Sometimes, transit flights with different airlines are much cheaper than direct flights or layover flights with the same airline. However, in most cases, you will need to do immigration at the transit airport in another country and for that, you will need a visa. Recently, for my trip to Azerbaijan, I found very affordable flights with Wizz Air from Abu Dhabi. But to take that flight, I would need to do immigration in UAE with a regular tourist visa and that would cost over $50 and more documentation. Fortunately, UAE provides free 48-hour transit visas for everyone. In this article, I will guide you on how to apply for free UAE transit visa and get the visa in less than 24 hours. Read on to learn more.
Why transit through Abu Dhabi Airport?
UAE is a country with two major airports – Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport. There are lots of flights from these airports connecting South Asian countries with cities around the globe. The Abu Dhabi International Airport is also a hub for the budget international airline Wizz Air.
Wizz Air is running pretty cheap flights between Abu Dhabi and Baku, and many other destinations in Europe. If you book months in advance, you can find flights for as low as INR 3000! That is pretty cheap for a 4-hour international flight.
For me, to fly from my home airport in Kochi to Baku at an affordable price, Wizz Air was ideal. However, to take this flight, I would need to do immigration in Abu Dhabi, exit the airport and then enter the airport to do the check-in for the Wizz Air flight. Thankfully, UAE is providing free 48-hour transit visas to enable this at no extra cost. Moreover, I had a gap of over 30hrs between my arrival flight from Kochi – Abu Dhabi and my departure flight from Abu Dhabi to Baku. The transit visa allowed me to explore Abu Dhabi for one day instead of waiting forever in the airport terminal.
As far as I know, Dubai International Airport does not provide free transit visa. Hence, it is ideal to use Abu Dhabi International Airport for your transit journey through UAE.
Do You Need A Visa?
In your case, it is important to first check if you need a visa or if you are eligible to get visa on arrival. If you are from any of the countries or regions listed below, you do not need to apply for a visa before you travel to the UAE. When you land in Abu Dhabi, simply make your way to immigration to receive a visa when you arrive.
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong (SAR of China)
- New Zealand
- People’s Republic of China
- Republic of Mauritius
- Republic of El Salvador
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- San Marino
- South Korea
- The Vatican
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Conditions for free 48 hours transit visa
If you are not from one of the countries listed above, you will need a visa prior to boarding of your first leg of the journey. The conditions for free 48 hour transit visa through Abu Dhabi are pretty easy:
- The flight should be within 14 days of visa application.
- Confirmed ticket traveling into Abu Dhabi Airport and onwards from Abu Dhabi to a third destination.
- The arrival flight and departure flight in Abu Dhabi should have a gap between 8 hours and 48 hours.
Steps to apply for free transit visa
The application process for a free transit visa through Abu Dhabi is entirely online and should take no more than 10 minutes. You can follow the steps below:
- Visit the UAE Visa Application website.
- Select Transit Visa for 48 hours.
- Fill in the application fields. You can find a detailed walkthrough of the application form in the Free UAE Transit Visa video guide below.
- Once you successfully submit the application, you should get a decision within 24 hours via email.
UAE Free Transit Visa Video Guide
I found the application process very easy. My first submission was reverted to modify the Full Name field. They want you to also enter your father’s full name along with your own full name. After making the correction, I got the visa within 2 hours.
I used this 48-hour transit visa to explore Abu Dhabi for a day. If you are booking a flight combination with a long layover, I highly recommend applying for this transit visa to take advantage of the opportunity to explore Abu Dhabi instead of wasting away your time in the airport terminal.
If you have any questions or run into any trouble, feel free free to ask me. I will be happy to answer you. 🙂