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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Residents of GCC Countries Now Require E-visa to Enter UAE

Effective immediately, foreign nationals with residency visas from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are required to apply for an e-visa before travelling to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This regulation came into effect in May 2015, but has only recently been enforced by the immigration authorities in the UAE. Failure to obtain the e-visa before traveling to the UAE may lead to rejection at the border immigration counter.

What is different?

Previously, an entry permit/visit visa to the UAE was applied for at the UAE mission overseas or was received upon arrival. The possibility for online visa applications is intended to facilitate travel for those foreign nationals already resident in the region.

Who is Affected?

Foreign nationals with long term residence visas (or family members of holders of residence visas) issued by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia) and seeking to enter the UAE for a business or tourist visit.

How Does The E-visa Work?

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has launched a new online service for e-visa applications, including online payments. Note that this is different from the website used for e-visas for GCC residents since the regulation was introduced in May.

Once the visa is approved by the Ministry of Interior, a copy will be sent to the applicant by email. The issued visa can be used within 60 days to enter the country. Upon entry, the applicant can stay 30 days in the UAE. The visa is allows a single entry, and is extendable once for 30 days.

Red Flags

  • Applications for family members of GCC residents will not be approved if the sponsor is not traveling along with the family members;
  • Family members are entitled to a 60 day visa, which is extendable once for 60 days;
  • If the profession of the GCC resident is found to be changed after issuance of the e-visa, the e-visa holder will not be granted entry;
  • The applicant’s GCC residency must be valid for at least three months beyond the arrival date in the UAE;
  • The applicant’s passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the arrival date in the UAE.

Action Items

  • GCC residents travelling to the UAE should obtain the e-visa before travelling, and ensure their GCC residency and passport have sufficient validity.

This news alert was prepared using information provided by Sesam Business Consultants and Executive Expatriate Relocations.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.