Updated November 2023
The UAE continues its stride in becoming the ideal destination for work, investment, entrepreneurship, education, and life by introducing a restructuring of its entry and residence system. The UAE has implemented new visa rules that introduce new types of entry visas and residence permits, expands the Golden Visa categories and more.
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UAE visa latest news
Unified GCC tourist visa
In a significant move towards enhancing regional tourism and economic collaboration, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) recently approved a unified tourist visa during its 40th Interior Ministers meeting in Muscat, Oman.
The unified Gulf tourist visa aims to streamline travel for both residents and tourists across the six member countries of the GCC, by granting visa holders access to the six GCC countries, fostering regional tourism and economic integration. This strategic move aims to attract and retain tourists within the Gulf region, strengthening ties among the GCC nations.
According to the latest reports, the tourism ministers of the GCC countries have given their nod for the unified Gulf tourist visa. The implementation of this visa is expected between 2024 and 2025, contingent on each GCC country’s internal regulations.
For more detailed information about the new GCC unified tourist visa, we encourage you to check out our dedicated article below.
New UAE entry visa rules 2023
The UAE has launched about ten entry visas without a host or sponsor requirement. These visas have flexible durations and can be for single or multiple entries, renewed for the same period and are valid for 60 days from the issuance date.
Job exploration visa
The job exploration visa aims to attract young and skilled professionals to explore job opportunities in the UAE without a sponsor or host. Requirements include being in the first, second, or third skill level, a fresh graduate of the top 500 universities worldwide, and holding a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
For more details, please visit our article below.
Business entry visa
The business entry visa allows investors and entrepreneurs to explore business and investment opportunities in the UAE. The visa offers easy entry processes without the requirement of a sponsor or host.
Multi-entry tourist visa
The UAE has now re-introduced its 3-month or 90-day visit visa. The visa was previously scrapped at the end of 2022, and a long-term 60-day visa was introduced for visitors willing to visit the country for a longer duration.
However, as confirmed by a call center executive at the Federal Authority For Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security (ICP), visitors willing to visit the UAE for 90 days can make use of the opportunity and stay in the UAE for up to 90 days. However, the visa can be extendable within the country at an additional cost based on the service provider.
Please note that, as confirmed by authorities, there are two types of entry permits, that is, a tourist visa and a visit visa. A tourist visa is issued for 30 or 60 days, and a visit visa is issued for 90 days.
A new five-year multi-entry tourist visa has been introduced, allowing self-sponsored visits for up to 90 days per entry, extendable for another 90 days. Applicants must demonstrate a bank balance of USD 4,000 (AED 14,700) for the past six months. The visa application process is available through the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing platform. The UAE has also resumed issuing 60-day tourist visas alongside the multi-entry visa. For more information, please refer to our article below.
Under the family visa rule in the UAE, parents can now sponsor male children up to the age of 25 and disabled children with a special permit. Unmarried daughters can be sponsored indefinitely.
Entry permit to visit relatives and friends
Visitors can apply for an entry permit to visit friends and relatives in the UAE. No sponsor or host is required.
Entry permit for a temporary work mission
Visitors with a temporary work assignment, such as probation testing or project-based missions, can apply for a temporary work mission entry permit if sponsored by their employer. Relatives or friends of UAE citizens or residents can also apply. Requirements include a temporary work contract or a letter from the employer outlining the purpose of the visit and proof of health and fitness to work.
Entry permit for study and training
The entry permit for study and training is intended for those attending training, study courses, or internship programs. Sponsors for this type of permit can be licensed universities, educational or research institutions, or government/private entities. The requirements include a letter from the sponsor outlining the program’s details and duration.
Residence permit for humanitarian cases
The UAE will issue residence permits for the following humanitarian cases:
- female residents whose UAE national husband passed away in the country and have one or more children
- parents or children of a UAE citizen holding foreign passports
- spouses and children of Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) state citizens holding foreign passports
Dubai & UAE re-entry permit
Dubai travel and typing center agents have confirmed that residency visa holders staying outside the UAE for more than six months can apply for a reentry permit. This permit allows residents to reenter the UAE within 30 days of approval and avoid having their residency canceled. To be eligible, residents must provide a reason for staying outside the country and furnish proof. The permit can be applied for through the ICP official website for all Emirates except Dubai. Dubai-issued visas will have to go through a slightly different process.
You can visit our dedicated article below for more details.
UAE entry permit extension
UAE entry permits can be extended for up to 90 days, depending on the purpose of the visit and other factors. Applicants must have a valid passport for at least six months and apply through the relevant tourism company. Entry permit extensions can be obtained within 48 hours through the ICP smart service system by creating an account and paying fees.
A 30-day extension can be issued twice for AED 610, with GCC residents paying AED 260 and providing a passport copy. Extensions can exceed one month for healthcare, study, and GCC companion entry permits. Healthcare permits can be extended up to 90 days for AED 510, GCC companion permits up to 60 days for AED 260, and study permits up to 90 days for AED 610.
The duration of visit entry permits depends on the purpose of the visit, with a maximum limit of one year at the authority’s discretion. The head of the authority may extend visit entry permits for valid reasons upon payment of all fees.
UAE visit visa rules
UAE visit visa extension
The UAE has implemented a one-time 30-day visa extension for travelers on 90-day visit visas, allowing for a total extension of up to 90 days. Moreover, all types of tourist visas can now be extended for 30 more days from within the country. The fee for each extension is AED 600 (USD 163).
Visa holders do not need to leave and re-enter the country to extend their visas, but they must ensure that the renewal process can be completed before expiry. They can also contact their visa-issuing agent for an extension.
Furthermore, the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security UAE (ICP) has confirmed that individuals can now extend or terminate their entry permits through a personal online account. The durations for different permits are as follows: normal visas or green residency visa applications are valid for 2 months, while Golden visa applications allow for a validity of 6 months with multiple entries.
The digital system allows for extending, cancelling, and printing entry permits. Neighboring border country residents can obtain a 90-day entry visa at UAE border points with multiple entries and up to 48 hours per stay. Working in the UAE is prohibited. Green and Golden visa holders and their families’ residence visas remain valid even if they stay outside the country for over 180 days.
UAE visit visa overstay
Foreign nationals overstaying their visa in the UAE must obtain an out pass or leave permit before leaving the country. The out pass can be obtained at the airport, land borders, or Al Awir Immigration office for a fee of AED 200 to 300. Overstayers are also required to pay the full overstay fines of AED 50 per day, with a 10-day grace period for visit visa holders. No fines will be imposed on visitors unable to leave due to airport closures or flight cancellations.
UAE visit visa price
According to an ICP customer care agent, the fees for UAE and Dubai visas, including the 30 and 60-day tourist visas, have increased by AED 100. For instance, the fee for a one-month visit visa issued by the ICA has increased from AED 270 to AED 370.
UAE unused visit visa
Travelers holding unused visit visas in the UAE must cancel the visa within the specified time period, such as 30 days for a 30-day visit visa, by paying a fee. The cost of canceling an unused visa can vary, reaching up to AED 300. Alternatively, travelers have the option to extend their entry into the country by two months for a fee of AED 200. It is important to cancel the unused visa to avoid the rejection of new visa applications by the immigration system.
UAE residence visa rules 2023
Under the recent regulations, please keep in mind that traveling outside the UAE during the processing of your residency visa is not permitted. Furthermore, it’s important to be aware that a minimum of 6 months of passport validity is necessary to obtain a residency visa and enter many countries in the region.
UAE expands Golden visa categories, simplifies eligibility criteria, and increases validity to 10 years for all types. Visa holders can sponsor family members and support services laborers without limit. The grace period for visa expiry or cancellation is extended to 6 months for Golden Visa holders and their families. An online quiz is available for potential applicants to check their eligibility in just 2 minutes.
The Golden visa will now be granted to scientists and researchers who meet the following conditions:
- have a PhD or Master’s degree in engineering, technology, life sciences and natural sciences from the world’s best universities
- must have a recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council to avail of this visa
Skilled professionals can qualify for the Golden visa scheme, provided:
- they hold a valid contract of employment in the UAE
- the job must fall under the occupational level one or two as defined by the Ministry of Human Resources Emiratisation
- the minimum monthly salary is not less than AED 30,000 (USD 8,167)
- the skilled worker must have a bachelor’s degree as well
Please note that skilled professionals (classified in the first or second occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation classification) are eligible for an extended 6-month grace period.
Exceptionally talented individuals in various fields, such as art, culture, digital technology, sports, innovation, medicine, and law, can now apply for the Golden visa. The 10-year visa is solely based on talent and does not consider qualifications, salary, or professional status. However, approval from a government entity is required for eligibility.
Real estate investors
Real estate investors can acquire the Golden visa by purchasing a property worth AED 2 million (USD 544,528), either through a loan from specific local banks or by buying off-plan properties of no less than AED 2 million (USD 544,528) from approved local real estate companies. Property owners now have a grace period of 6 months for visa expiry or cancellation, with no fines imposed during this period.
Startup investors are eligible for the Golden visa if their company is registered in the UAE as an SME with annual revenues of AED 1 million (USD 272,249) or above. Entrepreneurs can also obtain the Golden Residence if they meet one of the following criteria:
- being a founder or co-founder of a previous entrepreneurial project sold for a total value of not less than AED 7 million (USD 1,905,850.80), or
- obtaining approval from the Ministry of Economy or competent local authorities for their projects or ideas
Exceptional students from UAE secondary schools or universities, as well as those who studied at the world’s top 100 universities, can apply for a 10-year or Golden Visa. Eligibility is based on academic excellence, graduation year, and university classification. Students who have completed their studies are eligible for an extended 6-month grace period.
The Golden visa is available to humanitarian pioneers, including:
- distinguished members of international and regional organizations
- outstanding members of associations of public benefit
- recipients of recognition awards in humanitarian fields
- distinguished volunteers and sponsors of humanitarian efforts
Doctors and nurses
The UAE has granted doctors and nurses long-term residency in recognition of their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical staff, including nurses, are now eligible for the Golden visa. Seven centers have been established for visa applications.
Creative professionals aged 25 and above, such as artists, singers, dancers, musicians, performers, and curators, can apply for a Cultural Golden visa. There are no restrictions based on education, employment, salary, or professional level. A letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Culture and Youth (MCY) is required, and applicants must be present in the country during the application process.
To apply under this category, executive directors must meet the following requirements: have at least a bachelor’s degree accredited by the Ministry of Education, provide a letter demonstrating 5 years of experience in the same position, present a salary certificate indicating a minimum of AED 50,000, and possess a valid work contract.
New benefits for family members
Golden visa holders can now sponsor their parents for a 10-year residency, with no deposit required if they present a certification as sole caregiver. The system also allows for easier sponsorship of spouses and children, as well as a five-year residency for first-degree relatives.
The UAE Green visa now offers 5-year residence options to attract skilled professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs. Benefits have been enhanced, including longer grace periods of up to 6 months after permit cancellation or expiration to support family members. Green Residence holders can sponsor first-degree relatives with a residency duration matching their own.
The recent updates to the Green Residence visa provide a 5-year residency option for skilled employees who do not have a sponsor or employer. The requirements are:
- applicants should have a valid employment contract
- should be classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
- the minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent
- applicant’s salary should not be less than AED 15,000 (USD 4,083).
Please note that skilled professionals (third level in the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation classification) are eligible for a 90-day extended grace period after the expiry of the Green residence.
Freelancing and self-employment
The UAE has launched the Green Residence visa, providing freelancers and self-employed individuals with a 5-year residency period, independent of sponsorship or an employer. This initiative aims to accommodate the growing global freelancing industry and flexible work models. The specific requirements are as follows:
- obtaining a freelance/ self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation
- a minimum educational qualification with a bachelor’s degree or specialized diploma.
- an annual income from self-employment for the previous two years of AED 360,000 (USD 9,800), or
- the applicant should be able to prove their financial solvency throughout their stay in the country.
Investor or partner
To encourage investment, the UAE has introduced the Green Residence visa for investors or partners, providing a 5-year residency period for those establishing or participating in commercial activities. The validity period under this category has been increased from 2 years to 5 years.
The requirements include the following:
- approval of the investment and proof of investment.
- if the investor (partner) has more than one license, the total invested capital will be calculated.
- approval of the competent local authorities is mandatory.
UAE visa stamping
The UAE government has removed the stamping of residence visas in passports and replaced it with the Emirates ID. Passports will no longer need to be collected for stamping, and citizens of the UAE can now submit a single unified application to obtain both their Emirates ID and residency visa to ease the application process and shorten the application time.
A smart service fee of AED 100 has also been added to the cost of visas and Emirates ID.
As per the local media reports, UAE residents who are required to change any information on their visas can now do so online. Moreover, once a request for residence visa amendments is made, an application for Emirates ID replacement will also be created automatically.
Applicants who wish to avail of this service can log into the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) official website or the UAEICP smart app (iOS, Android). Among the residence visa data that can be modified online, include personal information, profession, passport information, or nationality, in case of obtaining a new nationality, of the applicants.
To apply for the online service, residents are required to submit the following documents:
- coloured ID photo
- passport copy
- a request to amend the data signed by the sponsor
- copy of the Emirates ID card (front and back)
Furthermore, as stated by the authorities, a Dh200 fee must be paid to avail of this online service. However, in case an application is rejected due to insufficient details or any discrepancies, the payment will be refunded.
Five-year residency visas for children of Emirati women
The UAE government has extended the validity of residency visas for children of Emirati women and foreign nationals from three years to five years. This decision aims to enhance their rights and provide them with equal benefits in healthcare and education, ultimately improving their quality of life.
Three-year UAE work permit
The UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC) has approved extending work permits from two years to three, aiming to ease financial burdens. The permits, issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, are currently valid for two years. Working without a valid permit is strictly prohibited.