This handy guide is for people visiting Dubai on a 30-day visa on arrival – either as a visitor to the country or whilst waiting for their residency visa to come through – who need to renew their visa for a further 30 days.
Please note that the UAE has announced plans to significantly overhaul its visa system. The rules in this guide still apply but do expect significant change come September 2022 to the 30 and 90 day visa system for tourists.
What is a Visa Run?
When entering Dubai as a tourist, many nationalities are entitled to a free multiple-entry visa upon arriving at the border (different to a tourist visa). It lasts for 30 days, however, there is currently a 10-day grace period – so really you can spend 40 days in the UAE without incurring an overstay fine.
If you wish to stay in the UAE for a longer period of time and you are an eligible passport holder, you can renew your visa by exiting the country and getting a new 30-day visa on arrival issued at the border. This can be done by air or by road.
Road tripping to Oman is a popular way of getting this 30-day visa renewed and is commonly referred to as “doing a border run”.
It is perfectly legal to do and can add a great side trip to your experience of staying in Dubai, but there are a number of steps involved to make sure you are doing it properly and will maximise the benefit of your renewed visa.
When should I do a visa run from Dubai?
Although UAE visas on arrival are issued for 30 days, there is a 10-day grace period before you are fined. It is recommended you leave the country between Day 31 and Day 39.
If you leave the country at all before the 30 days expire, your visa will NOT renew at that point. This can catch a lot of visitors out who think their visa has restarted from the second entry date.
Have you been made redundant? Please note the grace period to exit the country or find a new job has been extended “We are relaxing the grace period one gets to leave the country after being made redundant. Instead of the previous 30 days, people will have 90 to 180 days to leave the country,”Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, as announced 6 September 2021.
Do I need to leave the country to renew my tourist visa?
Tourists can apply for the second renewal before the expiry of the first one by paying a fee of 620AED to the Department of Naturalisation and Residency. This can only be done a maximum of two times before you would need to physically leave the country. It is more convenient but usually more costly than doing a border run.
How many visa runs can I do in Dubai?
There is no limit to the number of times you can do a border run from Dubai on this type of visa. Just make sure you are completing the steps correctly each time.
What if I don’t leave the country?
Visa overstayers who do not renew will have to pay a 200 AED fine and 100 AED for each day of their overstay, to be calculated from 10 days after the visa expiry, plus a 100AED services fee to immigration. This must be paid before they can leave the country.
How to do a Visa Run to Oman
You can either arrange your own Visa Run using a hired or borrowed vehicle (though see driving tips below) or join an organised group that offers border run bus services.
Organised bus services for Dubai to Oman bus runs
If you do not want the headache of trying to take a car across the border to Oman, there are services that operate specifically for the purpose of taking tourists on border runs and will talk you through the crossing process.
Please note we are not affiliated with any of these service providers. Information is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing but you will need to check with the individual providers
- Go Tours Dubai A round trip to the border in a small van will take you approximately 5 hours. The current pricing is 150 AED for mornings, and 120 AED for afternoons. They can also arrange private cars for up to 4 passengers for 550AED. See their website for current pick up locations.
- Arabiers offer a round trip service departing Fridays at 7:00 am Marina Business Bay (and a stop at Dubai Marina Mall), and 8.30 am Saturday to Thursday. 150AED for a shared bus or 550AED for a private service.
NB Yes, Oman has opened it’s borders again end of August 2021. Visa Run companies are still not operating though due to the complexities involved. You can cross into Oman, but you must be vaccinated with a PCR test result, with a minimum overnight stay and PCR test results to return to the UAE. Watch this space for when organised tour services will be able to return.
In the meantime, if you can comply with the COVID entry rules on both the Oman & UAE side, read on!
Taking private cars over the border to Oman
To cross the border to Oman in a car, you need;
- The vehicle’s original registration document, and
- Evidence that you are the owner of the vehicle, or have written permission from the owner of the vehicle to cross the border.
In addition, your vehicle must have third party insurance for the Sultanate of Oman. If it is not, short-term insurance policies can be purchased at most border crossing points (approximately 100AED for one week). Immigration will always request these documents as part of the crossing process so be prepared.
If you are unable to get the appropriate permissions or original documents for your vehicle (eg you are using a hire car and they will not permit border crossing), you should choose a border crossing point where it is possible to walk between the UAE and Oman offices – we detail which ones to try below – NB we believe walking is no longer an option.
