United Arab Emirates Entry Requirements
United Arab Emirates Entry Requirements specify all the rules that one must follow in order to enter the UAE trouble-free. These rules include, i.a., the required documents to be prepared prior to departure. Every traveler must remember to hold a passport with a minimum validity of 6 months from the planned entry date into the UAE. Holders of a residence permit need a passport with a 3-month validity, though.
Another equally important document necessary to travel to the UAE is a valid visa. The UAE visa policy determines visa requirements that differ according to the traveler's nationality, visiting purposes, or desired duration of stay in the Emirates.
At the moment, the UAE visa law states that almost all GCC member countries can enjoy free movement, except for Qatari passport holders. Some other foreign nationals are also allowed to travel to the UAE without a visa for different periods of time.
Citizens of countries not listed as visa-exempt must apply for an appropriate visa before the planned travel. Depending on their nationality or reason for travel, they may obtain either an e-Visa, a Visa on Arrival, or an embassy visa.
The electronic visa application is the most convenient system that allows getting a visa entirely online. There are over 140 different countries that may benefit from the UAE e-Visa system.
Additionally, around 20 different nationalities must obtain a Visa on Arrival that is issued at any airport across the UAE.
Finally, 40 additional countries must apply for a traditional embassy visa before traveling to the Emirates. Nationals of these certain countries need to hold an embassy visa no matter their travel purpose or planned duration of stay in the UAE.
Currently, the UAE authorities ban Israeli nationals from entering the country. Israeli passport holders cannot be granted a visa for the Emirates. The visa ban is subject to be waived in certain special circumstances, including sports events. Moreover, Israeli citizens can transit via the UAE airports visa-free if they will not be leaving the transit zone.
Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Government of the UAE introduced some additional protective measures aimed at minimizing the spread of new coronavirus cases. These measures include testing, vaccination, and quarantine requirements. Currently, RT-PCR tests are required only from non-vaccinated arrivals. The test must be taken 48 hours prior to the planned trip to be recognized as valid.
Read on for more information on the current restrictions in the UAE.
Important: Covid-19 restrictions are subject to constant changes. Do remember to check the latest information before any international travel. The latest change in entry requirements became effective as of 7th Nov. 2022. For more details, check here.
Who can enter the UAE?
All international travelers, except for Israeli passport holders, are allowed to enter the UAE. Depending on their Covid-19 vaccination status, the entry rules may differ slightly.
Documents check-list for entering the UAE
- valid passport
- UAE visa
- RT-PCR test report (only if unvaccinated)
- Covid-19 vaccination certificate (only if vaccinated)
- travel insurance (optional)
- Arrival Registration
- Al Hosn App
Testing, vaccination, and quarantine requirements
Non-vaccinated or non-fully-vaccinated passengers are required to provide a negative RT-PCR test result issued within 48 hours before departure. 48 hours are counted from the moment of collecting the examined sample.
Travelers who have been fully vaccinated or recovered recently from Covid-19 are exempt from testing requirements. The recovery proof issued no later than 30 days before the planned arrival is required.
There are no post-departure testing requirements. However, all passengers are subject to random RT-PCR tests.
The UAE Government accepts all Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers approved by the World Health Organization. All travelers who have received the complete dose of the vaccine should provide the vaccination certificate. Both electronic and paper forms are acceptable as long as the passenger's data and QR code are readable. Moreover, the certificate must be issued in English or translated into English. Only certified translation will be recognized as valid.
Although passengers arriving in the UAE do not need to quarantine, random Covid-19 tests are performed in the country. Those who test positive may be subject to quarantine. Ending the isolation is possible only upon providing two negative RT-PCR tests taken at an interval of 24 hours.
Traveling from the UAE
Visitors cannot have active travel bans, unpaid debts, a child subject to a custody dispute, or be involved in any legal proceedings in order to exit the UAE.
Airport staff is performing thermal screening, and departing passengers can also be examined for Covid-19 symptoms.
If the country of your next destination requires providing, e.g., a valid negative test report, make sure to prepare all the necessary documents before your departure.
Traveling to the UAE
If you plan to travel to the UAE soon, you are advised to consult officially published guidelines and confirm the entry requirements directly with your travel provider and/or airline that you will be traveling with.
Please also note that the rules introduced across the particular Emirates may differ. Remember to check the regulations applicable to the Emirate(s) you will be staying in.
Entry Rules for Children
Children under 16 years arriving in the UAE are exempt from the requirement to provide a negative RT-PCR test result.
Transit through the UAE - rules during Covid-19
Travelers changing their flights in transit areas at UAE airports are exempt from having a negative RT-PCR test as long as their final destination does not require providing a valid test report.
Airport staff doing the check-in for the connecting flights may ask transiting passengers to show all documents required by the country of their final destination. Failure to submit the relevant documents may result in denied boarding.
