How To Apply For The Dubai Visa For South Africans

Burj al Arab and wadi at Madinat JumeiraWith 5 daily direct flights to Dubai from South Africa, its still an exceptionally popular destination for us to travel to, but what has always been an issue is how to apply for the Dubai visa as a South African. You will need a sponsor to apply which can be an airline, hotel, tour operator or friend/family member. Lets make this simple with these tips to making your application easier:

Do the visa via Emirates and make your application easier

If you can resist the urge to buy the cheaper ticket – via another country or airline – buy the Emirates ticket on the direct flight, applying for the Dubai visa is much simpler that way. Emirates is the only airline which can sponsor a Dubai visa application. Once your flight is booked, ask your travel agent for the Emirates reference (vendor locator) and proceed to the Emirates visa application site to complete the process. Cost for South African application: 96hour visa: R560; 30 day R705. You will still need to show official confirmation of accommodation for the duration of your stay upon entering Dubai.

Alternatively, good old VFS (Visa Forwarding Service) do the visa application manually. The price will be the same as through the Emirates site, but you’ll apply through the South African offices.

Not flying with Emirates? Still need a Dubai visa?

Not all hope is lost, do the visa through your accommodation organiser. Use a reputable hotel and email them first to ensure they act as a sponsor when applying for the visa before you book and pay – they may ask an extra security deposit. Better yet, book with a reputable travel agent who uses major tour operators who can book you the correct hotels or packages which will include visas, making it much more hassle free.

You can also apply for the visa using a friend of family member as a sponsor. They will need to contact +971 4 398 0000 in Dubai or visit the DNRD’s government site for info on how to organise this. They are limited to a number of sponsorships they can take on per year and there is a minimum salary requirement. Officially only United Arab Emirates citizens can sponsor visas for friends, however if  the sponsor is a permanent resident, the DNRD will consider visa applications matching these requirements.

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Our Readers Comments

  1. Hi Nick, Thanks for the info.

    I will be flying into Dubai this december with United Airlines and then onwards to Singapore. I have a 3 day stop over in Dubai.

    I enquired about Marhaba city stop service at the airport, but they sell the transit visa as a bundle with hotel. I would rather book the hotel myself that getting stuck with some random hotel from them. I am going to book my hotel after confirming that they can sponsor a visa.

    What kind of visa does the hotel sponsor? 96 hours or 15 days or 30 days (given that my trip is for 3 days). Also, do you know the cost for the visa?


    • Hi Art!

      The Marhaba package is usually with a very good hotel, but I can understand if you’d prefer to pick the specific hotel you want for your stay. Just make sure the hotel you pick does sponsor visas (but if you’re flying with Emirates you can do the application through the link I provided above).

      The visa they will “sponsor” depends on the length of time you’re staying, so if you’re going for 3 days, you’ll get the 96hour visa.

      Hope this helps?


  2. Hi Nick,

    Is it true that you need to have a valid passport for at least 6 months before and after the date of arrival and departure from Dubai?

    My Boyfriend’s passport was stolen and we went to apply for Dubai visa but not sure if he’ll get one on a newly issues passport?


    • Hi Mary-Anne, as far as I am aware the passport just needs to be valid for 6 months after you arrive in Dubai and not for 6 months before. I haven’t found any information mentioned a need for a passport to be more than 6 months old.

      You can go through to VFS too to enquire further if you like, but I’m almost certain that a brand new passport will be fine to use.

  3. Hi Nick,

    You mention only UAE citizens can sponsor visas for friends. I have a close friend working and living in Dubai who will be hosting myself and wife. We are travelling via SAA/Emirates coach share and so should be able to use the Emirates visa application process.

    However, do you foresee a problem with the accomodation arrangements…should i rather be booking a hotel to be sure there is no issues with visa application?


    • Hi Rehan!

      According to the info I have, only citizens of the UAE can sponsor someone a visa. Your friend can check with the DNRD (linked in my post above) if there is any way around it, but as far as I’m aware there isn’t.

      As far as doing the visa through Emirates goes, you actually need to have bought an Emirates ticket, it doesn’t matter that it’s on the Emirates plane unfortunately, they’ll only sponsor a visa through an Emirates ticket.

      I would suggest 1) getting your friend to contact the DNRD to see if an exception can be made. If the exception can’t be made, you’ll have to 2) pay for hotel accommodation which will spronsor a visa.

      Sorry I couldn’t have better news for you! If you manage to get the visa sponsored by your friend, let us know, it would be great news to hear both for us and others wanting to use those channels.

  4. Hi Nick,
    I want to spend 5 days in Dubai with boyfriend. He’s on 3yr contract there. Can I book 1st night in Hotel(to act as sponsor as well) and spend the rest of the time with bf?

    Kind Regards

    • Hi Sheila,

      as far as I am aware, only UAE citizens can act as a sponsor. I suggest your boyfriend contact the DNRD (details in the article above) to find out if he can act as a sponsor, since he’s not a citizen. I think he would only be able to sponsor you if you were married or a direct relative.

      Your question about using the hotel as sponsor, I would think you would need to book the hotel for the duration of your trip. As far as I know, the UAE may cause trouble for you if they find you’re not staying with your “sponsor” – the hotel. If there is absolutely no way your boyfriend can sponsor you, it may be advisable for you all to book into the hotel for the duration of your stay.

      This is a rather unusual sort of arrangement you’re trying to make, so I’m afraid I can’t give you any guaranteed fool-proof advice that won’t land you in any trouble, so I suggest he checks with the DNRD for clarification.

  5. Hi Nick

    In South Africa there is a company who claims that they can get the VISA for you as they act as the sponsor. See

    Do you know of this service and does it seem legal?

    • Hi Louwrens, this is news to me! Not heard of these guys before. As far as I am aware, no one can buck the system the UAE sets out. According to my knowledge, the UAE only use VFS in South Africa. All of the official sites and the travel agent info sites which are kept very up to date, don’t mention this site. It’s possible they do the VFS application for you – I’m not sure how they get round the requirements of the UAE government, if they do at all.

      I’d advise going via the traditional track, government sponsored track. I can’t say for definite that this site is legitimate or not, but if it were me, the last thing I’d want was to spend money on a visa which isn’t valid, or worse, fraudulent and be locked up in a foreign country.

      My advice is, play it safe!

  6. Hi Paul – I need urgent advice regarding a uae visa. I am a SA Citizen and my wife and i intend to travel next week to Sharjah. However VFS only grants 30 day visas and we have some plans to stay for maybe 60-90 days. Is this possible. Is there anyways i can extend my visa/stay at the dubai airport or in the uae whilst im there. Please Help.

  7. Hi Nick Paul – I need urgent advice regarding a uae visa. I am a SA Citizen and my wife and i intend to travel next week to Sharjah. However VFS only grants 30 day visas and we have some plans to stay for maybe 60-90 days. Is this possible. Is there anyways i can extend my visa/stay at the dubai airport or in the uae whilst im there. Please Help. If you do know if this is possible and what the costs involved are. Thanks

    • Hi Irshaan, the type of visa you’re wanting is rather unique. VFS have in the past issued longer stay visas, however they have to act under the mandate of the UAE government, so if they’re only able to offer you a 30 day VISA, then that is all you’ll be able to get. As a general rule with visas, if you need to apply, you may only do so from your country of residency and not when you are in that country. For visas issued on arrival, these can sometimes be extended when one is in that country. Obviously the UAE is not one of these countries. I’m afraid I’ve had no experience of visas longer 30 days so it’s very hard for me to advise you on this. The safest answer is, if VFS says they can’t issue you one for longer than a 30 day stay, it’s not possible to get one. I’m sorry I couldn’t help with better information.

  8. Hey Vandelay,

    I had the same issue when from from SA to Dubai but applied online through got the visa in 2 days and recommended it to all my frined and didnt get any complain or scam over the internet, they were friendly and fees was fair compared to other travel agents on the web


  9. hI , Nick,

    i’m very happy to have found this page as i am in a bit of a dilemma i am a SA citizen currently living in malaysia and i have applied to go to dubai when i was living in tanzania and was denied as they said i am a female traveling alone and not over the age of 23 , which was surprising to me , my sister is currently living there as a student and can’t be my sponsor,

    Do you advise i take up the visa application through the emirates airline as i shall be traveling on it from kuala lumpur or find a sponsor?. i am still worried regarding my age , i am currently 21 years old.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Sagal, I know the UAE is very old-fashioned in its moral requirements for entry to the country – they don’t believe women should travel unaccompanied etc etc which makes little sense in the western world, but to them, they think it makes perfect sense. You could try doing the visa through Emirates, but there’s a strong chance they will ask you for info on where you’re staying etc etc and grant your visa on those grounds. It’s a tough call really. If I were in your position, I would speak to Emirates for them to either give you the details of the right person to speak to or perhaps they can give you advice over the phone. I would speak to both their reservations and Emirates Holidays departments. Unfortunately I really don’t know what else to tell you, I have as yet not encountered such a situation.

