Dubai Visa Run via Ras Al Khaimah
If you live in Dubai and need to renew your visa, there are two main routes which are both driving day trips. The one that most people use is the route via Hatta. I usually do this with Go Tours and you can read about my experience with them and the trip here. On the last trip with them we went via Ras Al Kahimah. I hoped that this would be my last need to do a visa run, but this weekend on checking my passport, realized that I needed to do one more trip. Go Tours had sent me a reminder, I read it out and about and forgot about it, so finding that they were fully booked on the day I needed, I decided to drive and do the trip on my own here’s what you need to do.
The border is at Al Dhara which is at the far end of Ras Al Khaimah which is about 160km’s from Dubai and about a 2 hour drive depending on traffic. I input Al Dhara Border control into Waze which is my preferred on-line map system and set off on the E311 – Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road Emirates Road towards Ras Al Khaimah. You can also go via the E611 – Emirates Road which is a few kilometers longer.
The drive is fairly easy, there’s usually a bit of a hold up going through Sharjah (depending what time you travel) and after Sharjah the road clears and is an easy drive. Once you hit Ras Al Khaimah you then have to take the E11 (Al Rams Road) and drive to the border post – there’s usually some traffic congestion in Rak, Waze usually picks this up and tries to navigate you through as quickly as possible.
At the Border
I always do this on foot as it’s very easy and doesn’t require any Insurance etc.
Exit Dubai – Walk to Oman Border
- Park up then walk to the Dubai Immigration Centre ahead of you.
- Enter the building and pay your exit fee to the guy at the counter on your left (35/AED) – this time he said you can’t pay cash you and you need an E-Dirham card. Thankfully he had a stack of these so I handed over a few extra dirhams and got a E-Dirham Card.
- Take your passport to the counter and hand it in for stamping.
- Collect your passport and a small slip which which is your permission to exit card.
- Walk out of the building and head towards the security booth. Hand in your card then walk across the car park to the Oman border – it’s a few minutes walk at most.
Oman Border Procedure
- Enter the Oman Border Control building and complete a visa form – they are usually on the table but you might need to ask for one
- Take your passport and visa form to the counter and tell them you want to enter and exit at the same time (this time there was some friendly banter as the guy wanted to know why I wasn’t spending time in Oman, I told him next time for sure)
- Once you have got both stamps (entry and exit) you need to pay 50/AED for the visa. TIP : Take correct cash if you can as they often don’t have change. I also found out on this trip that they also take credit cards and will debit 5/Omani Rial (50/AED) if you use your card.
- Before leaving check that you have both stamps – entry and exit (as you can’t enter Dubai unless you have both)
- Exit the building (door to the left) and walk back across the car park towards Dubai.
Update : with effect from 24th April 2017 the fee for the visa is now 200/AED not 50/AED
- Walk back across the car park towards Dubai Immigration and enter the Immigration office (it’s signposted as Arrivals)
- Hand your passport in at the counter and get your entry stamp (30 days)
- They will also give you a pink slip of paper which you need to keep with you
- Leave the building and head back towards your car across the car park.
- You will need to hand the pink slip into the Police checkpoint which is on the right hand side.
- Walk back to your car – I usually park outside on the sand
That’s it – you have sorted out your visa – job done !
I’ve done this checkpoint twice now, you can read about my first trip with Go Tours here. This time, it was a weekend the entire process took no more then thirty minutes, but I guess it could take longer if it’s busier.
Note : If you have to pay fines, you pay as you exit Dubai – I couldn’t see any ATM’s – not sure if they take credit cards. If not there are some ATM machines a short drive away which you will pass as you drive to the crossing.
You can read more about the Visa process e.g. who is eligible, timelines and fines etc on the Go Tours website – it’s updated regularly so do use it as a source of accurate information as they take people to the border on a daily basis.
Back to Dubai
From here, I drove straight back to Dubai, this time via the E611 which seemed a quicker route as it doesn’t go slow at Sharjah.
Door to Door the trip took a little over six hours including 2 stops – 1 for fuel and 1 for coffee (actually coffee on both!). Since I drove myself the only costs were fuel as well as the exit fee (35/AED) and the visa fee (50/AED). There are plenty of places to stop along the way, either for fuel and food or if you have more time, for casual lunch or to buy fruit and veg from some of the roadside stands. Unfortunately this time, as the trip was unexpected, I didn’t have time to stop.
Would I do it alone again? Absolutely, it’s an easy drive and the whole process is very straightforward. Having said that, without some information on what to expect it might have been a bit daunting so I’m glad I did the trip once before with Go Tours. I still recommend Go Tours, particularly if you just want to sit back and relax and not have to worry about driving etc. But if you want to go it alone, then the process is quite simple and since you walk across the Border there’s no need to worry about having to purchase Oman car insurance etc.
The New Rule is that the following nationalities receive 30 day single-entry visas.
- Great Britain
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
What has changed?
The old rule: Previously if you re-entered UAE before your original 30 day visit visa had expired, you would not receive a new visa. It was a multiple-entry visa and could only be renewed by overstaying and travelling in the 9 day grace period between 31-39 days. This led to a huge amount of confusion and many customers paying overstay fines that they were unaware they had or being thoroughly confused as to when they needed to exit.
The new rule: Effective immediately, Every time you enter UAE or re-enter UAE you will get a new visa. This much simpler rule means that the nationalities above can exit any time within their 30 day visa period by doing a visa run with us and return with a new visit visa. There is currently still a 9 day grace period, so overstaying the 30 day visa is an option, however this grace period is not officially mentioned anywhere we can find and might be cancelled without notice.
As such we do not recommend or advise any customers to travel during the grace period if it can be avoided. Overstay fines can be high even just for a few days over.
We recommend all our customers from the countries above to travel before the 30 day visa expires.
As for all countries, the date of the entry stamp in your passport is counted as day number 1.
If you entered through the airport E-gate and didnt receive a stamp in your passport, the day that you entered is counted as day number 1.
If you have a cancelled residence visa and need to exit to change status you will need to exit before the expiry date of your Cancellation paper. This is usually a 28-30 day period from when the visa is cancelled to when you need to exit the country.
If you have an Entry permit for a new Residence visa, you can travel with us at any time to change status from tourist to resident, but its recommended to do it as soon as possible otherwise your entry permit may expire and you will have to re-do the whole visa application process.
Schengen nationalities (all the EU countries excluding Great Britain and Ireland) still receive 90 day multiple-entry visas. These are issued every 180 days. Days spent outside the UAE during the 180 day period do not count towards the total of 90 days permitted.
Do Check out the current rules and regulations about Visa entry requirements, this excerpt from Go Tours website.