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Different Types of UAE Visa: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you planning to visit or live in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)? The UAE offers a variety of visa options for tourists, job seekers, students, investors, and retirees. Understanding the different types of UAE visas can help you choose the right one for your specific needs. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various UAE visa categories, their requirements, and how to apply for them.

Let’s dive deeper into each category to understand the requirements and benefits of each UAE visa type.

UAE Visit Visa

If you are planning a visit to the UAE for tourism or a short layover, there are several UAE visit visa options available.

Transit Visa

If you have a short layover in the UAE and want to explore the city during your transit, you can apply for a transit visa. The transit visa is available for 48 or 96 hours, allowing you to make the most of your time in the UAE. It’s important to note that transit visas are not extendable or renewable, and you must leave the UAE within the specified time frame.

Tourist Visa

For longer stays in the UAE for tourism purposes, you can apply for a tourist visa. Tourist visas are available for 30 days or 90 days, depending on the duration of your stay. These visas can be single-entry or multiple-entry, allowing you to enter and exit the UAE multiple times within the visa validity period. Tourist visas can be obtained through airlines, travel agencies, hotels, or by sponsorship from family or friends residing in the UAE.

Five-Year Multiple Entry Visa

If you frequently visit the UAE for business or have family members residing in the country, you may consider applying for a five-year multiple entry visa.

This visa allows you to stay in the UAE for up to 90 days on each visit, with the option to extend for another 90 days. To be eligible for this visa, you must provide a bank statement showing a minimum balance of $4,000 (Dh14,700) for the past six months.

GCC Residents E-Visa

Residents of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and their family members can apply for a GCC residents e-visa.

This visa allows for a stay of 30 days from the date of entry and can be obtained online through the official immigration platforms of the UAE. It’s important to ensure that your GCC residency visa and passport are valid for at least six months from the date of arrival.

Job Seeker Visa

Starting from October 3, 2022, a new job seeker visa will be available for individuals who wish to explore work, investment, and business opportunities in the UAE. This visa allows individuals classified in the first, second, or third skill level by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) to come to the UAE without the need for a sponsor. Fresh graduates from the top 500 universities worldwide and those with a minimum bachelor’s degree or equivalent are also eligible for this visa.

Living in the UAE

If you plan to live and work in the UAE, there are various visa options depending on your circumstances.

Company-Sponsored Visa

If you secure a job offer from a company in the UAE, they will typically sponsor your visa. The process begins with the company issuing an entry permit to allow you to travel to the UAE.

Once you arrive, your employer will initiate the visa application process, which includes a medical fitness test, fingerprint biometrics for the Emirates ID, and visa stamping on your passport. The residence visa is typically valid for two years and can be transferred if you change jobs.

Sponsored by Family

If you have family members in the UAE who are employed, investors, business owners, or property owners, they can sponsor your residence visa. The sponsorship allows you to live and stay with your family in the UAE. The sponsoring individual must meet certain salary requirements and provide the necessary documents to prove their relationship with you.

Golden Visa UAE

The UAE offers a Golden Visa program that grants long-term residency to eligible individuals. The Golden Visa allows residents to stay in the UAE for up to 10 years and sponsor their family members, including spouse, children, and support staff.

The program is open to exceptional talents in fields such as culture, art, sports, investors, innovators, scientists, professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers, and frontline heroes.

Check your visa status here

Green Visa

The UAE has introduced the Green Visa, a five-year residency permit that does not require a sponsor. The Green Visa is available for freelancers, skilled employees, and investors. Freelancers must obtain a freelance/self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), while skilled employees must have a valid employment contract and meet certain educational and salary criteria. Investors who are shareholders in a company are also eligible for the Green Visa.

Student Visa

The UAE has become a popular destination for higher education, attracting students from around the world. To study in the UAE, students must obtain a student visa sponsored by their university. The visa application is processed by the relevant General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in each Emirate. Student visas are typically valid for one year and can be renewed upon providing proof of continuing studies.

Retirement Visa

Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) offers a retirement visa for individuals aged 55 and above.

The retirement visa is valid for five years and allows retirees to live in Dubai. To be eligible for the retirement visa, individuals must meet specific financial criteria, including investing in a property worth at least AED 2 million, having financial savings of no less than AED 1 million, or having an active income of no less than AED 20,000 per month.

Investing in the UAE

The UAE provides opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs through various visa programs.

Company Shareholder Visa

If you plan to set up a business in the UAE or are listed as a shareholder in a company, you can apply for a company shareholder visa. This visa is valid for three years and allows you to live and work in the UAE as a business owner or investor. The visa application process requires a valid business license, photographs, medical tests, and passport copies.

Golden Visa for Real Estate Investors

Real estate investors in the UAE can qualify for the Golden Visa program by meeting certain criteria. Investors must purchase a property worth at least Dh2 million or obtain a loan from specific local banks to purchase a property. Alternatively, they can buy one or more off-plan properties with a minimum value of Dh2 million from approved local real estate companies.

UAE Golden Visa for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs planning to set up a company or invest in a start-up based in the UAE can apply for a Golden Visa. To be eligible, entrepreneurs must either own or be a partner in a start-up registered in the UAE’s small and medium enterprise (SME) category, generate annual revenues of not less than Dh1 million, or obtain approval for their start-up idea from an official business incubator or the Ministry of Economy. Previous project founders with a total value of not less than Dh7 million may also qualify.


The UAE offers a wide range of visa options to cater to different individuals’ needs, including tourists, job seekers, students, investors, and retirees.

Whether you are planning a short visit or seeking long-term residency, understanding the requirements and benefits of each visa category is essential. By choosing the right UAE visa, you can make the most of your time in this dynamic and vibrant country.

Note: Visa rules and requirements in the UAE are subject to change. It is important to check with the relevant authorities or consult a professional before planning your travel or relocation to the UAE.

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