My experience with Dubai Visa on Arrival for Indians


Last month, I made a last minute dash to Dubai for the Dubai Airshow. Shipra came along as well, as she’d never been to Dubai before and we figured we could see a bit of Dubai on the fringes of the airshow.

Anyhow, this being a last minute trip, I had no opportunity to finish the paperwork and get a visa ahead of time. So I was banking on the Visa on Arrival process that was launched for Indian travellers in May 2017 by the United Arab Emirates. In short, if you have a USA Green Card or a valid visa, you’d be admitted into UAE without a prior visa. This visa is valid for 14 days in the UAE.

However, I had no experience with this VoA process so I was jittery to start with. For almost over ten years, I’ve gone over to the UAE with a piece of paper stating I was going to be allowed in. Once at the airport, though, I could start believing this would really work.

The airline asked me for a UAE visa and I told them about my intention to get a Visa on Arrival. They looked at my USA B1/B2 visa and waived me through. Next, I met the Indian Immigration officials, who also had a look at my USA visa and let me go. Phew!

Dubai Visa on Arrival process

On arrival at Dubai Airport, there were clear markings for Indian travellers who wanted to be admitted with a Visa on Arrival. We had to first go over to a Marhaba counter before immigration, who would process the payment for the Visa on Arrival for us.

There was also a FAQs section explained in English and Arabic before you get in the queue.

UAE Visa on Arrival for US Visa Holders

UAE Visa on Arrival for US Visa Holders

Marhaba charges AED 120 per person as Visa Fees (including 20 Dirham for their service), which is roughly about INR 2000, much lesser than the fee required for prior processing which usually costs INR 6000 at least.

The queue was 4 people deep when we arrived. However, it did take them about 30 minutes before we came to the front of the queue.

Marhaba Dubai

Once there, we presented our passports to the agent on the counter, who scanned our passport and USA visa and collected the money. One can pay in cash or by card. Subsequently, she handed us receipts for the money and advised us to go over to the immigration counter.

Dubai visa on Arrival

Dubai visa on Arrival

At the counter, the only question asked was about the length of our stay in the UAE.Then, we were just made to give our pictures to the immigration cameras. I’m sure I had a bad picture because it took them a few attempts to get mine right. But once they got it done, they stamped the passport and let us in.

Dubai Immigration

Dubai Immigration

If you need to extend your visa, you can do so for another 14 days by paying AED 250, but that is the maximum you can go for.

Bottomline:

This was easy, and if you do have a USA visa on your passport, then I’d recommend you try out the Visa on Arrival process. It is cheaper, and while it does take a short while when you arrive in Dubai (could be more when you get off an Emirates A380 perhaps) it is one third the price as well.

Have you had a chance to experience the Visa on Arrival offered by UAE for Indian Citizens? What has been your experience?

Comments

  1. Hello,

    I have Indian Passport with b1/b2 US visa stamped. My wife and 3 year old kid also have b1/b2 us visa on their indian passport. I am going to avail VOA on 18 Oct for my travel from Kochi to Dubai. I will be going for 5 days with my family for tourism.

    Is there a requirement to have USD1500 equivalent amount in bank?

    I already have return tickets and hotel booking. What all will Indian immigration officer will check?

    Thanks!

  2. Hello,

    I will be travelling to Mumbai via Dubai from US. I will need to pick up by baggage at Dubai and re checkin with the other airline as I have separate tickets.

    My H1B US Visa got expired but, I have an approved I797 extension for the next 3 years and, will be getting it stamped this time in India. If I show my passport and, the approved I797 extension will I be able to get the Visa on arrival at Dubai for Indians. Please kindly let me now.

    • No, i797 does not work. (They don’t know what a i797 approval is)
      Only a 6month+ valid US visa stamp in the passport is accepted.
      Technically, if they don’t see a valid US visa stamp in your passport, they can deny you to board in the US if you’re getting off at Dubai.
      If you’re flying through Emirates, you can apply for a 96 hour visa through Emirates under Manage Booking.

  3. Sir ,how about EU resident visa holder ? I would like to stay Dubai for 2 nights .VoA only US visa holder? I heard that EU and UK visa holders are able to apply VoA Dubai

  4. Thanks so much for the info that Indians with u.s. visa can get dubai visa on arrival..it’s NOWHERE written or advertised otherwise..I hope the rule is still valid on October 2018? Pls. Confirm
    Thanks

  5. Hi,

    Are there any conditions around getting the visa on arrival for Indians? For example, do you have to fly to Dubai via Emirates or fly directly from India?

