?> Tourist Visa to Residence Visa in Dubai | Find Me A Break


Updated as of 12 July 2015

It’s been a roller coaster ride since I moved to Dubai. I had change my residence visa for the third time now. I did all of it as A to A, a term Dubaians used which means “Airport to Airport”. Thinking about the process of doing it is so easy so I am sharing it to you. Btw I have written a post from my experience of flying in Dubai which you can read here.

Most of the Filipinos who arrive in Dubai for the first time are under Tourist visas (as required for most nationalities). It entitles one for a one-month stay plus one month extention if they are willing to extend their stay.  (Updated July 2015) A new law was imposed for visas in the UAE where you can choose one month or three months. However if you are willing to extend your stay you need to exit from Dubai so it means having to go to Oman for change status of your visa. You are required to exit the UAE or pay a fine if you have overstayed.

In my case as soon as I had my offer letter and got ready for a change of visa, my employer booked me a flight to Oman. I have my employment visa on hand with me. It took 45 minutes to and another 45 minutes back. The process is called “Exit” cos you need to have your passport stamped “Exit” at the Dubai airport then return “Entry” when you get back to UAE. This is a very important process so you can process later on your residence visa.

I was back in Dubai with a stamped passport and visa. The next step is to let your employer process your residence visa. They will have to collect your passport and employment visa to send it to a typing center then you need to perform your medical test. Most medical centers will send the results directly to the typing center. After that you’ll just have to wait. I received my stamped residence visa just after 2 weeks. Very impressive! And that’s it. Easy breezy. Good luck and see you in Dubai!



About Author

Dubai-based blogger from Philippines | born in the island of Cebu | an aspiring artist | loving life as an expat while exploring the sandpit

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  1. Hi Thanks for the detailed information. I would like to confirm if it is really a mandate to leave the Dubai and re-enter if you have entered in Tourist Visa and then got an employment visa by job search. As per my findings you can still get it stamped through immigration officer if you pay 500 Dhs at the immigration office.

    1. Hello! Yes it is possible that you can have your passport stamped without leaving the country however as far as I know that it is safer to just do the proper procedure in exiting UAE for a visa change. I’ve changed mine for 3 times now and have no problem (A to A) as long as your employer is trustworthy that’s what matters. 😀 Good luck!

  2. When you say A to A.. i will still have to fly some place and then return from airport itself.. right?

    I am not sure if my employer might be willing to pay that extra money for exiting the country. Though he will be ok to pay some extra fees for getting it converted there itself.

    If i don’t exit, is there any lega boundations or something?

    1. Yes sorry I meant Airport to Airport (eg Dubai – Oman vice versa) I can suggest that you do the proper way which is to leave the country but there are people doing the way you’re planning which is to just pay for visa change which I haven’t done yet.

  3. Thanks for all the information. Also can you help me in suggesting a place to rent a studio apartment near Media city. I plan to shift by mid of September.

    I am not looking for a expensive to start with.

      1. hi im on visit visa for one month and got job thre so my emplyr asking me to start job and we are starting to grt you a employemnet visa so tell me can its important me to i exit or enter any of the country im from pakistan…..?

  4. can anyone please leme know if there is any special carrier or a special flight reserved for this.. i dont find the tickets that allow u to change the visa in jux a few hours. all it shows is u hav to book 2 tickets one in the morning and return in the evening which means i have to stay the whole day at the airport of oman

  5. Hi. Nice informative blog. Do you know how much time is needed from having a visit visa to an employment visa? Thanks.

    1. Hey Jeraldo. Thanks! If you meant waiting for your employment visa while under visit visa then it will depend on your employer. If it will be processed immediately then it will take only maximum 2 weeks.

  6. Hi there Myla,

    Thanks for the informative post. Question though, do I have to wait until my Tourist visa expires before I fly out to Oman and come back to Dxb or can I fly to Oman & back to Dxb with both the tourist visa and work visa both valid? Hope my question is clear.



