Visa Run Dubai to Hatta – A Complete Explanation
Before you start reading this article on the Dubai to Hatta visa run, check our article on the alternative routes to Hatta, Oman – Al Wajaja Border Crossing – as the military police checkpoints are currently closed and have been since November 2015. We’ll keep you updated if there are any changes to the Dubai/Hatta visa run. Please check this list of nationalities to ensure you can enter the UAE with a ‘visa on arrival’. Photographs of the journey will be uploaded shortly on this link. Once you have survived the visa run from Dubai to Hatta (and before we forget, Hatta is in the UAE – you need to drive a little further to the actual Oman border at Al Wajaja!) and you’ve driven past the Hatta Fort Hotel then you’re well on your way to the new immigration border post where you need to present your passport.
You will notice a new sturdy welded mesh fence with razor wire. This fencing on either side of the road will now ‘funnel’ you down to the UAE/Oman border. You do not need to get out of your car. Simply drive towards the centre (you cannot go anywhere else!) and enter one of the lanes with a green light – usually one or two on the left hand side. When it is your turn hand over your passport and AED 35 per passport – the cost of the exit fee. Remember the passport holder must also be present. For each passport, the official will hand you a white and yellow form which is marked ‘New Exit Visa’. It shows the total price of AED 35. Drive to the next window and hand your passport and the form to the immigration official. He/she will then check your passport/s and stamp them indicating you have exited the UAE. The official will then return your passports and the New Exit Visa form (having removed a section for their records) to you. If you have overstayed your welcome you will be required to park and enter the building to pay the required fines. Once you are cleared you can continue your visa run journey.
The next stop is customs. Again, there are unmarked speed bumps (the yellow paint has all but disappeared) and along part of the road you should keep your speed down to 50 kph. The customs checkpoint is up a slight hill. There are usually a number of police/officials at the customs checkpoint. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to their checks. You will see a sign asking you to ensure your back windows are open and they will look in the back of your car. They may also check your boot. Sometimes they ask you to get out of the car and open the boot, other times they open the boot themselves. You will get a slip of paper with your car registration number written in Arabic and the number of people in the car. Do not lose this piece of paper. It is required by immigration at the Al Wajaja border. Then continue on the same road watching out for speed bumps! Further along the road you will see a large brown building which is the Al Wajaja immigration/border crossing centre.
Oman – Al Wajaja Border Crossing
The building has an archway on the right hand side. As you are only doing a visa run and not entering Oman then you should take the exit on the left hand side which has a sign saying ‘New Visa‘. Park in this area. If it is hot try to park as close to the building as possible. Enter the building by the main glass doors. Do not take any photographs either inside or outside. On your right there is a table (and a few chairs) with a bundle of white/navy blue forms. Take one of these forms and complete it (hence the need for a pen!) It is a simple form asking for your passport details, your name etc. You do not need to complete the section on flights etc. Take your passport, the little piece of paper from Customs and your completed form to one of the windows on the right. Don’t forget your AED 50 per person. Tell him/her that you are doing a visa run and returning to Dubai straightaway. The Omani official will check your passport in their system, stamp you in and out of Oman and stamp the little piece of paper on the back. Recently (as of May 2015) the immigration official will retain this little piece of paper and will not give you another (as of April/May 2015). This was still the case in April 2016. In fact, during the last visa run they didn’t take the paper, even when offered so it’s still lying in the car! BUT to err on the side of caution, keep it with you anyway. If you need to use the toilet facilities, there is a public toilet in the building but take your own toilet paper and handwash/paper towels. Unfortunately, although the facilities were refurbished only a few years ago, they are not particularly well kept. There is a shop selling drinks and snacks inside the building on the left hand side – we are unsure of the opening hours but it is not open in the early hours of the morning. As mentioned earlier, you can buy a pen here for AED 1. Now all you need to do is re-enter Dubai!