    I am currently on a work assignment in Addis and will be flying to Dubai from Addis via Ethiopian airlines in December, so want to know if it’s still possible to get the VoA. I have the relevant US Visas valid for 10 years.

    Thank you!

  6. Hi, I am living in Brasil and i have a B1/B2 visa for 10 years but i never entered in USA.
    Now i am planing to go to india and on my return i would like to spend 3 days in Duabi.
    Is there any issue to get VoA in Dubai even though i never entered in USA???

  7. Hi venkatesh,
    Just a quick question, is the voa facility for Indian with (b1/b2) available if travel by road from Oman to UAE?
    Regards,
    Prafull

  8. Hi

    I have a question – can you get 2 different VOA in UAE.

    To elaborate, I plan to visit Dubai between 15th Oct and 1st Nov with a short 4 day roundtrip (Dubai to Europe) in between. Can I get a VOA on 15th Oct and then one more VOA on 25th Oct

    Are there any such restrictions.

    Thanks in advance

  9. Hi need a quick help.. can any category of US visa in an Indian passport get a Visa on Arrival in Dubai.
    visa valid for 5 years and passport valid for 7 yrs,

  10. My Wife has US Visa issued on her maiden name and now she has new passport with post marriage name. Will she eligible for VoA, if we carry both original passport?

    • That isn’t a problem as long as you’re carrying both passport & also carry a copy of your marriage certificate if they ask.

  11. Hi, I am planning for a family holiday to Dubai and Abu dhabi in Dec 2018. I am booked on Oman Airways. Wife and Myself have a valid B1/B2 visa stamped on our passport, however, our infant baby do not have a US visa yet. Do I need to apply for her UAE visa before travel or, will they allow infant on VOA, in case both parents have valid US visas? Do you know where can I confirm this information. Thanks & regards,

    • There is an online chat facility for dnrd.ae – Dubai Naturalization & Residency Department, they can answer this query or you could call them during regular working hours in Dubai.

    • A suggestion would be to obtain a US Visa also for your child by way of drop box with the US Embassy. I just did the same for both my daughters and they got a 10 year visa. A US Visa generally helps at a lot of places.

  12. hi, i am planning to travel to dubai for around 20 days. i have US visa with the validity of 10 yrs. i want to ask whether i have to come back after 14 days to airport to renew my uae visa or i can do that at the time of visa on arrival for 14 days?
    thanks!

  13. Hi,
    I am told now they have changed the rules and only if you have resident US visa they allow VoA and B1 US Visa is not valid for it? ANy info you have on it?

  14. I have my B1 in my old passport which is out of pages now and I am now travelling with a new passport. Do you think this would be a problem with the Visa on Arrival?

    Do you know how many times a year we can get VoA based on the B1? Are there limitations?

  15. Hi All ,

    I have a vaild us visit visa of 10 yrs validity.
    Can I get Visa on arrival for Dubai .
    Kindly suggest

    • Nopes just passport with the visa on it. If it’s in an another passport, both the passports are needed in original.

  16. I have a B1/B2 visa valid till 2020 but my passport is expired, is this valid for VoA. PS: will carry my renewed passport as well.

  17. Does the VOA takes 2-3 hrs in Dubai Airport.. Does any one has any experience of that.
    One of the Travel agent told me… it probably wrong information so want to confirm if anyone has experianced it.

    • @anil, it takes 20 minutes. Also, the travel agent was perhaps trying to get you to shell out 6500 rupees for their service vs 120 dirham which you pay for Visa on Arrival

    • Not at all. I’ve never seen huge queues at both Terminal 1 and 3. Don’t know about Terminal 2. Haven’t used it personally. Maybe he meant immigration queues which are long regardless of whether VoA or paper visa.

  18. I am Indian Passport holder. I have valid B1/B2 USA visa. I am planning to stay in Dubai while coming back from USA to India (I am flying through Emirates and taken 7 days hault at Dubai).

    I want to know if I can avail visa on arrival at Dubai while travelling from USA? Or Visa on arrival only from passengers coming from India to Dubai?

    Also what is the current rate for on arrival Visa?

    Thanks,
    Saurabh

  19. Hi – Is this Visa on Arrival Single Entry or Multiple Entry ? I am there for 14 days but may need to go outside UAE for a few days during that time. Will I have to pay visa fee again when I return back to Dubai within the 14 day validity period ?

  20. What about without US visa? I have a student visa from Australia, does that count? I am an Indian. How does that work? I am going there for 10 days and staying with a friend. I am confused as to apply for a visa online or do VoA. I don’t want to get stuck there.

