Are you ready for EXPO 2020 ?

08 Jan, 2019

We are a few months away from one of the biggest worldwide events. EXPO 2020 will take place in Dubai on 20th October 2020. So, if you are planning to visit the UAE soon, or you are expecting  your clients or business partners to arrive and be part of the event, or to take advantage of the opportunities and the business prospects that will be created before, during and after the EXPO. You will have to make sure when you apply for a United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) tourist or a visit visa, that you avoid the common mistakes many people make when applying resulting in visa rejections and delays when entering the UAE! So, the question is, what are the common mistakes expats and entrepreneurs alike make when applying for a UAE tourist or visit visa?


The UAE, the sparkling star of the Middle East, its capital Abu Dhabi and its most iconic city Dubai, both cities are among the most popular destinations for tourism, art and business worldwide. From the world-class skyscrapers, ultra-modern lifestyles, turquoise beaches, luxury shopping malls, and super cars to the magical deserts, there is absolutely everything in the UAE. The UAE is one of the safest and secure countries in the world, and it is an ideal destination for business and leisure travelers. Very often travelers of all age groups from all over the globe set their sights on spending their vacation in the UAE or decide to attend a conference, exhibition or a business meeting. For any of those aforementioned reasons, travelers need to obtain a tourist or visit visa prior to their travel if their nationality does not entitle them to get the tourist or visit visa on arrival at the airport.

Being one of the most fascinating destinations for travelers and international expats when looking at the Middle East. Dubai and Abu Dhabi in particular crowns the other emirates for being the leading tourist destinations for all those shopping, leisure, beaches, business, art and cultural trips. As well as being one of the most desirable places to live in the Middle East compared to other neighboring countries in the region, and because of its well paid jobs, free tax and high living standards. However, lately the government has become more stringent with visa applications, resulting in an increase in visa rejections to enter the UAE, this especially applies for citizens of countries who are required to apply for an entry permit prior to flying to the UAE.

In this article, we aim to shed some light on the common mistakes people make when applying for a UAE tourist or visit visa, resulting in their visa application being rejected.

From 2010 to 2016 statistics have shown that 14.8 Million travelers have entered the UAE on an overnight stay. In 2017, this figure increased to 15.8 Million travelers, the number of visa applications received by UAE authorities every year is phenomenal!

Generally, the rules of accepting or rejecting a tourist or visit visa application states that if the authority “Department of Immigration” rejects anyone’s visa application to enter the country, for any reason, they are not obliged to disclose the specifics of their decision of rejection or acceptance, and no one has the right to request this information. Furthermore, such information cannot be disclosed to third parties. This also applies to applicants who have had previous visit or tourist visas approved. The most accurate and sincere recommendation would be to reapply, as there is no other action that anyone can take to dispute the Department of Immigration decision. This is of course very unfortunate for many applicants as there options are limited when faced with visa rejection. Every week, we receive a tremendous amount of questions, asking us what could be the reasons behind such rejection, with most cases being labeled as “Security Rejection”.

For most travelers, travel agencies and residents of other GCC countries, the process of getting visa approval is easy, just follow the simple online application process. However, simple mistakes made during the visa application process may lead to your application being rejected. Below, we have outlined the most common reasons people have their visa applications rejected.

The reason why your UAE tourist or visit visa application may get rejected:

Mistakes in the visa application form
A very common mistake that an applicant’s make, is to input wrong information in the visa application, resulting in a discrepancy to what is actually shown on the applicant’s passport copy. This includes: spelling errors of the name, wrong passport expiry date, incorrect passport number, or date of birth. To avoid these kind of errors it is recommended that, before the final submission of the application to carefully review the details and ensure that information mirrors the information shown in the applicant’s passport.