  10. Hi Nick,
    Myself and two of friends of mine are going to India in September for a friends wedding are we were considering doing a three day stop over in Dubai. My question is do we need to have the confirmation of a hotel booking before we apply for the visa (my understanding)? Will emirates airlines organize everything for us (flights, visas, hotels)?
    It all seems confusing so if you could explain what we would need to do so I can understand better that would be great. Also would we need a sponsor? Or how does it work?

    • Hi Naeema, Emirates act at your sponsors while you are over there, so there’s no need to do any application through the hotel you’re staying at. The embassy of the UAE may still require you to have accommodation for your stay, but you don’t need to organise a “sponsor” for your stay if you’re flying with Emirates. I would suggest coming through to our consultants with your dates and where you’re wanting to go to in India, they can assist with flight bookings and hotels so that everything is ready and in order for your visa application. You can reach them on :-)

  11. Hi Nick

    Is this a new thing that only UAE citizens can sponsor visitors??? I left Dubai in April 2011, lived there for 4 years (permanent resident) and used to sponsor my boyfriend every year to visit me for a month……!!

    • Hi Alta! According to the info the info the DNRD give out only Nationals can sponsor visitors who are not related. This is very positive news if indeed they have allowed you to sponsor someone when you’re not a national. I have checked with some other travel colleagues and it seems that you are correct, permanent residents can be allowed to sponsor visitors who are not related. I will update this post accordingly.

    • Hi Alta!
      Please could you give me some advice about how you were able to organise sponsoring your boyfriend to come and visit you in Dubai – as I am not flying Emirates and therefore need my boyfriend to act as my sponsor, but I am unsure of how to go about it. Any help would be hugely appreciated :) Thanks, Emma

    • Hi Emma,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I am not sure on your question. You mention you need to sponsor your boyfriend to come visit you in Dubai and later mention he needs to act as your sponsor.

      What I would suggest is contacting VFS who are the official handling agency: and they should be able to assist with any queries you might have.

  12. Hi Nick
    I am going to teach in Al Ain. I signed a 2 year contract and want my husband and kids to join me after december to stay with me. How do I go about that? What Visas do I apply for?

    • Hi Zaibo, I must admit, I have no experience with these sorts of visas, the kind that pertain to work permits. I would suggest to you to check with the DNRD for guidance, as it’s likely to be some sort of permit you would need to organise rather than a conventional visa. You’ll probably need to organise this through the DNRD once you’re living and working in the UAE.

  13. Hi Nick,

    My girlfriend is south african and is currently in europe on a 3 month visa – I am living in qatar but want to meet her in dubai on her way back to south africa…..she will need a visa….what is the quickest way for her to get a visa for say a month for UAE? Can she apply while being outside of UAE? Cheers,


    • Hi Duncan! From what you’re telling me, neither you nor her live in the UAE? This might be very difficult to get a month-stay visa for that country then. Generally you’re allowed a 96 hour visa for the UAE, or a 30 day visa. But you will likely have to show proof of accommodation for the duration of your stay, so if you’re going to be there for 30 days, you’ll need that. If you manage to get everything in the following check-list sorted, getting the visa online shouldn’t be a problem: . I’m not sure though, if you’re a citizen/resident of another GCC nation (Qatar) if perhaps special arrangements can be made, you’ll need to check with DNRD on the link provided in the above article.

  14. Can I get a visa from DXB airport on arrival there?

  15. hi Nick, please advise which hotels in abu dhabi can provide visas for me & my family as i have not booked with emirates & having a problem getting a hotel in abu dhabi that can do visa’s??

  16. Hi Lameez, there are many hotels in Abu Dhabi who should be able to assist, it’s not possible to provide a list, but as a rule of thumb, those from popular chains are often best to try. Email the hotel and ask if they help with visas before booking. Alternatively, contact our consultants on for assistance :-)

  17. Hi Nick.
    Is it true that Etihad Airlines can act as a sponsor as well?

    • Hi Jonathan, yes it’s true that Etihad can act as sponsors for visas to the UAE, but I am still under the impression that if your destination is Dubai, you have to fly Emirates to get the airline to sponsor.

  18. Hi Nick..I live in Abu Dhabi and tried sponsoring my sister (we are S.African) for a visit in dec 2010 and the application was turned down at the Abu Dhabi Naturalisation Dept..they said the rules have changed..we can sponsor only parents..not siblings…I DON’T KNOW IF THERE ARE MORE CHNAGES SINCE THEN..she is due to arrive here again on dec 2011 (using Qatar airways..and we have no way of doing the visa :-( )…when I lived here 5 years was possible for an expat to sponsor friends and relatives,,but apparently since 2010..this is not so..
    How can I get her visa done now..if her tickets already purchased through Qatar Airways?

    • Hi Seshni, thanks for getting in touch. Yes, this does seem like a tricky situation and to be honest I haven’t had a lot of experience with it. I would suppose that you might need to do the visa through a hotel in Abu Dhabi, but then you two would need to be staying there. I’ve chatted to my colleagues and they say they always book their customers on Etihad Airways tickets as it makes handling the visa a lot easier. The pointers I can give you are, contact the DNRD in the UAE via: . That’s probably going to be your best bet. In the event that they suggest you cancel your Qatar Airways ticket and purchase an Etihad ticket, you can apply via: .

      I’m sorry I couldn’t have a better answer for you, unfortunately the situation is very tricky with the UAE.

  19. Hi Nick, I am a South African and have SAA ticket to Dubai of which Emirates has confirmed that they will sponsor my visa. Also the hotel I will be staying in has confirmed that it can sponsor my 7 stay with them although its steep at $200. Where I have a problem, is that I am joining a 7-day cruise that will depart from Dubai with stop-overs in Fujaraih, Muscat, Khasab and Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately, Emirates is not sponsoring visa’s for cruises. How do I go about getting Oman visa or multiple entry UAE visa? If I have multiple entry UAE visa, will I still need Oman visa?

    • Hi Penny! That sounds like you have quite a trip planned! With the visa for the cruise for the UAE, it may be possible that the cruise company sponsors your visa – often-times cruises are granted special visa immunity because the cruise company takes surety for you. I would suggest contacting the company you bought the cruise through for them to check and clarify. This may be the same for the Oman visa, however if you do still require one, you can get one on arrival for 20 Omani Riyal (about $52) if you’re on a South African passport. Hope this helps!

  20. Hi Nick,

    I’m a bit confused about this transit visa buisness and am hoping you can shed some light. I’m flying from Tashkent to Dubai (Uzbek airways)and will have to overnight in Dubai before I head home to Durban(via Emirates) the next morning. Can I obtain a transit visa upon arrival in Dubai or does it need to be pre-arranged? And how much will it cose roughly in USD?



    • Hi Kerry! This is a very unique trip you’re doing, I actually haven’t heard of anything like this before. It sounds to me like you have two separate tickets, one on Uzbek and one on Emirates. If this is the case you will very likely have to leave the transit area in order to collect your luggage, this means you will need to pre-apply for the visa via the Emirates website. Also contact their visa handling service VFS via

  21. Hi nick,

    I was wondering if you could help me. My husband and I are flying to Rome, Italy, via Dubai. Our stopover is 6 hours. Do we need to get a Visa? Its our first trip, so we are abit clueless =)

    many Thanks!

    • Hi Belen! This is quite a common question, so don’t feel like you’re clueless, I think many people wonder this! You won’t need a visa to transit via Dubai, provided that your stay is shorter than 24 hours and that you don’t leave the airport transit area.

  22. we want to go to dubai can you advice me on organising this trip 2012

    • Hi Khanyisile, it would be best to get in touch with our travel consultants for quotes and advice on travel to Dubai. You can call them on 0861 878 278 (option 5) or email them on . It would be helpful if you had prospective dates for when you’d like to travel and what sort of accommodation/budget you have. I would recommend no longer than 5 days in Dubai.

  23. Hi Nick,

    My name is Rina a filipino nationality, I live here in Soluth Africa and i’ve got fiance visa.I am planning to visit my country via Dubai but i wanted to have a transit visa for 1 day only,( i just want to for shopping i missed shopping in Dubai) I would appreciate it if you can give some information on how can i get transit visa. When i was working in Yemen i used to ask our travel agent (MARHABA aswell)to arrange everything for us as package,Visa, Hotel,Transport etc.

    • Hi Rina! What you will apply for there is a 96 hour visa for Dubai, if you’re flying with Emirates, you can apply via VFS here Not having dealt with a visa application of this nature before, I would suggest you speak to VFS directly and explain what passport you’re on etc for their advice. 011 783 0410, / 011 783 1941 / 011 7834 685 in Joburg and 021 423 6573 in Cape Town

  24. Hi Nick

    O just great! I have booked a vacation for my family (3 adults and 2 children) on Qatar Airways (plus booked and paid for hotel already) and now see the hassle its going to be to get visas!?! It seems I should have just booked with Emirates to avoid all this headache! How am I supposed to get visas?! Who do I apply through as the dubai visa processing centre in south africa only processes Emirates ticket holder visas!?!

