This handy guide is for people visiting Dubai on a 30-day visa on arrival – either as a visitor to the country or whilst waiting for their residency visa to come through – who need to renew their visa for a further 30 days.
What is a Visa Run?
When entering Dubai as a tourist, many nationalities are entitled to a free multiple-entry visa on arriving at the border (different to a tourist visa). It lasts for 30 days, however, there is currently a 10-day grace period – so really you can spend 40 days in the UAE without incurring an overstay fine.
If you wish to stay in the UAE for a longer period of time and you are an eligible passport holder, you can renew your visa by exiting the country and getting a new 30-day visa on arrival issued at the border. This can be done by air or by road.
Road tripping to Oman is a popular way of getting this 30-day visa renewed and is commonly referred to as “doing a border run”.
It is perfectly legal to do and can add a great side trip to your experience of staying in Dubai, but there are a number of steps involved to make sure you are doing it properly and will maximise the benefit of your renewed visa.
When should I do a visa run from Dubai?
Although UAE visas on arrival are issued for 30 days, there is a 10-day grace period before you are fined. It is recommended you leave the country between Day 31 and Day 39.
If you leave the country at all before the 30 days expire, your visa will NOT renew at that point. This can catch a lot of visitors out who think their visa has restarted from the second entry date.
Do I need to leave the country to renew my tourist visa?
Tourists can apply for the second renewal before the expiry of the first one by paying a fee of 620AED to the Department of Naturalisation and Residency. This can only be done a maximum of two times before you would need to physically leave the country. It is more convenient but usually more costly than doing a border run.
What if I don’t leave the country?
Visa overstayers who do not renew will have to pay a 200 AED fine and 100 AED for each day of their overstay, to be calculated from 10 days after the visa expiry, plus a 100AED services fee to immigration. This must be paid before they can leave the country. You can read more on visa costs and fines here.
How to do a Visa Run to Oman
You can either arrange your own Visa Run using a hired or borrowed vehicle (though see driving tips below) or join an organised group that offer border run bus services.
Organised bus services for Dubai to Oman bus runs
If you do not want the headache of trying to take a car across the border to Oman, there are services that operate specifically for the purpose of taking tourists on border runs and will talk you through the crossing process.
Please note we are not affiliated with any of these service providers. Information correct to best of our knowledge at the time of writing but you will need to check with the individual providers
- Go Tours Dubai A round trip to the border in a small van will take you approximately 5 hours. The current pricing is 150 AED for mornings, and 120 AED for afternoons. They can also arrange private cars for up to 4 passengers for 550AED. See their website for current locations.
Taking private cars over the border to Oman
To cross the border to Oman in a car, you need the vehicles original registration document and evidence that you are the owner of the vehicle, or have written permission from the owner of the vehicle to cross the border.
In addition, your vehicle must have third party insurance for the Sultanate of Oman. If it is not, short-term insurance policies can be purchased at most border crossing points (approximately 100AED for one week). Immigration will always request these documents as part of the crossing process.
If you are unable to get the appropriate permissions or original documents for your vehicle (eg you are using a hire car and they will not permit border crossing), you should choose a border crossing point where it is possible to walk between the UAE and Oman offices – we detail which ones to try below.
Visa Run Dubai to Oman: How does it actually work?
Regardless of whether you are in an organised group or going it alone, a border run entails four steps;
- Receiving an exit stamp to leave the UAE after paying your departure tax
- Getting an entry stamp into the Sultanate of Oman after paying for a Tourist Visa or showing evidence you’ve purchased an eVisa in advance
- Getting an exit stamp at the Omani border post to show you’ve left the country again and your single-entry Omani Tourist Visa is cancelled
- Re-entering the UAE with a new 30-day Visa on Arrival.
Some border crossings require you to drive between border points – which can be very far apart – while others you can park your car and walk across the border to the Omani border post (we explain these below!)
The process will differ slightly at each crossing – and possibly even differ between border runs depending who is on duty!
