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How to apply for a student visa in the UAE

Как оформить студенческую визу в ОАЭ

Today, Russians are interested in the Arab Emirates not only as a country for recreation. There is a high demand for education in this country.

To study at a private educational institution in the UAE you will need a student visa. Its registration requires a competent and attentive approach.

The visa application is processed by the visa authorities at the General Directorate for Foreign Affairs in each Emirate. The student, his parents or the sponsor of the applicant – university/private school can apply. The latter must be accredited. Let’s consider all the subtleties of the process of obtaining a study permit in this country.

How to issue

First of all, you need to submit an application. Most often, this document is issued for a year with the possibility of extension. For talented students who have high academic performance, a five-year residency is provided. Under standard conditions, the permit can be extended for another year.

Each educational institution has a special department that works with foreign students and helps them with registration.

The applicant has the right to submit a questionnaire form through the ICA website or to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs at the Ministry. The site provides recording only in online format, and in GDRFA you can use an online channel or apply offline. 

Universities/schools are mainly involved in submitting applications. In this case, the applicant can only send a package of documentation to the specified e-mail.

List of required papers

Documents on the table

Each specific educational institution independently establishes a list of submitted papers, so the list may be different. But there are documents that are requested most often before entry. We are talking about:

  1. The form to be filled out
  2. A completed “letter of commitment” signed by the applicant is a confirmation that the student will comply with all the rules of the institution.
  3. Color scanned copies of each page of the passport. The latter should be relevant for at least another six months on the day of submission of documentation.
  4. A scan of a color photo in the format .jpeg. The main thing is that the size of the photo is 4.3 x 5.5 centimeters, and the picture itself is made on a white background.
  5. Photocopies of the receipt for payment for studies.
  6. Collection – each institution has its own amount. It also includes fees for an ID card, medical insurance, biometrics (if necessary).
  7. Visa deposit – about 2500 dirhams.

After you have entered the emirate, you must provide:

  1. Foreign passport (original).
  2. The right to enter with a stamp (photocopy).

In addition to all of the above papers, the educational institution or bodies that are engaged in the registration of a student’s visa may request additional documents. The list of the latter is sent by your institution.

It is also important to remember that you need to legalize documents that confirm the level of education. We are talking about professional translation into English/Arabic with notarization in the country where the document was accredited. In other words, the student must translate and certify it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, and then legalize it at the Embassy of the Emirates in the Russian Federation. After that, if there are signatures, seals, the documents will be considered abroad.

How much does it cost and how long does it take?

Man on the phone

The price of obtaining a document varies from $ 300 to $ 820 – it all depends on which emirate the training organization is located in. Additionally, you will need to make a deposit, the amount of which is 270 dollars. 

The application is usually considered within twenty days. You can submit it online using the official portals of the country:

  1. GDRFA. The main Department for work with residents and foreign citizens has its own application, which can be downloaded to a smartphone.
  2. ICP eChannels portal. The Federal Office for Issues Related to Identity and Citizenship also has a mobile application.

When can I submit documents?

Submission of documents is allowed a month and a half before the start of training. The relevant authorities will consider the application within two to five weeks. Sometimes this process is faster.

Where can I study in the UAE on a student visa?


Local universities of public and private type are localized on the territory of the country. They are also called local public and private universities in another way. In the first case, we are talking mainly about programs in Arabic, and in the second – also in English. Most often, applicants need to take standardized exams in subjects.

Russian applicants are most attracted to the campuses of international universities – they can be British, American, Australian and Canadian, but based on the territory of this country. For example, the main campus may be located in Edinburgh, and an additional one in Dubai.

And it’s not just that local universities are paid, but the programs are in Arabic. 

Local universities are distinguished by the local culture: girls should wear a burqa. In international Dubai, everything is different – the atmosphere is freer.

Is it possible to work?

Within the framework of the policy of the United Arab Emirates, it is impossible to work on such a visa. But, if certain conditions are met, there is a relaxation – 15-20 hour work per week is allowed:

  1. Age – more than 18 years.
  2. The average academic performance score should be more than 2.2. This information should be clarified in advance in your educational institution, since each institution has a different indicator.
  3. The presence of sponsorship in the person of the university.
  4. Having a work permit in the Ministry of Labor of the Russian Federation.

The decision regarding the opportunity to work is considered relatively new, since previously foreign students were not allowed to work at all, except for internship programs from schools.

If a university or school becomes your sponsor, you will need to undergo a medical examination in the UAE. If this is not done, the plastic card will not be issued and will be refused admission to the course.The cost of visa fees may change constantly. If the state has increased it, then you will have to pay the difference. The price of a student visa to the UAE must be specified in the specific institution where you plan to enroll.

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Vladimir Sviridov
Vladimir Sviridov
General Manager RLC Consulting
With a Postgraduate Masters in Finance from The, Moscow State University, Russia. Vladimir started his professional career as an auditor of the financial sector of EY. After that, he worked for several years in senior positions in corporate banking. In 2018-2021, he managed the finances of a large agricultural holding, and is currently responsible for strategic planning, corporate partnership and financial management in the role of General Manager of RLC Consulting GROUP in the UAE.

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