After a long year of staying at home, the idea of traveling outside the country for a holiday sounds super exciting for UAE residents. But in a world where there are multiple restrictions around traveling, where exactly do you go? And the hassle of applying for a visa sounds like one hassle too many, doesn’t it? That’s why we’ve compiled a list of countries that allow visa-free travel for UAE residents, along with being open to tourists.
Forget those worries of getting a visa and head on that vacay you’ve been dreaming of all year long!
Visa free countries for UAE residents
If you’re planning your trip around one of the major public holidays in the UAE, we’d suggest you start booking your stay and transport sooner rather than later. Usually, the price of these tickets ends up peaking as the holiday seasons approach.
Let’s start off with the list of travel destinations that are visa free for UAE residents, no matter what your country of citizenship is.
Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Sri Lanka is a gorgeous island in the Indian Ocean that every nature enthusiast has on their bucket list. As a UAE resident, you will have to apply for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) online via the Sri Lanka government site. This ETA will be valid for 30 days.
There are a few regulations to follow for traveling to Sri Lanka, regardless of your vaccination status. First, you are required to have proof of booking at a ‘level 1 hotel’, as mandated by the Travel and Tourism department of the country. You can find the various levels of hotels in Sri Lanka on their official website.
You are required to have a negative RT-PCR test result, taken 72 hours before departure. You will also have to take a PCR test on arrival and an exit test if your stay is over 5 days. It is also mandatory to have taken a local travel insurance cover.
It’s easy to see why Sri Lanka is one of the most visited places among the visa-free countries for UAE residents. With its fascinating ancient ruins, beautiful shorelines and exquisite mountains, this diverse island has everything you’d want in an ideal vacation spot.
Sri Lanka has multiple places where one can surf, including Hikkaduwa Arugam Bay, Mirissa and more. You can visit the tea terraces at Nuwara Eliya or Kandy. There are also several historic places of worship including Adam’s Peak and numerous Buddhist and Hindu temples.
If you are a wildlife enthusiast, you should definitely check out places like Yala National Park and Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. The Turtle Hatchery is also a fascinating place to visit.
Among all the places to visit without a visa for UAE residents, Sri Lanka provides a well-rounded experience for holidaymakers. As they say in Sri Lanka, Ayubowan!
If you associate vacations with tranquil beaches, bright blue skies and sparkling sands, then the Maldives is the place for you. The Maldives offers a visa on arrival (which is valid for 30 days). Currently, if you are unvaccinated, you are required to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine before being allowed to travel around the island.
If you’ve been vaccinated, you’re in luck! There are a host of fun things you can do in the Maldives, apart from chilling in a luxury resort (which are aplenty on this lovely island). Water sports are big on these islands. You can opt for water flying, fun tubing, parasailing, diving and surfing.
Talking about luxury resorts, there are several options to choose from in different parts of the archipelago. Head over to booking sites online and book a resort based on your preferences.
Even if you plan to travel in the summer months, you don’t have to worry about the heat, as the weather here is relatively cool when compared to the UAE. Get ready to be pampered and rejuvenated on your dream vacation in the Maldives.
If you are a history buff, Georgia should definitely be on top of your list of places to visit, with a huge advantage being that it is one of the visa free countries for UAE residents.
Georgia offers a 90-day visa on arrival for UAE residents. If you are vaccinated, you will not be required to quarantine for 14 days but will have to carry a negative PCR test result taken 72 hours before departure.
Georgia has a host of interesting places to visit. Places of interest for tourists include Vardzia, Uplistsikhe, Mtatsminda Park, Narikala fortress and more. If you prefer letting your hair down and partying, there are several nightclubs and bars which can definitely give you memories of a lifetime.
Being situated at the crossroads of Southwest Asia and Southeastern Europe, Azerbaijan is a fascinating country that blends Eastern and Western culture together.
Currently, Azerbaijan offers a visa on arrival for UAE residents. You must have your proof of vaccination, as well as a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure.
Being an affordable travel destination, Azerbaijan is popular among people looking for holidays on a budget. It has both an urban side, with skyscrapers and modernity, as well as a rural side laden with history and gardens.
Malaysia has diverse cultures and varied attractions catering to every age group. It is the perfect blend of ancient traditions and contemporary lifestyles replete with heritage sites, delicious cuisine, beautiful temples, serene beaches, wild jungles, and unexplored islands. You can avail visa on arrival and stay up to 90 days if you are a UAE citizen. You can get an E-visa for UAE residents if you are from India, Pakistan, or Sri Lanka and a visa on arrival if you are from Egypt, Jordan, the Philippines, or Syria.
Seychelles is a group of 115 islands and offers an ideal holiday to its visitors. This tropical country located in the African continent is perfect for beach lovers, and you can try various activities such as scuba diving, hiking, snorkeling, and sailing. UAE residents and citizens can get a visa on arrival for 90 days in this beautiful archipelago.