  21. @All – Please note post the introduction of 5% VAT, the Marhaba service fee is 21 so total cost is 121AED. Saw a lot of people struggle with having no change when handing over cash.

  22. what meharba has to do with it?do they ask you to pay extra for their meet and greet service?2 95.5 aed extra(minimum) mandatorily ?
    poonam tiwari

    • The Meet & Greet service isn’t included in the 21 AED fee they charge alongwth 100 for the visa.

  23. Hi, everyone talks about the extension, but I really want to know how the extension can be done.
    I’ve used the 14 day VOA twice, but this time, I plan to stay for 24-28 days.
    I tried looking up the information and I even asked the Marhaba counter last visit but they didn’t have the exact information. They just said it can be done, they didn’t know how.

    1) Where do I file this extension? Which Office? Or Online?
    2) Do I really get those 10 days grace period after 14 days, and then renew for 4 days (to make it a total of 28 days)? (this was told to me by a random guy at the visa office at the airport)
    3) All the posts say AED 250 for extension, but when I asked the same visa office above, they said AED 500 to extend.

    • For extension, you can go to General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs office on Terminal 3, Arrivals section of the Dubai Airport. You can go on the second last or the last day of visa expiry i.e 13th or 14th day (That’s what the immigration officer told me while entering)
      I went there for an extension but they advised me that there is a 10 day grace period post 14 days, so I would not need to extend or pay for extension, since I needed to stay for total 21 days.
      Only if you need to stay more than 14+10 = 24 days, you need to pay for extension.

      • So if one were to enter dubai on the 4th of September on 14 day visa on arrival they would be able to leave dubai on the 27th without having to pay any extra fees or fines? Is this a firm rule or is this one of those things where it depends on the mood of the immigration officer.

  24. i have a valid c1d US visa on my indian passport, am i eligible for visa on arrival in abudhabi?
    and do i need to have a return ticket to show; just in case?

  25. Hi,

    Whats the Dubai VoA fees for 28 days. Is it 250 AED in total or 100 AED (14 days) + 250 AED (additional 14 days) = 350 AED.

    Regards,
    Sandeep

  26. I have entered Abu Dhabi with visa on arrival which is valid for 14 days. Can I extend the days for another 10 days? When contacted the immigration, they say its automatically eligible for 10 days more stay after the 14 days. Can you please confirm this?

  27. For VOA eligibility, does it matter what type of US visa you have? DO they accept H1B US visa? Do you need to have return ticket or onward flight ticket for them to give you the entry to UAE based on VOA?

  28. I have a L2 visa and planning to travel to Dubai from India in July. Is L2 visa eligible for VOA ? I have a valid L2 visa for 4yrs more.

  29. Hi Ajay,

    I have a B1/ B2 Valid USA Visa, but I have not travelled as yet. Do I still get Dubai 14 day Visa.

    I plan to go very soon to Dubai..

  30. Hi Ajay,
    This might sound a dumb Question . My B1/B2 is in my old passport. Which has expired. I have already got a new passport on which I have already travelled to US and Europe. So do they consider this . Also the fees in the pic was shown 100 Dh whereas u were charged 120.

    • No problem just Carry both passports,as long as Ur b1/b2 visa has 6 months validity,my parents had the same issue,visa on expired passport,no issues whatsoever
      And the fee is 120dh,I was charged 121dh(with tax I guess)

  31. I have a valid C1/D visa which is required for a crew of airlines or ship joining in US,am i eligible for VOA at UAE

  32. Hi can you tell me that once I took this VOA after exit to other country,while return transit to Abudhabi is it possible to take this once again with 120aed.

    • I am an Indian having us visaB1 /B2 for 10 years.on my trip to US I want to avail voi on onward journey for 14 days and 14 days voi on my return after 15 days and how much I will have to pay for this

  33. Their website (UAE) states that the US visa must be valid for at least 6 months when you enter. That causes me to worry because I will be filing for an H1B extension by April 1 and while I enter Dubai, around April 20, my USA visa would only be valid for around 5 months. Will this cause an issue? That should have been specified in the website. I seem to have no other alternative as the UAE consulate in USA doesn’t accept the visa application as I am Indian and have VOA eligibility. Does anyone know what would happen in this case?

    • You are not eligible for VOA. Your US visa affixed on passport should have min 6 months validity on the date of arrival no matter you have applied for renewal or filing for HIB extension etc.. These are not consideration for UAE Immigration people.

