If you have traveled from the Americas or Europe to Asia, chances are you had a stop over in Dubai International Airport (DBX). Located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), this airport currently ranks as the busiest international airport in the world.
Last year, over 78,000,000 passengers passed through this small gulf state, making it the premier hub for travel between Asia and the rest of the world. If you were one of these passengers, or are going to be traveling there, you have no doubt asked yourself "Do I need a transit visa for Dubai?"
To help you navigate the tricky waters of visa requirements, I have put together the following guide. I hope you find it useful for your upcoming journeys.
To answer this question, we need to know these things:
If you are in the airport longer than 24 hours or are planning on leaving the airport and visiting the city, then you will need a visa. Many travelers are eligible for a 30- day visit visa on arrival.
If you are from one of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, then you are automatically eligible for a visa, or in some cases do not need one. These countries are:
Check the list below for your country of nationality. If it is on the list you, will need to make no prior arrangements before coming to the UAE. Basically, all you need to do is get off the plane, go through immigration and your passport will be stamped for a 30 day visa.
If you are from one of the following countries, then you have an even better deal! You are able to get a 90-day visit visa that is valid for 6 months. Basically, all the countries in the Schengen Zone are eligible for this visa.
Are you still asking "Do I need a transit visa for Dubai?" Don't fret, if you're country isn't on the list, you can still purchase a transit visa. I would strongly recommend that you handle this before you make your trip. Once you are in Dubai, there are not always guarantees and each emirate (kingdom) has different rules for how they apply immigration laws.
The cost for the basic 96-hour transit visa is $70.89. An express option is available if you are pressed for time, but it will cost you about $20 more. Residents of some countries may also have to pay a hefty, but refundable, security deposit.
Note: If you hold a passport from Afghanistan, Niger, Iraq, Somalia, or Yemen, then you are not eligible for a transit visa. If you old an Israeli passport, you will be denied entry into the UAE.
For more information, visit VFS.Global, where you can apply for and purchase visas online. If you are on one of the above lists, the smarter option is just to get the free 30 or 90-day visa. Also, it's a good idea to check with your airline as they often can help with the visa process. Not all airlines offer this service, but Emirates has a handy visa guide you can use. Etihad also has a similar portal.
How long is my layover? - If it is less than 24 hours and you stay in the airport, you probably will not need a visa.
Am I planning on leaving the airport? – If you leave the airport, you will definitely need a visa.
Am I eligible for a free 30/90 day visa? – Check the lists above. If your country of nationality is listed, then you will have no problem. If not, apply for a transit visa/visit visa online before your trip.
Are you flying soon? Be sure to read our tips on finding cheap flights.
I understand that applying for visas can be confusing and a bit stressful. Know you should be able to answer "Do I need a transit visa for Dubai?" I hope that this advice makes the process easier for you so that you can relax and enjoy your next trip instead of worrying about paperwork.
Have you traveled to Dubai? If you have been through this process, please share you experiences with us below in the comments. Looking forward to hearing from you! Be safe and happy travels!