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General information:
There are several types of visas for visitors to Dubai.
Nationals of Israel may not enter the United Arab Emirates.
A penalty charge of Dhs100 a day is imposed on visitors who overstay.
For nationalities that require a sponsor, airlines may seek confirmation that the sponsor holds a valid visa for the incoming visitor.

AGCC citizens:
Citizens of the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council member states Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar,
Oman and Saudi Arabia - do not need a visa.

AGCC residents:
AGCC expatriate residents who meet certain conditions may obtain
a non-renewable 30-day visa on arrival at the approved ports of entry.

Citizens of Western Europe and the Pacific Rim:
Citizens of the UK (with the right of abode in the United Kingdom), Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the USA, the Vatican City and holders of Hong Kong SAR passports will be granted a free-of-charge visit visa on arrival in the UAE.

Currently, it has been decided to postpone the implementation of the new regulation as far as Malta and Cyprus are concerned. The visa enables them to stay for 60 days.
The visa is renewable for a total stay of 90 days for a fee of Dhs500.

Visit visas:
The visit visa applies to tourists who wish to spend more than 14 days in Dubai, those coming for family visits and those on long-term business visits.
It requires the sponsorship of any UAE resident or any company or hotel licensed to operate within the UAE. The visa is valid for entry within two months from its date of issue.

Entry-service permits:
An entry-service permit applies to the following categories and their families accompanying them: company managers, representatives, sales managers, account auditors, delegations from companies or establishments to carry out a commercial activity in the UAE, or enquirers requested by any of the establishments/companies operating in the UAE assumed to carry visas, as per the Ministerial Council’s decision.

The visa is valid for use within 14 days from the date of issue.
The duration of stay is 14 days from date of entry, exclusive of arrival and departure days. It is non-renewable. In order to complete the application, the sponsor will require the visitor’s date of arrival and flight details and a photocopy of the first few pages of the visitor’s passport, which should be valid for at least three months.

There is a fee of Dhs120 for obtaining an entry-service permit. There is also a fee of Dhs10 for visa-delivery service by Dnata. Hotels, hotel apartments, tour operators, travel agents and airlines may not levy supplementary charges or processing fees in excess of Dhs50 for arranging visas for visitors.
The entry-service permit holder may enter and depart the UAE through any airport.

The visit visa is valid for 60 days and is renewable for a total stay of up to 90 days.
A fee of Dhs500 is charged for this renewal. In order to complete the application, the sponsor will require the visitor’s date of arrival and arrival details and a photocopy of the first few pages of the visitor’s passport, which should be valid for at least three months.

There is a fee of Dhs100 for obtaining a visit visa. There is also a fee of Dhs10 for visa-delivery service by Dnata. Hotels, hotel apartments, tour operators, travel agents and airlines may not levy supplementary charges or processing fees in excess of Dhs50 for arranging visas for visitors.
The visit visa holder may enter and leave the country through any port of entry in the UAE.

Tourist visas:
A special category of visa under the visit visa type is a tourist visa, which can be obtained for any tourists from: East and West Europe, Turkey, Bulgaria, Poland, the Ukraine, Albania, Russia, the Hellenic Republic, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, Mexico, Cuba, Bermuda, Belize, Guyana, French Guyana, Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent, Kingston, Palao, other non-defined American nationalities, Thailand, South Africa, Singapore, China, Malta and Cyprus.

The tourist visa entitles its holder to a 30-day stay and is non-renewable.
The tourist visa requires the sponsorship of hotels and tour operators who bring in visitors from the countries listed above. The fee is Dhs100.
There is also a fee of Dhs10 for visa-delivery service by Dnata. Hotels, hotel apartments, tour operators, travel agents and airlines may not levy supplementary charges or processing fees in excess of Dhs50 for arranging visas for visitors.

Multiple-entry visas:
Multiple-entry visas are available for business visitors who have a relationship with either a multinational or other reputable local establishment, and who are frequent visitors to the UAE.
This type of visa is valid for six months from the date of issue and the duration of each stay is 30 days. The validity is non-renewable. The cost of this visa is Dhs1,000. The visitor must enter the UAE on a visit visa and obtain the multiple entry visa while in the country.
The visa would be stamped in the passport.

German citizens:
German citizens (tourists and business people) may apply to the UAE embassy in Germany for a one or two year multiple-entry visa.
No sponsor is required.
The maximum duration of stay of visa holders should not exceed three months a year.
The visa fee is Dhs1,500.

US citizens:
US citizens (tourists and business people) may apply to the UAE embassies in the US for a one to 10-year multiple-entry visa. A sponsor is required and the visa will be granted free of charge. The maximum duration of stay should not exceed six months per visit.

Transit visas:
This is a special type of visa that applies to passengers passing through UAE airports.
The passenger can obtain a visa for up to 96 hours.

The travel document will be stamped with an entry seal.
The visa is only valid if the passenger is travelling onwards from Dubai to another destination and not returning to the country of original departure.
There is no fee for this type of visa that can be sponsored by any airline operating in the UAE.

