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How to travel to the UK visa free from the UAE

For our growing number of avid readers from the UAE, the good news is that you can enter the UK visa free thanks to a visa waiver scheme allowing UAE citizens to visit for tourism, business, study or short-term medical treatment for up to six months.

By LLM Reporters  |  March 1, 2022
Image Credit: RichHiggins/Bigstock.com

Here at LLM, we bring you a diverse range of travel content covering some of the most exciting destinations around the world. But when it comes to luxury, the UK remains one of the most visited destinations in the world, with its plethora of Michelin-starred restaurants, high-end hotels and designer shopping boutiques making capital city London a hotspot for those looking for a getaway.

If you’re visiting from outside of the country, then there are varying rules that should be adhered to for entry, and since the UK left the European Union at the end of 2019, it no longer allows free movement for EU nationals, instead, imposing a maximum 90 day stay in any 180 day period – and the same is true in reverse.

Citizens of other countries will need to look into the specific rules that apply to them, as these can vary greatly. But for our growing number of avid readers from the UAE, the good news is that you can enter the UK visa free thanks to a visa waiver scheme allowing UAE citizens to visit for tourism, business, study or short-term medical treatment for up to six months.

The Electronic Visa Waiver scheme means that now, Emiratis looking to enter the country simply need to apply online in the United Arab Emirates to be granted a UK visa for UAE nationals. The process is quick and easy, and requires applicants to fill out a short form and pay the UK Electronic Visa Waiver fee to submit. Once these steps have been completed and the EVW has been approved, you can download and print the confirmation, and take it with you when you travel to present at passport control on arrival in the UK.

 Aerial view of the River Thames, Central London
When it comes to luxury, the UK remains one of the most visited destinations in the world. Image credit: PaulMaguire/Bigstock.com

For those who like to be prepared – which is always wise when travelling long-haul – you can apply for your UK visa waiver up to three months prior to the date of departure. If, on the other hand, you’re worried you may have left it too late to get approval before you travel, the scheme allows you to apply up until as late as 48 hours prior to departure – so if you’re hoping to board your first-class flights to the Big Smoke within the next week, then there’s still plenty of time to make the arrangements.

Before you apply, make sure you have your passport to hand and be ready to provide the address you will reside at during your time in the UK. Emeratis are also required to provide some health and safety information when submitting the request, so it’s wise to take some time to gather all the necessary paperwork before sitting down to apply to ensure the process is as smooth and seamless as possible.

UK entry requirements for Emeratis

To enter the UK for tourism, business, study or short-term medical treatment, an Electronic Visa Waiver is essential – so don’t risk flying without one. You’ll also need to have a passport with at least six months’ validity – although you may need to have some additional time left on it if you are planning to stay for the whole six-month period that is allowed. The airline you’re travelling with should check you have the necessary permissions prior to departure, and may not let you board the plane if you don’t.

Modern Architecture of Abu Dhabi Airport
The quickest route is to take a direct flight from Abu Dhabi International AIrport (AUH) to London Heathrow (LHR), which has a duration of 7 hours and 40 minutes. Image credit: Ursula1964/Bigstock.com

If you need to renew your passport before you travel because it’s close to expiry, then you’ll need to wait until you have received your new copy before applying for your Electronic Visa Waiver, as the details you provide on the application form must match the details of the passport you are travelling with exactly. If they don’t, then you might be refused entry and have no choice but to return to the UAE on the next flight.

How to get to the UK from the UAE

There are several flights each day between the UAE and the UK, to and from major cities. The quickest route is to take a direct flight from Abu Dhabi International AIrport (AUH) to London Heathrow (LHR), which has a duration of seven hours and 40 minutes, although this may vary slightly depending on the date and time you fly and the wind direction and weather conditions on the day. Emirates also operates daily flights from Dubai into both London Gatwick and London Heathrow. You may also fly into Manchester Airport as an alternative, with a range of other routes available from the UAE to the UK.