Because A-to-A is The New In

“Exit” (exiting UAE) or visa run is a procedure you have to go through to change your visa status in Dubai. 3 years ago, when I was a newbie here, I would hear stories from fellow kabayans about their experiences when they had to exit the country. Some of them flown either to Kish or Qeshm in Iran. They have to stay there until the day that they have a new visa. Normally, they’d stay there for a night or two. But some unfortunate ones got to stay there for weeks, months, years and some of them, I think, were doomed to stay there forever.

So when I learned that I have to exit the country, I felt nervous and scared. The first time I changed my visa from employment to residence, I did not do this process. It’s still a question for me why I had to this. Some of my friends told me that it’s a new rule. Fine. At least I made it back. And at least it’s Oman. And it’s A-to-A (airport to airport). If I got stuck there, it’s easy to find my way out.

Anyway, here’s a quick run through of my recent “trip” to Muscat International Airport. Seriously? Yes!

4:00 AM

Too early to get up on a Friday morning. Plus it’s the first day of Ramadan so I should have eaten before heading out.

5:00 AM

Arrived two hours early at the airport for my 7:00 AM flight. I was booked for a flight to Muscat via FlyDubai. There’s a special counter for those who are doing visa runs. But it’s not properly indicated on the board above the counter so I refused to believe it’s a special counter.

It’s just a quick “trip” so I didn’t bother bring any stuff with me. Just my passport, employment visa and my mobile phone. Be reminded that it’s better to bring extra money because if they found out in the immigration that you’ve been overstaying in Dubai, you have to pay a fine. Heard the cost is 100 AED for the first day and 25 AED on every succeeding day.

7:00 AM

Flight to Muscat. Nothing to see but pure desert.

See you later Dubai!

8:00 AM

Arrived at Muscat International Airport. Got picked up by a bus that brought the passengers to the airport building. Headed straight to the Transfer Desk, picked up my boarding pass and queued for boarding. Whut?!

Well, what do you expect? It’s the same plane and the same flight attendants. Ta-da!

8:40 AM

Left for Dubai. Very funny. It’s like we just went to Oman to breathe. Another hour spent in the plane, doing nothing but sleep lest I want to pay 30 AED for the flight entertainment.

9:40 AM

Touchdown Dubai. Went straight to the iris scan. I remember doing this the first time I came to Dubai. “Open your eyes. Bigger! Bigger!” After the iris scan, went to the immigration, got stamped and voila, visa run, khalas (finish in Arabic)

10ish AM

Out of the airport!


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  1. I will fly from dubai at 12 pm firday and 7pm i will return. Do i need Oman visit visa just to stay in the airport for 2,3 hours ?

  2. Hi Jane,

    Good day!

    Is this blog still active?
    I just want to clarify some questions that I hope I can get clear answer.

    My employer called me a while ago and told me that if possible I can exit by tomorrow to Oman and wait 2-3 days there until my working visa will be release. By the way , I’m in a visit visa status and my visa will expire on June 3,2016.
    1. Why do I need to wait for 2-3 days and stay in Oman , if I would rather just wait for the day of release of my working visa ,bring it and have a-a in oman so that I will not expend money there for hotel accomodation.
    2. If I am not going for a-a , and needs to stay and wait for the release of my working visa , do I need to pass the oman imigg?and have oman visa?

    Thank you!

    1. Hello Ryan! Yes, this blog is still active. I will try to answer your questions based on my (and some close friends’) experiences. In most cases you can do a-to-a but it’s always best to check with your company’s PRO. I agree that it’s more economical and less of a worry to do a-to-a. Apparently, each PRO has their own way of handling things and it mostly depends on their “capability”. I highly urge you to speak to your employer’s PRO and suggest/negotiate an a-to-a. If all else fails and you need to exit to Oman for a few days, you will need to apply for an Omani visa first.

    2. Hi Jane. Want to ask. My wife need to do a to a. She has her evisa already and was ask by their personnel to do a to a. What bugs me is she will go usual to terminal dxb to be stamp exit. Going to Oman. Then to Oman no need to go immigration to stamp entry to Oman right? She just go straight to wait bording again at Oman airport. Or she need to do immigration stamp entry. Then go to boarding again to dxb? Try in advance

  3. Hi Jane . I had my residence visa cancelled because I found a new job. My 30 days grace period was over but fortunately my new employer will pay pay for my penalty. So my question is once I received my new visa, do I still need to exit uae? Looking forward to your response. ????

    1. Hi AJ! It depends on your employer if they will ask you to get out of the country or not. Better check with your new employer. The people I know who have exceeded the grace period usually do visa runs. Hope that helps!

  4. Hi Jane,
    Thank you for this blog. It makes things easier to those who are doing exit run via Oman. :-) It’s a big help. I myself will be exiting this week. (A to A). Thanks agan.


  5. Hi jane! im glad i found your blog. just want to ask if i need to book at least 1 week before exit? or can i book a day before? thank you and god bless

  6. hi jane! just want to ask if i need to book at least 1 week before exit to oman? or can i book a day before? thank you and god bless :)

  7. Hi! I just read your blog about exiting to Oman. I just want to inquire, you mean I won’t be going pass through immigration in Oman anymore if your going from A to A? I thought the entry stamp from the passport is needed?

  8. Hi Jane, Good day. Nice blog.
    1.Is there a website that we can have a reference to look at for the A to A transfer. Having read the previous comments seems that it will depends on the capability of PRO for a visa to be process while physically your still at UAE.
    I’m under tourist visa that will due on Oct 2015 and will negotiate to have an A to A instead of going by land.

    2. Since Oman visa were not needed on A to A? Do you have any website reference we can read at for this subject Oman visa? All the reference that I’m asking can be use for anyone who wish to negotiate on thier respective employers processing of their Visa.