    Will I have to ask the hotel to process my visas on my behalf?

    Can I trust I cant seem to find any indication on the net of them being fraudulant?

    Please help and advise the easiest way to solve the problem?!

    • Ihsaan, thanks for getting in touch. Not all is lost if you’re flying on Qatar Airways, many of the hotels act as sponsors too. I would contact the hotel directly and ask them if they can process your visa for you.

      Regarding, I’ve had no dealings with them and as a company we’ve not used them. I honestly can’t speak for them or the way that they get around the various visa requirements the UAE has.

      If it were me in a private capacity (and I don’t speak for Travelstart at all in this opinion) I would be wary of them, they only have cell numbers on their website, the usual fee is around R500 for the visa (if flying Emirates) and they charge about R1200. It also worries me that they don’t have any requirements for hotel accommodation which the UAE seems to require. They may be legit, but personally I would just feel a little uneasy using them. ( says the following:


      Standard process of application, but please check with your hotel first.
      The visa is valid for 14 days from the date of issue and 14 days from the date of entry. The visa fees and security deposit will vary from country to country. The security deposit is also required per person and will be refunded once the visa holder leaves the country. It is advisable to contact your nearest Dubai Embassy or the hotel for more details.

      Please be aware that once the visa is applied for, charges for the cost of the visa will not be refunded in such cases as Expiration, Booking cancellation, Rejection.

      For the visa to be processed by the hotel, the visitor must remain a guest in that hotel for the entrire duration of their stay. Port of entry and exit of the visitor must be Dubai only. Three working days are needed to process the visa excluding, Friday, Saturday and Public Holidays.

      Documents required:

      Visa Charges and Security Deposit. An authorisation letter with the signature of the cardholder, as well as a copy of the credit card used (front and back side). Passport copies of card holder and visitors.
      Please note all document copies, passport copies and credit card copies must be scanned clearly and with colour when sent, otherwise they will be rejected by Dubai Immigration.”

      Hope this helps!

  25. hi there :)
    i really need help with my visa as im not sure were to start. my feacne and i are heading to dubai in feb for 10 days and have booked with qatar. please tell me how to get a visa,or were to start as well as how much will it cost?

    • Hi Claire, you are going to have to contact the hotel you are staying at to get them to help with the visa. I’m not 100% sure how much they will charge, probably in the region of R1000 or so. Unfortunately, if you’ve booked via Qatar airways, the only way you can get your visa is through your hotel.

  26. hi…
    Visitors to Dubai flying on Emirates can apply for a visa in South Africa without having to locate a sponsor in Dubai.

    • Hi Althaf, how do they go about doing this?

  27. Hi Nick

    Nick I was wondering if you could help me. My partner and I are flying to Mumbai, India, at the end of February via Dubai. Our stopover is 8 hours. Do we need to get a Visa? Please lead the blind.

    • Hi Elizabeth! Good news for you! If you’re on a South African passport transiting via Dubai for less than 24 hours, you don’t need a visa. BUT, you can’t leave the airport, you have to remain in the transit area. Hope this helps!

  28. I am flying emirates out of Cape Town to Dubai, in March, 2012, then onto Hong Kong, cruising from Hong Kong to Dubai, spending 3 nights in Dubai, then flying back to Cape Town with emirates, Could you please advise the easiest way to get a visa?

    • Hi Lynn, good news, you went the best route already for getting a visa. If you’ve got a ticket with Emirates, all you’ll need to do is contact VFS to apply for the visa through them – they are the official handling agency for UAE visas for travellers using Emirates. Reach them here: :-)

  29. Hi Nick, I am flying SAA out of Cape Town to Dubai, in March 2012,spending 4 nights in Dubai, then flying back to Cape Town with SAA, Could you please advise the easiest way to get a visa? South African passport…

    • Hi Deon,

      The regular channel for applying for a Dubai visa is by visiting You have to have an Emirates flight to do this. Your ticket is an SAA ticket, but, the flight is operated by Emirates. SAA and Emriates have an agreement where SAA can sell tickets on Emirates flights to Dubai and Emirates can sell add-on flights using SAA’s network into the rest of Southern Africa.

      What this means for you: You’ve got an SAA ticket flying on an Emirates plane. Usually unless you have an Emirates ticket, you cannot apply via

      I just checked with our consultants though who say you can still apply through (select South Africa in the top right). Apparently the South African Airways ticket generates an Emirates reference as well – you will have to ask the company you booked with for this. You should then be able to apply for the visa via the above web address.

      If for some reason this is not possible, many of the hotels in Dubai will act as sponsors to help with visas, you’ll need to contact the hotel you’re staying at for help with applying for the visa.

  30. Hi Nick, i am South African citizen flying to India. Do i need transit visa for any of these airlines, Emirates, Qatar or Ethihad and does it depend on how long the stop is? Please advice on this because i have heard so much stories over this subject. I am currently applying for Indian PIO card as well, does this mabe make it easier. Thanks in advance

    • Hi Chritalene, for all of those airlines, provided you’re not leaving the airport and are not staying there for longer and 24 hours, you will not need a transit visa. I’m not sure that the PIO card will make much difference to your transiting any of the Arab countries.

  31. Hi Nick
    I am traveling to Russia via Dubai. We have two stopovers in Dubai (on our way to Russia and back to South Africa) and would like to enter Dubai each time. Instead of getting a 96 hr visa twice, can I apply for a 30 day visa which is cheaper and is it a Multiple entry visa? I am a South African resident.

    • Hi Melissa, thanks for getting in touch. The visas for the UAE are all single entry visas, so whther you got the 96 hour or 30 day visa you’ll still need to get 2 visas if you’re entering the UAE twice. This is according to their visa-handling website here: You can always try asking for a different allowance, it can’t hurt to ask I’m sure!

    • Hi Melissa, just checked further on that for you, an apparently there is a box on the 30 day visa application form which you can tick to have it made into a multiple entry visa, so that should be fine! Double-check it with them though and get the name of the person you spoke to as a reference – contact them here:

  32. Hi Nick, my daughter and I are flying to Dubai for two weeks in June to visit my fiance/her Dad who lives and works in Dubai. We are flying SAA but the flight is operated by Emirates. I have a British Passport so I don’t need a VISA but I need a VISA for my daughter, can I apply for it through Emirates? The forms say that my ticket needs to be an EK but the flight is SA. Also the documentation asks for my daughters bank statements, letter confirming employment etc. Obviously she has none of these, what do I do? Do I attach mine or do I not have to attach anything given that she is only 5 years old?

    • Hi Lisa, thanks for getting in touch.

      I’ve checked this previously for another traveller and apparently if you get the Emirates reference number from whoever you booked your ticket with you can include that in your application which should suffice (It should be a 6 character reference, usually numbers and letters mixed). If you’d like to double check this with VFS, you can contact them on 021 423 6573 .

      Regarding your daughter, to my knowledge you just include her name under “names of family members accompanying you” but also fill out a form on her behalf providing all documentation minus the bank statements and employers letter.

  33. Hi Nick,

    Came across this site and am hoping you can shed some light on couple of things for me!
    Ive just been offered a job in Dubai by a Saudi based company – they have offered me a good package and i think i will take it.
    My query is this – my husband is South African – living in Ireland with me for years – he has not yet found a job in Dubai but the company said he can come on a spousal visa with me. My question is can he work on this? If not do you think he would find it difficult to get a job that will sponsor him to remain in Dubai with me? Is it difficult for South africans to obtain working visas – he is in sales so nothing specialised etc.

    Any info would be a big help!

    • Hi Lindsey! Thanks for getting in touch. To my knowledge one is not allowed to work on a spousal visa, each individual has to have a working visa for them to be allowed to work in Dubai. It’s possible he may find a company willing to sponsor him to work in Dubai, he may find it while over there, but it’s imperative he doesn’t work illegally in Dubai, if caught it could mean jail time for him and you may be deported.

      Also, on an aside, ensure that you have sufficient funds to support both of you while there, if one gets into debt in the UAE and one is unable to pay back an account/loan due to insufficient funds this is a criminal offence and you can be jailed for several months leaving your husband without means to return home and without a place to stay. I suggest he looks out for jobs advertised in Dubai and I also suggest he sticks to reputable employment agencies as there are many fly-by-night agencies fleecing people out of a lot of money in recruitment fees.

      Sorry to make this all sound so ominous, it’s just important to be informed, especially with the Arab states, their laws are very different from our own.

