Visiting the United Kingdom from the United Arab Emirates
The United Kingdom is one of the most popular destinations for citizens of the UAE, with around 40,000 Emiratis visiting the country every year.
There are many reasons why residents of the UAE choose to visit the UK. With over 5000 UK companies operating in the UAE, business visits from the capital city of Dubai are common.
If you want to visit the United Kingdom from Dubai then you will need either a UK Visitor Visa or an Electronic Visa Waiver.
Electronic Visa Waiver for Dubai residents
Citizens of the UAE may also be eligible for an Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) instead of a visit visa. The EVW also allows you to visit the United Kingdom for up to 6 months for tourism, business, medical treatment or even to study.
You can apply for the EVW up to 3 months before you intend to travel to the United Kingdom, but the latest that you can apply is 48 hours before you are due to travel.
The process to apply for an EVW is fairly simple, you must fill in the application form on the gov.uk website and will need the following:
- your current passport
- an address in the United Kingdom where you will stay
- details of your journey, including departure and arrival dates and times
You should then receive an email within 24 hours with your EVW, you must show this when you travel either by printing it or showing it on an electronic device such as a phone.
It’s important to note that you can not use an EVW to work or to get married in the United Kingdom and that it will only allow you to enter the United Kingdom once. If your travel plans change, you must update this on your EVW.
UK Standard Visitor Visa
The UK Standard Visitor Visa is a type of tourist visa that allows non-EEA nationals to visit the United Kingdom for a number of purposes. This visa can be used for visiting friends and family in the UK, for leisure purposes, to access private medical treatment or to attend business meetings.
The UK Standard Visitor Visa is usually valid for 6 months from the date of travel. To be eligible you must be able to meet a few requirements, including:
- proving that you can support yourself financially whilst in the United Kingdom
- proving that you will leave the United Kingdom at the end of your visit and that you won’t live in the United Kingdom for an extended period through successive visits
- showing proof of any business or other activities that you plan to do whilst in the United Kingdom
Standard Visitor Visa application process
You must apply for the UK Visit Visa online before you leave Dubai. The application form is available on the gov.uk website. You can make your visa application up to three months before you intend to travel to the United Kingdom.
After completing the online application, you need to book an appointment at a visa application centre near you to prove your identity. There are two visa application centres located in the UAE, one in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi. During your appointment you will have your biometric information taken, this is your photo and fingerprints.
Once you have completed your online application and attended your appointment, the processing time is usually 3 week. There are Super Priority and Priority visa services available for those who need to travel urgently.
When making your visa application you will need to provide a valid passport or travel document. Your passport will need a blank page for the visa and must also be valid for the duration of your stay. As well as this, you will have to supply several other supporting documents to prove that you are eligible for the visit visa. The documents that you will need may vary but they will need to provide the following information:
- the dates you’re planning to travel to the United Kingdom
- details of where you’ll be staying during your visit
- how much you think your trip will cost
- your current home address and how long you’ve lived there
- your parents’ names and dates of birth
- how much you earn in a year
- details of any criminal, civil or immigration offences you may have committed
You will need to have any documents that aren’t in English translated before you submit them.
Using the Visitor Visa for business activities
You can use the Standard Visitor Visa for a number of business reasons whilst you are in the country. This includes attending meetings, conferences, trade fairs or even to negotiate contracts. You can also partake in certain business activities, including proving training and sharing knowledge on internal contracts.
However, because you will be subject to the visitor rules, you cannot use the standard visit visa for all business activities. This visa does not allow you to do paid work with a UK company or as a self-employed person. You may be able to do paid work by applying for the Permitted Paid Engagement Visa.
Visitor Visa for paid business engagements
The Permitted Paid Engagement Visa is for those who have been invited to Britain as an expert in their profession. To be eligible for this visa, Dubai residents must be invited by a UK-based organisation or client.
The Permitted Paid Engagement Visa is valid for up to 1 month. This visa allows you to partake in paid work, however, you cannot undertake paid work that is not related to your main job or area of expertise.
The application process for the Permitted Paid Engagement Visa is very similar to the Standard UK Visitor Visa. You must fill in the online application form before booking an appointment at one of the visa application centres in the UAE, located in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
How can IAS help?
Our lawyers at the IAS can assist you throughout the entire visit visa application process. Although our firm is based in the UK, our lawyers work with clients all over the world. We offer all of our services remotely so can assist you with your visa application whilst you are still in Dubai. You can make an appointment with one of our expert immigration lawyers to be conducted either over the phone or via Skype call.
Applying for the Visit Visa can be complex, particularly if you are planning on using the visa for business activities. However, our lawyers can make the process simple, they offer a wide number of visa services. They will speak to you about your situation and can advise you on whether you are eligible for the Standard UK Visitor Visa, or whether you may need a different type of UK visa.
From here, our lawyers will guide you through the application process. They can assist you with filling in the visa application form and will help you to gather any supporting documents that you may need. They can also liaise with the Home Office on your behalf for updated about the progress of your visa application.
To get started on your visa application today, get in touch with our immigration lawyers now on 0333 305 9375.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
With our untimed Advice Session, our professional immigration lawyers will review your case and provide you with comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated caseworker will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your legal advisor will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
Currently, visitors arriving into England from Dubai are not permitted entry unless they have residency rights in the UK. Those with residency rights include:
- British citizens
- Holders of Indefinite Leave to Remain
- Those with existing leave to enter or remain
- Those with entry clearance or a visa that gives them leave to remain
Following the entry into the UK, those with residency rights must quarantine in a hotel for 10 days. You’ll also be required to take Covid-19 tests on the 2nd and 8th day of your quarantine.
More information about booking your quarantine can be found here.
The visa fees for a UK visitor visa vary depending on why you’re coming to the UK and how long you’ll be here. Normally the visitor visa lasts 6 months and it costs £95 to apply.
However, there are some circumstances where you will be able to stay for longer. If you’re travelling to the country for medical treatment then you can stay for up to 11 months and your visa fee will be £190. If you’re an academic, you may be able to stay for up to 12 months and your visa fee will be £190.
As well as these fees, you should also consider other costs that you may incur. These include paying for any document translations and paying to have your biometric information taken.
You cannot switch from a visitor visa to another type of UK Visa, however, you may be able to extend your visitor visa in specific circumstances, for example requiring further medical treatment.
If you plan on visiting the UK from Dubai regularly, then you can apply for a long-term Standard Visitor Visa. This will give you multiple entries into the UK and can be valid for either 2, 5 or 10 years. However, you can still only remain in the country for 6 months during each visit.