I have read that, at the time of writing (2013), UAE visas are:

  1. 96-Hour : Valid for passengers in transit
  2. Tourist : Maximum 30 days
  3. Visit : Maximum 90 days

But I am only connecting flights, so I am staying in the airport. And can't find any information regarding that case.

I only could find in the FAQ something implicitly saying that you do not need a visa if staying in the airport:

Can I leave the airport when transiting through Dubai?

This depends on the nationality stated in your passport and on the length of your stop in Dubai. Travellers of most nationalities require visas to enter Dubai, and regulations frequently change, so if you wish to leave the airport while in transit through Dubai, please check your visa requirements with your local UAE embassy before you start your journey. Travellers of certain nationalities may obtain visas at the airport on arrival.

see also: http://www.emirates.com/english/plan_book/essential_information/visa_passport_information/prearranged_uae_visas.aspx


  • Are you planning to stay airside at all times?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 11:39

3 Answers 3


According to the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

Citizens of the following countries ( holders of Regular Passports ) are exempted from UAE visa:

[France is in this list]

It should be noted that this list may change vary slightly from time to time and it is therefore best to check with your local UAE embassy or the airline that you are using to fly to the UAE. If you do NOT fall into one of the above categories, you will require a visa and a sponsor for your visit. The sponsor normally applies for the visa on your behalf.

In short, you can leave the airport if you have sufficient time or you can stay at the airport. Either way, as a French citizen, you don't need to prepare any documentation before travelling.

  • I did see this but was looking for a more specific reference (link) or personnal experience. As in, if tomorrow France is removed from the list of exempted UAE visa, could I stay in the airport without a visa. Not sure why this point is left so vague. In contrast with UAE, for Schengen Countries it seems to be clear that some people need an "Airport Transit Visa" immihelp.com/visas/schengenvisa/airport-transit-visa.html
    – Adriano
    Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 10:30
  • 2
    Well, if France is removed from the list of exempt countries, something must have happened to prompt it and at that point, how is anyone to predict what the new procedures for French citizens might be?
    – karancan
    Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 15:25
  • 1
    @AdrienBe To be fair, things have become much more transparent with Schengen. The EU made a big effort to standardize procedures, set reasonable delays and provide good information online. It would have been just as difficult to get authoritative information or a quick response from French authorities before that…
    – Relaxed
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 21:07
  • 1
    Even as a Pakistani national I don't need a visa to stay in airport for transit. I have stayed in airport for around 8 hours for a transit flight from UK to Pakistan and didn't need any visa.
    – Junaid
    Commented Feb 9, 2014 at 21:25
  • 1
    Following up after my trip: as expected I was not required any visa when I stayed in Dubai airport. Everything was pretty quick & easy. Funky crowd in the airport btw: from the typical American family to the local super rich dude wearing a white dress through the group of expat pakistan workers completely lost, to the lone backpacker...
    – Adriano
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 10:24

I found the following on the UAE embassy site in the United Kingdom:

Stop at Transit

Any person transiting less than 12 hours can stop at the airport until they make their connection, provided they have a visa and confirmed ticket to their next destination.


So it seems that as long as:

  • You have ticket to a connecting flight
  • Your stopover is under 12 hours
  • You have a valid visa (or, presumably, do not require a visa) for the onward flight's destination
  • You don't mind staying at the airport while you wait

You are OK to transit any UAE international hub airport (i.e. Dubai and Abu Dhabi)

Edit: For the sake of completeness I checked with Emirates and they confirmed the above. If you are staying airside, you do not need a visa.

Edit #2: I can now also confirm this from firsthand experience earlier this year at Dubai airport. Transit passengers do go through a security screening, but no immigration/visa check.

  • 1
    a powerfully complete answer!
    – Fattie
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 14:19
  • I researched about this earlier. From my understanding, if you have to change terminal at layover, you need a transit visa too
    – user38149
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 21:55

If you don't have a UAE visa, the scheduled departure of the second flight needs to be within 24 hours of your arrival in Dubai.

source: http://www.flydubai.com/en/plan/connections/

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