    1. Hi Jappie It depends. As far as I know the suggested way is to exit 2-3 days before your tourist visa expires and make sure to bring your working visa with you if you plan to do A to A exit.

      1. Hi Myla. I was told by VFS global (visa company) that the tourist visa is not convertible? Is this true? What about with companies like SouthTravels?

    2. Hi Jappie,
      I am interested in knowing if you were successful in getting yourself a working visa
      2. how long it took for you to get your working visa
      3. How long did you stay in Oman while waiting for your working visa?
      Thank you.

  7. Hi,
    An urgent situation.
    Is there any different rule in Fujairah, where you can’t have employment visa issued while you are on tourist visa? or its same for entire UAE?
    Does applying for employment visa while on tourist visa create any problems?
    or is it just PRO of my employer too keen to get me to leave UAE without giving me employment visa?

  8. Hi. I am currently a Tourist Visa holder. I am here in dubai for 75 days today.
    I am already hired. But they told me that a Tourist visa cannot acquire an employment visa. My Tourist Visa should be change to visit visa. And Visit Visa to Employment visa. They adviced me to exit twice.
    Can my employer ammend my Tourist visa? So that it can be automatically converted to Visit visa. So I will only be exiting uae once?

    1. Sorry Joyce. Not sure about this issue. But most of the time visit/tourist visa can be easily changed to Employment then Residence once you’ll get a job offer and of course if your employer takes care of it.

  9. Hello Myla,
    Nice blog here,btw is there an eligibility of taking this procedure?Do you need to be an engineer,accountant or alike to get this an A to A? Does it count?
    Thank you very much

  10. I just want to inquire, if you’re doing A to A, does that mean you won’t need to pass by the Oman immigration at the airport? you will just transfer planes? Where will you get the boarding pass and how can you check in? Thanks for your reply!

    1. Yes! No need to pass to the immigration area. When you arrive, someone will assist you and ask if you’re A to A. You just have to wait to board for your trip back. 🙂

  11. hi, any idea how many days for an employment visa processing? my new company ask me to resign from my present company here in qatar.. and now while reading infos from the net.. I don’t know if the employment visa will be released fast or I should go back to the Philippines


  12. Hi, we are waiting for our residency visas and have found a Filipina helper, however, she is on a visit visa (she has already renewed it once by going to Ishan?) her visa is due to expire on Thursday. Can I pay for this a to a trip for her? Which airline do you use? Any help urgently needed. Many thanks in advance

  13. Hi ms. Myla. I just resigned in my previous company last oct. Bec. I got a new job in a semi government. Since in my previous company i bought air ticket bec. They approbes my vacation this . & now i have my offer letter in mY new company. Is there any problem if i will wait my residence visa in philippine? So i can used my airticket. Thanks for your response. Kain

  14. I cancelled my job last Sept. And i am on my Tourist visa now which will expire on Nov. 6.. But fortunately i found new job but the problem is i have a labor ban, so in case my new company will process my employment visa, it will take time and i need to exit on Nov. 6.
    Im planning to exit to philippined while waiting for my employment visa…. is it possible to exit t phil? do i need to get any papers from the phil to get back here in dubai? Can i still go back in dubai from the phil. if o already have my employment visa? Thank you for your answer.

  15. Hi Myla,I find your blog to the point and very informative.
    I’m a Nigerian, looking to come on tourist visa through an agency. I do hope to convert it to a work visa once i get a job. Do you think for my nationality, that would be an issue?

    Thanking you in advance for your attention.

    1. Hi Chiadi – there shouldn’t be an issue with your passport. I know few Nigerian friends and they are comfortably working here.

  16. Hi Myla,

    One question please…hope you can guide mus coz were bit confuse..
    How about we are waiting our employment visa from a new employer here in dubai but we’re planning to exit and wait in Philippines… is it require a lot of procedures? Can u pls tell me the consequences if we will wait the said visa in Philippines

    Thanks and best regards,


    1. Hi Aisha I’m not sure about this. My advise is to approach the appropriate govt sector such as the Philippine consulate.

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