Forgot password?

Moving to Abu Dhabi?

Join InterNations to meet other expats where you live and read more articles like Abu Dhabi: Visa Information with relevant information for expats.

Antoine Mariaux

Living in UAE, from France

"Thanks to InterNations, I've received very useful tips about the Emirates and expat life in Abu Dhabi."

Maria Loura

Living in UAE, from Brazil

"The idea to connect expatriates in Abu Dhabi is just fantastic! Have been looking for such a platform for a long time."

InterNations - a community of trust

Abu Dhabi at a Glance

Abu Dhabi: Visa Information

As an expat moving to Abu Dhabi, you’ll experience a life full of variety in the second largest city of the UAE. However, before you rush to prepare for Abu Dhabi, read our InterNations expat guide to make sure you’ve done your homework concerning visa options, work permits, and transportation!

Entry Permits for Visitors to Abu Dhabi

If you come to Abu Dhabi as a tourist, e.g. on a fact-finding trip prior to your expat assignment, you need to enter the country with a valid passport and a tourist visa or visitor visa. Either of the above visa types needs to be applied for at the nearest UAE Embassy or Consulate well in advance of your trip. However, nationals of the following countries can get their tourist or visitor visa upon arrival in the UAE, provided they have a valid passport:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vatican, UK, US.

A tourist visa is valid for up to 30 days and cannot be renewed. It only applies to individual tourists from selected countries sponsored by hotels, commercial tour operators etc. in the UAE.

Visitor visas are for tourists or non-touristic visitors (e.g. for visiting a relative or attending a trade fair). They are valid for 60 days and can be renewed for a total stay of up to 90 days. Usually, your relative in the UAE, your tour operator, the business organization that invited you etc. will act as your sponsor for the application process.

Visiting and Working

Neither a tourist visa nor a visitor visa allows you to take up gainful employment or any kind of work in Abu Dhabi. Moreover, a tourist visa can never be transferred into a work entry permit.

In exceptional cases, people who have come to Abu Dhabi on a visitor visa can then apply for a work visa. People in the following occupations and professions, for example, who have come to Abu Dhabi for neither work nor tourism, may apply for a change of visa status during their time in Abu Dhabi:

Work Visa for Abu Dhabi

Work visas are generally valid for 30 days. During this time, expats have to make sure that their residence permit is processed. In order to obtain a work visa and, later on, a residence permit, you usually need a sponsor in Abu Dhabi (e.g. your future employer) who is going to take care of the process for you.

There are different types of work visa for private companies, depending on the applicant’s position. Employees of governmental institutions and ministries receive their visa directly from the GDRFA (General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs) and are not allowed to accept work in the private sector.

The type of visa and work permit you need always depends on your nationality and on your individual situation. It is therefore hard to provide specific information. For all questions relating to work visas (also called work entry permits or labour entry permits), please ask the Embassy staff and/or the GDRFA.

InterNations Expat Magazine