Please note that for transit purposes (not passing through immigration), you need to hold a passport valid only for 3 months from the date of planned transit through the UAE.
UAE visa requirements
The UAE Government introduced the electronic visa system to enable certain foreign travelers to apply for a visa entirely online.
The electronic visa for the UAE is issued for short-term tourism or transit purposes and comes in four different types matching different travel needs.
The UAE e-Visa enables entry to every emirate, including:
- Abu Dhabi
- Ras Al Khaimah
- Umm Al Quwain
Eligible applicants can receive their approved visas delivered directly to the email inbox within 3 business days.
Visa on Arrival
The United Arab Emirates Government requires certain nationals to obtain a visa on arrival in the country. The VoA is issued as a single-entry short-term visa and can be obtained at select UAE airports. Currently, there are around 20 different countries whose citizens need to obtain the VoA.
Once they arrive at one of the UAE airports, they will need to go directly to an immigration office to handle all visa formalities. It will be necessary to provide some personal and passport information as well as cover the visa fee.
Usually, the visa on arrival is issued for a stay of up to 30 days, but nationals of a few countries may apply for a VoA allowing for a 90-day stay in the UAE.
Additionally, Indian passport holders residing in the US or holding a valid US visa, or being residents of the EU country, are eligible for a 14-day visa issued on arrival in the UAE.
All VoA-eligible travelers who plan to stay in the Emirates for a longer period of time than covered by the visa on arrival will need to obtain an embassy visa.
Complete list of countries whose citizens must obtain a visa on arrival in the UAE:
- Brunei Darussalam
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Russian Federation
- San Marino
- South Korea
- United States
- Vatican City
Embassy or Consular Visa
The UAE Government requires travelers from around 40 different countries, mainly African and Asian territories, to obtain a UAE visa from the embassy in advance of the intended trip. The embassy or consular visa is mandatory for these citizens regardless of their visit purpose or planned amount of time spent in the UAE.
The procedures of getting an embassy or consular visa involve visiting the nearest diplomatic mission much in advance of the planned arrival in the United Arab Emirates. All applicants will need to handle all formalities, including providing some additional documents. The requirements may differ depending on the applicant's nationality and the requested visa type.
As the entire procedure may be time-consuming, travelers should remember to start the application process several weeks ahead of their traveling plans.
For more information on the required documents and visa requirements, contact directly the nearest UAE embassy.
List of countries requiring an embassy or consular visa for the UAE:
- American Samoa
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- British Virgin Islands
- Christmas Island
- Cocos Islands
- Cook Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- French Polynesia
- Isle of Man
- Norfolk Island
- Pitcairn Islands
- Saint Barthelemy
- Saint Martin
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon
- Sint Maarten
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- Svalbard and Jan Mayen
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- United States Virgin Islands
- Wallis and Futuna
Currently, there are around 40 different countries whose nationals are permitted to travel to the UAE visa-free for various periods of time.
Four of these visa-exempt countries are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, i.e., Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. All of them can enjoy freedom of movement in the UAE. They just need to provide a valid driving license or National ID Card to enter the Emirates. At the moment, Qatari citizens, despite being a GCC member country, are not allowed to visit the UAE without a visa, except for Qataris whose family members are UAE residents.
Travelers from other visa-exempt countries will need to present a valid passport to enter the UAE. Depending on their nationality, they may stay in the UAE between 30 to 90 days without a visa.
All those travelers, including visa-exempt countries, who plan to visit the United Arab Emirates for study, work, or other than tourism or leisure purposes, or they plan a long-term stay in the country will need to arrange an embassy appointment to obtain a relevant visa in a traditional way.
Complete list of visa-exempt countries:
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Cyprus
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Saudi Arabia
- United Kingdom
Passenger Locator Form
All travelers flying to the United Arab Emirates should register their arrival via the ICA platform.
Al Hosn App
Al Hosn is the UAE’s official app developed for contact tracing and checking Covid-19 health status. There are three statuses based on the user's most recent RT-PCR test and vaccination status, i.e., green, grey, or red.
Although post-arrival testing requirements were lifted in the UAE, Abu Zabi still requires having a green status in the Al Hosn app for free movement, accessing shops, tourist attractions, and other public buildings.
To receive the green status via the app, one needs to submit a negative RT-PCR test performed at least every 14 days.
The UAE joined the EU DCC System, which means that digital vaccine certificates on the Al Hosn app are now equivalent to the certificates issued by European countries. It also means that people who have been vaccinated in the UAE can use the al Hosn app across Europe on the same terms that EU Digital Pass functions.
All travelers are highly advised to take out a comprehensive insurance policy that will cover Covid-19 and other medical treatment costs. Major medical procedures, hospitalization as well as medical transportation costs can be really expensive. Very often, it is necessary to cover the fee in advance of the provision of certain medical services.
Travelers should check whether their insurance policy will be valid within the UAE.