student Visa is sponsored by the University for 1 year it can be renewed or extended)

Cost: starts at 2000 AED
Duration: 1 Year
Documents: passport copy, photo, admission offer from university, bank statements, Copy of tuition.

Medical Visa

(in this case, the guarantor/host is one of the nation’s officially recognized medical facilities)

Cost: varies starting from 2000
Duration: least 90 days
Documents: A personal photo, passport copy, medical report.

Golden Visa (Sponsor your self)

Cost: varies emirate to emirate
Duration: 5 or 10 years 
Documents: The documents will vary depending on the type of golden visa you are eligible for.

The Golden Visa is relatively new to the UAE only officially starting from 2019, it is very sought after as it gives many expats the freedom and ease of mind not having to renew their visas every 2 years. some other benefits of having a Golden Visa is its independent from employers so if you change jobs often or are working projects you dont have to worry about unstable visa status. the Golden Visa offers independence and longer stays for cheaper but that’s all the benefits the Golden Visa offers up until this point.

Family Visa

Cost: usually around 3500
Duration: 1 or 2 years
Documents: sponsor’s passport, EID (Emirates ID), attested ejari (tenancy contract), marriage certificate attested, applicant passport, birth certificate, Medical Insurance.

These are the main types of visas but there are sub visas and different durations for each type of visa, an example of this is the newly introduced Golden Visa which is a type of residence visa given to specific people of certain categories.

Now unless you are a local or UAE citizen you will need a visa some nationalities get them on arrival or visit visa as it is commonly called. For those looking for a longer duration than the standard 30-day visit visa they can either get a tourist visa which is a service we do provide click here for more details.

It is important that you know about the different visas and their benefits, as well as which ones you are eligible for because sometimes you can be cutting your self short. An example is one of my customers was under his father’s Family Visa and he wanted to start working at a company the company offered to give a Work Visa but he would have to cancel his Family Visa.

This was a mistake he had to learn the hard way, as he lost his Family Visa benefits like (Insurance) and the company did not renew his contract which left him without a visa as he already was over the age allowed for men to be sponsored by their fathers. The better option for him would have been to take the part time contract which allows him to keep his current visa and work for a different company, of course terms and conditions do apply. It is Important to be fully aware of those terms and conditions and benefits and harms before deciding on any visa. 

In fact, we provide all services regarding visas here and you can click here to book a free consultation for up to 20 minutes this will help us guide you to the best option for your situation.

Disclaimer: UAE is a rapidly progressing country which often means changes of laws, rules, cost, and procedures. This information given on is not legal advice and you should most likely contact us to make sure it is as per the latest update.

Visa Penalties 

In the UAE from the day, you enter the country or establish a new visa in the country the daily count down starts, it is important for everyone to keep track of this as from the first day of exceeding your allowed stay. In other words, after your 90 days are up day 91 you stand to be fined 50 AED per day. 

Visa runs

A visa run is crossing the border to renew your Visit Visa or change status. Change status is a necessary step all tourist or visitors must do when changing from tourist to residence. You can do a visa run from any border that connects with UAE as long as you can cross into that country with a visa on arrival. Visa runs are mostly done through UAE/Oman border.

visa runs, visa runs I could write a whole blog post about visa runs alone. that’s not to say its complicated but I have personally done so many with family and friends. they can be quite the adventure. in the UAE there are 5 popular borders that can be crossed by car, three that connect with Oman and one with Saudi Arabia, and one with Qatar which isn’t so popular. this offers for a new adventure each visa run, although I wouldn’t recommend last minute testing with Saudi and Qatar Borders. Oman is by far the most popular choice for expats in the UAE. Hatta Dubai border vs Musandam border in RAK. personally I prefer RAKs border because the drive feels shorter, and way less traffic and in the past you could walk across the border by foot. Hatta’s border in the past was very long even after you exited UAE you would have to drive another 10 to 15 minutes to the next border control, but a lot has changed though, and since Covid-19 they stopped all walking across the borders so much for visa runs more like visa drives.

You can do the visa run for 85 AED, 35 AED on UAE’s side to exit and 50 AED Oman’s side. But please note before going you need to be in a vehicle and if you go with a friends car without the friend they will request an official letter showing you have permission to drive it or NOL (NO OBJECTION LETTER). There are tourist buses that take people across, and then you can also book private cars which we do offer here at American Wasta.

Clearing fines

If you have a fine it blocks you from doing many things in the UAE such as, getting new visa, renewing, and leaving the country. If you get the fines for not renewing or changing visa, or leaving the country the sponsor can put a block on your passport which they only can lift which often times they may charge a fee which is completely up to them.

You can pay your fines, online, through government offices, or at the airport. Note that depending on the emirate of entry or the emirate you received your visa from you must clear the fines in that emirate.

If your fines have exceeded 4000 AED and you can not afford to pay you can apply to get a fine reduction, click here if you would like to reduce fines using our services.

Need help with UAE visas?

I trust you found this article helpful in navigating the nuances of UAE visas. As someone who’s called the UAE home for the past 17 years, I’m Qadr Brown, and I’m here to be your go-to guide for all things UAE.

If you’re a newcomer to the UAE or have additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m offering a FREE 20-minute consultation to address your queries and provide personalized insights. Book your session now, and let’s make your UAE experience seamless and enjoyable!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *