The only people that do not require a visa to visit Dubai are national citizens of GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries i.e. Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Everybody else needs a visa. However, to make things easy for many visitors, free visas, valid for 30 days are granted on arrival for:
- GCC residents who are not GCC nationals but have high professional status (company managers, business people, auditors, accountants etc), or employees working in the public sector, their families, drivers and personal staff sponsored by them.
- Nationals of Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong (SAR passport holders), Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, United States, and Vatican City.
Note: Until January 2 2011, Canadians were one of the nationalities that could obtain free 30 day visas on arrival in Dubai/UAE. They now need to obtain a visa prior to travelling. The change is a result of a diplomatic spat between Canada and the United Arab Emirates over airport landing rights.
Tourists not falling into one of the categories need to get a sponsor to apply for their visa. Valid sponsors include hotels and tourist companies.
Israeli nationals are not permitted to enter Dubai or the United Arab Emirates.
There are many more types of visas, but coverage of them is beyond the scope of this tourism website. Those coming to Dubai for employment will need a visa that can only be obtained on their behalf by their sponsor/employer.