Do I need a transit visa for a layover in the United Arab Emirates?
Do I need a transit visa for a layover via airports in the UAE, such as Dubai International Airport or Abu Dhabi International Airport? If so, what are the requirements for such a visa? Can I get the transit visa on arrival?
Staying Airside? Don't Need a Transit Visa
TWOV (Transit Without Visa):
Holders of confirmed onward tickets for a max. transit time of 24 hours.
You'll need a visa if you wish to leave the terminal building and effectively enter the country. Countries that are not eligible for a visa on arrival must secure a visa before flying to UAE.
Leaving the Airport? Get a 96-hour Transit Visa on Arrival
If you are not normally eligible for a visa on arrival, once you land in Dubai International Airport you can still get a 96-hour transit visa on arrival, provided you meet the following conditions (struck-out fees are my modification since online prices are somewhat unreliable):
This is what the IATA Travel Information Manual (TIM) says (April 2011 edition) (the best version of an "official source" that we can find). Note that it only applies to Dubai Airport, not other cities or emirates. All conditions must be satisfied ... in theory. If you end up in Dubai and don't satisfy all conditions, it might be worth trying anyway, but assume you'll fail and you won't be disappointed. A 96-hour (“Dubai Stop-over”) transit visa can be obtained on arrival at DXB provided:
- Traveling to a third country through Dubai International Airport;
- Transit time is at least 8 hours;
- Holding return/onward ticket and a hotel reservation;
- Traveling at least one sector (inbound or outbound) on Emirates (EK).
Fee: USD 127.
- Facility is not applicable to passengers arriving on SQ-flights.
- No visa will be issued on arrival to female passengers under 30 years of age, being nationals of CIS countries.
- Not applicable to nationals of Afghanistan, Iraq, Niger, Somalia and Yemen.
A 96-hour transit visa can be obtained on arrival at Dubai (DXB), provided:
- holding a passport valid for at least 6 months from date of arrival.
Visas are only issued as a part of a transit package together with hotel accommodation and airport transfer (paid by passenger).
+1, but please add that you *do* need a visa for transfers between T1/3 (Emirates & most large airlines) and T2 (budget airlines).
@jpatokal Yes I remember reading that somewhere but I am having a hard time finiding that reference. Any chance you could help?
So it looks like you can use the airside T2 shuttle bus without a visa *if* you can check in at the transfer desk in T1/T3, which not all airlines will allow. See FlyDubai's page (a large LCC in T2): https://www.flydubai.com/en/destinations/connections
More importantly, luggage is not transferred airside for those LCC terminating in Dubai even if the passenger has an onward reservation. For these people they have to coordinate with the meet and greet services or arrange a transit visa to collect their luggage once clearing immigration.
@BurhanKhalid No transfer between any two flights on separate tickets happens in DXB. Airlines of the flights going to DXB can't help either. "coordinate with the meet and greet services" means go to Dnata service desk and pay ~80 USD to have them transfer your luggage. So for those who can get a transfer visa or visa on arrival, better get out of the airport, collect luggage, check back in. Source: tried it.