If you were to build a time machine and bring an Arab from the 1960’s he would not be able to believe what his country has become. Arab has made use of its near-perfect location to become the hub of Asia in terms of air, land and the sea. Undeniably, the UAE is believed to be the pinnacle of Arab according to some of the popular historians and economists.
Although some may call UAE an all “man-made” wonder, we cannot help but admire their amazing engineering feats. And, that is not all. In fact, Dubai has many facades to entice travellers. Whether to indulge in the grandiose of the Burj Khalifa or to admire the Palm Jumeirah, the artificial yet magnificent archipelago. A walk to remember at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai is one of the best family-friendly destinations for a holiday.
But as Indians, we need to shell out at least INR 5200 to get a Dubai Visa. Would it not be nice if you could offset your visa cost in your travels? Well, I was able to do so, and here is how you could also convert all your Dubai Visa expense into your travel expense and make your UAE Visa, essentially free.
In this all-inclusive guide, I have covered everything that entails the Dubai visa process. Whether you want to visit the country for tourism or business or simply explore it during your short layover, this guide has end-to-end information on all the types of Dubai visas for Indians.
The Ultimate Truth About Dubai Visa for Indians
What is Dubai Visa?
A visa is an endorsement or an acknowledgement that the holder of the travel document (passport) mentioned in your visa copy has been granted permission to visit and exit the specific country based on the conditions of your visa type.
In a layman’s language, a visa typically is your ticket to enter and travel a specific country. It could be a paper visa, sticker visa, or a visa stamped on your passport. Luckily for Indians, the type of visa to Dubai is a paper visa.
So, a Dubai visa enables you to enter Dubai and travel anywhere in the country for a stipulated period after which, you need to exit the country.
When you are not aware of the UAE visa process, applying for a visa may seem to be one of the scariest experiences. On the contrary, applying for a Dubai a.k.a. UAE e-visa is far simple and easier when you approach the right visa expert.
In a nutshell, I had to book Dubai visa online while it was delivered to my email in a PDF format. And, while travelling, I had to carry a few printed copies of this visa.
Do Indians really need a visa to visit Dubai?
Yes. Indians do need a visa to visit Dubai. They must apply for one in advance rather than seeking it upon their arrival to the UAE. Nevertheless, there are a few exceptions, which are discussed further in the article.
Indians can book Dubai Visa Online, without the hassles of visa interviews and biometrics. Also, the process gets more convenient as many agents are catering to Dubai visa online in India. Needless to say, the trick lies in choosing the top visa agent in India.
Did you know?
Nearly 20,00,000 Dubai visas are applied in India every year.
This fact is further supported by the Dubai visitor statistics provided below.
Dubai tourism statistics
Statistics of countries visiting Dubai from 2015 to 2017. Source: Wikipedia
As per the statistics where India ranks number one as the country frequenting Dubai, one can certainly imagine the number of visa applicants from India every year.
The bottom line is however as a visa applicant aspiring to travel to Dubai, you are one in the long list of more than 20,00,000 Indians. This also means that you must leave no stone unturned to ensure your visa is approved.
To ensure hassle-free processing and increasing the chances of my visa approval, I vigilantly researched on the best visa agents in India. And only after proper research and consultation, I opted for the visa agent with many benefits.
One of the factors, which I found common among the different visa agents was that all of them wanted me to pay the complete visa pay to process my visa. Moreover, they also stated that the visa fee was non-refundable irrespective of the fact there is a probability for the visa to get rejected. Thus, this pointer was the key to narrow down my option.
Did you know?
Applying for the wrong type of Dubai visa is the major cause for your visa to get rejected.
What are the types of Dubai Visa?
As I was visiting Dubai for tourism, I opted for a Dubai tourist visa. Needless to say, there are many Indians who visit UAE for other reasons as well. In fact, it is very important to determine the purpose of your visit to applying for a Dubai visa.
For instance, when you are visiting Dubai on business like attending meetings, business fairs, symposiums, etc. you need a Dubai Business Visa. But you cannot use this visa for employment or for investing in the UAE.
Thus, based on the purpose served and popularity, the Dubai visa types are as follows:
- Dubai tourist visa
- Dubai business visa
- Dubai transit visa
- Dubai student visa
- Dubai work visa
Other Types of Dubai visa
Generally, the below mentioned are the other types of Dubai visa:
Note: Some of these visas do not apply to Indian citizens.
- Entry permit for patients and their companions
- E-visa for residents from GCC
Dubai tourist visa
As the name suggests, this visa serves the purpose of tourism. And depending on the duration of your stay, you may apply for 14, 30, and 90 days tourist visa respectively. The entry type may be single or multiple. One may enter the country just once using a single entry visa whereas one may enter the country as many times within the validity period with a multiple-entry visa.
When must you apply for a Dubai tourist visa?
I applied for my visa as soon as I made my mind to finally visit the country of my dreams. And while applying for the visa, I booked the flight tickets after confirming the probable date of visa approval. My genuine visa partner helped me with this too. Read on to know how they did that!
Nevertheless, I recommend you to apply for the visa at least two weeks in advance and two or more months in advance. The validity of your visa starts as soon as the visa is approved. And the validity period is limited where it is 58 days for a single-entry visa and 30 days for a transit visa.
What is the processing time of a Dubai tourist visa?
My visa was delivered within 4 working days. Now this time may vary as per the Indian and Dubai holidays when you are applying from India.
Dubai express tourist visa
9 Important Facts about Dubai Tourist Visa
- A Dubai tourist visa allows you to visit anywhere in the UAE. However, for specific visit purposes, you must opt for a region-specific visa.
- I was able to use my Dubai tourist visa to also attend a business expo in Abu Dabi during my stay. Thus the tourist visa has multiple facets.
- Although the tourist visa is your entry permit to Dubai, the final decision to approve your entry into the country lies with the immigration officials. Make sure you provide clear and just answers at the airport immigration.
- It is important to furnish proof of sufficient funds to maintain oneself during their stay in Dubai. This depends on the duration of your stay. Most often low funds in your bank statement may be the reason for visa rejection.
- A Dubai tourist visa is also known as a Dubai visit visa or Dubai visitor visa. However, the thin line that separates both is in the case of the latter, an invitation letter issued by your host is essential.
- While applying for a Dubai tourist visa, it is important to furnish colour photographs as black and white images are not accepted.
- Depending on the stay periods granted by your visa, you are required to leave on or before the last day. For instance, in the case of a 14 days tourist visa, you must exit Dubai on or before the 14th day.
- While you may use a Dubai business visa for sightseeing and other leisurely activities, you cannot use the tourist visa for business visits.
- With a valid Dubai tourist visa, you cannot apply for a Dubai student visa. Thus, to avail the latter, the validity of your existing visa must expire.
Note: Since I have an Indian passport, I was required to apply for my Dubai visa online from India. And, as I was out of the country then, I applied for my visa via third party visa agent like Blinkvisa.
What is a Dubai visit visa or visitor visa?
Most often, the Dubai visitor visa or visit visa is the same as the tourist visa. However, the major difference is the fact that, with a Dubai visit visa, one may stay with friends or relatives staying in Dubai. Thus, the requirements vary. Rather unfortunately for me, none of even my farthest of the relatives resided in Dubai. As expected, I had to choose the Dubai tourist visa for my Dubai vacation.
Dubai Transit Visa
For stopovers or a layover period in Dubai or in between changing flights (from one airport to another, which is a common occurrence) I recommend the Dubai transit visa. A Dubai transit visa is also a must when your stay period in between flights is not more than 96 hours. For a transit period exceeding 4 days or 96 hours, you have to opt for a Dubai tourist visa.
9 Important Pointers on Dubai Transit Visa
- Visitors of select nationalities can avail a free Dubai transit visa on arrival for up to 48 hours
- The 48 hours transit visa on arrival may be extended to 96 hours on additional payment of 50AED
- The nationals of Afghanistan, Iraq, Niger, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen are exempt from Dubai stopover visa
- Travellers eligible for Dubai visa on arrival and visa-free entry need not avail a transit visit
- Transit visas are sponsored only by UAE based-airlines like Etihad, Emirates, etc.
