If you’re going to have a stopover in the UAE on your way to a third destination, you may need to apply for a UAE Transit Visa, depending on your nationality.
Do I need a visa to transit in Dubai or Abu Dhabi?
You need a visa to transit in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or any other emirate in the UAE if:
- You are not exempt from UAE Tourist Visas or you are not eligible for a UAE Visa On Arrival; and
- Your onward flight is in the next 48 or 96 hours
Nationals of Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Niger and Yemen cannot apply for a Transit Visa for UAE.
Who is exempt from Dubai Transit Visa?
If you are from one of the following countries, you can enter Dubai and any other emirate in the UAE without a visa and as such, you do not need a UAE Transit Visa:
- Saudi Arabia
If you are from one of the above-mentioned countries, you have freedom of movement and may enter the UAE with simply your passport or ID.
If you are from Mexico, you may enter the UEA without a visa for up to 180 days.
If you are from one of the following countries, you may enter the UAE without a visa for up to 90 days within any 180 day period:
- EU member states (excluding the UK and Ireland)
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
If you are from one of the following countries, your may enter the UAE without a visa for up to 90 days.
- Solomon Islands
If you are from one of the following countries, you may enter the UAE without a visa for up to 30 days:
Who can get a Dubai Visa On Arrival?
If you are from one of the following countries, you can get a Visa On Arrival for Dubai and any other UAE emirate, and so you don’t have to apply for a UAE Transit Visa beforehand:
- Andorra (valid for 30 days)
- Australia (valid for 30 days)
- Bahamas (valid for 90 days)
- Brunei (valid for 30 days)
- Canada (valid for 30 days)
- Costa Rica (valid for 90 days)
- El Salvador (valid for 90 days)
- Hong Kong (valid for 30 days)
- Ireland (valid for 30 days)
- Kazakhstan (valid for 30 days)
- Malaysia (valid for 30 days)
- Maldives (valid for 90 days)
- Mauritius (valid for 30 days)
- Monaco (valid for 30 days)
- Mongolia (valid for 30 days)
- New Zealand (valid for 30 days)
- San Marino (valid for 30 days)
- Singapore (valid for 30 days)
- South Korea (valid for 90 days)
- United Kingdom (valid for 30 days)
- United States (valid for 30 days)
- Vatican City (valid for 30 days)
What Documents Do I Need for a Transit Visa?
When you apply for a UAE Transit Visa, you must submit the following documents to your airline:
- Your passport, valid for at least three more months
- Passport-size pictures of yourself, in line with UAE visa photo requirements
- Flight ticket for onward travel to a third country
- Hotel reservation in UAE
How Can I Apply for a UAE Transit Visa?
You have to apply for a UAE Transit Visa before you travel. But just as with other types of UAE visas, you cannot apply by yourself at a UAE embassy or consulate abroad; you need a sponsor who can apply on your behalf.
Who can sponsor my UAE Transit Visa?
If you need a transit visa for Dubai/UAE, only your UAE-based airline can serve as your sponsor. They are the ones who arrange to get your transit visa from the relevant visa issuing authorities in the UAE. So, if you know you will stop in Dubai or Abu Dhabi or any other emirate on your way to a third destination, then you must contact your airline to start the process of obtaining your transit visa.
If you are travelling through a travel agency, they can help you with the process, but it is only the airlines who arrange your transit visa for you. Travel agencies or private sponsors cannot apply on your behalf, like for tourist visas.
Where to apply for a UAE Transit Visa?
First, you apply through your airline. Then, your airline applies for your transit visa online, through one of the following ways:
- Through the eChanel portal of the UAE Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA); or
- Through the websites of the GDRFA in each emirate:
- Through the mobile apps:
Where can I apply for a Dubai Transit Visa?
Dubai is part of the country of the UAE, and as such, you can apply for a Dubai Transit Visa in the same way as is detailed above.
How to get an Abu Dhabi Transit Visa?
You can get an Abu Dhabi Transit Visa by arranging for one with an UAE-based airline, in the same process as is detailed above. That’s because Abu Dhabi is one of the emirates making up the UAE, and so you actually need a UAE visa not an Abu Dhabi Visa.
How long is the UAE Transit Visa valid?
A UAE Transit visa is valid for 14 days starting from the date it is issued. You must use it within those days. However, once you have travelled to the UAE, you can only stay for 48 hours or 96 hours, depending on the type of Transit Visa you receive.
How long can I stay in UAE with a Transit Visa?
There are two types of transit visas for Dubai/UAE:
- 48-hour Transit Visa
- 96-hour Transit Visa
You cannot stay in the country beyond the date that the visa is issued for. The countdown starts from the time you enter the UAE.
Can you extend a UAE Transit Visa?
No, you cannot extend your UAE Transit Visa beyond the number of hours that is is issued for. If you’ve received a 48-hour Transit Visa, you cannot extend it to a 96-hour one, nor can you extend the 96-hour for longer than that.
UAE Transit Visa price
The price of the transit visa depends on they type:
- The 48-hour UAE transit visa is free of charge
- The 96-hour UAE transit visa is AED 50 (about US$13 – US$14)
How long does it take to get a UAE Transit Visa?
A UAE Transit Visa is usually processed within 3-4 working days, but may take longer depending on the airline, your country, and other specific circumstances.