96-hour visa for transit passengers:
Transit passengers stopping at Dubai International Airport for a minimum of five hours are eligible to obtain a 96-hour transit visa to go on a city tour of Dubai.
Passengers planning to go on the city tours have to approach the City Tours Desk in the

Arrivals :
Lounge to make a booking for one of the several tours on offer against a nominal fee of Dhs95-Dhs115 for adults and Dhs65 for children.
This facility will be granted on a case-by-case basis.
The visa is issued free but the tour service is chargeable as mentioned above.

Important notice:
Please note that this information was correct at the time of going to press. Please check with the nearest UAE embassy for the latest information or contact the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Administration Department on tel (+971 4) 398 0000, fax (+971 4) 398 1119,
e-mail or visit its website at

Health requirements:
No health certificates are required for entry to Dubai, but it is always wise to check before departure, as health restrictions may vary.

Customs duty-free allowances:
Cigarettes - 2,000, cigars - 400, tobacco - 2kg, alcohol (non-Muslim adults only) - 2 litres of spirits or 2 litres of wine, perfume - a reasonable amount.
No customs duty is levied on personal effects entering Dubai.
Dubai Duty Free also has a sales outlet in the Arrivals Hall.

Dubai has a sub-tropical, arid climate, and sunny, blue skies can be expected most of the year.
Rainfall is infrequent and irregular, falling mainly in winter. Temperatures range from a low of about 15°C/59°F to a high of 48°C/118°F. The mean daily maximum is 24°C/75.2°F in January rising to 41°C/105.8°F in July.

Islam is the official religion of the United Arab Emirates and there are a large number of mosques throughout the city. However, other religions are respected and Dubai has two Christian churches, St Mary’s (Roman Catholic) and Holy Trinity (Inter-denominational).

The official language of the United Arab Emirates is Arabic, but English is widely spoken and understood, with both languages being commonly used in business and commerce.

Normal tourist photography is acceptable, but it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women. It is also courteous to ask permission before photographing men. In general, photographs of government buildings or military installations should not be taken.

Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year, but sweaters or jackets may be needed during the winter months, especially in the evenings.
Compared with certain parts of the Middle East, Dubai has a relaxed dress code.
However, care should be taken not to give offence by wearing clothing that may be considered inappropriate or revealing. At the pool or on the beach, trunks, swimsuits and bikinis are quite acceptable.

Away from the beach or pool area, however, a shirt and shorts is the minimum expected.
With the bright sunlight, good-quality sunglasses are advised, and photo-chromatic lenses for those who wear spectacles. Hats or some protection for the head is also advisable when in direct sunlight.

Alcohol is available in hotel and club restaurants and bars.
However, restaurants situated outside hotels and clubs are not permitted to serve alcoholic beverages.

Getting there:
Dubai’s location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa makes for easy accessibility.
London is seven hours away, Frankfurt six, Hong Kong eight and Nairobi four.
Most European capitals and other major cities have direct flights to Dubai, many with a choice of operator.

In total, 105 airlines take advantage of Dubai’s open-skies policy, and operate to and from Dubai International Airport to some 140 destinations, making it one of the world’s busiest airports.

The Sheikh Rashid Terminal at Dubai International Airport offers passengers world-class facilities, including a five-star hotel and one of the finest duty-free shopping complexes in the world.

There are also comprehensive facilities for people with physical disabilities.
The UAE’S award-winning international airline Emirates is based in Dubai, operating scheduled services to more than 60 destinations.

The next phase of the airport’s massive expansion programme includes a third terminal for the exclusive use of Emirates. Work on the US$650-million project has already started.
Dubai is also set to become increasingly important as a destination for cruise ships with the recent opening of the new dedicated terminal in Port Rashid.

Getting around:

Taxis are the most-common way of getting around Dubai.
Metered cabs from Cars Taxi, Dubai Taxis, Dubai Transport Corporation, Emirates Taxi, Gulf Radio Taxis, Metro Taxi and National Taxi are efficient and have well-trained and courteous drivers.
The fare is Dhs3.00 for pick-up (Dhs3.50 from 10.00 pm to 6.00 am), followed by Dhs1.17 per kilometre. It is also possible to hire a taxi for a 12-hour period for a fixed fee of Dhs500.

Dubai Transport taxis also operate a service from the airport.
The pick-up fee is Dhs20 and thereafter, the fare accrues at Dhs1.17 per kilometre.
In addition, the corporation operates a fixed-fare minibus service to other Emirates.

The fares of non-metered taxis are negotiated between driver and passenger, starting at a minimum of around Dhs5 for short local journeys rising to Dhs10-15 if you cross the Creek from one side of the city to the other. It is generally best to agree your fare before setting off.

Most hotels operate transport for their guests. There are also several radio-taxi companies that have cars on call and whose numbers are available at all hotels.

Self-drive cars are available from car-rental companies for visitors who have an international driving licence. Renters must produce their passport together with a valid licence.

Visitors without an international driving licence may obtain a temporary local driving licence
as long as they hold a valid national licence from one of the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the USA.

The passport, valid national licence and two photographs are also required. UAE driving is on the right-hand side.

