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Applying for UAE Visa? Here’s a step-by-step process

Here’s a TIP before you take your big step applying into the UAE. DO NOT VISIT DUBAI IF YOU CAN’T WALK. Trust me! I have logged 130+ Kilometers of walking over the span of 8 days. That’s how much you’re going to get tortured. No matter what, BE PREPARED TO GET AMAZED IN EVERY CORNER OF DUBAI CITY.

I have hyperlinked some helpful websites that will provide information during the Visa process. So, without further ado, let’s get into the business.

Step 01: Booking Your Flight Ticket

If your originating country requires a valid VISA, your first option is to have a confirmed air ticket. Visa requirements are availed in VisaHQ website. Reserve your tickets through an airline agent, or the airline itself who can apply for the Visa on your behalf. Our recommendation is Emirates as they support online visa application partnered with VFS Global. Refer to the next step for the process.

Step 02: Applying for the UAE Visa

Whether you apply online or through an agent you must have the below documents ready. This will make your application process convenient.

  1. Visa Application Form (booked an Emirates air ticket, online application via VFS is possible. Otherwise the agents will provide to fill in)
  2. Scanned Soft-copy of Applicant(s) photograph (passport size, with white-background)
  3. Scanned Bio-data Page of Passport (details must be clearly visible)
  4. Scanned Alteration/Observation Page of the Passport
  5. Scanned Last Page of the Passport


  1. Scanned Pages of Visa attestation of other visited countries (this will increase the chances of visa issuance)
  2. Hotel Bookings (you can do a hotel booking with pay later or free cancellation option. You can cancel when you don’t receive the Visa on time)
  3. Financial/Bank Statements
  4. A Letter from workplace – when applying through a travel agent (indicate your employment status and the company will bear responsibilities to all the travelers/dependents)

We did not submit any documents from 7 – 9 during our application process, but all other documents from 1 – 6, that lead us to a successful visa landing. An important point to note during the online application process is the Hotel details and the hotel MAKANI number.  Makani is the official geographic addressing system in the emirates. Makani means my location in Arabic and it consists of 10 digit numbers only called “Makani Number”. In an instance you have not booked a hotel, you can use a Makani of a hotel that you’re planning to book.

Another note is to compress your images to a certain size, if not the site will not accept it. VFS Global has an amazing tool that can help you compress or you can simply email them upon successful submission of your application. To Email them you will need to use the given web reference and your booking reference of the airline ticket. 

For further clarifications, you can refer to the VFS Global FAQs and Dubai travel requirements to ensure you have all updated information. 

Once you identify all of these and if you are applying via Emirates online, simply navigate to the official VFS Global website for instructions. The link itself is self-explanatory and you have to simply follow the steps with a payment confirmation at the end. Generally it takes about 3 – 5 working days for your Visa to arrive upon submission. Therefore, I strongly recommend applying for the Visa 10 working days (or 2 weeks) ahead.

Various Visa options were available, but we chose the latter, single-entry for 30 days. The cost of it was around USD $94 approx. VFS also offers an express option that can land you a visa in 24 – 48 hours as well (in case you are flying the very next day or so). We did not opt for the express option since we had plenty of time between our departure and the visa application. 

Upon document submission and confirmation of the payment, sit tight, relax until the visa process is completed.

Step 03: Upon Receiving the UAE Visa

Great! Now that you have received your UAE visa, you have a few more checks to complete prior to your departure.

  1. Print a hard copy of the UAE Visa (in color copy)
  2. Print a hard copy of the Hotel Booking (color or BW is fine)
  3. Take a PCR no later than 72 hours prior to your departure (Only RT-PCR, other tests including rapid ones are not accepted)
  4. Print and fill the Health Declaration E-form (N3)
  5. Print and fill the Health Consent Form
  6. Download the DXB Smart App for Android or iOS, and complete the profile information (this is where any PCR done when in Dubai/UAE gets updated for tourists)

For point 4 & 5, please keep an eye on the VFS Global site for updated information. Once all these are set, you’ll have smoother processing at the immigration upon arriving at the Dubai (DXB) international airport.


Final Step: Getting into the UAE Habibi!

Okay cool! Now we’re in the UAE, and what’s next? While we write more about our experience in the UAE, you may explore the local food, malls, amazing adventures and many more.

We will catch you back with another post on how to prepare your journey and how to make use of public transportation effectively. Chao!

Mohamed A

IT & Networking professional meddling with various projects. A traveler who loves to explore new cultures, people, and of course food. Football fanatic and a minion.

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