This island country offers diverse attractions, including national parks, verdant gardens, state-of-the-art amusement parks, historic temples, and fantastic shopping. UAE citizens can avail visas on arrival for 30 days in Singapore. If you are a UAE resident from Sri Lanka or the Philippines, you can get a visa on arrival, and if you are from India, you can get E-visa.
You picture spotless white sands and azure waters when you think about Mauritius. It is an idyllic destination that offers a relaxed holiday where you can soak up some sunshine and feel close to nature. It is the number one spot for honeymooners, and tourists can see various things – museums, parks, monuments, forts, shopping hubs, and more. This island nation offers visas on arrival up to 90 days for UAE citizens. If you are a UAE resident from India, Philippines, Jordan, Nigeria, or Sri Lanka, you can avail visa on arrival.
Armenia has become a hotspot destination in recent years due to its vital location in the Caucasus. It was the first nation to embrace Christianity, as a result of which you will find a plethora of churches, chapels, and monasteries in the region and also many attractions with a rich history. You are treated to fabulous vistas wherever you go – from deep gorges, glittering lakes, imposing mountains to flowing rivers. The UAE citizens do not require a visa to enter Armenia, but they need to have a valid UAE residency visa to stay up to 180 days.
Hong Kong is famous for its glitz, glamour, and luxury shopping. It is full of islands, skyscrapers, nature reserves, vibrant street markets, and ancient monasteries. You can find many science and tech parks here as well. You can obtain a visa on arrival for up to 30 days if you are a UAE citizen. If you are a UAE resident, you can get a visa on arrival if you are from Jordan, Egypt, or the Philippines.
One of the best visa-free countries for residents of the United Arab Emirates, the name of Kyrgyzstan itself, is new to many, but the place is incredibly beautiful.
Kyrgyzstan often called the Switzerland of Asia, is a refreshing piece of country with an abundance of natural beauty.
The capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, is full of Soviet-style buildings, parks, and alleys. It is the contrast (Soviet buildings and beautiful landscapes) that makes the country so interesting to travel.
Lake Issyk Kul, Ala Archa National Park, Burana, Song Kul, Tash Rabat, Osh, Lenin Peak Base Camp, Karakol, Djety Oguz, and Altyn Arashan are the main destinations of Kyrgyzstan.
The spectacular beauty of this country attracts travelers from all over the world.
Jordan offers many historic places and adventures. Drive to Mount Nebo, cross the ancient city of Jerash, swim in the Dead Sea, visit Petra at night, and camp at Wadi Rum during the day. Jordan is best to visit during the colder seasons.
Visa-free destinations for Indians in the UAE
While these countries offer residence-based visa options, most locations determine this based on your passport. Let’s take a look at the countries you can visit visa-free if you are an Indian citizen:
- The British Virgin Islands
- Cook Islands
- El Salvador
- Jamaica .
- Northern Cyprus
- Pitcairn Islands
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Turks and Caicos Islands
Before planning a trip, make sure you have a valid passport. If it is expired, apply for Indian passport renewal immediately.
Visa-free destinations for Pakistani passport holders in the UAE
If you are a citizen of Pakistan, here’s a list of places that are either visa-free or require an e-visa. We would recommend checking out the respective Government immigration policies to confirm if an e-visa is required:
- Cape Verde
- Sierra Leone
- Sri Lanka (ETA required)
Visa-free destinations for Philippines passport holders
If you an expat holding a Filipino passport, you can travel to the following countries that offer visa-free entry or visa on arrival:
- Hong Kong
- Cote d’Ivoir
- St Vincent and the Grenadine
- Costa Rica
Frequently Asked Questions
Which countries in Europe are currently quarantine free for UAE residents?
Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Georgia are the countries in Europe that currently allow vaccinated travelers to visit without requiring a 14 day mandatory quarantine. If you are thinking about traveling to an EU country, check out our guide to applying for a Schengen visa from Dubai
What are the regulations when returning to the UAE?
Regulations on traveling to the UAE differs from emirate to emirate. For UAE residents coming into Sharjah or Dubai, you will have to take a mandatory PCR test at the airport, after which you must stay at home until you receive the results.
For travelers via Abu Dhabi, you will be required to undergo a home quarantine for 14 days unless you’re flying in from one of the Green List countries.
We hope that your next vacation to one of the visa-free countries for UAE residents is filled with fun and you make some happy memories that will last you a lifetime. Each of these destinations offers sights and adventures that are definitely worth experiencing.
If you aren’t interested in traveling outside the country, there are several fun things to do right here in the UAE. You can opt for an overnight desert Safari in Dubai or visit Heritage Village Abu Dhabi and have a great time. Pack your bags, lace up your shoes and go on a short trip from Dubai for the weekend!
* Visa rules are constantly subject to change, so it’s advisable to contact the relevant embassy or consulate before traveling.