When traveling to the UAE, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if work authorization will be required. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.
As a business visitor to the UAE, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:
Visas on arrival are available for many nationals, including nationals of the United States and member states of the European Union, which permits them to enter the UAE and perform business activities on a short-term basis.
Nationals of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia) are eligible to enter the UAE on visa-waiver status and conduct business activities for a short duration. Foreign nationals who are residents of GCC countries and visiting the UAE for business purposes are eligible to obtain an eVisa prior to travel.
Those who are ineligible for a visa waiver, eVisa, or Visa on Arrival must apply for a Visit Visa from a UAE Embassy or Consulate prior to travel. Please consult with your immigration provider before traveling to determine eligibility and the appropriate category.
The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under UAE law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in the UAE, even if conducted for a short duration.
The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in the UAE. The most common forms of work authorization in the UAE are:
There are no long-term work authorization exemptions available in the UAE. While eligible nationals of GCC member states may enter the UAE on visa-waiver status, they are subject to work authorization and registration requirements.
Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.