UAE Visa for Russian citizens
In 2023, Dubai's tourist influx increased by 99% compared to the previous year, according to the Association of Russian Tour Operators. This year, the Emirates have completely lifted all COVID-related restrictions, significantly simplifying trip planning. We discuss whether Russian citizens need a visa to visit the UAE and what documents are required for this purpose.
Do Russians need a Visa for Dubai?
In 2023, Russians can travel to Dubai visa-free for up to 90 days within a six-month period. Upon arrival at the airport, a stamp will be placed in the passport free of charge. It's important to note that children must also have their own passport; entry will be denied without it. There are no specific restrictions, including those related to PCR testing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, it's not possible to stay for more than 90 days in 2023. To extend your stay in the UAE, you must first leave the country and then apply for a tourist visa or any other type, depending on the purpose of your trip.
If the UAE airport is a transit point for you, you can bypass the need for a visa. However, this rule applies to travelers with a layover of no more than 24 hours. Exiting the transit area is not permitted, but Dubai Airport offers various amenities, including luxurious interiors, lounge areas, fountains, and palm trees. The Duty-Free area covers an area of approximately 15,000 m².
If you still plan to exit into the city, a transit visa is required. It can be easily obtained at the immigration control upon arrival or by submitting an online application to the airline. It is valid for two months and allows a stay in the UAE for more than 96 hours.
How long can Russians stay without documentation in the UAE?
Russians can stay in the UAE without a visa for up to 90 days within 180 days. Tourists' passports must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry. Additionally, the airport may request to see a return ticket.
30, 90, and 180 Days – What's available to Russians?
Upon arrival at the UAE airport, Russians can be issued a visa for 90 days with multiple entries into the country. It is valid for six months from the date of issue.
There is also a visa that allows you to stay in the UAE for up to 180 days, but it is only available to citizens of Mexico. Emirates Airport emphasizes on its website that, for security reasons, its staff selectively checks passengers' identities by scanning the iris of the eye.
What does obtaining a Visa offer?
Obtaining a visa for the UAE provides the most obvious benefit of being able to stay in the country for an extended period. A residency visa, in turn, not only allows residency for up to three years but also permits work, study, business ownership, and opening bank accounts.
Types of Visas
Sometimes tourists have to use connecting flights where one of the layovers is in the UAE. If the layover time is less than 24 hours, travelers can manage without a visa. However, for longer layovers, it's advisable to apply for a transit visa, which is issued for 48 and 96 hours without extension possibility. The cost is $10 for the former and $49 for the latter.
You cannot obtain it directly from the embassy, but you can use services like those offered by airlines such as Etihad and Emirates Airlines. If applying online, the request should be submitted at least four working days before departure. This can also be done at the airline office. You'll need to have your tickets and passport with you.
Russians can approach the immigration desk to receive a tourist visa allowing a 90-day stay in the UAE, extendable for 60 days in total, with two extensions of 30 days each. This visa allows multiple entries and is valid for 6 months.
You'll need to have:
- passport with a photo and personal information;
- photo of the standard size;
- сonsent for the processing of personal data;
- visa application.
Children also need to have a passport to enter the Emirates and obtain a visa.
This type of visa is issued upon invitation from a UAE resident and essentially serves the same purpose as a tourist visa. It's issued for 30 days with the option of extension. The sponsor must submit the application. However, this does not apply to Russian citizens who can obtain a visa at the airport. Those planning to stay in the UAE for a longer period need to apply for a sponsorship visa, which is issued to relatives of UAE residents for a period of 1 to 3 years.
If a child travels to the UAE alone or with an adult who is not their legal guardian, such as a grandparent, written consent for their travel abroad is required. This is a written permission from the parents, notarized. The same applies if a child travels with one parent. If the mother and, for example, the son have different surnames, it's advisable to bring a notarized copy of the birth certificate in English to confirm the relationship. The child must also have their own passport.
Upon admission to a university in the UAE, Russian citizens need to apply for a student visa, which involves meeting several requirements such as undergoing a medical examination in the UAE, security clearance, and approval from the Main Directorate of Foreign Affairs in the Emirate where the university is located. Usually, this visa is issued for one year with the possibility of extension, and high-performing students may be allowed to stay in the country for up to 5 years.
The application for a student visa costs up to $817. In addition, a deposit of $272 must be paid. The processing time for such a visa is 15-20 working days. The following documents are required:
- color copies of all pages of the passport and birth certificate for minors;
- vaccination certificate;
- academic transcript and transfer procedure confirmation for those transferring from one university to another;
- 16 photographs.
In 2022, authorities simplified the requirements for obtaining a 10-year residency visa, also known as the Golden Visa. Now, to obtain it, you need to purchase real estate worth at least $545,000. Mortgages can be used here, provided that 50% of the debt is paid off and $545,000 has already been paid when submitting the documents.
Golden Visa holders have several advantages. For instance, they can buy property in a building under construction, leave the UAE for any period, and bring family members to the country without age restrictions.
