Documentation required to enter Dubai


The movement of foreigners is tightly controlled in Dubai, and issuing of visas and other permits is subject to strict bureaucratic procedures.

Those who are denied access therefore have little opportunity for appeal. Fortunately, the average expatriate doesn’t need to deal with much of the bureaucracy. Most companies and institutions, large or small, have a ‘fixer’, whose job is to wade through the red tape generated by the various ministerial departments in order to obtain work and residence visas for foreign workers and their families. The fixer will also act as your guide whenever your presence is required.

Documents you may be required to have to enter Dubai include the following:

  • a passport valid for at least three months from the date of entry for tourist purposes, six months for business travellers (it’s useful to have at least three or four photocopies);
  • at least six passport-size photographs;
  • a marriage certificate (if applicable);
  • birth certificates for all family members;
  • workers might need a copy of the labour/ tenancy contract - check with your sponsor/ employer;
  • clear passport copy of sponsor;
  • travel insurance

While you’re in Dubai, you’re required to carry identification documents, e.g. passport or national identity card and appropriate entry and residence visas. Note that it’s common for labour officials to carry out spot checks on businesses in search of workers employed illegally and to inspect passports in the possession of the employer.

This isn’t to suggest that the region’s countries are repressive regimes: expatriates have little to worry about if they conduct themselves in a reasonable way, obey the laws and observe the rules of the culture. Indeed, you will usually be treated with kindness and generosity.

This article is an extract from Living and Working in Gulf States & Saudi Arabia. Click here to get a copy 

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