If you wish to visit Abu Dhabi you will need to comply with the U.A.E.’s visa requirements.
The type of visa required for entry into the U.A.E. depends on several different factors such as nationality, purpose of visit and planned duration. Please read the following notes carefully.
Visa requirements for U.S. Citizens (tourist passport)
to visit the U.A.E.
According to the U.A.E. Embassy in Washington DC, no visas are required for American citizens (holder of regular passports) before arrival in the U.A.E., including U.S. Citizens with visas or entry stamps from other countries in their passports. To ensure entry, please be sure you have the following:
- Original passport signed by the bearer, should not expire within six (6) months from the expected time of arrival in the U.A.E.
- Confirmed round-trip airline ticket or airline ticket to other destination(s).
Visas are available upon arrival at the airport and they are valid for one (1) month stay in the U.A.E. If you plan to stay longer, you can request more time from the immigration officer at the airport or contact the local immigration office in the U.A.E. and request an extension.
Regarding other nationalities, the following information has been provided by the U.A.E. Ministry of Foreign Diwan & International Cooperation:
Criteria for entry permit
In order for the U.A.E. issuing authorities to grant an entry permit for those eligible, the visitor must meet these general criteria. They are:
- Visitor must hold a genuine passport, valid for at least six months
- He must have an Emirati or U.A.E. resident sponsor or he must be eligible for visa on arrival
- He must not have been banned from entering the U.A.E., or previously deported unless he obtains special permission to re-enter
- He must be medically fit
- He must have the official approval of his entry for the purposes sought
Important things to consider
Once issued, an entry permit is valid for use during 60 days from the issue date. If the visitor/tourist fails to enter the country within the prescribed period, his permit is deemed cancelled and he has to apply again for the entry permit.
Visitors and tourists should be aware that it is illegal to work in the U.A.E. while being on a visit or tourist visa. According to the U.A.E.’s labour and residency laws, a person cannot work if he has not been issued a work permit and employment visa. Violators may be liable to fines and deportation.
Under the Ministerial Resolution No. 377 of 2014, holders of all types of visas can modify the status of their entry while staying in the country. Applicant must do this before the expiry of his current visa to avoid any penalties.
People will be able to amend the status of their entry permits electronically through a few quick steps.
For more information regarding work visa process, refer to the jobs section.
- Abu Dhabi Tourism Portal – Getting a visa to Abu Dhabi
- Dubai Government Portal – Obtaining visas to visit Dubai
- Gulf News – No need to exit UAE to amend visit visa status
GCC nationals entry
If you are a national citizen of one of GCC countries, you neither require a visa, nor a sponsor to visit the U.A.E. You will simply need to produce your GCC country passport or ID card upon arrival at the point of entry into the U.A.E.
However, those accompanying the GCC nationals need to obtain an online visa upfront, which allows them to stay in the country for a period of 60 days renewable for the same period.
Foreigners residing in any of the other GCC countries need to apply for online visa upfront before arriving in the U.A.E.
For granting the visa, preference is given to GCC residents with a high professional status, such as businessmen, company managers, accountants, auditors, engineers, doctors, pharmacists, or employees working in the public sector along with their families, drivers and personal staff under their sponsorship.
Visitor needs to enter the U.A.E. within 30 days of the issue of the visa and can stay in the U.A.E. for up to 30 days. The visa can be renewed once for the same period, provided he maintains a valid passport having a valid GCC residence stamp, along with proof of employment in the country of residence.
Visa on arrival
Citizens of the following countries can get 30-days visit visa on arrival, free of charge.
People’s Republic of China
United States of America
Citizens of the following countries can get a 90-days multiple entry visit visa valid for 6 months from the date of issue for a stay of 90 days.
This list may vary from time to time; therefore, it is advisable to check with your airline or the local U.A.E. embassy before entering the U.A.E.
Nationalities that need a prior entry permit
If you do not fall into any of the above categories, you will require an entry permit and a sponsor prior to arrival into the U.A.E.
Usually, the sponsor applies for the visa on your behalf; the type of visa depends on the permit requested for; such as: residency, work, visiting friends or relatives etc.
For more information, check the visa information page on the website of Ministry of Foreign Diwan & International Cooperation.
The following is an extended list of valid sponsors.
- Hotels & tourist companies can apply for a tourist visa (valid for 30 days), a service visa (valid for 14 days), or a visit visa (valid for 30 days and can be extended for other 30 days).
- Airlines & airline handlers may apply on behalf of their crewmembers for a 96-hour transit visa.
- Other organizations based in the U.A.E. may only apply for visit visas and service visas.
- Individuals (relatives or friends) residing in the U.A.E. may also apply for and sponsor a visit visa.
- Visa application
- Passport copies (applicant and companions)
- A letter specifying type of sponsor
- Specification of the type of visa required (tourist, business, etc.)
- Permission classification (short term, long term, multiple entry, complementary)
- A valid passport (at least 6 months).
- A clear passport photo
For more information, visit www.government.ae.