- image size: 240x320 pixels;
- no accessories covering the applicant's face;
- file size should not exceed 60 kilobytes;
- format: JPEG;
- color image against a white background.
Processing times and costs
In 2023, the cost of a short-term single-entry tourist visa is $90, while a multiple-entry one costs $136. It can be extended twice for $230 each time. The extension cost for a long-term tourist visa, allowing a 60-day stay from the date of arrival, is also $230. A single-use application is $177, and a multiple-use application is $231. A transit visa for 48 hours costs $10, while for 96 hours, it's $49.
The cost of a guest visa is approximately $400-$500. The visa fee for a child is the same as for an adult. The consular fee is approximately $85 for all applicant categories.
Visa processing times usually range from 2 to 4 working days, with a maximum of 7. Some travel agencies offer rush visa processing services within a day.
Visa centers available to Russians
Sharjah Visa Center
In Moscow, Russians can obtain an electronic visa through the Sharjah Visa Center, located at Petrovsky Boulevard, Building 13, Office 1. Applications can be submitted online through the website, by mail, or by visiting the office.
Asian Countries Visa Center in Moscow
Here, citizens of Russia and the CIS can apply in person or online. The consular fee starts from 4,400 rubles, and an additional 1,500 rubles are required for document acceptance, or 1,000 rubles for online submission. An extra 2,000 rubles can expedite the process. However, this visa center has temporarily suspended UAE visa issuance.
Dubai Visa Center
Offices are located in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Applications for all types of tourist visas, including transit visas, are accepted here. Before applying, a ticket must be booked with Emirates, then click «Submit Application» in the additional services section to proceed with the visa application. Alternatively, applicants can visit the center in person at 2 Tsvetnoy Boulevard, Moscow.
UAE Visa Center
To apply for a visa here, simply fill out a small form, attach a copy of the passport's spread, and a photo. The cost of processing a tourist visa is 7,700 rubles, with a promise of a refund if entry rights are denied.
Step-by-step guide on obtaining a tourist visa by pre-request
- scanned copy of the valid passport's first page or its photo;
- color photo 3x4 on a light background;
- copy of the child's birth certificate;
- roundtrip tickets;
- employment certificate or bank statement;
- medical insurance – not mandatory, but it's better to have it.
Rules and conditions for processing
Usually, when applying online, you choose the type of visa you need. Then you send the necessary documents to the visa center and proceed to pay with a Visa or Mastercard. The Russian payment system Mir is not accepted. The Sharjah Visa Center also allows payment through QIWI wallet, Svyaznoy, or Yandex Money.
Where and how to apply
You can submit documents through a tour operator, airline, visa center, or hotel. Directly contacting the UAE embassy is not possible – everything goes through intermediaries. It is worth noting that Russian citizens usually do not have problems obtaining a visa, meaning refusals are rare. However, refusals may occur for those who violated the visa regime in their previous trip or already have a valid visa.
Step-by-step guide on obtaining a visa through sponsorship:
When applying for a sponsored visa, the applicant needs the following documents:
- color photograph size 3x4 on a light background;
- color copy of the passport;
- copy of the flight ticket;
- completed visa application form.
The sponsor must provide documents depending on their field of activity. For instance, employees of government-owned companies need to attach a copy of their service passport. Business residents in free economic zones require an Arabic-language salary certificate, a passport copy, and a residence permit. A comprehensive list is available on the Emirates website.
Rules and conditions for processing
To process a sponsored visa, confirmation is needed that the Emirates resident can indeed sponsor the invited citizens. For example, if the applicant is a spouse, child, or parent, the minimum income should be AED 4,000; for siblings or dependents, AED 5,500. Inviting in-laws requires around $1,906, and friends around $2,722.
Where and how to apply
Applications for sponsored visas are submitted at Emirates sales offices or through intermediary companies within the sponsor's jurisdiction.
Rules for staying in the UAE
Women should avoid revealing attire with exposed backs and tight clothing. Swimsuits are only suitable for beaches. It's advisable for unmarried couples not to display affection in public places. Littering is fined. Drinking alcohol or smoking in public non-designated areas is prohibited.
Furthermore, non-Muslims are not allowed to enter mosques. However, some sacred places permit tourist entry. It's forbidden to photograph Muslim women or interact with them, photograph palaces of sheikhs, or government and military buildings.
Additional information for traveling to the UAE
Up to 1,000 cigarettes, 200 cigars, or 1 kilogram of tobacco can be imported. Non-Muslims over 21 can bring in 2 liters of spirits, wine, or beer for personal consumption. There are no restrictions on currency import or export.
Importing items not available in UAE stores directly is prohibited, such as certain products from sex shops.
Retinal scanning is required before passport control.
Extending Visa validity:
Tourists can extend all types of visas for 30 days within a maximum of 60 days in the UAE. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security has introduced changes allowing visa extension through their official website, mobile app, or customer support centers. This service can be used once and only before entering the UAE.
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