UAE or Dubai? Which is which? Some of you might be wondering why I had to put both in the title. This is for the benefit of some people who are still confused between the two. To make it clear, United Arab Emirates is a country with seven smaller ‘emirates’ aka States and Dubai is one of those states. I think one of the reasons why people think Dubai is a country is because it is a popular destination for migrant workers from all over the world (Yes, not just for Filipinos!).
Anyway, not everyone is there to try to find a job. A lot of people are there to see the tallest building in the world with 259 floors that is Burj Khalifa. Some want to try the 4x4 off-road experience at the Dubai Desert and some just want to experience the posh shopping, dining, nightlife, and lifestyle that UAE has to offer. For those who want to do that, I’m here to give you a step-by-step guide on how you could get that tourist visa :)
FIRST THING TO KNOW WHEN APPLYING FOR A UAE VISIT VISA
Getting a Visit Visa for UAE is pretty easy as it could take only a few days. But at first glance, it seems rather complicated because you need a sponsor:
1. it is someone who is presently residing at UAE be it a friend, a relative, colleague, or an acquaintance;
2. A hotel; Read more: Our guide on Booking for Refundable Hotel Reservations
4. Or Travel agency.
B,C, and D are easy to find so don’t stress yourself out if you don’t know anyone from there.
TYPES OF UAE VISA
Before getting into the details, find out which visa is applicable for you. Know how long exactly you are going to stay in Dubai and who is going to sponsor you so you can select the appropriate visa. Also always check the link I gave as the rules change from time to time.
Transit Visa- The UAE's airlines handle transit visa for 96-hours valid for 14 days from the date of issue provided that A. You have a valid passport and a confirmed onward booking to the 3rd destination; B. You must leave the UAE within 96 hours of arrival or 14 days after the visa was issued; and C. You must have a confirmed hotel reservation in the UAE.
Visit Visa (long term/short term)- Visit visa is one sponsored by family members or relatives or friends. It can be obtained by a resident sponsor living in the UAE. The short-term visit visas are valid for 30 days, while the long-term visas are valid for 90 days.
Tourist Visa- Tourist visa is a special category of visa under visit visa, which could be obtained by eligible individual tourists around the world. With this type of visa, you can stay in UAE for 30 days. The visa requires sponsorship of UAE airlines, hotels and tour operators who bring in visitors.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED IN APPLYING FOR UAE TOURIST VISA
Once you’re done with the first part, the rest is going to be easy breezy. Just prepare the following documents and send them to your sponsor and they will take care of the rest of the process:
1) A scanned copy of your passport’s bio page and last page. (Be it noted that it shall be valid for 6 more months from the date of intended travel);
2) Scanned colored passport-size photo with white background;
4) Visa fee; and
5) If someone sponsors you from the UAE, a copy of their Resident Visa and their Emirates ID Card.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS FOR UAE TOURIST VISA
1) Round Trip flight ticket (This is needed when you’re getting your visa through a specific airline);
2) Hotel bookings (Also needed when you’re getting your visa through a hotel);
3) If you’re traveling with your minor child, the minor’s birth certificate;
4) If applying for a transit visa, hotel reservation and onward/return flight ticket.
NOTE: If you’re booking through a travel agency, they may require you to provide additional documents.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT UAE TOURIST VISA
1. How will I know if a hotel can sponsor me?
Just check their website. If there’s nothing written, then you may send them an email directly.
2. How much is the visa fee?
3) Can I work in UAE with my Tourist/Visit Visa?
No way and please don’t do it! It’s illegal!
4) Can I apply for a multiple entry visa?
5) Can I renew or extend a Visit Visa?
No. Visit Visas are only valid for their duration. Before it’s expiration, you have to exit the UAE and may re-enter on a new visa if you meet the requirements.
6) What are the consequences of overstaying?
You may face legal consequences and be asked to pay a fine. There is also a possibility that you will not be granted the visa on your re-application.
7) What if I have a diplomatic passport?
You must apply through the diplomatic channel.
8) What if I have a service and emergency passport?
You should approach the UAE Embassy to apply for a UAE visa before your intended travel.
9) Is it advisable to get the services of a travel agency?
If you do not have any friend/relative in the UAE who can sponsor you and if you don’t want to apply with hotels/airlines, then you have no choice but to avail their services.
10) Do I need to have a travel insurance?
It is not necessary but I always recommend getting one. You’ll never know what can happen along the road so do yourself a favor and get the one from World Nomads. I highly recommend them!
Please do note that the Visa Application Tips that I am posting are all for free. But if you need a little more assistance, I can give you a one-on-one travel coaching for a minimal fee-- it’s a lot cheaper than getting it through a travel agency. Together, we can go through your documents, fill in what’s missing, practice for the interview, and work together for you to get that visa!
Despite all the visa application challenges with my Philippines Passport, I did everything on my own and I have already visited 100 countries-- so I’m sure you can trust me on this one!
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