I am a South African citizen, currently living and working in China.

I booked a ticket today for a short visit to South Africa. Both my layovers for the round trip are in Abu Dhabi.

Departure from China: 3 hour layover in Abu Dhabi. Arrival back in Abu Dhabi: 15 hour layover.

When I checked on Wikipedia this morning it said that I don't require a visa. BUT I would like to confirm that so I have no hassle on my trip.

Please advise.

Your prompt response would be greatly appreciated.

2 Answers 2


As stated in Timatic, the database used by airport check-in staff:

TWOV (Transit Without Visa): - Passengers with a confirmed onward ticket for a flight to a third country within 24 hours. They must stay in the international transit area of the airport and have documents required for the next destination.

So no, you don't need a visa.


Yes, you are allowed to transit in Abu Dhabi without a visa. You will, however, not be allowed to leave the international area of the airport.

This answer is valid assuming that your flights were all booked on the same ticket, and not as a part of separate itineraries.

Further, on your return leg back to China, your layover is long enough for you to qualify for food vouchers, or even hotel bookings, depending on your airline. You may also be able to get a transit visa processed by your airline so that you can leave the airport to explore the city. More information on this here.

  • Visas on Arrival are apparently only issued as Hotel packages
    – Crazydre
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 20:25

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