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Dubai has been an important destination for many expatriates living in Saudi Arabia and other GCC for vacation and also for business. Expatriates having Saudi iqama (resident permit) were earlier eligible to get visa on arrival at the Dubai airport or at the border.
However, all this is now changing and the expatriates working in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other GCC countries will not be able to get visa on arrival in Dubai.
Many companies have received circulars from Emirates airlines informing that on arrival visa facility is no longer available for GCC residents. Those who wish to travel to U.A.E. need apply to apply online to get e-visa to travel to UAE. For more information on how to apply for visit visa for UAE, please see How to Apply for e-Visa for Dubai. See below correspondences received from Emirates Airlines. (Click to enlarge)
However, finally we got official confirmation from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs in Dubai, who confirmed that residents of GCC countries including Saudi Arabia will have to apply for Visa online before coming to Dubai.
Below is the text of the press release by General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs in Dubai:
Visa for expatriates residing in a GCC countries will be only online
In order to facilitate the procedures and to speed up the completion of the transactions and in order to offer best services for public, The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs in Dubai is offering for expatriate residents of Gulf Cooperation Council Countries wishing to visit Dubai, a service that allow them to apply for entry permits online before arriving in the emirate in order to avoid standing in bank queues to pay the fees for visa and to avid queues that could happen when applying for visa at the airport.
In this regard, His Excellency Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai), said that the residency department in Dubai is working to facilitate the procedures for all visitors and residents to the country and also to make their visit to Dubai as beautiful and enjoyable experience and for that reason the GDRFA-Dubai introduced the visa on-line service for expatriates residing in Gulf Cooperation Council Countries and those accompanying GCC citizens of the categories of domestic helpers and others where they can apply for a visit visa and pay the fees online and no need for them to stop at the airport to apply for the visa or to pay for the fees.
Major General Al Marri said: “We encourage everyone coming from GCC countries to apply for the entry permits through the On-Line service.”
In his turn Lt. Colonel Talal Al Shanqeeti, Assistant of the Director General for air-ports Affairs at the GDRFA-Dubai said that the service is also available so far, online and at the airport upon arrival, but by the beginning of the month of October this year(2015) it will be only online and there will be no visa application at the airport upon arrival for this category.
Lt. Colonel Talal Al Shanqeeti said that the GDRFA-Dubai will distribute brochures in Arabic and English to all visitors to Dubai from any of the GCC countries in order to raise their awareness on how to use the new service, as well as the employees of the passports control counters at the airport will conduct a questionnaire on the new service to find out if people are aware of this services and if they are aware on how to use it.
Lt. Colonel Talal Al Shanqeeti called on the public to apply for the visa online via the website of the GDRFA-Dubai.”
—————End of Press Release—————
Many companies have received circulars from Emirates airlines informing that on arrival visa facility is no longer available for GCC residents. Those who wish to travel to U.A.E. need apply to apply online to get e-visa to travel to UAE. For more information on how to apply for visit visa for UAE, please see How to Apply for e-Visa for Dubai Online.