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Dubai Tourist Visa

Dubai is an Emirate (think State or county) within the country that is the UAE (United Arab Emirates). Any visa requirements are therefore to enter the UAE. With 7 Emirates in total, once you’ve got a visa for the UAE you can visit all of them freely.

Visa requirements for the 44 visa-exempt countries are very easy – simply turn up at the airport and receive a 30-day visit, Dubai visa upon arrival. There are no restrictions on how many visit visas you can get, so you could leave the country in the morning and re-enter in the afternoon!

For those other passport holders an E-Visa can be applied online (visit visa online). You can apply for entry permits or visas through the website of Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship – ICA (the eChannel for residency and citizenship), or the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) which works under the ministry. While ICA offers only online channels, GDRFA offers both online and offline channels.

These typically take 2-3 days although it is worth allowing plenty of time in-case they require more documentation to complete the process. You can also apply for the visa through your Airline or Travel agent.

If you are looking for a holiday home for your Dubai stay, check out our favorites here!

Residency visas – Dubai visa requirements

In order to live in Dubai or any of the other Emirates of the UAE, you must obtain a residency visa. These can be arranged in a number of ways. A simple medical is always required (blood test and x-ray – Yes I hate needles too) and visa costs vary depending on a few factors, but tend to be around AED 7,000 per person once you have included everything.


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Get a job – The first (and simplest from your perspective!) is to get a job, and let your employer arrange your visa. This should take your employer 2-4 weeks depending on documentation requirements. Visas are typically for a 2-year period and can be easily renewed at the end of the period (again by your employer). Those direct family members who aren’t working can be sponsored under your visa.

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Start your own company  If you are starting your own business, once the trade license is in place you can then process you own visas for employees. There are a wide range of options for company formation in the UAE, with licensing requirements changing depending on the nature of the business.

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Investors visa

Purchasing a ready property in Dubai with a value of AED 1 million or above is another option – you will need to take the title deed and use it to facilitate getting the visa for yourself, husband/ wife and children. For more information read on here.

James Perry

For more details on visas & business set up please contact us so we may help directly, or connect you with one of our partners.