How many types of visas are there in the UAE?

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Dubai: Do you want to live in the UAE without a sponsor or visit the UAE multiple times with one visa?

The UAE visa and entry permit system offers all of these options, as well as long-term residency visas for special categories and visas for investors and entrepreneurs.

Whether you’re planning a vacation, looking for a job to live in the UAE, or want to start a business, here are all your visa options.

Visit the UAE

Before planning a trip to the UAE, you should check whether you need to apply for a visit visa in advance, as some nationalities can obtain a visa on arrival.

If you want to know if you are eligible for a visa on arrival, click here.

If you are not eligible for a visa on arrival, here are your options:

1. Transit visa – for 48 or 96 hours

If you have a short layover at an airport in the UAE, you can apply for a 48-hour or 96-hour transit visa. You can obtain the visa from the UAE-based airline you are traveling with or from a travel agency.

However, it is important to note that transit visas are not extendable or renewable and you must leave the UAE within 48 or 96 hours of arrival.

2. Tourist visa – 30 days or 90 days

Depending on how long you plan to spend your vacation in the UAE, a 30 or 90 day tourist visa can be issued and it will allow you single or multiple entries. You can apply for a tourist visa via:

• Airline company
• Travel agencies or hotels
• Family or friends who can sponsor the tourist visa

• The online platforms of the immigration authorities in the United Arab Emirates – Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) or General Directorate of Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai.

For a detailed guide on how to obtain a tourist visa, click here.

What types of tourist visas are available in the UAE?

• Airline company
• Travel agencies or hotels
• Family or friends who can sponsor the tourist visa
• The online platforms of the immigration authorities in the United Arab Emirates – Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) or General Directorate of Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai.

3. Five-year multiple entry visa

If you regularly visit the UAE for business purposes or have family and friends here, opting for a long-term multiple-entry visa is an easy way to visit the UAE without having to apply for a new one. entry permit each time.

You can apply for the five-year multiple-entry tourist visa on the official ICP website – icp.gov.ae.

According to the ICP website, a tourist with this visa can stay for up to 90 days on each visit. This can be extended for another 90 days.

One of the main requirements of the five-year multiple-entry visa is to provide a bank statement for the last six months with a balance of at least $4,000 (14,700 Dh) or its equivalent in foreign currency.

4. Electronic Visa for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Residents

This visa is available for residents of GCC countries and their family members. You can apply for the GCC e-visa online through the ICP or GDRFA website. If you are applying for a visa, you must ensure that your residence visa and GCC passport are valid for at least three months from the date of arrival.

The entry permit is valid for 30 days from the date of issue and you are allowed to stay for 30 days from the date of entry. To learn more about the e-visa application process for GCC residents, click here.

5. Job Seeker Visa

The new Job Seeker Visa which will come into force on October 3, 2022, allows people to come to the UAE without the need for a sponsor or host to explore work, investment and business opportunities .

To apply for the visa, you must meet the following conditions:

• Those classified at the first, second or third level of competence according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).
• Young graduates from the world’s top 500 universities
• The candidate’s minimum level of education must be a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

Living in the UAE

1. Company Sponsored Visa

If you wish to work and live in the UAE, you must ensure that you have obtained an offer letter from a company in the UAE. Once you have accepted and signed the letter of offer, the company will first issue an entry permit to allow you to travel to the UAE.

Once you reach the UAE, your employer will then begin the visa application process. This involves taking your medical fitness test, giving your biometric fingerprint for the Emirates ID card, having the visa stamped in your passport and having the Emirates ID card delivered to you.

For a step-by-step process on applying for a UAE residency visa, click here.

Also, it is important to note that according to UAE labor law, the employer is required to cover all recruitment and visa costs.

2. Sponsored by family

If you want to bring your family, spouse or children to the UAE, you can sponsor their residency visa if you are employed in the UAE, an investor or business owner in the UAE, or a landowner in the United Arab Emirates.

