How To Apply For A Dubai Visa – FAQ Fridays

Video Transcription

Welcome to another edition of Travelstart’s FAQ Fridays with me, Nick Paul. This week we are talking about Dubai visas. They are a little bit different to other countries’ visas. With other countries’ visas, you will go to the embassy or an official handling agent and apply there – it’s one simple set of rules that you follow. With Dubai, it depends on the airline you are travelling with or how you are staying there. So let’s have a look at the different ways that you can apply for a Dubai visa.

Option 1 – Flying with Emirates or Etihad

The simplest way to get a UAE visa is to fly with Emirates or Etihad Airways. You can find the links on where to apply by checking the “Manager Booking” section on either of their websites. Important to note here is that it doesn’t matter if you book with them directly or with a travel agent, you can still follow these prompts. The cost is around 55 US Dollars for a 96-hour visa. This is a single entry visa and it is non-extendable. A 30-day visa will cost you around 75 Dollars. You can also apply through VFS on If you are on the SAA code-share flight to Dubai (that is the Emirates plane but the SAA ticket on the Emirates plane), you can apply through VFS. If you are travelling with Etihad, you need to go to

Documents and timing for option 1

You will need the following documents in order to apply:

  • Colour passport photograph
  • Colour copy of your passport
  • Original application form which you can download online
  • Copy of your Emirates or Etihad flight ticket

This is an electronic visa and it will usually take around 4 days to process and a copy of the visa is emailed to you. It is important to note here that the working week in the UAE runs from Sunday to Thursday instead of Monday to Friday like it is here in South Africa.

Option 2 – Non-Etihad and Emirates visa applications

If you are not flying on the Emirates or Etihad plane, you cannot apply through VFS. You will need to go through another visa handling service. We often use a visa handling agent at They are good at handling applications for people who are not flying on Etihad or Emirates. These are often bookings on airlines like Ethiopian or Qatar Airways.

Documents and timing for option 2

You will need the following to apply for a visa if you are not flying with Emirates or Etihad Airways:

  • Colour passport photograph
  • Colour photocopy of your passport
  • Confirmation of your hotel booking
  • Copy of your flight ticket

The cost is around R1400 for a 14-day visa. An “urgent” 14-day visa will cost you R1800 which will be received within 1 to 2 working days. A 30-day visa will cost you around R1850.

Option 3 – Package holiday visas

Another simple way to get the Dubai visa is to book a stop-over package travelling via the UAE to another destination or a package to the UAE. Usually your package will include the visa and your travel agent should confirm this for you.

Option 4 – Visa application via family

The final way that you can get a Dubai visa is if you are going to visit family over there. You will need to get them to act as your sponsors on your behalf for the visa. They need to do the application for you in the UAE and they will need to contact the DNRD (General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs – Dubai)  in order to do this.

So that’s a wrap on all the different ways that you can apply for a Dubai visa. If you have any travel-related questions, you can ask them in the “comments” section below and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.

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