For example, we have seen a female traveler have her entry permit application rejected and her entry to the UAE blocked because her tourist visa application showed her gender as “male”. In this example, the traveler was lucky to have an issued entry permit with a clear information discrepancy. Such a mistake is clear to be of the travel agency applying for the tourist visa. However, despite the accuracy and correctness of all the other passport details, it resulted to entry rejection. Additionally, the traveler had to spend a lot of time inside the airport waiting for such rectification to be fixed at the Immigration Office to enter the UAE.

Unskilled profession stated in the application
When, applying for a Dubai tourist visa, one of the most important details of the visa application form is the “Profession”. If an applicant mentions his profession, such as labor, or farmer, the chances of having the tourist visa application approved are reduced with many applications resulting in rejection. Hence, it is better to not mention these unskilled professions in the visa application form.

Handwritten or invalid passport
Dubai immigration automatically rejects handwritten travel documents and usually rejects passports valid for a period less than Six (6) months from the date of the visa application submission. So, to avoid this, applicants should have an electronically printed passport and to make sure to renew their passport if it expires within 6 months. It is worth mentioning that such reason is in fact a very common requirement globally. Most of the developed countries consider the hand written passport and the close-to-expire travel document a valid reason for rejecting visit visa applications. For example: most of the Schengen Visa countries, other GCC States, USA and Canada follows the same rules.

Documents submitted are not clear or blurred
Many applicants submit photographs and/or passport copies taken by their own mobile phones that do not meet the guidelines of the immigration authority and this can lead to the visa being rejected. Photographs must be taken with a white, or light or matte finish background and the face must be clearly visible from the top of the head to the chin. It is recommended to submit the first and last page of the passport in PDF format. These documents should be colored, clear scanned and information on these should be visible; blurry & unclear documents may result in visa application rejection.

Traveler have previously applied for the visa but did not visit the UAE
If, the traveler applied for a UAE visa in the past and did not use it, then they will need to cancel that previous issued visa before applying and obtaining a new one. For cancellations, either the sponsor or the Public Relations Officer “PRO” of the travel agency has to visit the UAE immigration office to make sure it is cleared off their system. On the other hand, if they have previously applied for an employment visa and did not use it, the PRO of the same employer company has to visit the Dubai Immigration Office to cancel the previously issued visa. For instance, if the previous visa is not canceled, then the visa application will be rejected.

The traveler have previous criminal records
The UAE is very vigilant and serious about security and safety of its people, its residents and the tourists arriving to enjoy their life within the UAE. That is why, if an applicant holds any criminal records in the UAE or even in his home country, or a country of past residency, he/she most probably will not be allowed to enter the UAE. Even if they have been found guilty of any misconduct inside the UAE and they have records of spending their sentence and being deported or for any other reason have left the country, the immigration authority will most likely reject such applications of such visitors in future. In addition, to all the aforementioned, the guilty applicants are generally blacklisted in the UAE immigration system and banned from entering the UAE for life.

Bad travel history
If, the visa applicant have previously overstayed on a tourist, visit or employment visa in the UAE then the visa application might be rejected. There are different types of visas, such as tourist visa, transit visa, long or short term visa and single or multi-entry visa. The duration stay of all these visa types is different, for instance, a transit visa holder can stay for maximum of 96 hours in the UAE. So, whenever applying for a visa, make sure you determine the duration of your travel plan, and depending on that, applying for the most relevant type of visa. This will improve your chances of having your visa approved and make sure you leave the country before the visa expires.

Bad residency history
If the visa applicant held a residence visa and left the country without cancelling the UAE visa, or, the visa applicant had an absconding report registered on his name, he/she will automatically have their visa applications rejected. In order to get their visa applications approved, the complaint must be withdrawn and the authorized representative of the previous employer must go to the Immigration Office, withdraw the complaint, submit a request letter on the company’s letterhead, and clear the previous residence visa situation.

Despite there being other reasons why the Department of Immigration may reject a visa application, this article has outlined the most common mistakes applicant’s make why applying for a UAE visa, resulting in their application being rejected. If you avoid the common mistakes mentioned above, your visa application is more likely to be approve by the UAE Department of Immigration.

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