3. Golden Visa

If you are looking for long-term residency options in the UAE, the UAE government recently expanded the categories eligible for the long-term visa in April 2022.

The Golden Visa allows eligible residents to stay in the UAE for 10 years and sponsor family members, including spouse, children, and support staff for the same duration.

Here is the list of categories eligible for the visa:

Exceptional talents in the areas of:

• Culture and art
• Investors and innovators
• Sports
• Digital technology
• Other vital areas

Scientists and professionals

• Scientists
• Business leaders and senior officials
• Science professionals
• Engineering professionals
• Health professionals
• Education professionals
• Business and administration professionals
• Information technology professionals
• Legal, social and cultural professionals

Outstanding Students and Graduates

• Top performers in secondary schools
• Top Graduates from UAE Universities
• Graduates from the top 100 universities in the world

Humanitarian pioneers

• Distinguished members of international and regional organizations
• Eminent members of associations of public utility
• Recipients of recognition awards in humanitarian fields
• Distinguished volunteers and sponsors of humanitarian efforts

Front line heroes

• Frontline workers who have gone to extraordinary lengths during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you fall into the eligible categories and want to apply for the Golden Visa, read our guide here, which will give you a breakdown of the whole process.

4. Green Visa

The green visa is a five-year residency permit in the UAE that does not require a sponsor. With the Green Visa, you can sponsor first-degree relatives and enjoy a six-month grace period after the visa is canceled or expires.

The green visa will come into effect on October 3, and here are the groups eligible to apply for the visa:

Self-employed (self-employed)

• The candidate must obtain a self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE).
• The minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or an honors degree.
• The annual income from self-employment for the previous two years must not be less than 360,000 Dh, or that the applicant proves his financial solvency throughout his stay in the country

• Candidates must have a valid employment contract.
• They must be classified at the first, second or third professional level according to the MOHRE.
• The minimum education level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
• The salary must not be less than 15,000 Dh.

• In this category also, a sponsor will not be required for the holder of the green residence.

5. Student Visa

Over the past few years, the UAE has become an attractive destination for higher education due to its wide choice of international universities, diverse student body, and safe environment for students.

The UAE student visa is sponsored by the university but the student visa application is processed and issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) of each emirate.

A student visa is valid for one year. To renew the visa, the student is required to provide official proof of further studies from their university.

6. Retirement visa

The Retirement Visa is issued by the Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA), which means it is only issued and valid in Dubai. The other Emirates have not yet launched a retirement visa.

The retirement visa is valid for five years and the retiree must be at least 55 years old to apply.

Invest in the UAE

1. Company shareholder visa

If you plan to start a business or are listed as a shareholder of the company. In this case, you can apply for a regular investor visa. A corporate shareholder visa is valid for three years.

2. Golden Visa for Real Estate Investors

The UAE also offers the Golden Visa to individuals investing in real estate in the UAE, however, they must meet one of the requirements to apply for the Golden Visa:

• Real estate investors can obtain a Golden Visa when buying a property worth at least 2 million Dh.

• Investors also have the right to obtain a Golden Visa when buying a property with a loan from specific local banks.

• Investors can also obtain a Golden Visa when buying one or more off-plan properties of at least 2 million Dh from approved local real estate companies.

3. Golden Visa for Entrepreneurs

If you are an entrepreneur planning to start a business or invest in a UAE-based start-up, you can apply for a Golden Vvisa, provided you meet one of the following conditions:

• An entrepreneur must be the owner or partner of a start-up registered in the UAE in the category of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which generates annual revenues of at least 1 million dirhams.

• In addition, obtain the approval of a start-up idea from an official business incubator (organization that helps start-ups or entrepreneurs to develop their activity) or from the Ministry of the Economy or competent local authorities.

• If the person is a founder or one of the founders of a previous project that was sold for a total value of at least 7 million Dh. Approval from the Ministry of Economy or relevant local authorities is required for projects or ideas.


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