When you look at the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula, you will notice a rapidly progressing country named The United Arab Emirates (UAE). If we go back to the early 2000s, UAE was considered a desert oasis and nothing else. However, in the last decade or so, it has transformed into one of the most developed countries in the world. It has been the ultimate hub of expats and tourists from all around the world, but now we are noticing a big chunk of international students entering the UAE to pursue their higher education.
The rich cultural heritage and hospitable culture have been the crucial factors why UAE has become a thriving destination for global students. The QS World University Rankings of most Emirati universities are pretty impressive. Approximately 80,000+ students from different parts of the world have been studying in UAE, and you could be the next one to join that list.
This article is a detailed guide that discusses the complete process of applying for and obtaining a visa to study in the UAE.
A Detailed Guide For International Students Wanting To Apply For UAE Visa In 2023
Get A Student Residence Visa To Kickstart Your Academic Life In UAE
UAE is globally acknowledged for its exceptional education. The prominent name in the Arabic world witnesses tons of students fly in to enrol themselves and join the prestigious Emirati educational institutions. The emigrant students who are not part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have to acquire a visa which is commonly known as a student residence visa.
The accredited higher education institutes oversee the complete visa application process. Therefore, getting accepted into any recognized university or college is obligatory before trying to obtain a UAE student visa. You will have to renew the visa every year as it remains valid only for 12 months. The visa renewal is pretty easy. You just have to present official proof issued by the university that your study is in continuation.
How To Apply For A UAE Student Visa? Let’s Figure It Out!
Once any Emirati university approves your application, they will contact the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) to arrange the visa. The GDRFA will issue the visa only if an accredited university approaches them. Your institute can only get the documents if you are present in the country, and an entry permit is required to arrive in UAE.
The Online Channels To Apply For An Entry Permit:
- You can simply register yourself on the online portal of the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship (ICA) to apply for a visa or an entry permit. The Android and Apple applications of ICA can also be used for this purpose.
- The original website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) and another alternate website Amer.ae allow people to apply for an entry permit and residence visa. The GDRFA Dubai app is also available for Android and Apple users.
The Complete Process Of Applying For The Student Visa:
After receiving the entry permit, you are now allowed to land in the UAE. Your university is responsible for making all the arrangements for the student residence visa on your arrival. The university will apply for the visa at the relevant GDRFA office, which depends on the emirate that you live in.
A residence visa will be affixed to your passport by GDRFA once the application is approved. Finally, you will get an Emirates ID whose validity duration will be the same as your visa. This process is very important as being selected by a university does not guarantee that you will get the visa. The final decision is in the hands of UAE immigration authorities.
The Checklist Of Complete Visa Requirements
As an international student entering UAE for the very first time, you will need an official admission letter issued by the university or college that you are enrolled in. A continuation of study certificate is required for older students.
The Essential Visa Requirements:
- The expatriates would need a medical fitness certificate to prove that they are medically fit and do not have any infectious or contagious diseases. Passing the medical fitness test would mean that you can obtain the residence visa.
- Get approval from the GDRFA if you are not a UAE resident. The relevant permit is necessary while trying to obtain the Emirati visa.
The Complete Student Visa Checklist:
A student should have some specific documents and must fulfil multiple requirements mentioned below while applying for a student visa in the UAE.
- A passport that won’t expire for at least the next six months and should also have two blank visa pages. One page is for visa endorsement, and the other one is for entry stamps.
- A couple of passport copies and several passport-sized pictures. Keep a dozen photographs for the safer side.
- The acceptance letter from your Emirati university.
- The photocopy of your tuition fee receipt that you have recently paid for the ongoing academic year of your degree program.
- You will also need legit financial solvency proof to show that you can bear the living expenses and the tuition fees.
- Students with university accommodation will be asked for a tenancy agreement or a letter from the university.
- Applicants aged above 18 years have to clear the medical examinations at a certified UAE medical centre for TB, HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and several other diseases.
- An attested undergraduate degree if the applicant is enrolling in a post-graduate program.
These were some of the most commonly required documents that you should have. However, visa application requirements can differ based on your emirate or university. Your university will provide the complete student visa checklist.
A Sponsor Is Required To A Study Visa In UAE
Without a sponsor, you can only get a tourist visa. Your university or any local relative residing in the UAE can sponsor your student visa. Universities allow visa sponsorship only to those students who are enrolled in a full-time program. If you get admission in any program that is under 12 months, then your university can only help you with the application for a short-term visit visa. 30 to 90 days could be the duration of that visit visa.
The Processing Time For The UAE Student Visa
After completing the visa application process and submitting all the required documents, the process would take around 2-5 weeks. If you have applied for an express visa, then it might take 1-3 weeks. Your documentation can also affect the processing time.
Eligibility Criteria Of Long-Term Residence Visa For Students
The normal duration of a student visa is one year, and it can be renewed one month before it expires. A confirmation from the university is required for visa renewal. There is good news for hard-working students. In 2018, the UAE government decided to launch a long-term residence visa. Students with an exceptional academic record can obtain this special visa. It remains valid for five years, and students with an impressive GPA are eligible for this visa.
- A college student with a minimum grade of 95% can get this long-term visa.
- University graduates with over 3.75 GPA from an Emirati or a non-Emirati educational institute can easily obtain this visa.
Long-term residence visa holders can also bring dependents into the country.
Is It Allowed To Work With A UAE Student Visa?
An applicant with a student visa would also need a UAE work permit to do any job or internship. The permission is not for full-time jobs, and you cannot work for more than four consecutive hours.
Earlier, international students were not permitted to work at all. This is a decision taken by the UAE government recently.
Common Mistakes To Avoid While Applying For A UAE Student Visa
There are some common mistakes made by students in visa applications which are easily avoidable.
- There will be a complete checklist available on the website of your university that contains all the documents that need to be submitted by the students. Go through that list carefully and be prepared with your documentation. Every mentioned requirement is of utmost importance and can’t be missed.
- The details of your sponsor are equally important as your own. Since you have to obtain a sponsored student visa, it is quite essential to submit the relevant declarations, especially when a relative or a family member is your sponsor.
- Review your visa application carefully to ensure that there are no spelling mistakes in the name, passport number, or any other details. Such small mistakes can delay your approval or might result in rejection.
Let’s Conclude This Visa Application Guide
UAE is undoubtedly one of the best places for students who want to take their academic careers to the next level. The quality of education offered in this country matches international standards. There are tons of appealing factors that attract global students to visit the UAE and call it their new home. The low cost of living, tuition-free education, affordable housing, and advanced learning programs make UAE a great place for expats to take their academic life ahead in the right direction.
UAE might not be the cheapest country but it surely opens a gateway to endless opportunities. We hope that this blog resolves all your confusions about the application process for a UAE student visa. We tried our best to break down the whole process into smaller steps and make it easier for you to understand. There is nothing too complex in obtaining a visa, but missing a single step could end up wasting all your efforts.