If you want to visit the UAE your visa options are dependent on your nationality, but there are several nationalities that can receive a free 30 day visitor visa upon arrival at any UAE airport. If you belong to one of these lucky countries then you can even extend this visa by a further 30 days, by either going to the Abu Dhabi Immigration Office, or by crossing the boarder to Oman (“visa run”). The visa extension at the immigration office Works well, but it costs several hundred dirhams and they will only extend a visitors visa once.
The visa run to Oman works out a lot cheaper at 50AED and can be done using your car, or by hiring a driver to take you across the Omani boarder and back. There’s a lot of info about visa runs online – the best one I could find was posted on ExpatForum.com in 2014, but as things constantly change in the UAE, here’s an update of the process in May 2015:
2. insurance paper for car indicating cover in Sultanate of Oman
Directions & Checkpoints:
Take the D57/E77 from Dubai to Lehbab.
Continue on E44 to Al Madam.
In Al Madam, go straight through the big roundabout to continue on the E44.
Stop at checkpoint 1: show your passport.
Stop at police check: show that your car insurance covers Oman.
Stop at checkpoint 2: show your passport.
Pass Hatta (Hatta on right, Hatta Fort Hotel on left) and continue straight through the big roundabout to continue on the E44.
Drive through checkpoint 3: this is an old checkpoint with closed-down huts, lots of trucks and the Hatta customs office. No need to stop here.
Stop at checkpoint 4: Get the UAE passport exit stamp put in your passport.
Stop at police check, Oman: Have your car inspected and receive car slip.
Park at Omani Al Wajaja Border Control Office (domed roof): park in carpark on the left, signposted “new visas”; go inside and fill in an arrival form (table on right); go to arrivals counter and tell them you’re doing a visa run and that you will be returning to the UAE immediately – they will charge you 50AED for the visitors visa and give you both an Omani entry and exit stamp; they will keep your car slip – you will not need this again; drive out of the carpark on the left (no need to drive through car check at this control point) to return back on the E44 the way you came.
Return the same way you came through all checkpoints until you reach the UAE Boarder Control.
Park at UAE Boarder Control: do not queue at the car checkpoint (this is for GCC nationals only), but park your car on the carpark on the left signposted “arrivals”; go to the counter and get your UAE entry stamp and a car slip.
Drive out of the car park past the car checkpoint for GCC nationals (no need to queue here). You will pass another small hut where you hand over your car slip.
And that’s it. Another 30 days in the UAE 🙂
Officials along the way are polite and speak good English. Watch out for camels, goats, the occasional sand dune in the middle of the road, and the speed cameras and speed bumps along the way – a lot of the speed bumps are no longer painted in high vis colours … Drive safe and take lots of water!