United Arab Emirates
Applying for a UK visa in the United Arab Emirates
This page explains how you can apply for a visa to come to the UK if you are currently in the United Arab Emirates.
If you currently have temporary permission to stay in the United Arab Emirates (for example, as a student or a visitor), you can only apply for some types of UK visa - see 'More information' below.
If you want to bring a domestic servant with you to the UK - see 'More information' below.
When to apply
You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK. You should clearly state when you intend to travel and when you would like the visa to be valid from. We strongly advise you not to confirm your travel arrangements until you have received your visa. To find out how long we usually take to process your type of visa, see the Visa processing times page.
Before you apply
Before you apply, you must:
- prepare the supporting documents that you will need;
- be ready to submit your visa application, enrol your fingerprints and photograph (known as biometric information) at one of our visa application centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai; and
- be able to pay the visa application fee. The Visa application fees and guides pages explain how much your visa application will cost.
If you do not know which supporting documents to provide, the Visa application fees and guides page will help you to find guidance for your visa category.
If you are applying under the points-based system, you should provide all the documents specified in the guidance for your visa category. For each document, you should also provide any information or explanation that may help us to make our decision.
If you are applying for any other type of visa, you should provide documents that:
- support the statements that you make in your visa application; and
- show that the information in your application is true.
We will only consider documents submitted with your application. You cannot submit documents after you have completed your application at the visa application centre, unless our staff ask you for them.
For every document that you provide, you must include the original document and a photocopy. This includes a copy of your passport bio-data page (the page containing your photograph). Please ensure that the photocopies are of good quality and can be read easily. If you do not provide a photocopy of each document, we might not return your original documents to you.
If you do not have a document, or your documents are not written in English or Welsh, or you are not paying for your trip, you can find out what to do under 'More information' below.
How to apply
To apply for a visa, you must:
- complete and submit a visa application form; and
- visit one of our visa application centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
You must complete and submit the application form online.
Your secretary or agent can assist in filling out your application and booking your appointment but it is your responsibility to check that the information on the form is accurate and correct. You must also sign to confirm that the information given on your application is correct.
You will need to print out and sign your completed form. If you do not have access to a printer when you apply, you will be able to log in and print out the form later.
You can find the online application form under 'Do it online' on the right side of this page.
When you have completed your online application, you will receive an email message containing your application number (also known as a 'GWF reference'). Please make a note of this number.
Paying your visa application fee
From 6 February 2012 you must pay your visa application fee online in US dollars by Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card. We cannot accept any other types of credit or debit cards. When your online payment has been taken, you will receive a confirmation email from our payment provider WorldPay - you must submit a printout of this email as proof of payment when you submit your application at the visa application centre.
If you would like to withdraw your application and have your visa fee refunded, please use our refund request form.
If biometric data has been submitted and/or your application has been processed, you are not entitled to a refund either from the UK Border Agency or your card issuer. For more information, please see the Terms and Conditions of Service.
If you have applied for the wrong visa category, you will need to withdraw your application and reapply. Please follow the guidance above to request a refund, and then begin a new application.
The visa application centre
To complete the application process (even if you are applying online), you must book and attend an appointment at one of our visa application centres in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
You can find more information on the Booking an appointment page.
Will you need to be interviewed?
In most cases, our staff will make a decision based on the documents you submit with your visa application. Therefore it is essential that you submit all relevant documents with your application.
In a small number of cases, you may be asked to attend an interview or take part in a telephone interview. If asked to attend an interview we will offer you the first available interview date.
We will not interview child applicants under 10 years old. If a child is travelling alone, we may interview a responsible adult (such as their parent or guardian). We may interview children aged between 10 and 14, but only in the presence of a responsible adult. Children aged over 14 may be interviewed alone.
It is a serious crime to make false statements, or submit false information or documents, when applying to enter or remain in the UK.
Before you sign your application form, you must ensure that the information on the form is correct and your supporting documents are genuine and unaltered. Our officers in the UK and overseas are highly trained to detect fraud.
If you provide false information, documents or passports, or if you lie or withhold information in support of your application, we will refuse the application and you will face serious consequences. You could:
- be banned from entering the UK for 10 years;
- be removed from the UK, if you are already here;
- be charged with a crime, which could lead to a prison sentence or a fine; and
- receive a permanent record of fraud on the UK Border Agency database.
It is better to explain why you do not have a document than to submit a false document.
Assistance from friends, travel agents, immigration agents or consultants
You may decide to submit your visa application using an independent travel agent, immigration agent or consultant, or with the help of a friend. They can only help you complete the form and advise you which supporting documents to include. They cannot make the application for you or attend the visa application centre.
Remember that the visa application is your application. You are responsible for the information given and any supporting documents. You must check that the information is correct and sign the application.
A genuine agent should only charge you a small and reasonable fee for their services. If an agent makes unrealistic claims or charges high fees for their services, they may be overcharging you or supplying you with false documents and statements.
If you are approached by someone who claims that they can guarantee you success with your application in return for a fee, please inform staff at the visa application centre immediately.
Applying for a UK visa if you have temporary permission to stay
If you have temporary permission to stay (for example, as a visitor) in the country where you are currently living, you cannot apply for most types of UK visa in that country. You can only apply for:
- a visitor visa
- a Tier 5 (Temporary worker - creative and sporting) visa
- an EEA family permit
Your application may be referred back to your country of residence, which may cause delays.
To apply for any other type of UK visa, you must apply under the procedure for your country of residence. You can find this procedure by selecting your country of residence in our country finder .
If you do not have a document
You should check that you have all the relevant documents that you want the visa officer to see before you apply for a visa. It is your responsibility to satisfy the visa officer that you qualify for the visa that you have applied for.
If you do not have a document that is listed in the guidance, or that you think might be relevant to your application, you should explain why you do not have it. You must not provide a false document.
If you provide a false document, we will automatically refuse your application, and you could be banned from coming to the UK for 10 years.
If you cannot provide an original supporting document, such as your original birth certificate, you should provide a copy from the organisation that issued the document (known as the 'issuing authority').
If you do not provide original documents, it might be difficult for our officers to assess your application accurately, and your application might be delayed or refused.
If your documents are not in English or Welsh - translated documents
If you send us a document that is not in English or Welsh, it must be accompanied by a full translation that can be independently verified by us. Each translated document must contain:
- confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document;
- the date of the translation;
- the translator's full name and signature; and
- the translator's contact details.
If you do not submit translations of all supporting documents, this may result in your application being delayed or refused.
If you send us a translation of an overseas qualification or award certificate, we will not consider it as a direct translation of the academic level of that award. We will always use UK NARIC to assess the equivalency of overseas qualifications.
If you are not working or paying for your trip
If you are not working, you should include the original financial documents of the person who supports you.
If someone else is paying for your trip, you should explain why they are paying and include their original financial documents.