Visa Run Dubai to Oman: How does it actually work?
Regardless of whether you are in an organised group or going it alone, a border run entails four steps;
- Receiving an exit stamp to leave the UAE after paying your departure tax
- Getting an entry stamp into the Sultanate of Oman after paying for a Tourist Visa or showing evidence you’ve purchased an eVisa in advance
- Getting an exit stamp at the Omani border post to show you’ve left the country again and your single-entry Omani Tourist Visa is cancelled
- Re-entering the UAE with a new 30-day Visa on Arrival.
The process will differ slightly at each crossing – and possibly even differ between border runs depending who is on duty!
The current fees are:
- Exit visa from UAE 35 AED ($9.50 USD)
- Entry Visa to Oman 5 OMR (approx. 50 AED/ $13USD)
- No Omani exit fee is needed
- No re-entry fee to the UAE
It is best to apply for your Omani eVisa in advance.
The best route to take for a Dubai to Oman border run
There’s no one ‘best way’ – it will depend on your time limitations, ability and willingness to take your car over the border and where in the UAE you are setting out from. These are the most popular routes from Dubai:
Wadi Hatta – Al Wajajah Border
The closest and most popular crossing point coming from Dubai or Sharjah. Since the E44 Hatta crossing was closed to non-GCC nationals, this alternative route is the next closest.
To get to this Hatta border crossing from Dubai:
- Take the E44 south from Dubai
- Take exit 24 for E611 towards Al Sharjah/Al Dhaid.
- Take exit for E102/Sharjah – Kalba Road (signposted “Shawka”).
- Turn left at the roundabout back on the E44 Hatta Road
- The UAE Hatta border crossing is a further 14kms
- The Omani border post “Al Wajajah” is about 3kms further
Make it an overnight trip: Stay at JA Hatta Fort Hotel, UAE
Kalba – Katmat Milahah Border
The northernmost border crossing into mainland Oman is on the E99, from the Emirate of Sharjah (the part on the east coast, not the Sharjah that faces the Gulf!) Unless you had any particular reason for being in this northern corner of Oman it’s not a preferred crossing for border runs from Dubai.
Once there it is a super easy process; border guards are extremely friendly. The whole process takes about less than 20 minutes. Also, it’s important to note rental cars are NOT permitted to drive through this crossing unless you have police permission.
Make it an overnight trip: Kalba Kingfisher Lodge
Mezyad – Hafeet Border Al Ain
This is the prefered border crossing near Al Ain for those coming from Abu Dhabi, it is a slightly longer drive if you are coming from Dubai. The border crossing posts here, however, are only 1.3kms apart which some prefer for a quick transit. It is also a preferred spot if you are looking to travel further into Oman and down to Jebel Shams or Nizwa.
Make it an overnight trip: Raddison Blu Hotel & Resort Al Ain
Al Dhara – Bukha (Musandam)
A slightly longer but pleasant drive from Dubai, take the E311 connecting to the E11 and drive along the Ras Al Khaimah coast until you hit the border, about two hours from downtown Dubai. You get your exit stamp in the UAE, drive forward for your Oman entry stamp and Visa. It’s a simple U-turn over the border back to the Oman exit and re-entry point. At this border point hugging the Gulf waters, everything is very close together.
Make it an overnight trip: Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa
NB – previously walking across the border on foot was permitted at this crossing point but we understand as of April 2022 this was no longer possible.
Alternative Border Crossing Points in Oman
There are other border crossings to Oman you may hear mentioned including:
- Al Madheef – Buraimi
- Hili – Al Ain
- Hatta E44
We have not recommended these routes as they are only for use by GCC Nationals.
Can I do a border run to somewhere other than Oman?
Absolutely. The only reason there is a preference for Oman is that it can easily be done by road. You can leave from any UAE airport after day 30 but before day 40 and still return to the UAE and get a new tourist visa issued if you are eligible for a tourist visa on arrival.
Please check your eligibility before travelling on the government.ae website
Top tips for making a successful Oman border run
- Mid-week will always be quieter and easier than weekends when there will be a lot more GCC traffic.
- Avoid public holiday weekends! There tends to be far more tourist traffic and borders become very busy.
- Ensure everyone in your travelling party has a minimum of six months left on their passport and space for visa stamps.
- If you are travelling with children, but without both parents present it is wise to have a permission letter from the other parent or guardian.
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack, and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws, and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass from iVenture or a Go City Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.Dubai Travel Planner