  34. Hi there Nick,

    I just booked mine and my husband’s flights to Bangkok in December through ETIHAD Airways – obviously with a stopover in Abu Dhabi. Etihad are now also sponsoring a 96-hour tourist visa after booking your flights with them – provided you stay at least one night in the Radisson Blu on Yas Island. I checked a few booking sites and it seems we can get the low-end room in the Radisson Blu for about R800 per night – I wasn’t planning on spending more than R500 for accommodation per night in the UAE as we will only be spending two nights in the UAE on our way to Thailand – one in a hotel and another on a desert safari in Dubai.

    Would you recommend taking this offer? To me it seems like a no-brainer to spend R300 more on accommodation and getting our visa’s free rather than spending R500 on accommodation and having to spend an additional R1,000+ to get our visas.

    Can you offer any comments about this. Like I said I’ve already booked and paid our flights on Etihad as Emirates’ economy class for the dates of our visit were already full and Etihad’s flights were more than R20,000 cheaper.


    • Hi Karin! Sounds like an exciting trip planned!

      I think the general rule when it comes to playing or not playing by the rules and conveniences offered by other countries’ governments (and especially the Arab States) is that that playing by them is safest. If Etihad are offering the visa on these terms, definitely take it, it’s been a well-talked-about deal. It does seem like a good offer and it is a lovely hotel and it means they’ll sponsor your visa through the proper channels (and they will as they are the national carrier) meaning you’re in the safest position by doing it this way.

      I hope this helps answer your question.

  35. Hi Nick, I have already booked my tickets to Dubai by Qatar Airways, my final destination is Kabul Afghanistan, on my way back I would like to stay a few days in Dubai, Do you think Qatar Airways can sponsor me for a Dubai visa??


    • Hi Jawid, I’m afraid Qatar Airways can’t sponsor visas for the UAE as they’re based in a different country (Qatar), only UAE-based carriers can sponsor visas for that country. You’ll need to check that you book with a hotel who can sponsor your visa in Dubai.

  36. Hi Nicky,

    hope you’re well. My question is: I am a South African who will be travelling to India in April via Dubai. After obtaining my visa to India would I also need a visa for my transitting Dubai?


    • Hi Nicky! Thanks for getting in touch. If you’re on a South African passport and are not leaving the airport in Dubai and are not in Dubai for longer than 24 hours, you’ll be fine to transit Dubai without a visa.

      Enjoy your trip :-)

  37. Goeie Dag Nick
    ‘n 96 uur visa. As hy klaar gebruik is hoelank is moet ek wag om weer ‘n 96 uur visa te kry.

    • Hi Jeanette,

      thanks for getting in touch. As fare as I know there is no “waiting period” between visas, but you can’t simply apply for 2 or 3 96 hour visas in a row (eg 1 visa for Monday to Thursday, then another for Friday to Monday and another for Tuesday to Friday), they’d need you to apply for the 30 day visa in that case.

  38. Hi Nick,

    I am sure you must have answered this question already a thousand times – but just to make sure as I am a bit confused I will ask again :) My partner is South African and we are planning a round trip through Europe. We will be flying via Dar es Salaam (we are both TZ residents) to Dubai and then onwards to Europe. We will arrive at 23.00 at Dubai and our connecting flight will be at 9.30am in the morning. We are not planning to leave the airport. Maybe stay in the hotel in T3 until our flight leaves. Will he need a transit visa for that ?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Angelika. Thanks for getting in touch.

      I checked the website of the Dubai International Hotel and it seems the hotel is before the Immigration and Customs section, meaning that you don’t pass through immigration or customs in order to get to the hotel. This means you are not leaving the transit area and should not need a visa to stay at the hotel – provided the passport you are travelling on allows you to transit in Dubai visa-free.

  39. When applying for Dubai Visa you need to give your hotel booking and show air ticket out of the country again. What if you are staying with a relative who lives and works in Dubai?

    • Hi Steve, as far as I am aware the situation has not changed and the relative will need to apply through the DNRD (local government office) to sponsor you for the visa. The regular airline sponsorships really only works if you’re going to stay at a hotel. Tell the person over their to contact the local DNRD office to find out how they can invite you over:

  40. Hi Nick

    I am south african and my boyfriend is a perminant resident in dubai. I would like to go and visit him for more than a month. Can he be my sponser? And as a south african whats the maximum time i can stay in dubai for? What type of visa should i apply for?

    • Hi Cherrie,

      according to the info at my disposal:

      “Relatives working/living in Dubai – applicants will need to get in contact with the Dubai, Department of Naturalization and Residency, telephone +971 4 398 0000 or visit Note, there is a limit on the number of annual visas that relatives can sponsor and there is also a minimum salary requirement. Only UAE Nationals can sponsor visitors who are friends”

      If you are not a relative I am not sure if they can assist, ask your boyfriend to get in touch with the authorities there to see if they will allow him to be your sponsor.

  41. Hi Nick! I traveled to Dubai a while back with Emirates and did a four day stop over coming back from Europe. Upon arrival I paid for a 96 Hour Transit Visa by showing them proof of accommodation and onward travel. I found a good deal on Qatar Airways to Abu Dhabi and I’m planning to visit Abu Dhabi for three days. My question to you is, can I obtain a 96 Hour Transit Visa at Abu Dhabi airport by showing them my proof of accommodation (hotel) and my onward flight. I will only be in the country for 3 days. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi JS,

      Thanks for getting in touch. The information I had at my disposal said that one couldn’t get the visa on arrival in Dubai, it’s interesting to hear that they gave you one there. Since the Abu Dhabi and Dubai fall within the same country, I would think the same rule applies. But to my knowledge the granting of this visa is at the discretion of the officials involved, so it’s never guaranteed.

  42. Hello Nick, apart from the UAE visa Scenario i am looking for further details on how the process works to actually work in Dubai. I am a under recruitment process at the moment but need to find out what the usual process would be for South Africa citizens. thanks

  43. Hi Nick,

    I live in South Korea and I’m planning to visit Dubai in August but I am flying China Southern Airlines (they are literally half the price of Emirates). My family is meeting me in Dubai and they are flying Emirates from South Africa so they can get their visas easily. How would I go about getting a visa for Dubai from here?

    Thanks in advance!

  44. Hi Nick!
    I’m planning to go to Dubai in December to visit a friend.So what I can gather from this is that there are only 2 ways to get a Dubai visa…either through a hotel or Emirates. (Have you seen the Emirates airfares????) Can you maybe obtain a visa directly through the UAE embassy or through Etihad as Abu Dhabi and Dubai are both in the UAE,will you need a Dubai visa specifically or will the Abu Dhabi visa be suffice? or is there an UAE visa that will enable you to visit any of the UAE countries? (I’m a little confused here)

  45. i am a dentist.i wish to find a job in dubai.what is the procedure?

  46. Hi Nick

    I need a transit visa, stopping en route to Ireland, where’s the best place to get this information and do you have an estimate of cost ?


  47. Hi Nick, I am flying Qatar airlines into Dubai from Cape Town. I’ve been visiting my son in April this year and he acted as sponsor.
    I am having difficulty in applying for an online visa as it seems only available to Emirates passengers. Is there any other way of getting a visa (30) days tourist. I am loathe to use VFS since a single visa double in costs.
    Thank you for you assistance.


  49. HI Nick

    We are travelling to Phuket in December via Dubai on Emirates Airlines. Our transit period will be just short of 12 hours. We are travelling on RSA Passports and would like to know whether we need to arrange visa’s for Dubai for this transit period?

    Also, what visa requirements are there for RSA Citizens travelling to Phuket, Thailand?



  50. Hi Nick. I have booked a flight via Ethiad to Thailand via Abu Dhabi. I scheduled the flight to have 2 stopovers.Is this possible and what Visa do I need to allow me to do this. The duration between the 2 entries is 10 days.

  51. Hi Nick,

    We are stopping over in the UAE for 3 nights in December. We booked our flights through Etihad. I initially thought we could get the visa through them but they only issue a visa for you if you stay over in Abu Dhabi. We will spend 1 night in Abu Dhabi and 2 nights in Dubai. How would I go about getting the correct visa?


    • how long does it take process everything.

    • Its better if u would let ur visa issued by any Tourism agency…

    • We are on a South African passport and arriving in Dubai by cruise liner from Singapore.Need to get from boat to airport tofly on the same day to Johannesburg.Have not booked flight yet.What do we do to get visa? Thanks

  52. We are planning a trip to Rome via Dubai from Johannesburg , on the way back we plan to stay over in Dubai for 2 nights. I am a South African, but have an Israeli stamp in my passport . Will this prevent me from getting a visa to visit Dubai for 2 nights?

    • yes. Isra. are not eligible to get UAE visa. Even if your passport contains Isra. stamp, still u wont get visa

    • Israeli stamp (and even Israeli passports) are not an issue. Lots of misinformation online about it online due to politics.

  53. Hi Nick
    My mom(South African)is visiting me in Dubai.She is flying via emirates.We would liketo extend her visa…what’s the procedure?

  54. Hi Nick

    Im hoping you can help! I am south african, living in the UK and currently hold a Tier 1 visa (hsmp). I am planning on travelling to dubai for a week at the end of November this year. I have already booked my flight with British airways. I was under the impression that i could just acquire a dubai visa at the dubai airport. I am now reading up on different websites, seem to notice that this cant be true. Please let me know if you know anything about a South african living in the UK with a Visa wanting to travel on holiday to dubai for 9 days.

    • pse let me kwow as soon as posible.

  55. Hi, my daughter works in Abu Dhabi and her friend wants to visit her but they say he wont get a visa because he is 20 years old, you have to be 23 , is that true.

    • Yes, its abs. correct.

  56. Hi there, what’s the longest a hotel in dubai can sponsor you for? I want to stay longer than 30 days.

    • You can stay in UAE for 60 days. This visa will be applied by a Tourism co.

  57. Hi Nick
    My son (age 26) and daughter (17) are planning atrip to London with a stop over on Dubai. I am booking through Emirates. I haven’t applied for their visas yet but apparently a female under a certain age cannot travel with out her parents. Is this still true? What about travelling with her brother?

  58. Hi Nick, My little sister has been an employee of Fly Emirates for a year now and I would like to go visit her for max 5days. Would she be regarded my sponsor when I visit her as I will be staying at her place for the duration? Also since I am going to visit her for site seeing and not really going to be spending or shopping, how much do you think would be a convenient minimum amount of money to have before I leave apart from the flight costs?

    • is it safe to carry cash with me?

  59. Hi Nick

    Hope you can help me.

    I am in Pakistan at this moment but will need a day visa for Dubai airport as i want to an old friend but i will have to go through security and meet her at a coffe shop at the airport. i will only be in Dubia for 5 hours befor leaving for London.I am not leaving the Airport but the problem is me getting through security.

    and I was wondering if you could help with the daily visa costs?

    Thank you for the help

  60. Hi Nick,
    i need to visit Dubai next month for 13 t0 18 february what is the process. i have SA ID book and SA passport. help

    • Hi Patric,

      The easiest way to get a Dubai visa is when you book a flight with Emirates as they then sponsor your visa. Alternatively you can contact the hotel you are staying at and they should be able to act as a sponsor.

  61. My family of 4 adults are flying to Dubai for a week in March ,we have book our tickets through a travel agent but accommadation on our own through our Timeshare . The travel normally does our visas for us but not this time . The price they are charging is ridiculous . Please can you tell me what’s the recommended prices are for a week in Dubai .
    Many thanx

    • Hi Vimla,

      The cost of 30 day visa for Dubai at present should be R705 per person.

  62. Hi… I’m a South African with permanent residency in the UK and wish to go to Dubai for a long weekend… What visa would I need? Can I get it on arrival? Thanks

    • Hi Bevan,

      As a South African passport holder you will need to apply for a Dubai visa in advance. There are options for 96 hour visas which are a bit cheaper and might be sufficient for a long weekend.

  63. Hi there,

    There are many travel agents offering Dubai visa services online and one of them is Gulf Sun Tours that I have used repeatedly for my visa applications and some friends and have been very friendly and quick turn around time for Dubai visas and would like to share this with you and might help some having problems and being cheated with some spammers on the internet.

  64. Good day,

    I Would like To go and visit my friend in Dubai round about April this year. I will book through Emirates as I can then fly directly out of Durban. How do I go about getting a visa? I will spend max 10 days there.

    Many thanks

  65. I’am South African Living in the UK for the past 8 years, planning on visiting SA later this year. Iam still on my SA passport, do I need a visa to transit via Dubai.

    Many thanks
    Raik Henke

    • Hi Raik,

      If you are travelling on a South African passport you do not need a transit visa for Dubai.

  66. We are travelling to Dubai in April using Emirates…3 nights, then in Saudi for 5 nights flying on flydubai.
    Return on flydubai back to Dubai and in transit for 12 hours before flying back to CPT on Emirates.
    What type of Dubai visa do we need? getting conflicting info from VFS and Emirates.
    96 hour visa? 30 day visa, Multiple Entry or single entry?

    • Hi Parker,

      VFS are the agency with sole responsible for issuing visas for the UAE so they should be able to offer you accurate information. However as the information is conflicting with that provided by Emirates (who should also be able to provide accurate information) then I suggest that you contact the UAE embassy directly to clarify:


      Good luck and please let us know what they say.

  67. Thanks, will phone embassy directly.
    btw, getting conflicting info even from VFS…one day they say 96 hour visa, next day they say its 30 day visa required. Emirates says 96 hour but they not 100% sure.

  68. I received an email from DVPC who say they are unable to do my application on line because I purchased a ticket via Emirates online to Dubai but with a return ticket from Singapore via Dubai, the reason for this is that I am joining a Cruise Ship which will sail from Dubai to Singapore. My Cruise Ship booking was NOT done via an agency as it was done privately by a friend who works on the ship. I have a hotel confirmation for one night in Dubai, my question is, who can help me then with the Visa application? I have an Emirates ticket but now that seems of no help (and all this was done after I inquired through the Embassy here), so you can see the conflicting information I got….Will a travel agent help me as I don’t mind paying them then for it? Thanx alot regards Vicky

  69. Good Day

    I have a question regarding a visa for parents visiting from SA. My husband works in Dubai but I do not..we do however have residency. He is therefore the official working sponsor and I am ‘not allowed to work’. My father, stepmom and sister wants to visit in July (4 days stop returning from a London vacation going back to SA). They have booked Emirates. I know you say that they will need ‘official confirmation’ of where they will stay. THey will be staying with us though at our residence. Is this allowed?? Can my husband sponsor my parents for a visit?? He is Norwegian.


  70. Hi Guys ,

    I have been travelling to Dubai from South Africa and I have been applying dubai visa through for last couple of years and these guys provide excellent service and turn around time and are member of mohamed bin rashid establishment for young business leaders and a registered company in Dubai under Gulf Sun Travel and Tourism name and I would recommend their services to anyone and to avoid being cheated by visa agents in Dubai and all around the world through internet.

  71. Dear Travelstart,Im travelling to London with Emirates via Dubai. The return flight has a long overhaul/stopover of close to 5 hours? Will i be allowed to get out of the airport for a quick tour of the city before my connection flight or do i need to apply for the 96hours visa? Thanks

  72. Hi i will be in transit for 9 hours, will i be able to buy a day visit visa from the airport and is it a long proscess …how long does it take at the dubai airport and how much does it cost there for the visa as i don’t want to wait for 9 hours for my connecting flight to the UK but rather visit the city…thnx

  73. I am being asked for R750
    For a 96 hr visa …, can you help me verify your prices please

  74. Hi, I am travelling to Abu Dubai for the Grand Prix 1- 4Novemeber then to Thailand for 10 nights.I booked with Qatar Airlines and they not able to assist because I am not immediately flying back to South Africa.
    Which is the best option for me to book visa from South Africa to UAE?

    Thanks S

  75. Hi there we’re planning a trip to new Zealand next year with emirates. On going were are having a stopover at Dubai for 3 hours, but when we return we will be there for about 23 hours. Can one visit Dubai area for that time and apply for the 96 hour visa?

  76. Hi Nick,
    A group of our friends ages ranging from 24 – 28 Are travelling to Dubai on Air Ethiopia. We are finding it next to impossible to get someone Legit who can help us. We have already booked accommodation as-well, but the Refundable Deposit that they are asking per person is crazy so we cant do the visas through them.Also there is all sorts of Terms & Conditions about the girls ages. Is that really such a big problem? ANY help will be appreciated please?

  77. Hi there

    im moving to dubai shrtly for work. would like to know what all i need to get in to the UAE with out any problams?


  78. I booked a flight to Thailand through Ethihad, I have to connect at Abu Dhabi to Thailand but i will wait for 12 hours for the next flight to Thailand from Abu Dhabi , do i need a visa even if i will be at the airport the whole time?

  79. Hello I m hoping to come there to greet my friend.thanks

  80. I booked a package through British Airways (BA). One of our travelers requires a sponser as from south africa. The hotel do a Visa service, but now they said only if booked directly with them, and BA dont offer the visa service. How else can we get a visa for her if we dont know locals who can Sponser her?

  81. I’m going to visit a friend in Dubai in may and I would like to know what I need,and do I apply for a visa.

  82. Good day, I wonder if you can help me. I have accepted a teaching position at a school in Dubai and the school is sponsoring my visa. My husband, however, does not have a job yet and has to apply for a tourist visa at first which the school said would be changed to a different long-term visa once my 3 month probation is over. How would he go about getting a visa for our first 3 months. We are South African passport holders. Thank you!

      I find myself in a similar situation as yours, been offered a job, but need to get visas for my wife and kids . what procedure do I follow. If you have come right wit your process.

  83. Hi Nick, I am a south african citizen . I am currently working in saudi. My company got a job in dubai for 1 month. What should I do for a visa to go to dubai from here.I have 2 weeks to sort this out. Please help. Thanks.

  84. Pls I need 30 days visa to Dubai.

  85. how can l apply for a visa m living in sa but m a Zimbabwean.please help.

  86. I need to go to my company head office for ten days training I’m a south african how do I get a visa urgently please help

  87. Hi when applying for a 96 Hour visa through the emirates website what documents will be required.

  88. Hi, I’m from South Africa with a South African Passport, we will have a layover on Abu Dhabi for 12 hrs, will we require a visa for Abu Dhabi ?

    • Hello Heidi, you do not need a transit Visa for Abu Dhabi for less than 24 hours. You will only be able to stay in the airport. If you wish to go into the city, you will need to apply for a Visa. You can contact one of our agents for more information – please call us on 0861 878 278 / +2721-468-4300

  89. Good day

    My family and I will be travelling to Dubai in December, we will be staying there for 3 days and travelling onwards. We will come back to Dubai after about 9 days and will stay there for 2 more days. What type of visa do we apply for. Bought our tickets via

    • Hi Sandy, good question! Previous travellers doing this have had to apply for 2 separate visas unfortunately. They’ve changed this for cruise passengers who only need one visa for 2 entries, however now everyone else needs 2 visas as the UAE doesn’t issue multiple entries travellers arriving by air.

      You could check with their handling agent if there is anything they can do to bring down the cost for you, contact them here:

  90. Hi Nick
    Thank you for all the help and useful information I am flying SAA operated by emirates can I still use the vfs visa application centre?

    • Hi Mohammed, that’s correct, if you’re on the SAA ticket on the Emirates plane you use VFS to make your application :)

  91. Hi Nick
    I have a flight to Bangkok with a 14 hour stop over in Dubai, with Emirates. Does Emirates give you free access to their Lounges or is there a fee involved. If so what is the cost and does Emirates give you discount for having such a long stop over?

    • Hi Noel! Wow that’s quite the layover.

      You may be able to pick up a meal voucher at the Emirates transfer desk in Dubai airport but they don’t give you free lounge access. You’ll be in the Emirates terminal so the only lounges there are the Emirates Business and First Class lounges. They don’t seem to offer any paid for access to lounges while you’re there. Unfortunately, Emirates doesn’t make provision for long layovers unless there are no other flights with a shorter connection time. With Bangkok flights, they’re regular enough that you could have paid more for a shorter connection – in which case Emirates don’t offer anything. This is becoming more and more the case the world over now, and few of the major airlines offer any sort of “compensation” or comfort facilities for long layovers any more.

  92. I am residing in Saudi , flying with Gulf air to UAE. My wife is residing in South Africa flying with Qatar airways meeting me in UAE, we both South African Passport holders. The hotel we booked at says we must arrange our own visas cannot assit in this regard. Please advise how do I arrange the visa for both of us?


    • Hi Riaz,

      Great to hear from you!

      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.

      Best of luck!

  93. i’m looking for a price of visas for 3 people,i’m going for 43 day’s. What price are we looking at

    • Hi Moosa, to my knowledge you cannot stay on a regular visa longer than 30 days. I’m not sure that you can apply for a visa for a stay that long in SA, unless you’re travelling there for work – you may need some sort of work permit of special permission. Unfortunately I don’t know the answer to this question. I would suggest that you contact VFS, the official handling agent to see if there is anything they can help you with:

  94. hi there, i need help my wife’s visa runs out on 12th namely tomorrow, the company she worked for cancelled her visa on the 12th of October 2014 she only received her passport back last week so we didn’t know about it until it was returned, she has been looking for jobs so far nothing she is south African so to my knowledge she can’t do a Oman border run like i can as i am British, please can someone help us asap thank you

    • Hi David! Did you come right with your wife’s visa? To my knowledge she couldn’t have done the Oman border run either, she would have to fly to South Africa to apply again.

  95. Hi Nick

    We are a South African family of 6, stopping over in Dubai on our way back from Italy in December. We are flying Emirates there and back. Our stop over in Dubai is about 18 hours. We were wondering if it would be possible to get a visa to leave the airport just to experience a bit of Dubai. If so, how do we go about it and what would it cost. I contacted Travelstart, they say they don’t do it, and put me onto a visa office who said they could do it but it would cost R1,800.00, per person(approx R12,000.00 for all of us) which sounds a bit expensive just for part of a day. What do you recommend? Your help would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Gill! Thanks for contacting me! You’re flying on Emirates so you can go through the “manage my booking” section on the Emirates site and follow the prompts to apply for a visa. It will cost around $55 or around R600. I’m sorry that you were misinformed!

      Have a great trip!

  96. Hi Nick, a friend of mine will be working in Dubai for 3months next year and asked me to visit. Can I apply for a visa with the address that she will be staying at even though she’s still here? Do I need to book my flight through Emirates airline to make my life easier and making my chances of the visa being approved higher?

    • Hi Kgomotso, to my knowledge if you apply through Emirates there should be no problem doing the visa that way. However, there may be an issue as you need to include the address you will be at in the UAE on your application form and if you put your friend’s details on there, they MAY ask your friend to act as your sponsor in the UAE for your visa which means she will need to apply on your behalf.

      I suggest speaking to the official handling agent for some advice on this before you apply to make sure you don’t spend your money in the wrong place:

  97. Hi Nick, a friend of mine is travelling to Dubai with his wife and child on the 12th of December and will depart on the 15th of December. He has a South African passport but is currently working and residing in Papua New Guinea. Does he need to apply for a Visa or is it possible for him to get a visa on arrival?

    Please advise.


    • Hi Neville,

      Great to hear from you!

      When travelling to Dubai one needs to apply for their visa prior to departure and will not able to obtain one upon arrival.

      We suggest you apply for a visa as soon as possible, to avoid any disappointment.

      Have a great day!

  98. Hi Nick

    I live in Mozambique and i have dual citizenship (mozambican/portuguese). I already have a visa to lisbon stamped in my moz passport that expires in April,21 2015…can i get the transit visa in dubai? If not, can I use my portuguese passport to enter and exit dubai in transit?

    NB. I will arrive in dubai day 29 jan 15 and have 48h stopover…

    Look forward to hear from you

    • Hi Marco,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      If you have dual citizenship holding a Mozambican Passport as well as a Portuguese passport, I would recommend you contact Emirates on: 0861 364 728 and they can advise accordingly.

      Alternatively you welcome to contact Rose (Republic of Service Excellence) who specialize in visa’s and they should also be able to assist.

      Tel: 0100015060

      Best of luck!

  99. Hey Thomas,

    Thanks for getting in touch!

    It’s 5 easy steps when applying for ones UAE visa:

    You will need an existing booking before applying for your visa.

    Step 1: Log onto
    Step 2: Click on – Manage Existing Booking (this you will find on the right hand side of your screen towards the middle)
    Step 3: Retrieve your existing booking, enter Last Name and Booking reference.
    Step 4: Select – Apply for your UAE Visa
    Step 5: Click on – Continue to Visa Application

    You will then proceed to fill in your details they are requesting online and you can submit.

    All the best.


  100. Hi

    I am a south African resident who is flying to India for work purposes. I am then flying from Mumbai to Dubai return on Emirates and Jet Airways respectively. Please advise on the best approach for me to obtain a 96 hour VISA for the UAE?

    • Hi Sumika,

      Great to hear from you.

      You will need an existing booking before applying.

      Below you will find 5 easy steps when applying for ones UAE visa:

      Step 1: Log onto
      Step 2: Click on – Manage Existing Booking (this you will find on the right hand side of your screen towards the middle)
      Step 3: Retrieve your existing booking, enter Last Name and Booking reference.
      Step 4: Select – Apply for your UAE Visa
      Step 5: Click on – Continue to Visa Application

      One then proceeds to fill in their details requested online and then submit.

      Have a safe trip!

  101. Hi Nick,

    I will be transiting in Dubai for approximately 4 hours from Johannesburg to Gatwick. Do I need a transit VISA?

    • Hi Vernon, sorry for the delayed reply, no, as a South African in transit in Dubai for that short amount of time you won’t need a transit visa.

  102. Hi nick..

    I am a South African citizen. I am traveling to Colombia for vacation and on the way I am transiting through Dubai. I will be in transit for about 3 and a half hours… Do I need a visa though? I have been checking through websites and so forth and very confused whether I need a visa or not..

    • Hi Sandra, a South African passport holder doesn’t require a visa to transit via Dubai for such a short time. Enjoy the trip!

