UAE Visa Renewals UAE
February 2009 - visit visas for free visa on arrival nationalities are only valid for 30 days. The period changed to 30 days in August 2008 then 60 days in the same month but from the beginning of 2009, there have been reports it is back to 30 days (even if the stamp says 60 days). Ask when you arrive (but even then double check with the DNRD if you're told it's 60 days and/or your stamp says 60 days), and add a comment to the UAE visit visa renewal forum topic.
- 18 January 2010 - there are press reports that visit visa holders must stay away from the UAE for 30 days after exit before a new visa can be issued, resulting in some confusion over the "new" rule. It's not that new - it was announced when visa rules changed in July 2008. The rule does not apply to citizens of countries who can get a free visa on arrival in the UAE. Note that visit visas on arrival for these countries, and tourist visas, are renewable once.
- 29 July 2008 - New visa rules take effect from today. Conflicting reports about whether the visa runs can continue. If you're from one of the visa on arrival countries, you can probably continue to make visa runs but don't take our word for it, or anything you read in the papers. Even the official sources are giving different stories. Be patient and polite is our best suggestion.
- 11 June 2008 update - The Department of Naturalization & Residency - Dubai (DNRD) has set up a new e-system at the Hatta border crossing, with one instead of two checkpoints. The visa change procedure detailed below will involve fewer steps once this takes effect (assuming it is still possible to renew visit visas at the Hatta border).
- 09 June 2008 update - it has been reported that from 01 August 2008 there will be changes in the UAE visit visa rules and fees. The main change of relevance to this page being that visit visas will no longer be renewable. Nationalities who can get free visit visas on arrival can continue to renew them (once, or do a visa run and get a new one).
Dubai Abu Dhabi UAE Visit Visa Renewals
A Visit Visa is normally valid for 60 days (update: seems to be only 30 days as of January 2009). Be careful - that's not the same as two months (1 month), and note that if you aim to renew on the 60th day (30th day), your calculations may not agree with the ones done at immigration. The fine is 100 dhs for overstaying plus 100 dhs for each day past the limit. Expect to pay 200 dhs on the 60th day (30th day) or renew on the 59th day (29th day) at the latest.
November 2007 update - the fines for overstaying were reported in the press to be increasing to 2,000-10,000 dhs, and deportation would also be imposed. The good news was the daily rate would decrease. This information is unconfirmed as of December 2007.
In May 2007 there were reports that the authorities would only allow two renewals of a visit visa, and then visitors would have to stay out of the UAE for a month before starting again. This means you could stay between 6 to 9 months at a time depending on if you extend your visit visa each time before renewing it. As yet, it is unknown how strictly this will be enforced, or where you have to go if you are refused entry at airport or land border.
According to the DNRD website, you can renew a visit visa twice for 60 days at a time, by payment of 100 dhs renewal fee + 100 dhs mandatory urgent processing fee. This may be out of date information. Our information as of January 2007 is that you have the following options:
- One time renewal before expiry of visit visa costs 500 dhs at DNRD, without leaving the UAE.
- Leave and return to the UAE with a new visa.
- If you find a job, change visit visa to employment visa for 1100 dhs in Dubai without leaving the UAE. Or leave the UAE and return on employment visa - cost will be 600 dhs for visa and processing.
- Note that Tourist Visas (from eg hotels) are not the same as Visit Visas, and are not renewable.
If a visit visa is not renewed after 60 days, then you may have to leave the country for at least a month before obtaining a new one. However, that information appears to be inaccurate as there are large numbers of residents, er "visitors" that renew their visas frequently by doing visa runs with a return to the UAE on the same day as their exit.
Nationalities who can get a Visit Visa on arrival in Dubai/UAE, and can get an Omani visit visa on arrival in Oman will be able to "renew" (they actually get a new visa) their visit visa by doing a road trip - see the route descriptions below for more details.
Visa regulations can and do change, sometimes with very little or no notice. Do your best to confirm whatever information you have is up to date, but even then you may find when you arrive at border crossings that requirements and procedures are not what you expected.
By Air to Kish Island, Doha, Muscat, or Bahrain
It's common for people to book a "Visa Run" or "Visa Flight" from Dubai/Sharjah/Abu Dhabi to either Muscat in Oman, Bahrain, Doha in Qatar, or Kish Island. Whichever one you choose, it'll cost about 500-1000 Dirhams for the flight plus any visa charges. Usually you can walk off the plane, into the departure terminal and straight back on again. That means you don't actually enter the other country even though you've left Dubai/UAE. The Dubai/UAE authorities appear to find this acceptable since so many people do this every day. By road (see below) its slightly different.
After your flight you land in Dubai and get a new Visit Visa valid for another 60 days.
