Travelling from the GCC into the UAE has become harder as of Friday, April 29 with all expats living in the GCC now required to apply for an online e-visa before travelling into the UAE.

While the rule was actually discussed back in 2015 it was finally enforced last week. However, it doesn’t affect everyone. If you are from a country that automatically gets a UAE visa on arrival (see list below) then you are fine. For all other countries then you need to get the e-visa before travelling to the UAE.

Read: Everything You Need To Know About Dubai’s New Visa System

The e-visa is simple to use, claiming to only take 24 to 48 hours to process, and is in line with vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to transfer to a Smart Government. GCC residents can get their UAE entry permits (visas) through the ‘Fawri’ portal on the Ministry of Interior’s website.

The visa is available to expats (including family members and individuals sponsored by these individuals) who fit in the following categories: businessmen, investors, partners, company managers, accountants, auditors, doctors, engineers, lawyers and legal advisers. As well as public sector workers except labourers.

Read: World’s Most Powerful Visas Revealed

Visas MUST be applied for before flying to the UAE. Failure to do so will see you not being allowed to board your flight, and nobody wants that embarrassment. The new rules also apply to the busy land borders between GCC countries and the UAE.

Read: Know Your Rights In The UAE

Also note that you need at least three months validity in GCC Residency before applying for the visa. So make sure you everything is up to date.
Major General Khalifa Hareb Al Khaili, assistant undersecretary for Naturalisation, Residency and Ports at MOI said of the new rule: “This approach is in line with the vision of the government aimed at upgrading services provided to the public and empowering the concept of fast, high-quality services.”

Expats can come on a 30-day visit visa which can be renewed for another 30 daysV visa for domestic helpers accompanying GCC citizens is valid for 60 days and can be renewed twice for another 60 days.

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Image: Getty