  103. Good day

    My daughter and I would like to do a Dubai stopover on our trip to Istanbul
    our booking is as follows

    arrive Dubai 30 Jan, depart 02 feb

    Please advise me regarding the Dubai visa
    we will be in Dubai for 4 days on our way to istanbul

    and we would like to sleep in a hotel on our way back from istanbul
    arrive 07 Feb, depart 07 Feb

    what are our options for a visa?
    is there a multiple entry visa?

    what are the visa costs?
    my daughter and i are both south african, flying Emirates

    • Hi Abdool, thanks for contacting us. The UAE doesn’t issue multiple entry visas I’m afraid, meaning you’ll need 2 visas for the UAE if you want to leave the airport twice. See this post for guidance on applying for a UAE visa, essentially you will need to do this yourself online, this is usually the simplest way:

  104. How long does it take to process Dubai visa? I applied through an agent (found it on Google) on 19 December 2014 (not sure if I should mention the name) and up to now they tell me it’s in progress. I am stressing so much as I will travelling in a week’s time.

    • Hi Mary, thanks for getting in touch. The visa processing time is 4-6 Working days. This is what I found on the following sight:
      I would suggest following up with them to see how far along. It could be due to peak season, that their is a backlog and quite a few public holidays. However 14 working days is quite long to wait. I would do a follow up. Best of luck! ~ Marcelle

  105. Evening, later this week I’ll be flying Emirates to Turkey via Dubai, although on my return leg in February I have a 9.5hrs connection waiting time, I don’t intend on leaving the airport, so a visa won’t be required?

    • Hi Terrence, great hearing from you. If you are just in transit / will not be leaving the airport you will not require a visa for Dubai. Safe travels

  106. Hi. I will be travelling to dubai in march for one month on a 30 day tourist visa. I wanted to find out how long I have to wait after my return to apply for another dubai visa?

    • Hi Tinashe,

      Thanks for reaching out! For this I would suggest you contact good old VFS who specialize in visa requirements and they would be able to advise accordingly when one can apply for their next visa, after date of return from their previous trip.

      Please find link below with contact details:

      Have a great day!

  107. Hi.
    I intend travelling to Dubai and staying in a hotel in order to see my boyfriend over the Easter weekend.

    I have a South African passport but also a British passport. I live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I intend using the British passport when entering Dubai as (correct me if I am wrong) I will receive my visa upon entry (staying less than 30 days and just visiting).

    My question is, when I am flying out of Johannesburg, South Africa will the passport control stop me as I will not have a visa in my South African passport for Dubai? Or can I just show them my British passport and that I intend on using that passport to enter into Dubai despite flying from South Africa and not the UK?

    I hope this question is phrased clearly enough.

    Thank you so much =)

    • Hi Antonia,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      That is correct, a British passport holder does not require a visa for Dubai if staying 30 days or less. You will present your South African passport at immigration when departing SA. Upon arrival in Dubai you present your British passport. Just keep both at hand should they need to see both.

      When leaving Dubai, again you present your British Passport, and your first point of entry into South African you present your SA passport.

      We do suggest you contact VFS – just to make double sure, as they will be able to provide you with the most up to date information.

      Have a great day!

  108. hie

    i am intending on relocating and working in Dubai, can you help me with an idea of their minimal requirements and the right personnel who can give me detailed information. i’m holding a Zimbabwean passport, but resident in Botswana

    thanks in advance!

    • Hi Bryan,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      If you are thinking of relocating to Dubai and needing assistance with the visa process and wanting to know the correct procedures to follow, I would recommend you go onto the following website:

      This is a South African based company, maybe they can assist.

      Their contact details are:

      +27 11 783 0410 / +27 11 783 1941 (JOHANNESBURG) +27 21 423 6573 (CAPE TOWN), +27 31 584 7153 (DURBAN)

      Best of Luck!

  109. Hi! I & my wife had traveled to Dubai in December 2014 ( 25th to 29th December) My ticket was from Mumbai(India ) to Dubai and Back to Mumbai (India). I had not traveled by Emirates but by Jet Airways. The Travel Agent had issued a 96hrs visa. But immigration didn’t allow me to enter Dubai. Though the visa was valid during the period. I had to than make a separate Tourist Visa at Dubai Airport along with my wife paying an additional amount of 550 USD to enter the city.
    If anyone can help me with the following answers I would be grateful:
    1) Is it true that 96hrs visa can be issued only to transit passengers and not to tourist who come to visit Dubai as a Tourist. Duration of my stay for flight back to India was 96 hours.
    2) Would I have been allowed in if I was traveling in Emirates.
    3) Was I the mistake of the travel Agent to issue a 96 hour visa to a tourist.

    Please help

  110. Hi Nick Paul,
    My wife and I, are flying with Emirates, and will be in transit via Dubai on our way to Phuket, We will be at Dubai airport for +- 7 hours, and are thinking of looking around a bit while waiting for our flight onward. Should we apply for a visa, do we need one. If we need to apply for one which is the proper route to follow?

    • Hi Allan,

      Great to hear from you.

      Yes you would need to apply for a visa if you are a South African passport holder.

      There are 5 easy steps when applying for a UAE visa online, when flying with Emirates via Dubai.

      You are welcome to log onto and familiarise yourself with visa costs, visa requirements, terms and conditions

      Step 1: Log onto
      Step 2: Click on – Manage Existing Booking
      Step 3: Retrieve your existing booking, enter Last Name and Booking reference.
      Step 4: Select – Apply for your UAE Visa
      Step 5: Click on – Continue to Visa Application

      If you need further information or assistance you are welcome to contact Rose (Republic of Service Excellence) who specialize in visas, and will be able to provide the most up to date information.

      Johannesburg Regional Office

      Tel: 0100015060

      Best of Luck!

  111. Hi
    My husband is interested in relocating to Dubai,we are South African. He wants to know if he accepts a job offer over there and has his paperwork in order before he leaves can he apply through an agency here for our visas so that we can all go over together?

    • Hi Ruwaida,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      That sounds like a great opportunity to go work in Dubai.

      Usually the company sponsoring the person would do the necessary work visa application on that side.

      I would suggest you contact Rose (Republic of Service Excellence) who specialize in visa’s and they should be able to assist with any queries you might have.

      Johannesburg Regional Office

      Tel: 0100015060

      Best of Luck!

  112. Hi, we are traveling to Istanbul via Dubai and have a 6 hour stop over (8:20 am – 02:20pm), can we leave the airport without a visa for Dubai….if not, where do I apply and how much does it cost?

    • Hi Darrylleen,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Istanbul, fabulous. Sure you are going to love it. Lovely country.

      There are 5 easy steps when applying for a UAE visa online, when flying with Emirates via Dubai.

      You are welcome to log onto and familiarize yourself with visa costs, visa requirements, terms and conditions

      Step 1: Log onto
      Step 2: Click on – Manage Existing Booking
      Step 3: Retrieve your existing booking, enter Last Name and Booking reference.
      Step 4: Select – Apply for your UAE Visa
      Step 5: Click on – Continue to Visa Application

      If you need further information or assistance you are welcome to contact Rose (Republic of Service Excellence) who specialize in visas, and will be able to provide the most up to date information.

      Johannesburg Regional Office

      Tel: 0100015060

      Best of Luck!

  113. Hi
    My family and i are booked to fly to Abu Dhabi in Dec 2015.
    Whats the easiest route to get a visa without the big hotels (we a big group so i wanted to void the big hotels due to high costs).

  114. Hi Ruwaida,
    My husband (Irish passport) and I (South African passport) are travelling with Emirates to Dubai to visit our son, working there. We will be in Dubai for less than 96 hours before leaving for Oman. We spend 2 nights in Oman, and then return to Dubai for 2 nights. As UAE apparently only provide single entry visas, would it be possible for me to apply for 2 transit visas? Thanks for your assistance

    • Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      For this I would suggest you contact Emirates directly and they will be able to give you the up to date information.

      There are 5 easy steps when applying for a UAE visa online, when flying with Emirates via Dubai.

      You are welcome to log onto and familiarise yourself with visa costs, visa requirements, terms and conditions

      Step 1: Log onto
      Step 2: Click on – Manage Existing Booking
      Step 3: Retrieve your existing booking, enter Last Name and Booking reference.
      Step 4: Select – Apply for your UAE Visa
      Step 5: Click on – Continue to Visa Application

  115. hi
    My family is traveling to Abu dhabi, and will be flying with SAA, please can you tell me with which online site I can do my visas or can I do my visas with SAA.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      You can apply for a UAE visa via the following links below.

      I have also provided contact details which you can find on the website should you need guidance or have any queries.



      +27 11 783 0410 / +27 11 783 1941 (JOHANNESBURG) +27 21 423 6573 (CAPE TOWN), +27 31 584 7153 (DURBAN)

      Best of Luck!

  116. Hi. We will be flying to Dubai on Qatar via Doha. Can I use vfs. What other options do I have. Thanks

    • Hi Smita,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      You can use VFS if wanting to get a visa for Dubai.

      Below are their contact details:

      Contact Details for DVPC – Johannesburg

      Telephone : 011 783 0410, / 011 783 1941
      For any queries, please email at

    • Hi Mel,

      Great to hear from you.