      Thanks

  34. Thank you for posting your experience online and it was helpful. Sharing my parents experience at Sharjah airport on 18 Mar 2018. Both are having vaid B1/B2 visas. Process was smooth process took only 10-15 min. Total cost for the two visas was 210 AED. Only passport required for the visa.

    • Did they need to submit any documents online (passport copy, photo etc.) before departure to be eligible for VoA? Or you don’t need any of this and you can simply land in Dubai and get the VoA as mentioned in this article without any initial online application?

  35. Dear Ajay,

    Thanks for sharing your experience, i would like to know, i am pakistani passport holder and currently carrying B1/B2 multiple visa for next 5yrs, so am i eligible for visa on arrival, as it is quite annoying to apply online and then wait for almost 2 to 3 days to get the visa. So my question is, is it applicable for pakistani passport holders or can you refer me to an appropriate place where i can find out the same.
    Thanks once again.

  36. My wife and I are traveling on the same PNR to dubai. While I am eligible for VOA, she is not. Can I alone take VOA while she applied for a visa in Delhi before hand?

  37. Hi Ajay

    Few queries in case you can help:

    1> Me n wife already applied for visa online as a ‘family’. I have received my visa recently but my wife hasn’t. Our journey is 5 days away. So in case the visa does not arrive before travel date, can I go ahead and get her VOA done? Is it possible to get VOA when your application is still under process?

    2> Will Indigo allow to board her without a valid visa? Although the ticket is under same PNR.

    It has been 16 days now since we applied and still the visa is not yet done. I don’t know why people say that UAE visa gets done in 3-4 days.

    Thanks in advance
    Roy

    • @Roy Indigo should not have a problem as long as your wife holds a valid US Visa. As for VOA in Dubai, I didn’t notice Marhaba staff verify anything on their systems. All they wanted was a Green card or a valid US Visa. But best to double check.

  38. Hi what abt this “ok to board approval” for visa on arrival travellers? Airlines used to ask for return tickets and visa copy earlier,that process is done with?

  39. Ajay, I had similar experience to yours. Got a quick Dubai VoA by paying AED 200 due to having a valid US visa on my passport.

  40. I find the process in Qatar to be faster and cheaper. Just head on up to an immigration officer on arrival, present your Indian passport, get your photos and iris scan taken and you’re welcome to Qatar.

    Oh, I didn’t forget to mention how much it costs, there is simply No charge. Yup, visa cost is 0.

    I think, making passengers use marhaba is quite sneaky on the part of Dubai. For those who don’t know, Marhaba is an Emirates group company.

      • Qatar and UAE are two different countries, engaged in a silly dispute. I didn’t mean Qatar as in Qatar Airways (QR).

        My point was that the process in the country of Qatar is much easier, simpler and faster than in UAE.

      • Another additional point I want to add is the usage of Marhaba, making the passenger pay 20Dhs extra to Emirates group, whereas in AUH you can make the payment directly at the immigration counter with a Visa/Master/Amex/JCB/CUP

        • @Venkatesh I don’t know why you are taking offence to that? If someone has to go to Dubai, that is their only option to pay 120 Dirham for VoA or 5K upwards for a pre-approved Visa. If you go to Abu Dhabi and then come to Dubai to save the 20 AUH you’d spend a lot more time and money travelling as well, right? No one is skimming you, that is just the way Dubai decided to do things.

          • I never said they were skimming, I just said this is the sneaky way Dubai is making money on top of a Federal administered fee, by packaging it as a service; despite the customer not having a choice, like you aptly pointed out.

          • And, this thing only applies to those who have an US visa, a majority of visitors to Dubai, do not have this. Thereby, this is a very limited service catering to a very small percentage of Indian population that visits Dubai.

    • Did you need to submit any documentation online to receive the VoA for Qatar? Or you simply landed there without any prior online documentation process and got the VoA on the spot?

  41. In fact, better to apply for US Visa than to take a paper visa to UAE now.
    That’s what I did for my family for my upcoming trip to Abu Dhabi.
    Cost for 3 US Visa was almost the same as cost for 4 paper visa to Abu Dhabi and you save on the hassles too.
    Will also help that they now have US visa already for any future trip for us.

    • I used the US visa also to get in Singapore & Philippines and didn’t pay anything at all. These two along with Dubai visa cost has already more than paid for my US visa and this is ignoring my yearly USA trip.

  42. Hi Ajay,
    I used the VoA service at Abu Dhabi airport. It was done at immigration desk itself and the official asked me to pay 100AED in card transaction (no cash allowed, as per him). It does take time though, similar to your experience but convenient for sure.
    Cheers!

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