- The sponsored stopover visa must be processed and approved before entering UAE
- An onward ticket or the ticket to a third destination is vital for transit/stopover visa approval
- Dubai transit visa is non-extendable
- It is not renewable
When does one need a transit visa or stopover visa for Dubai?
- When the layover period in Dubai is eight hours or more
- When you need to leave the airport and officially enter the country
- When you must change flight in a different airport from the one you landed in Dubai
- When you need to board a connecting flight having a different PNR number than the one you arrived with
- When you want to change flights at different terminals
- When you want to explore Dubai during your layover at Dubai
How to Get Dubai Business Visa in Just 3 Days?
I recommend Dubai business for visiting Dubai for various business purposes. However, it is important to understand that it cannot be used as an employment visa or otherwise. Nonetheless, you may use it as a tourist visa too. But make sure you specify the same in your travel itinerary.
It is important to file this information away as you never know when you may need to visit Dubai on business. Based on my more than happy and satisfied experience with Blinkvisa, I am quite assured and confident that Blinkvisa will be able to handle my business visa too.
All the Dubai visas offered at Blinkvisa are single-entry visas. You can choose a business visa depending on your required stay period in the country. As all are Dubai visas online, it is sent to your registered email id once approved. All you need to do is take a couple of colour printouts of your visa while travelling.
Note: Dubai Express Visas are processed in under three working days. Thus, for faster visa approval, I recommend the Dubai Business Express Visa.
Dubai 14 days business visa information
Dubai 14 days express business visa
Dubai 30 days business visa
Dubai 30 days express business visa
Dubai 90 days business visa
Note: The Service Visa, Work/Employment Visa, Entry permit for patients and their companions, and E-visa for residents from GCC are out of the scope of this blog.
Is there a Dubai visa on arrival for Indians?
Earlier, I mentioned that only Indians with non-ordinary passports, Green Card, and US visa are eligible for a visa on arrival. The rest must apply for a visa in advance. While at the time of applying for the visa I was ignorant of this fact, and it turned out in my favour.
As a general rule, when I choose an international destination, I research about that country’s visa on arrival policy. While most of the countries are gradually opting out of it, some are still following it.
The bottom line is there is no Dubai visa on arrival for Indian passport holders.
Visa on arrival eligible countries
1 Note: Only British citizens, British Overseas Territories citizens, and British residents having a certificate of entitlement to the Right to Abode can extend their Dubai visa on arrival for a fee.
The pros and cons of a Dubai visa on arrival
Even today, some of the international airports though house a visa on arrival kiosk, most often it is empty. And, if there are officials there, the queue is oftentimes never-ending and I can personally vouch for the hours I have spent at the airport trying to get a visa upon arrival while I’d rather be exploring the country I am visiting.
Advantages of visa on arrival
Other than the fact that the visa on arrival at Dubai is free, there are no other benefits or pros of this visa. Also, travelling without a visa when your country is not exempt is like taking a risk with your chances of entering the country. It is the major reason I most often choose to apply for a visa in advance rather than getting one after reaching the destination.
Disadvantages of Dubai visa on arrival
UAE does not recognise dual citizenships
There are chances for your passport to get confiscated in instances where you have dual citizenships. Thus, Dubai visa on arrival is not an option for citizens with dual nationalities and passports.
Real cases of denied entry for US Green Card and visa holders
Entry into the UAE is denied despite furnishing one’s valid Green Card or visa when their validity is less than six months at the time of exiting Dubai.
The bottom line is I never wanted to take any chances and I always find it convenient to travel with a previously approved visa. While Dubai has a free visa on arrival, technically, I did not spend anything on my Dubai visa fee. And how did I achieve this feat? I will be revealing it further in the article or click here to discover my secret now.
Can you apply for a Dubai visa on your own?
Well, this is a million-dollar question and many travel enthusiasts always look for an affirmative answer. However, one can apply for a Dubai visa through a third-party visa agent. Nonetheless, applying for a visa online through a trusted visa agent is quite easy. And when there are additional benefits, it gets even better.
As stated earlier, most of the agents demand the complete visa fee to process your Dubai visa application form. Also, they do not provide you with the guarantee of visa approval.
After much research and enquiry, I came across www.blinkvisa.com. They were the exception to the ‘pay the complete visa fee rule’. To process my Dubai visa application form, all they asked was INR 500. And the visa counsellor or expert allotted to me made it very clear that I can be very certain of my visa approval (however the approval is still at the embassy’s discretion).
My visa expert also ensured that I can pay the remaining visa fee once I receive my approved visa.
How to choose the best visa agent for your Dubai Visa?
While I wasn’t being optimistic about my visa approval, I wanted to ensure that spending money on my visa wouldn’t be a lost cause. And as luck would have it in-store, I came across just the right visa agent. Surprisingly enough, they did not charge me the complete visa fee but only their service charge which was INR 500. And, only after my visa approval, I had to pay the remaining visa fee.
In most cases, the Dubai visa price may cost you as much as a ticket to Abu Dabi. And, imagine paying the same for your visa for it to get rejected and the fee being non-refundable. It is your worst nightmare come alive!
I will reveal the actual amount I paid and how I claim that I got my visa at no cost. Read on, as I will be making the big reveal!
The Secret to Get Dubai Visa for Free
Cost of a Dubai visa may be sky high but with a reliable visa agent, you will get the complete value for your money. Now moving on to my big reveal,
BLINKVISA GAVE ME 100% CASHBACK OF MY DUBAI VISA FEE!
How much does a Dubai visa cost?
My tourist visa cost me INR 6890 and as they promised, they credited the complete amount to my registered Blinkvisa user id. As indicated earlier, there are different types of Dubai visas and accordingly, the fee varies. Refer to the Dubai visa price list below.
During my enquiry, I realized that the fee was a variable from one visa agent to another. The common factor, however, was that they all charged the complete visa fee to proceed with one’s visa application. I was uncomfortable with this notion. Moreover, the said fee was not refundable even in the cases of a rejected visa.
And this was one of the major reasons I chose Blinkvisa.
Is it possible to get a Dubai visa with ‘no advance payment of fees’?
Unlike the other visa agents and even the UAE government promoted portals where they charge the entire visa fee, Blinkvisa processed my application without taking the full visa amount.
Dubai visa fee update 2020
Here is their Dubai visa price list for all the types of visas they presently offer.
Rather than paying the complete visa fee, I was directed to pay only INR 500 to start the processing of my Dubai visa application. It is a major reason I suggest my readers choose the visa agent wisely.
Can I pay the visa fee only after visa approval?
Generally, how the visa process works is, you apply, pay the fee, your visa is approved and you receive the visa. Most often the visa agents charge the complete visa fee. And only after the fee is paid, they process your Dubai visa application form online.
Thus, even if your visa is approved or not, you need to shell out money on the non-refundable visa fee. Choosing the right visa agent will solve this dilemma. After extensive research and debate, I made up my mind to go for Blinkvisa while I paid the visa fee and additional taxes only after my visa was approved.
Is there guaranteed money back on your Dubai visa fee?
If you are one of those individuals who feel money back on your visa is possible only when pigs start flying, get ready for this shocker. My case is an explicit example of 100% cashback on the amount I spent on my Dubai visa.
The cashback happened when I paid the Blinkvisa service charges of INR 500. In fact, it was instantaneous and I received the complete amount as soon as 500 was debited from my account. The money-back happens in the form of Blinkcash virtual currency which is credited into your Blinkwallet account linked to your registered email id. This id is the one you will use as your Blinkvisa login id.
What is Blinkcsah?
Blinkcash is the cashback I received on my visa. Using this cashback I was able to unlock discounts of up to 12% on the actual cost price of flight tickets, hotel reservations, Dubai activities, etc.
Getting the complete value for the money spent on my visa made my trip to Dubai worthwhile where I had this blissful feeling of having achieved double the worth of my money.
How does cashback work?
Earlier I stated that a Dubai visa costs as much as an air ticket to Dubai and I was not joking then. Technically, I had the feeling of not having spent anything at all.
Let me give you yet another example of the difference in the prices of hotel stays when you choose to do it on a different website when compared to the site I chose.
It doesn’t end here, below as an example of the discounts on activities in Dubai.
Note: The price varies as per the current date and time.
What are the Dubai Visa Requirements for Indians?
Studies suggest that failure to fulfil the visa requirements is the major cause of visa rejection. In fact, experts also believe that the major difficulty in applying for a visa lies in getting the visa requirements checklist right. Here is the complete list of requirements for the most common types of Dubai visas for Indians.
While applying for my tourist visa I was apprehensive and also overwhelmed by the list of documents which differed from one visa agent to another. Thus, I have further segregated the requirements into when applying, and while travelling.
Dubai Documents checklist for Indians while applying
1. Scanned copy of the first and last pages of your Indian passport in PDF format
- Ensure the passport has a validity of at least 6 months
- Your Indian passport must have a minimum of two blank pages
2. A scanned copy of your passport-sized photograph
Documents checklist for Indians while travelling
- Colour printouts of your Dubai paper visa
- Your Indian Passport
- Certificate of civil status like marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.
- A clear copy of your sponsor’s passport or government identity card, residence permit, etc. if applicable
- Travel insurance
- PAN Card, both copy and original
These are some of the common requirements, read onto know the visa requirements for specific types of visas.
What are the requirements for a Dubai tourist visa?
1. Passport/Government issued identity card/equivalent official document
If you are eligible for a Dubai visa online, you must furnish the colour scanned copy of the above-mentioned document. Ensure your name, details, and photograph are visible in the copy.
2. Two colour photographs
Cropped passport-sized photographs or black and white copies will not be accepted. Photo specifications provided further in the blog.
3. Cover letter
Issued by the applicant, where both the purpose of visit and duration of the stay is mentioned
Note: In the case of a female travelling alone: An NOC issued by father or husband is essential.
4. Proof of accommodation
This would be hotels reservations, apartment or home-booking or accommodation at a friend’s or relatives place.
5. Income Tax Return
Both original and photocopy of the same
6. Dubai travel itinerary
What are the Dubai visitor visa requirements?
If you are going to Dubai to visit a friend or relative, then you need to get a Dubai visitor visa. Apart from the common checklist listed above, the additional requirements are as follows;
- Applicants with an invitation from an immediate family member residing in Dubai must provide a valid invitation/cover letter signed by the host.
- Valid Residence Visa Copy/Identity Card/Passport of the host, and also the PAN Card (photocopy) and last three-months bank statement of the host/relative.
What are the Dubai transit visa requirements?
Other than the common requirements of a copy of passport or valid government-issued id card, and passport-sized photographs, these are the essential requirements for a transit visa
- Confirmed round-trip or on toward flight tickets
- Valid visa or equivalent travel document of the country travelling to if applicable
What are the Dubai business visa requirements?
Apart from the common list of documents,
- A cover letter from the company, confirming the name of the visa applicant, along with the purpose and duration of the stay in Dubai.
- The original Invitation letter issued by the host company in Dubai.
- Both original and photocopy of Investment documents
Note: The invitation must include the details of the business (seminar, investment, conference, etc.)
As overwhelming as it sounds, once I was able to sort out the Dubai visa requirements for Indians, the rest of the visa process was as easy as ordering food on Swiggy.
Nonetheless, it was the most hassle-free visa application process I have ever experienced in life. Here is how I applied for my Dubai visa the easy way. Also, I was able to check Dubai visa online status with my application number/order id.
How to Apply for Dubai Visa?
When I applied for a Dubai visa, the first step involved filling the online form. It was in fact, a very simple form where I was asked to provide a few basic details like my name, email id, and contact number. Also, it was then, I was asked to make an initial payment of INR 500 to proceed with my Dubai visa application.
After the submission of the simple online form, a million questions ran in my mind. Needless to say, Blinkvisa simplified this too as their visa experts called me within half an hour from the receipt of my Dubai eVisa application.
Once I submitted the required documents, the visa experts applied for my visa on my behalf. After, which they shared the application details so that I could check Dubai visa online status of my application anywhere anytime.
And, this was how I received my approved visa, which was sent as a PDF file to my registered email id.
Sample Dubai Visa for Reference
When must you apply for a Dubai visa?
It is wise to apply for your UAE visa at least two weeks before your intended travel date. For faster Dubai visa processing within three days, I recommend the Dubai express visa.
When is the ideal time to visit Dubai?
The ideal time to visit Dubai is between November to April. January and February are considered to be the best time when the tourist numbers are more thanks to the Dubai Shopping Festival.
As a shopping buff, I particularly wanted to make the most of the Dubai Shopping Festival. But to my horror, finding flights to Dubai was a little daunting, considering it to be the peak season.
But thanks to my reliable visa advisor yet again, I was able to fly to Dubai at a discounted price.
Dubai visa-exempt countries
While most of the nationals require a Dubai visa to travel Dubai, there are a few countries, which are exempt from the Dubai visa requirements. Let us find out if you are from one of these Dubai visa-exempt countries or not.
Only citizens of the following 53 countries may travel to Dubai without a visa. While India is not one among these, there are a few exceptions.
1. Visa exemption does not apply to passports stamped Article 17, paragraph 2
2. It applies to the holders of public affairs passport
3. Applicable to only biometric passport holders
ID. The nationals may enter using their valid identity cards (ID)
Dubai visa exemptions for Indians
Indians with a diplomatic or service category passports are exempt from applying for a Dubai visa. Also, Indian passport holders with a valid US visa or Green Card or are the residents of the US or the European Union, may avail a free visa on arrival, which enables a stay period of 14 days. Apart from these exceptions, the rest must apply for a UAE visa in advance.
Some of the Frequently Asked Questions About Dubai Visa
1. Is the Blinkvisa fee refundable?
The initial fee is non-refundable. You will have to pay the remaining applicable fee to download your visa. However, the entire visa amount will be given to you as cashback.
2. Can I reapply for in case my visa gets rejected?
Yes, you can reapply. Though, we recommend you to consult an expert like Blinkvisa to increase your chances of approval.
3. Can I use the Dubai 90 days tourist visa as my residence permit to stay in the country?
The purpose of a Dubai tourist visa is to enter the country for business or pleasure. You are entitled to attend seminars, conferences, meetings, or shop to your heart’s content. Every permit has a stipulated stay period that you must comply with, hence, using it as a residence permit is akin to a crime. Moreover, you can still visit or stay with a relative or host provided they provide a cover letter stating the authenticity of your visit.
Note: For a business visa intended to attend conferences, meetings, etc., one must provide cover letters from the company they are representing and also the host company.
4. Is the Dubai visa fee the same for infants and adults?
Yes, the Dubai visa fees are the same for all ages. However, with Blinkvisa, you get 100% cashback on your Dubai visa fee.
5. Can a friend sponsor me to Dubai?
Applying for a Dubai visa through a sponsor is one of the easy means of getting a visa for Dubai. Anyone can sponsor a UAE / Dubai visa provided they are residents of the country or hold authentic permits. When your sponsor is applying on your behalf, share all the required documents with them. They will then apply one your behalf.
If you do not have a sponsor, visa or travel agents can sponsor your visa.
6. When will I get cashback on my visa fees?
The application process involves registration, which requires you to pay the processing fee of INR 500 only. As soon as you make this payment, the complete visa fee reflects in your registered account.
7. Do Indians need a UAE transit visa?
Yes, Indians need a transit visa as they are not exempt from the Dubai visa. However, with a valid Dubai visa, one can visit any of the seven Emirates of the United Arab Emirates.
8. What documents do I need to carry to clear immigration?
At the immigration counter, you need to have your original passport and copy of the approved e visa. On arrival, the immigration officers will take your biometrics (eye scan as well as fingerprints). Biometric data is not required for minors.
9. Can I extend my Dubai tourist visa?
No, the Dubai tourist visa for Indians is non-extendable. One must exit Dubai before the allowed stay period exhausts.