In July 2019, Ajay and I were over to Paris for a quick vacation. We flew from Mumbai via Abu Dhabi to Paris on Etihad Airways. Due to the Mumbai rains, our flight out of Mumbai was massively delayed. Therefore we missed our onward connection to Europe. Even though the airline booked us on a flight which was departing the next day, we didn’t want to spend 20 hours at the Abu Dhabi airport.
In this last-minute situation, the UAE Visa on Arrival program came very handy for us. Indian citizens are eligible for visa on arrival in the United Arab Emirates since 2017. To qualify for a visa on arrival, there are two pre-requisites:
- Your Indian passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months
- You must have a valid USA visa or a US Green Card, or a UK or EU residency.
Other variations have come through as well, such as free transit visas and so on, but the base thought is the one where you get a VoA on the back of your US Visa. The UAE visa on arrival costs AED 100 and is valid for 14 days, and one can extend it for another 14 days by paying a renewal fee of AED 250. In the past, we’ve used this facility in Dubai, and it worked smoothly.
Abu Dhabi Visa on Arrival process
On arrival at the Abu Dhabi Airport, we followed the Passport Control sign and headed towards arrivals.
At immigration, there is no sign indicating the Visa on Arrival area, so we asked the officer, and he directed us to the immigration queue itself, where VoA is also processed. This workflow is different from Dubai, where different counters take care of the payment and delivery of the Visa on Arrival.
Abu Dhabi charges AED 100 per person as Visa Fees, which is roughly about INR 1875. We arrived at about 7 am. There was no queue, and it took us less than 10 minutes to get the visa on arrival stamp on our passport. Once there, we presented our passports to the officer on the counter, who scanned our passport, USA visa, asked us to complete our eye scans and collected the money. Bear in mind that payment is only accepted via cards and no cash. Subsequently, he handed us the receipts which had an additional 8 AED (INR 130) charge as an e-commerce fee. At the counter, the only question I was asked was if it was the first time I was visiting Abu Dhabi. They did not ask Ajay anything.
If you do have a USA visa, or residency permits by any of the countries mentioned above, accessing the UAE is now a breeze.
Have you had a chance to experience the Abu Dhabi Visa on Arrival for Indians? What has been your experience?