Saturday, November 23, 2013

TRAVEL | Dubai Backpacking 101 : Visa, Flight and Immigration

One of the many perks of working in Oman is that you can travel to nearby countries during your free days. Just a couple of weeks ago, I decided to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi for a short trip. For the benefit of those backpackers who are also interested to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi, here are some travel tips I can give you.

As a backpacker, I think that some of the most important skills that you should learn is how to be- insensitive, patient and understanding. Once you've mastered this, nothing can get in your way even the most pathetic people in the whole universe can't bring you down.


For Filipinos working in GCC countries, a visa on arrival can be issued at Dubai immigration. PLEASE NOTE however that not all visa professions are eligible for visa on arrival. Per Royal Omani Police's (ROP) website, non-degree related professions such as laborers, carpenters, etc. are restricted. So make sure to check your labor card before departing Oman.

Below are the professions eligible for visa on arrival in Dubai or any GCC:

Statement of profession benefited from residents entry visa :

  • Accountant
  • Actor
  • Agricultural engineer
  • Agricultural supervisor
  • Aircraft crew
  • Archaeologist
  • Architect engineer
  • Artist
  • Athletic planner
  • Author / writer
  • Aviation engineer
  • Banker
  • Broker
  • Budget expert
  • Businessman
  • Businesswoman
  • Captain
  • Chancellor
  • Chemical
  • Commercial agent
  • Commercial partner
  • Computer engineer
  • Computer manager
  • Consultant
  • Coordinator
  • Crew
  • Decoration designer
  • Dent surgery
  • Dentist
  • Department supervisor
  • Deputy general manager
  • Deputy manager
  • Designer
  • Draftsman
  • Electrician
  • Electronic engineer
  • Electronic technician
  • Employee Engineer
  • Expert
  • Food observer
  • Football player
  • General manager
  • Geologist
  • Geologist engineer
  • Goldsmith
  • Head of department
  • Health observer
  • Hospital technician
  • Instructor
  • Journalist
  • Laboratory technician
  • Lawyer
  • Lecturer
  • Manager
  • Mechanic generators
  • Mechanical assistant
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Military officer
  • Musician
  • Non-commissioned officer
  • Nurse
  • Pharmacist
  • Physic
  • Physician
  • Pilot
  • Pilot officer
  • Preacher
  • Printing press operator
  • Production assistant
  • Production executive
  • Program analyst
  • Programmer
  • Project evaluator
  • Project in-charge
  • Referee
  • Reporter / announcer
  • Sales executive
  • Scientist
  • Senior consultant
  • Specialist
  • Sport trainer
  • Stewardess
  • Stores inspector
  • Supervisor
  • Surveyor
  • Teacher
  • Technologist
  • Tourism adviser
  • Translator
  • Treatment specialist
  • Typist
  • University professor
  • Vessel captain
  • Vessels supervisor
  • Wireless operator
  • Writer
  • X ray technician

For more information on Visa eligibility, please visit the ROP's website below:


You have an option on how to get to Dubai. Either you take the plane or bus. I prefer the plane since it is faster and more convenient. But I will strongly recommend flying in Swiss Air as this carrier is more comfortable than Oman Air. 

Swiss Air can be a little higher than Oman Air but believe me, it's worth it. It's very cozy inside Swiss Air with more leg room. The flight attendants are not very helpful but that is the least of your concerns.

Swiss Air and Oman Air I think have the best rates available online. You can also opt to book and pay through your debit card or credit card. Please note though that if you are purchasing someone else's ticket using your own card, be ready to prepare some documentation like authorization forms (don't worry, the air carrier will give you these templates). This is being done to prevent any fraudulent use of credit cards which happened in the past.

Arrival at Dubai Airport

Upon arrival at the airport, look for the window that gives out the visa on arrival. This should be at the immigration area. It costs 180 AED. And though most of the staff there are Filipinos, don't expect them to accommodate you. They are totally bored of their job and they can only talk about their next vacation and not mind anybody. 

Make no mistake about the UAE's immigration officers. They are not the nicest people you'll meet in your life. And they will make your visit as unpleasant as they can. Here's a transcript of my lovely meeting with the obnoxious UAE immigration:
(After handing to the immigration officer the Visa on Arrival papers, he noticed something wrong) 
Officer : Why did you write in this line (i.e. resident number)? All Filipinos stupid! 
Me : Sorry I didn't know I shouldn't write there. (I just refrained from arguing). 
Officer : I can't accept this, this is not my mistake. You need to buy another Visa. 
Me : No, I don't have money and I can't buy the visa again. 
After a while he stamped my passport and let me go. 
Officer : Go and don't show your face again.

Anyhow, if there's one thing that you should learn as a backpacker, that is to respect others though they don't deserve any tinge of respect. This is their turf and you don't want to be in any trouble. So as much as you can, control your temper.

Next article : Itinerary in Dubai & what to do around the metro.

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