Dubai is a dazzling city of skyscrapers, luxury, and glamour. But it also has a dark side: the visa system. If you’re not lucky enough to have a residence visa, you’ll have to do what thousands of expats do every month: the visa run.
A visa run is when you hop on a plane, bus, or car to a neighboring country and return with a fresh passport stamp. Sounds fun, right? Well, not exactly. It can be stressful, expensive, and risky.
But don’t worry; We’re here to help you with this guide on how to do a visa run in Dubai without losing your mind or your money.
What Is a Visa Run?
A visa run is the procedural act of departing a host country and promptly re-entering it, usually undertaken with the intent of either renewing or extending an existing visa.
Many nationalities are entitled to a free multiple-entry visa upon arriving at the border (different from a tourist visa). It lasts for 30 days.
This is often done by traveling to a neighboring country with visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry for citizens of the visa holder’s country.
The most common destination for visa runs from Dubai is Oman. The border crossing between the two countries is in Hatta, about a two-hour drive from Dubai.
The visa run process typically takes about five hours, including the drive to the border, crossing the border, and returning to Dubai.
It can add a great side trip to your experience of staying in Dubai, but several steps are involved to ensure you’re doing it correctly and will maximize the benefit of your renewed visa.
How to Do a Visa Run in Dubai
|Time required||Several hours|
|Things you need||Passport, Passport-Size Photographs, Proof of Travel, Hotel Reservations or Accommodation Details(if requested), Exit and Re-entry Fees.|
To do a visa run in Dubai, check your visa status, choose a border crossing point, choose your mode of transportation, prepare the necessary documents, exit and re-enter the country, and then return to Dubai.
Ready to dive deeper? Let’s explore those steps in more detail below!
Step 1: Check your visa status
When doing a visa run in Dubai, you must check your visa status and know when it expires. The UAE government has a 10-day grace period for visa overstays, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and leave the country before your visa expires.
You can check your visa status online at Dubai Visa Check or by contacting your local embassy or consulate. Once you know when your visa expires, you can plan your visa run accordingly.
You should leave the country between Day 31 and Day 39, as this will give you plenty of time to travel and return before your visa expires.
Step 2: Choose a border crossing point
There are two main border crossing points that people use for visa runs from Dubai:
- Wadi Hatta – Al Wajajah Border: This is the most popular border crossing point for visa runs from Dubai. It’s located about 130 kilometers from Dubai and is relatively easy to get to. The border crossing is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Wahiba Sands Border: This border crossing point is located about 300 kilometers from Dubai and is a bit more remote. It’s only open from 6 am to 6 pm, so you must plan your trip accordingly.
The Wahiba Sands is a beautiful desert region, so this is the option if you’re looking for a more scenic visa run.
Ultimately, your visa run’s best border crossing point depends on your needs and preferences. However, we recommend Al Wajajah Border Crossing as the best option for most people.
Step 3: Choose your mode of transportation
When doing a visa run in Dubai, you have two options for your mode of transportation:
- By Air: If you choose to do a visa run by air, you can book a flight to a nearby country, such as Oman or Bahrain, and then return to Dubai after getting a new visa on arrival.
This option can be more expensive, but it’s also faster and more convenient. You can expect to pay between AED 500 and AED 1,000 for a visa run by air from Dubai. This includes flight costs, visa fees, and border crossing fees.
- By Road: This is the cheapest way to do a visa run, but it’s also the most time-consuming. The drive to the border between Dubai and Oman takes about two hours, and you must allow extra time for border crossing formalities.
Road-tripping to Oman is a popular way of getting this 30-day visa renewed and is commonly referred to as “doing a border run.” It’s perfectly legal.
Several companies offer visa-run services from Dubai, such as Good Tours Dubai and Arabiers Tours Dubai. These companies organize daily trips to the Oman border from Dubai for Visa Renewal and Visa Status Change.
The trip costs around AED 135 to AED 350, including border fees.
Step 4: Prepare the necessary documents
Ensure you have the required documents to navigate the process smoothly. These essential items include:
- Original passport, with at least 6 months validity remaining.
- A copy of your passport’s data page.
- A recent passport-sized photograph.
- A visa application form duly filled out and signed.
- A visa fee, payable in cash or by credit card.
- A letter from your sponsor if a company or individual in the UAE sponsors you.
- Proof of onward travel, such as a plane ticket or bus ticket.
Additionally, if your journey involves entering Oman during the visa run, there are additional prerequisites.
- A valid Oman visa.
- Proof of accommodation in Oman.
- Proof of financial support for your stay in Oman.
Step 5: Exit and re-enter the country
Upon reaching the border, you must follow the exit procedures for Dubai and the entry procedures for the destination country. Here are the general steps involved:
- At the Dubai immigration exit, present your passport and visa to the immigration officer.
- Pay any applicable exit fees.
- Have your passport stamped by the immigration officer.
- Proceed to the immigration checkpoint for the destination country.
- Present your passport and visa to the immigration officer for the destination country.
- Answer any questions asked by the immigration officer.
- Pay any applicable entry fees.
- Have your passport stamped by the immigration officer for the destination country.
- Collect your luggage and proceed to the exit of the border crossing.
It’s essential to be polite and cooperative with immigration officials and to adhere to their rules and regulations.
You should also make sure that you have all of the necessary documents required for exit and entry, including your passport, visa, and any other documentation that may be required.
Step 6: Return to Dubai
After completing the exit and re-entry process, return to Dubai. Ensure that you abide by the guidelines provided by immigration officials to prevent any complications upon re-entry.
To ensure a successful visa run in Dubai, it’s vital to plan and ensure you have all the necessary documents. You should also arrive at the Hatta border crossing early, as the lines can get long later in the day.
Be polite and cooperative with the border officials, and do not overstay your visa.