Roads and highways:
During the past two decades, Dubai has built an impressive network of first-class roads connecting all parts of the city and surrounding areas.
There are two bridges and a tunnel linking the two main districts of Dubai and Deira on either side of the Creek. Roads to all major towns and villages are excellent and a multi-lane highway heads southwards from the city to the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Water taxis:
An interesting way to travel between Dubai and Deira is by water taxi, or abra, across the Creek for Dhs 0.5.

The monetary unit is the dirham (Dhs), which is divided into 100 fils. The dirham is linked to the Special Drawing Right of the International Monetary Fund and it has been held constant against the US dollar since the end of 1980 at a mid-rate of approximately US$1= Dhs3.67.

Both the local banks and the many international banks represented by branches in Dubai provide the usual commercial banking services.
Transfers can be made without difficulty as there’s no exchange control and the dirham is freely convertible.Most banks open from 8.00 am to 1.00 pm, from Saturday to Wednesday, although some also open from 8.00 am to 4.15 pm. On Thursdays, banks are open only from 8.00 am to noon. Exchange houses are open from 8.30 am to 1.00 pm and 4.30 pm to 8.30 pm.

Credit cards:
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa, etc, are all generally accepted in the main hotels and larger shops.

Tipping practices are similar to those in most parts of the world. Some restaurants include service - otherwise a tip of 10 per cent is quite adequate and well appreciated.

Weights tand measures:
Officially, the metric system is followed, but British and American standard weights and measures are understood by most merchants. Local weights andmeasures are also used occasionally, but seldom for international trade.

Business hours:
The weekend for government, schools and some other organisations isThursday and Friday, but many private organisations now close on Friday and Saturday.

Government offices are open from 7.30 am-2.30 pm, Saturday to Wednesday.
Private-sector office hours vary, but are generally from 8.00 am-1.00 pm, re-opening at either 3.00 pm or 4.00 pm and closing at 6.00 pm or 7.00 pm.
Shop hours are similar, but many remain open until 9.00 pm or 10.00 pm.
Department stores, boutiques, souks and many supermarkets remain open on a Friday, apart from prayer time (between 11.30 am and 1.30 pm), while larger shops only open on Friday afternoon at around 4.00 pm or 5.00 pm.Embassies and consulates are generally open from 8.45 am-12.30 pm and are closed on Thursdays and Fridays but usually leave an emergency number on their answering machines or voice mail.

Gulf News, Khaleej Times and The Gulf Today are the daily English-language newspapers while
Arabic newspapers include Al-Bayan, Al-Ittihad and Al-Khaleej.
Foreign newspapers and magazines, especially British and Asian, are readily available in hotel bookshops and in most large supermarkets.

Most leading hotels receive international news and entertainment broadcast via satellite.
Star TV, Orbit and Showtime are among the satellite networks that transmit a wide variety of programmes, including BBC World and CNN.
Locally, there are four channels: Dubai 2, 10 and 41 which show Arabic programmes, and Dubai 33, which broadcasts in English. Emirates Dubai Television broadcasts through satellite in many parts of the world in Arabic and English. The local telephone company, Etisalat, has launched a new cable TV service called E-Vision in some parts of Dubai, combining a variety of Western and Eastern satellite channels. Reception from Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Qatar and Bahrain is usually possible and programme details are published in the local press.

The English-language service of Dubai FM broadcasts daily on 92MHz FM 24 hours a day.
Channel 4FM also broadcasts 24 hours a day on 104.8MHz with Radio 1 on 104MHz, Radio 2 on 99.3MHz and Radio 4 FM on 89.1MHz.

The electricity supply in Dubai is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles. US-made appliances may need a transformer.

Visitors usually prefer the affordable, locally-bottled mineral water and this is generally served in hotels and restaurants and widely available from all supermarkets.

Medical care:
Dubai has many well-equipped hospitals. The Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services runs Dubai, Rashid, Maktoum and Al Wasl hospitals.
Dubai Hospital is one of the best medical centres in the Middle East, with specialised clinics,
and Al Wasl is a specialised maternity and gynaecological hospital.

The department also operates a number of out-patient clinics, one of which is situated in Jebel Ali.
In addition, there are a number of well-equipped private hospitals with in- and out-patient facilities.

Telecommunications are excellent, both within the UAE and with the outside world, and telephone calls within Dubai city are free. Direct dialling is available to most countries while many hotels provide Internet facilities for a small charge.

Facilities for the handicapped:
An increasing number of public areas now have access and facilities for people with disabilities.
Several of the city’s leading hotels and hotel apartments also have specially adapted rooms and
facilities for the handicapped.
For more detailed information about available facilities, see each hotel’s individual entry in the
section ‘Where to stay’.

There are also services at Dubai International Airport for passengers with special needs.
For more details, tel 216 4617. Dubai Transport provides a taxi service and has set a special rate on renting this service. In order not to be late call them on 224 5331, or e-mail via
There are also several associations and clubs for the handicapped, and most of the shopping malls, parks and inbound tour operators offer special facilities and services for the disabled.