      Yes that is correct you can contact VFS as they are the official handling agency and will be able to assist accordingly.

  117. Hi,
    I am a resident of the United kingdom(right of abode not citizen) though I live in South Africa.
    I would be travelling to London and intend to visit Dubai for 4 days on my way back to SA.
    I have read somewhere that UK residents can get visa at Dubai Airport on entry.
    Please could you confirm if this is so or if I need a visa, could I get the transit visa? Where do I apply for the transit visas?

    • Hi Wunmi,

      Thanks for the interesting question.

      If you are visiting Dubai for 4 days one can not enter on a transit visa.

      It really also depends on the passport you are holding. I would suggest you contact VFS the official handling agency and they would be able to give you the most up to date information on what is required.

      Best of Luck!

  118. Hi There

    My boyfriend got a job offer in Dubai however, we do plan on getting married before he leave as i will be going over without work. Will it be possible for me to apply for a spousal visa within a month or will i have to stay behind to sort it out.
    With regards to the min amount he needs to earn to sponsor me, he will be earning more than that

    Thank you for your help!

    • Hi Anchen,

      Thanks for the interesting question.

      You would need to contact VFS who are the handling agents for visas. They will be able to answer any queries on when and where to apply for a spousal visa and the processing times.

      Best of Luck!

  119. Hi Nick
    My boyfriend and I are thinking about moving to Dubai to work we have a friend who lives in Dubai at the moment however he is a South African citizen who will be accommodating us for a while, will he be able to sponsor? Also would it be easier for my boyfriend and to get work permits if we were married and does a bad credit rating effect the visa application?

    • Hi Niki,

      Thanks for the interesting question.

      I wouldn’t be able to advise if it’s easier getting a work visa if one is married or having a bad credit record would effect the visa application.

      For this I would suggest you contact VFS the official handling agency and they will be able to assist with the relevant queries you might have.

      Best of Luck!

  120. Hi

    I will be travelling from SA to USA in June for a work conference.
    I have a 1day stopover in Dubai enroute to the USA and another 1 day stopover enroute back to SA in Dubai.

    Do i need a visa for this? Does it qualify as a transit or will i require a single entry visa for each stopover?

    I have asked several VISA agencies and i get different answers from each of them.
    Please assist if possible.


    • Good Day,

      Thank you for your e-mail.

      If you are in transit for less then 24 hours and will not be leaving the airport – not passing through immergration’s you will not require a visa.

      However if you are staying longer then 24 hours a visa will be required.

      In saying this I do suggest you contact VFS the official visa handling agent and they should be able to assist accordingly.

      +27 11 783 0410
      +27 11 783 1941

  121. I am South African I applied are tourist visa two time’s they told me they not give people who come from South African please help me I need are tourist visa

    • Hi Nombulelo,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      If the authorities have denied you a visa, unfortunately there is nothing we can do from our side. This is up to the discretion of the Embassy if they are willing to grant a passenger a tourist visa or not.

  122. Hi
    I am a Filipino and recently wrking here at hongkong as a DH and I’m planning to travel Dubai to spend my vacation this coming october but no one will sponsor me, can you help me what to do? Where can I apply a tourist visa+ ticket and a return ticket to Philippines..thank you can you pls send the answer on my e-mail account:

    • Hello Ihan,

      I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on this, I can only tell you how to apply if you’re a South African, travelling from South Africa. If you can’t get a sponsor, you would need to travel using Emirates Airlines to get the visa via them, I think that would be the best way.

    • Hi Ihan,

      Thanks for contacting us. I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on the visa requirements for Filipino passports holder (we specialise in South African travellers) so you’ll need to check with the official handling agency VFS: or you are welcome to contact the airline direct and they should be able to assist with any queries you might have.

      If you have looking to book flights you are welcome to go onto our website: where you are able to view all the different airlines that operate a specific route to ensure that you choose the cheapest possible option.

  123. Hi, I work in KSA. I wil be stopping over in Dubai for 4 days on my way back to KSA after the summer vacation.

    Will I be able to get a visa on the airport on arrival? Or should I apply in advance? I’m a Saudi iqaama holder as well will I need my iqaama in addition to my passport to enter Dubai?


    • Hi Nurghaan,

      Thanks for contacting us. I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on the requirements for a Saudi passports (we specialise in South African travellers) so you’ll need to check with the official handling agency VFS:

  124. Hi Marcelle,

    I don’t have a Saudi passport. I’m a South African citizen, and passport holder.

    I’m only working in Saudi Arabia. Please advise.


  125. Hi folks,

    I hope you can help me with one question:

    Odd situation: I got a request for an business trip, short notice. Ran to renew passport, bought the tickets (we only fly virgin, so we got virgin A Business JFK – LON – DUBAI and back ) and used the hotel (the Ritz) to get a visa. The day was approaching ( it’s tomorrow ) and the hotel was not sending the confirmation. They then wrote saying that they couldn’t guarantee it.

    As a plan B, I managed to get an emirates flight Lon -> Dubai and the visa was ready in one day ( yesterday! ) now the pain :

    I know if I don’t flight Virgin, I will lose the rest of the trip, but if I don’t fly Emirates, I won’t enter Dubai correct?

    Do you have any experience / cases on that matter? Are there any flexibility in this matter? Or I will just lose the flight back, and I need to buy new flights for the return? ( and better fly emirates because of terminal diff from virgin )

    Any advise / comment is highly appreciated!


  126. Hi, Please I need urgent assistance. I have applied for a 96 hr visa online via the Emirates website. I have received an email from them advising me that my application has been successful, and that my visa has been issued and already sent. I have not yet received anything? I have received all their other emails?
    I am flying tomorrow morning at 09:00am.

    Please could you assist with a contact where I could perhaps request a copy to be resent to me.


    • Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Please find below Emirates contact details. They will be able to look on their records and assist accordingly with regards to your visa.

      0861 364 728 (​agents calling from SA)
      +27 11 303 1951 (agents calling outside SA)
      (021) 403 1100

  127. I have only got ten hours stopover in dubai which visum do i need or is it impossible to enter gor only a few hours?

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for contacting us. Dubai is a very popular route for South Africans to travel and while you don’t need a transit visa to go via this airports for less than 24 hours, you won’t be allowed to leave the airport without a valid entry visa.

  128. hi,

    i have a friend he is from south africa he recently left a resigned from a job in dubai and has six month ban howerver has offer letter for new job in dubai, he has flights booked to s.a on first of july is it possible he can exit dubai and come back on visit visa via oman or his own country and if so how long to wait thanks

    • Hi Danny,

      Thanks for the interesting question.

      I am afraid I would not be able to answer this. It will be up to the immigration officials if they let him in.

      You are welcome to contact the Embassy direct, they should be able to answer any queries you might have.

  129. hi guys, please help me , am from zimbabwe and l want to go to dubai and work there. My issue is , is it possible to apply for a 30day visa that l wil use while am looking for a job there?

    • Hi Clifford,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise information on Zimbabwean passport holders as we specialise in South African travellers.

      To my knowledge you should be able to apply for a visitors visa and try look for a job while there, however I am not sure on the procedures there after should you find one. The company employing will need to assist in obtaining a work visa for you.

      I suggest you contact the Embassy direct they should be able to answer any questions you might have.

  130. Hi,
    I am South African and have already bought a tciket to Dubai through Emirates. In Dubai I will spend 3 days(25 Sep 2015 – 28 Sep 2015) and then proceed to Phuket using Qatar Airline. How do I get a VISA? I went to Emirates and they told me I must use VFS. because I am not using them to Phuket. They did not tell me this whne I first booked the flights.

    What are my options because now all I still have to do is to find a hotel in Dubai.

  131. Hi I am planning a trip with the family on the 20th August and all booking and arrangements are made under my name. The funny thing is that 4 out of 5 received their 30 days tourist visas within two days except my own. It’s almost a week later. Should I start stressing?

    Since I’m the father my kid has me as the parent that she will be traveling with, yet she has received her visa.

    • Hi Ozzy! Thanks for reaching out. I don’t think you need to stress yet. It has been quite a busy time, as far as I am aware, for the UAE’s visa processing centres around the world. I would give it a few more days and keep following up with the visa processing centre through which you applied.

      I hope it all works out well for you soon.

  132. We will be going to Germany via Dubai at the end of the month and we have a 9 hour layover in Dubai. Unfortunately it is from 12:00 at night until 9:00 in the morning. My first question is whether we need visas if we do not leave the airport during this time. Secondly, is there anything worth doing or seeing in Dubai at that time of day?

    Your assistance is much appreciated.

    • Hi Wilna, thanks for reaching out. If you’re wanting to leave the airport, you will always need a visa as you will be leaving the transit area and entering the territory of the United Arab Emirates. During that time of night, there won’t be a lot to do I’m afraid, plenty to see if you drive around but not an awful lot to do. The big malls all close at about 1 and open at around 10am, so most things will be shut.

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