When you exit the car park make sure you leave on the opposite side from where you entered and turn left. This takes you back to the road you were on previously but obviously in the other direction, i.e. towards Dubai. There is a relatively new checkpoint a few hundred metres along the road which seems to be manned on a part-time basis. Slow down and see if there is an attendant. You now need to drive back to the area where you first exited the UAE, i.e. the large brown building. For visitors travelling back to Dubai drive into the parking area so keep in the far left hand lane and turn into the car park which is just in front of the building. Ignore the insurance queues. Entrance to the building is on your right hand side – if you are facing the building. Go into the building with your passport/s. During the holiday weekends the passport stamping took a very long time as there were about 4 or 5 queues all about 20 people deep. If you are doing a visa run during a holiday period then ensure you go very early in the morning. There are toilet facilities here (again, take your own paper!) and a Duty Free shop. The Duty Free Shop is small and does not have a great selection, however, there are cigarettes, perfume and chocolates. If it is busy the queues are divided into GCC Nationals and Others. Make sure you’re standing in the correct queue by asking someone. A bank is situated inside the building in one of the corners. Immigration is beginning to use hi-tech face/iris recognition facilities although it seems to be for GCC nationals and residents only at the moment. It is probably only a matter of time before all nationalities/visitors are logged in this manner. Once your passport is stamped showing you have re-entered the UAE you will also be asked how many people are travelling in your vehicle. The official will give you a piece of paper with the number of people noted. Hold onto this as you will need to give it to officials further down the road. After a few miles you will find yourself driving through the area where the old portakabin is located but obviously on the other side of the road, i.e. in the Hatta direction. Drive slowly here – this is a manned border crossing – stay in the left hand lane, depending on what time of day you are travelling there may be many trucks in the right hand side lane. You will see a group of men and occasionally a female in blue uniforms. Slow down and offer the piece of paper and your passport. They will gesture you to move on and at the next little cabin give the official the piece of paper. However, there have been incidences of drivers being asked to park up so that the inspectors can check the vehicle and the individuals. If you are asked to go with one of the officials you will need to take your handbag (if female). You will enter a small bare room which will be locked by the official. She (if you’re female only a female will assist you) will ask to look in your bag. Please allow her to do her job. All being well, she will allow you to leave and escort you back to your vehicle. It’s basically the same for any male who is requested to go with an official. These are simply good security measures, keeping the UAE safe and secure for everyone. And that’s that. You will find yourself on the road towards the Hatta Fort Hotel (en route to Dubai). In the centre of the roundabout there is a model fort and you can turn right and enjoy breakfast which is definitely worth doing (it finishes about 11am so aim to be there before then) or simply go straight and drive back to Dubai. The hotel has reintroduced an entry fee charge which goes towards the cost of any food and drink you consume. Around Hatta there are various things to do and see. The hotel provides some printed driving directions so it might be handy to have a chat with them if you want to spend a few hours enjoying the scenery. There is a small charge for the print-out. Instead of rushing back to Dubai you could always stay a night or two at the Hotel. It is slightly dated but in an olde worlde kind of way. Take it as you find it and you’ll certainly enjoy it!
Good luck! If you have any comments or would like to send any photos of your journey please do so using the form below. If you want to tell us your stories of your visa runs, we’d love to hear from you. It’s great to get feedback and updates so if anyone is doing a visa run please let us know how you got on and if there are any changes to the information we’ve provided here.
Dubai Immigration Contact Information
Extra information: Dubai Naturalisation & Residency Department (Immigration) or (only if you are in the country) dial 800 5111 – Option 2 for English and then Option 1 will take you to someone who can help answer your immigration questions (Amer Service). Make sure you ask the question properly and double check the information provided by using a different question but meaning the same as your initial question. Perhaps writing a list of questions before you phone may help you. Sometimes things get lost in translation! if you’re really uncertain as to the answer phone back a little while later and you’ll probably get a different person on the other end. It’s a way of double checking you have the correct answer.
The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice.
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