Do I need a passport or visa to enter?
U.S. citizens are subject to all UAE immigration laws, which can be complex and demanding. U.S. citizens should familiarize themselves with such laws before traveling to or residing in the UAE. A passport valid for at least six months is required to enter the UAE. For personal travel of 30 days or fewer, U.S. citizens holding valid tourist passports may obtain visitor visas at the port of entry for no fee. For stays longer than 30 days, all travelers must obtain a visa before arrival in the UAE. In addition, a full medical exam is required for work or residence permits and includes an HIV/AIDS test. Testing must be performed after arrival; a U.S. HIV/AIDS test is not accepted. U.S. citizens have been detained and deported for testing positive for HIV or hepatitis. Please verify this information with the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates before you travel. It is located at 3522 International Court, NW, Washington, DC 20037, telephone (202) 243-2400. Visit the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates website for the most current visa information.
U.S. citizens traveling to or through the United Arab Emirates on diplomatic or official passports are required to obtain a visa before travel. Unlike other countries in the region that accept U.S. military ID cards as valid travel documents, the UAE requires U.S. military personnel to present a valid passport for entry/exit.
U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries that are not members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) who depart the UAE via land are required to pay a departure fee. This fee is 20 UAE dirhams and is payable only in the local currency.
Customs restrictions: The U.S. Embassy strongly advises travelers, including all U.S. government personnel and those transiting UAE airports, to avoid the transport of any arms or items that may be considered law enforcement or military equipment without prior written approval from the UAE Ministry of Defense. Such items include, but are not limited to, weapons, weapon parts and tools, ammunition, body armor, handcuffs, and any other military or police equipment. Transport of these items into or through the UAE is considered a violation of UAE law. Persons found to be carrying such items, even in the smallest quantities, will be arrested and face strict criminal penalties, including imprisonment, large monetary fines, forfeiture of the items, and deportation. U.S. citizens transporting such weapons and equipment without the express written authorization of the UAE government have been arrested and jailed, even though airlines and U.S. authorities allowed shipment on a U.S.-originating flight.
The United Arab Emirates takes the transport of any and all types of law enforcement equipment or military gear seriously and has demonstrated its ability to enforce its laws in this respect. The U.S. government can neither protect, nor intervene on behalf of, individuals who are accused of violating foreign government laws whether intentionally or by negligence. It is the responsibility of individuals travelling abroad to be informed of all pertinent information, particularly in relation to legal issues, regarding the countries through which they travel or transit.
Please review the Criminal Penalties section of this document for more information on customs restrictions, particularly in regard to the UAE’s strict anti-drug laws.
The Government of the United Arab Emirates requires that all persons residing in the UAE, including U.S. citizens, have a national identification card. U.S. citizens who are working or living in the UAE should visit the Emirates Identity Authority website for more information on card registration procedures and requirements.