Dreaming of dunes on a desert safari or the spectacular views from the 148th floor of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on Earth? Sounds like you’re headed to the UAE.
But first, you must ask yourself a question: Do US citizens need a visa for the UAE?
The answer is yes, you do. But you don’t need to get it before you travel: as long as you meet the requirements, you will be issued a Visa on Arrival when you arrive to the airport.
This guide provides important and practical information Americans should know before going to the UAE.
Find out visa requirements, how long you can stay in the country, and things to keep in mind when travelling to any of the 7 emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah or Umm Al Quwain.
There’s also an FAQ section to make sure you get all of your questions answered before you embark on your trip.
Shall we begin?
- 1 UAE e-Visa vs Visa on Arrival for Americans
- 2 UAE Visa Requirements for US Citizens
- 3 United Arab Emirates Visa Application Process for US Travellers
- 4 How Much Is the UAE Visa Fee for US Citizens?
- 5 Travelling to the United Arab Emirates as an American
- 6 USA Embassy and Consulates in the UAE
- 7 FAQs About the UAE Visa for American Citizens
- 8 Final Steps Before Your Trip
UAE e-Visa vs Visa on Arrival for Americans
The good news is that you do not need to apply for a travel pass before you go. When your plane lands at the airport, you and the other passengers will go into the airport and stand in line to get your Visa on Arrival (VoA). When you arrive to the front of the line, you will present your passport and other required documents to the officer behind the desk. If everything is in order, the officer will stamp your passport and send you on your way. The VoA is valid for 30 days.
This is different from an eVisa, which is an electronic document some travellers of other nationalities have to obtain before travel. US citizens do not need an eVisa for the UAE, but if one of your travel companions is from a different country, you’ll want to go to our UAE visa page to see their requirements.
UAE Visa Requirements for US Citizens
In order to get your Visa on Arrival, you must meet the necessary requirements. You need:
- Your US passport.
- Your passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months after the day you plan on entering the UAE to begin your visit.
- Your passport must have at least 1 blank page so it can be stamped when you arrive.
- A reserved round-trip airline ticket or onward airline ticket to another destination.
- The purpose of your trip must be tourism.
If you are travelling for a reason other than tourism, such as to work or study, you will need a different type of authorisation.
It’s important to know that your VoA will only allow you a Single Entry.
United Arab Emirates Visa Application Process for US Travellers
There is no application process to take care of before your trip. When you arrive at the airport, you will hand your passport and proof of your return or onward travel reservation to the officer at Passport Control. If everything is in order, they will stamp your passport and allow you to move on to baggage claim and Customs Control.
How Much Is the UAE Visa Fee for US Citizens?
There is no fee. Your passport will be stamped with the VoA free of charge, giving you 30 days to explore the country.
Travelling to the United Arab Emirates as an American
Expect a lengthy flight time no matter where in the country you are flying from. East Coasters are closest, but even a nonstop flight from New York to Abu Dhabi takes more than 12 hours.
A good thing to know when planning your travel activities is that the workweek in the emirates is from Sunday through Thursday. The weekend spans from Friday to Saturday.
All visitors must abide by the local laws, which are noticeably different from the laws in the United States.
Important UAE Rules and Regulations for Americans to Know Before Visiting:
- It is illegal to consume or possess alcohol without a personal liquor permit from the Ministry of Interior. You could be arrested, fined and/or imprisoned. One exception is that alcohol is served at some hotels, but you must be a guest of the hotel to consume alcohol there.
- Marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD) and poppy seeds are illegal drugs, as are any products containing them.
- E-cigarettes are prohibited.
- You must get special permission to travel with prescription medication. Visit the Ministry of Health and Prevention’s website for more details.
- The death sentence may be imposed for convicted drug traffickers, and even possession of trace amounts of illegal drugs may lead to lengthy prison sentences for foreigners, including Americans.
- Any objects, paintings, books or magazines that do not adhere to the religious and moral values of the UAE are prohibited. Possession can lead to lengthy prison sentences.
USA Embassy and Consulates in the UAE
Please find the complete information for the US embassies in the UAE here.
Some reasons you may want to contact the nearest embassy or consulate during your trip include:
- Your passport gets lost or stolen.
- You need information about how to get access to medical care facilities.
- You need to learn more about local laws.
- You need a list of lawyers who speak English.
- You are the victim of a crime.
If you become a victim of a crime, contact the local police as well as the embassy or consulate nearest you. Dial 911 or 999 for assistance in case of emergency.
FAQs About the UAE Visa for American Citizens
You should now have a firm grasp on how to get your travel authorisation. Have you still got some questions to resolve? Check out the answers to some commonly asked questions below.
Can I Get a UAE Visa Extension for US Citizens?
Yes, you can extend your authorisation without leaving the country. Your VoA can be extended 1 time for 30 additional days.
If you know you want to stay longer than 30 days when you arrive, you can request more time from the immigration officer at the airport.
If you want to extend your visa when you’re already in the country, you can contact the local immigration office in the country to request an extension. There is a 10-day grace period after your original 30 days to apply for the extension, but it’s a good idea to apply when your original authorisation is still valid.
Can All Americans Travel to the UAE?
Yes, as long as you meet the requirements. Along with a roundtrip or onward travel ticket, you need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your day of entry into the country. It must have at least 1 blank page.
Can Indian Citizens in the US Get a UAE Visa?
Yes, Indians can get a UAE Visa on Arrival and stay for up to 14 days if you meet these requirements:
- You have a passport from India.
- You have a visa or green card from the US.
- Both documents must be valid for at least 6 months from the day you enter the country.
- You must have a confirmed roundtrip or onward airplane ticket.
You must pay 100 AED for the entry permit. It can be renewed once for an additional 14 days for 250 AED.
Please note that your VoA will only allow you to enter the country 1 time. This means you cannot leave the country and then enter again.
Is it Safe for Americans to Travel to the UAE?
Most visitors do not experience crime. The embassy advises US citizens to take the same precautions you would in the United States or in any large city around the world.
How Many Americans Are in the UAE?
More than 50,000 Americans live in the country. The majority reside in Dubai. There are also about 3,500 US military personnel stationed at a base in Abu Dhabi.
Final Steps Before Your Trip
Now you should be ready to get your visa! Make sure to check the expiration date on your passport before using it to apply. You can also check out our visit UAE page for more travel tips.