I figured I’d write this post since I’ve gotten quite a few questions on visiting Dubai. For many, the pull of the country is its opulence and grandeur. Dubai boasts the world’s tallest building and the biggest and grandest of everything measurable (ok, not everything, but you get my point).
It’s probably worth mentioning that Dubai is part of the UAE United Arab Emirates (of course you knew that. Just mentioning for the uninitiated). The capital is actually Abuh Dhabi and not Dubai, as many wrongly assume. Although, Dubai is what most people think of when they think of the Emirates.
Dubai Visa requirements for Jamaicans
Jamaican passport holders are required to have a visa in order to visit Dubai. This should be applied for before your trip as visas on arrival and visa-free entry are not granted to Jamaicans with regular passports (i.e. non-diplomatic).
Apply through your airline
It is generally easiest to obtain your visa through the airline you’re traveling on. This service is available from Emirates Airlines which flies direct from multiple locations to the Dubai International Airport. (I’m not sure about other airlines).
I’ve used it on Emirates twice and the process is pretty simple. Once you’ve booked your ticket you simply log into your booking on the website and select the option to apply for a visa. Applications are processed through dubaivisa.net by VFS Global.
The cost for a single entry tourist visa (valid 30 days) is US$96.59. Generally speaking, the processing time is pretty short. I received my visa within 2 business days by email. All you need to do is print it and take a copy with you when you fly.
Apply through your hotel or travel agency
It is also possible to apply for your visa through the hotel that you’re staying at. “Licensed travel agents and hotels in the UAE can arrange a tourist visa for you provided you purchase the ticket through them and maintain hotel reservation with the specific hotel.”
Apply through a friend living in Dubai
While this is generally the least preferred of the three options I am still mentioning in the event that you have a friend who is a resident or a UAE national willing to take on the responsibility. Based on my conversations with my friend who lives in Dubai and information found on the government’s website, the process can be tedious and a financial guarantee is actually required so you are better off just going through the airline or hotel you plan to stay at.
I must mention that although there is an option for transit visas that are valid for 14 days and allow you to stay within the country for 96 hours, if you are transiting through Dubai without exiting the airport no visa is required. (I have done this on multiple occasions). If however, you have a long layover and wish to leave the airport a transit visa will be required. The application process is similar to that for the visitor’s visa, except transit visas MUST be applied for through your airline. Transit visas cost US$71.59.
You can find more information on visas and the application process on the UAE government’s website.
Ticket prices and flight time to Dubai
Of course, right now there are no direct flights from Jamaica to Dubai so your best bet is to fly from the US. New York and Fort Lauderdale will probably offer you the best options while being relatively cheap to fly to from Kingston (Depending on time of year, the flight from KGN to JFK will add another US$400 or US$500 to your overall ticket price, while the flight from KIN to FLL will cost an additional US$300 to US$350).
Flight time to Dubai
Emirates Airlines offers direct flights to Dubai from both FLL and JFK. The flight from JFK is 12.5 hours long while the FLL flight is 14.5 hours long. Don’t be deterred though. Emirates aircraft are super comfy. And with wifi (10MB free after which you can pay for more – pretty expensive though at US$15.99 for 500MB), legendary in-flight entertainment, power outlets and good aircraft food the time will go by quickly. Plus, there’s always sleep!
While there are cheaper alternatives to Emirates you may find it easier and more convenient to just fly with them, as most of the cheaper alternatives are connecting flights through countries that may require transit visas. In addition, I am not sure if you are able to apply through these other airlines for your visa.
Cost for a ticket to Dubai
I did some research for tickets during the month of October (a two-week trip) to give you an idea of the expected cost for airfare from Kingston to Dubai. All prices are based on the information from the Skyscanner website.
KINGSTON TO DUBAI via JFK (Return)
Using Emirates from JFK – US$1,409 Total
Using Turkish Airways from JFK – US$1,137 Total
KINGSTON TO DUBAI via FLL (Return)
Emirates as the only option from FLL – $1,404 Total
While it can be expensive to visit Dubai, with proper planning and some cost-saving measures it is possible to visit the UAE without going completely broke.
Do you have others questions related to traveling to Dubai? What else would you like me to cover on visiting the UAE? Let me know in the comments section.