The current fees are:
- Exit visa from UAE 35 AED ($9.50 USD)
- Entry Visa to Oman 5 OMR (approx. 50 AED/ $13USD)
- No Omani exit fee is needed
- No re-entry fee to the UAE
It is best to apply for your Omani eVisa in advance.
Note that there are conflicting reports as to whether you must apply for your eVisa in advance or if you are still able to purchase your Omani Tourist Visa at the border. This is the most recent clarification we have found on the matter that confirms you CAN still pay cash at the border. It’s recommended you have cash with you, do not rely on an ATM being available.
The best route to take for a Dubai to Oman border run
There’s no one ‘best way’ – it will depend on your time limitations, ability and willingness to take your car over the border and where in the UAE you are setting out from. These are the most popular routes from Dubai:
Wadi Hatta – Al Wajajah Border
The closest and most popular crossing point coming from Dubai or Sharjah. Since the E44 Hatta crossing was closed to non-GCC nationals, this alternative route is the next closest.
To get to this border crossing from Dubai
- Take the E44 south from Dubai
- Take exit 24 for E611 towards Al Sharjah/Al Dhaid.
- Take exit for E102/Sharjah – Kalba Road (signposted “Shawka”).
- Turn left at the roundabout back on the E44 Hatta Road
- The UAE Hatta border crossing is a further 14kms
- The Omani border post “Al Wajajah” is about 3kms further
Make it an overnight trip: Stay at JA Hatta Fort Hotel, UAE
Kalba – Katmat Milahah Border
The northernmost border crossing into mainland Oman is on the E99, from the Emirate of Sharjah (the part on the east coast, not the Sharjah that faces the Gulf!) Unless you had any particular reason for being in this northern corner of Oman it’s not a preferred crossing for border runs from Dubai.
Once there it is a super easy process; border guards extremely friendly. The whole process takes about less than 20 minutes. Also, it’s important to note rental cars are NOT permitted to drive through this crossing unless you have police permission.
Make it an overnight trip: Kalba Kingfisher Lodge
Mezyad – Hafeet Border Al Ain
This is the prefered border crossing near Al Ain for those coming from Abu Dhabi, it is a slightly longer drive if you are coming from Dubai. The border crossing posts here, however, are only 1.3kms apart which some prefer for a quick transit. It is also a preferred spot if you are looking to travel further into Oman and down to Jebel Shams or Nizwa.
Make it an overnight trip: Raddison Blu Hotel & Resort Al Ain
Al Dhara – Bukha (Musandam)
A slightly longer but pleasant drive from Dubai, take the E311 connecting to the E11 and drive along the Ras Al Khaimah coast until you hit the border, about two hours from downtown Dubai. You park up to get your exit stamp in the UAE then it’s a simple walk across the border to Oman, then re-enter back to the UAE.
Make it an overnight trip: Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa
Alternative Border Crossing Points into Oman
There are other border crossings to Oman you may hear mentioned including:
- Al Madheef – Buraimi
- Hili – Al Ain
- Hatta E44
We have not recommended these routes as they are only for use by GCC Nationals.
Can I do a border run to somewhere other than Oman?
Absolutely. The only reason there is a preference for Oman is that it can easily be done by road. You can leave from any UAE airport after day 30 but before day 40 and still return to the UAE and get a new tourist visa issued if you are eligible for a tourist visa on arrival.
Please check your eligibility before travelling on the government.ae website
Top tips for making a successful Oman border run in 2020
- Mid-week will always be quieter and easier than weekends when there will be a lot more GCC traffic.
- Avoid public holiday weekends! There tends to be far more tourist traffic and borders become very busy.
- Ensure everyone in your travelling party has a minimum of six months left on their passport and space for visa stamps.
- If you are travelling with children, but without both parents present it is wise to have a permission letter from the other parent or guardian.
Before you go— more handy tips to help you plan your visit to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws and customs to be aware of.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here: