Student Visa in the UAE

Student Visa in the UAE

Planning to pursue your academic dreams in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)? United Arab Emirates (UAE)! With its world-class universities and vibrant culture, the UAE offers a unique and enriching study experience. To ensure a smooth transition, securing a student visa is essential.

Who Qualifies for a UAE Student Visa ?

The UAE student visa is intended for international students enrolled in full-time Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. programs offered by accredited universities in the UAE and Willing to relocate to the UAE for the duration of your studies. Short-term courses like certificates or CPD programs don’t qualify.

Eligibility:
  • Foreign nationals (except GCC countries) require a Student Visa.
  • Acceptance into a UAE higher education institution is mandatory.

Top Universities and Colleges in the UAE

The UAE boasts a vibrant academic landscape with world-class universities and reputable colleges. Choosing the right institution depends on your program of interest, budget, and location preferences. Here are some of the highly-ranked universities and colleges to consider:
  • United Arab Emirates University (Al Ain)
  • Khalifa University (Abu Dhabi)
  • Zayed University (various locations across the UAE)
  • Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT – multiple campuses across the UAE)
  • American University of Sharjah (Sharjah)
  • University of Sharjah (Sharjah)
  • American University in Dubai (Dubai)
  • Heriot-Watt University (Dubai)
  • Curtin University Dubai (Dubai)
  • New York University Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi)
  • The University of Wollongong in Dubai (Dubai)
  • Sponsored by a university/college
  • Sponsored by a parent (resident of the UAE) – only for male students under 25 unless married
  • Golden Visa (for outstanding students – see separate information)

Gain Acceptance: Secure admission to a recognized university/college in the UAE.

Gather Documents: Prepare the necessary documents, including:
  • Passport and copies
  • Passport-sized photos (possibly up to 12)
  • University acceptance letter
  • Proof of financial solvency (tuition & living expenses)
  • Medical certificate (issued by a UAE-approved health center)
  • Proof of accommodation (student housing or tenancy agreement)
  • Previous degree certificates (for postgraduate programs)
  • Acceptance letter from an accredited UAE university
  • Proof of sufficient financial resources (to cover tuition and living expenses)
  • Other general residence visa requirements (details not provided here, likely refer to medical tests, passport validity, etc.)
Required Documents:
  • University offer letter (original)
  • University registration fee payment receipt
  • Completed visa application form
  • Valid passport copy (at least 7 months validity remaining)
  • Passport-sized photograph (scanned color copy)
  • Signed student undertaking letter
  • Visa deposit payment receipt (original)
  • Signed student undertaking letter
  • Visa deposit (AED 3,500)
  • Applicable visa fee
  • Get Accepted: Secure admission into a UAE university/college.
  • Entry Permit: Your school will likely sponsor your entry permit application (through ICA or GDRFA channels). This may be required before entering the UAE.
  • Student Visa: Once you’re in the country, your university will apply for your Student Visa (residence visa) at the relevant GDRFA office.
Upon arrival in the UAE, expect to undergo medical tests and obtain your Emirates ID (national ID) within 4 weeks.

Mandatory health insurance coverage is required for all students under university sponsorship. You can either choose your own plan or opt for the university’s medical insurance.

Family Sponsorship and Student Visa
  • Male students over 18 with a Family Visa need a separate Student Visa.
  • New rule (2018): Dependent sons of UAE visa holders may be eligible for a 1-year, renewable residence visa upon completing secondary education or reaching 18 (whichever comes first).
  • Daughters can remain on their father’s sponsorship (if unmarried).

The student visa fee depends on your location when applying:

  • Outside the UAE: AED 2,500
  • Inside the UAE (transferring to student visa): AED 4,500
A refundable visa security deposit of AED 3,500 is also required.

Your visa may be canceled under various circumstances, including:

  • Student withdrawing from studies before visa expiry
  • Graduation
  • University expulsion due to disciplinary action or criminal offense
  • Violation of visa regulations or university rules
  • Failing to inform the university about taking a semester off

To cancel your visa, you will need:

  • Completed and signed application form
  • Original passport
  • Original Emirates ID
  • Visa cancellation fee
  • Any applicable penalties

Important Considerations

Securing an admission letter from your chosen university is the first step.
Be prepared to pay the registration fee, which varies depending on the program level (Master’s or Ph.D.).
Students on a visa cannot hold full-time or part-time jobs.
Sponsoring dependents (family members) or providing visit visas for them is not permitted.
Taking a semester off while remaining under university sponsorship requires visa cancellation and can incur penalties if not done properly.
All visa applications undergo security checks, which can take 3-5 weeks.

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