Visa renewal by road to Hatta and Oman
- From Dubai to Hatta takes a little over one hour. There's an immigration department on your right as you come up to the main Hatta roundabout (with a large fort on it, Hatta Fort Hotel turnoff at 9 o'clock). Don't stop there, continue on towards Oman and a few kilometers later you'll see Dubai customs post on both sides of the road. Stop there, go to one of the windows and get an exit stamp for the UAE. You'll pay a fine here if you've overstayed.
- Then continue to Oman border control a few km later. First stop is where they check your car for any items you shouldn't have. They'll give you a small piece of paper with a stamp. Don't lose it.
- Next stop a few kilometers later is a large building that says Al Wajaja Border Crossing (or similar). If you really are going to Oman, stop at the window where you'll be told to park the car and go inside to get your visa (GCC Nationals can carry on after showing ID), or drive past the window and park behind the building. Alternatively park before the building, walk in the front entrance and when you're done processing, just drive past the window to the final border check a bit further down the road.
- Go inside with your car registration, car insurance for Oman, passport, paper you got at the car checking stop, and drivers license. You'll get a visa there and they'll scribble something on that small bit of paper from the previous stop. You may have to pay 30-70 dhs (or 3-7 Omani Riyals) for the visa depending on which country you're from. The rules change frequently enough so check the Royal Oman Police website or another reliable source. Or just bring a couple of hundred dirhams with you to be prepared.
- Steps 6 to 8 apply if you drive into Oman. It is also possible to skip them. Park you car on the Dubai side of the main building, not on the Oman side. Walk in, queue, say you're doing a visa change and after you get stamped, walk back out the front, turn right and go to the outside counter where the cars exiting Oman are queuing up. Handover your passport and get an exit stamp. The advantage of this is that you save 20 dhs on the exit permit for the car, a bit of time, and you may not be asked for proof of Oman insurance. Now go to step 9. Note that just because this has worked in the past is no guarantee that it will continue to be the case. Rules can change or be implemented more strictly without warning.
- Drive on towards Oman, there's a final checkpoint where you hand over that bit of paper and say "Shukran, ma-asalama" ("Thank you, goodbye"). Drive on and enjoy the scenery until you're ready to head back to the UAE, and turn around.
- Returning towards Dubai/UAE you'll see a small booth on your left where you buy an entry ticket for your car - cost is 2 Omani Riyals or 20 UAE Dirhams.
- Drive on to the next window in that big building where you got your Omani visa. Stop at the window and hand over your passport and car ticket. You'll get the Omani exit stamp there.
- A little further is another hut with a gate where you might have to stop and handover the car ticket or whatever bit of paper it was replaced with when you got your exit stamp. Sometimes there's no one there and you can just keep driving.
- Continue on to the UAE customs post (several km), park there and go to one of the windows with your passport. You'll get get a new 60 day visit visa and another small piece of paper for the car (with the number of passengers written on it).
- Hand over that piece of paper at the next stop and say "Shukran, ma-asalama".
You're done until your visa expires again. Arrive back in Dubai about an hour later. Whole process will take you between 3 and 4 hours depending on fuel stops, waiting time. On a bad day for queues it may take longer. Avoid holiday weekends when many people travel between Oman and the UAE.
You may or may not be able to do this repeatedly. Some people have said the authorities frown on this practice. One option is to consider going to Muscat for a weekend or a night and actually be a tourist in Oman for longer than 5 minutes.
By Road - Ras Al Khaimah to Khasab
The procedure is much the same as going via Hatta to Oman but from Dubai or Abu Dhabi will probably take longer since the border crossing is about 30 minutes north of Ras Al Khaimah, and it can easily take about 20-30 minutes to drive through Ras Al Khaimah. This route would be useful if you live in Ras Al Khaimah and/or wanted to see the Musandam Peninsula (which is a worthwhile trip to do).
By Road - Al Ain to Buraimi
Again, the procedure would be much the same as the Hatta to Oman crossing at Al Wajajah but note that although Al Buraimi is in Oman, the actual border crossing is quite a long drive into Oman after Al Buraimi - about 30-40 minutes. This is of course quicker for people coming from Al Ain, and possibly from Abu Dhabi.
There are buses that travel between Dubai and Muscat so you could try that if you don't have a car. But you're either in for a long wait at the border if you get off to catch the return bus, or you have to go all the way to Muscat. Daily departure from Dubai is 0730 or 1630, cost is less than 100 dhs subject to change for each way.
As there are (or were - the ferry may not be in operation) ferries from Sharjah to Iran (Bandar Abbas) and Dubai to Iran (Bandar Abbas or Bandar Lengeh, possibly Bushehr), you could try to renew your Visit Visa via that route. However, for nearly all nationalities, that would mean getting a visa for Iran which will cost money and take time. It's probably easier to do a flight or go to Oman via Hatta.