Sunday, June 9, 2013

How to Obtain a Tourist Visa in the UAE

I have spent the last three weeks with my mother and nephew, who I brought under a tourist visa from the Philippines to the UAE.  I am eligible to apply for a visit visa, but I do not want to go through the hassles of going to the Immigration Department and be on the mercy of the officer that will approve your application and give a security deposit of AED 5,000 (you do the math) per person, which I can later refund once they are out of the country.  Therefore, I decided to bring them as tourists given the fact that they will only stay for almost three weeks.  The only advantage of a visit visa over a tourist visa is that visit visas are extendable for another 60 days.  Should you decide that their stay here is not enough then getting a visa extension is not a problem compared to a tourist visa, which cannot be extended.

Below is a basic comparison between a tourist and a visit visa:

Tourist visa
Visit visa
Salary certificate
Passport copy of sponsor and tourist
Salary certificate
Passport copy of sponsor and tourist
Health insurance
Tenancy contract
AED 600 to AED 800 (first 30 days). This could cost less when on promo; check daily deal sites for this.
AED 500
Refundable deposit
AED 5000
Where to apply
Travel agency
Immigration Department
Visa delivery
Pay AED 25

The following are the steps in order to obtain a tourist visa:
  1. Look for a trusted travel agency that is licensed to process the visa.
  2. Submit the required documents as above (salary certificate, passport copies).  Bear in mind that some agency may also require a security check that will be returned once the tourists have left the country.
  3. Pay the necessary fee.
  4. Wait for the visa to be delivered either to you or your family in the Philippines.
When traveling to the UAE, do not forget to get your Affidavit of Support from the Philippine Embassy or Consulate and send this along with the tourist visa to your loved ones.  The Immigration Officers back home are looking for this and it is important that your family has this on hand.  I am a little bit obsessive-compulsive so I also sent them copies of my passport and salary certificate.  You'll never know what they may ask so it is better to be ready than sorry.

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