    3. Is there a needed profesion on the Visa to qualify for an A to A?

    Thank you very much

    1. Hello Jeff! Thanks for visiting my blog. Regarding your questions… I don’t have any idea if there’s a website about visa runs that you can use for reference. I actually find it as a loophole in the system. What’s written in this blog is based on experience. Sorry if that wasn’t helpful but should you find out a website we can cite as a reference regarding visa run procedures, please let us know. :)

      For your third question, there’s no profession needed to qualify for an A to A since you won’t be going through the Omani immigration.

  9. Hi Jane,
    Just wanted to know if the procedure is still the same for 2015. I need to exit on the 13th and I am worried because some of my friends said that I need to apply for an Oman visa beforehand. But I read on your comments that since you won’t be exiting the “airport”, an Oman visa won’t be necessary.
    Appreciate your help.

    1. Hi Mike! As far as I know, the procedure is still the same. I have some friends who did that recently and it was the same process. Better yet, consult with your company’s PRO – they should know better than me. :) Should the procedure has updated, please let me know. Thanks! :)

  10. Hi, Jane!!! I just wanna ask: does this A-to-A thing depend on your company? I just got employed here in Abu Dhabi, and I will be having my second exit in a month. And to be honest, I’d really prefer not to spend uncertain number of days in Kish or in Oman (where I did my first exit), haha. Thank you in advance for your help!

    1. Hi Ron! It actually depends if you already have your employment visa with you. If it is ready, then you can do A to A. However, if your current visa (tourist or visit) is expiring anytime soon and your employment visa isn’t available before the end of your current visa, then, most likely you will be asked to exit to Kish.

      I’m assuming that you just had your tourist or visit visa renewed because you mentioned you just went out of the country. Then maybe you can stay here in Dubai as long as your current visa allows until such time your employment visa is ready. That way, you won’t be staying in Kish for long. I hope that helps!

  11. Hi jane, please advise if it is ok to have my children do this A to A visa run, they are on a visit visa and I got their entry permit and I am thinking to have them A to A to muscat, I will accompany them, I have my residence visa, please advise if this is Ok.

    1. Hi Robert, I’m not sure about kids doing a visa run as I have never seen or known anyone who has done that. I don’t know if this will be helpful but maybe you can consult with the immigration, or perhaps a travel agent?

  12. Hello, is this the same process until now? No need to Omani Visa? Is it applicable also to me who’s returning to dubai as tourist visa or only for those who are with employment visa? Thank you

  13. Hi ms jane!

    Thank God i found your vlog I was wondering what to do in A to A visa changed. If i need to have a omani visa but Thanks to you I know now what to do that I dont need to have that omani visa cause Im not going through oman immigration! At first Im scared coz Im the only one who will travel to oman but thankfull thats its juts A to A like what you did! keep doing more vlogs likes this for us newbies it really help a lot :) Best Regards!

  14. Hi Jane,
    Thank you for your blog. It helps me a lot also. I will gonna leave tonight @ 10:30PM going to Muscat , A to A also. Because I thought that I just need to pass the counter for exit stamp and come back again @ the same time , its really funny :D . So now I know that I need to go to Oman, But it will be okay, I love to travel also :D . I hope I we can see each other someday :D we have same background, Im a architecture grad. By the way Thanks Again !

    1. Hello EDZ! :) Thank you too, for dropping by my blog. :) I know you will be fine and probably by the time you get to read this, you’re already back in Dubai. :) Cheers!

    1. Hi Hasan! I believe the procedure is still the same. My sister did a visa run last March and it’s all the same. You don’t need an Oman visa since you’re not gonna get stamped an entry anyway. You won’t go through Oman’s immigration desk.

  15. hi, im a newbie here… im about to exit but still exploring my options on where to safely exit the country. I have told the company where I was hired that I prefer to exit in Oman since it is my fathers wish. but the company told me that I cannot exit oman since it will require the company to pay 900 dirhams for the visa. but my father insist that no visa is required for oman.
    now, can anyone please enlighten me. does oman really require a visa? has your company even mentioned that to you that your exit obliged them to pay for your entry to oman?

  16. Your blog is very helpful. I was worried I would need pre-arranged visa to Oman for A to A because I was advised to go through the normal process including Oman Immigration. I can breathe now. Not as lucky as you though, I have to wait for 4Hrs to return to Dubai but so much better than staying for uncertain number of nights in Kish.

    Thank you.

  17. Hi Jane great blog I’m also planning for kish on Monday and I am also scared but have to do it in order for my visa status to change but I like that airport to airport exit so let’s see what happens

    1. Thanks Adil! Don’t be afraid as it’s a common process. Hope your visa change process will be smooth sailing! :)

  18. Hi!
    I’m new in dubai, under tourist visa. my visa will expire on jan 30, and our PRO will process my visa tomorrow. He told me I need to exit either to Kish or Oman so that my visa will be processed so that it wont be rejected.
    is this really the process? i’m just confused because some people can do A to A however according to our PRO i cant.
    is Oman better thatn Kish?

    i hope you can help me out!

    1. Hi Cham! Welcome to Dubai! As far as I know, you need to exit the country to change your visa status from tourist or visit visa to employment visa and then to residence visa. It’s normal to exit but sometimes it depends on the PRO’s capability (connections, perhaps). I haven’t been to Kish but the stories I’ve been hearing sad accounts about kabayans left stranded in Kish for weeks, months and even years. I don’t mean to scare you but if you’re not doing your visa run via A to A, it’s best to make clear with your PRO how long can he process your visa for you to return to Dubai. The sooner, of course, the better. Hope that helps! Good luck and God bless! :)

  19. Hello Jane!

    First off, thanks for this wonderful information. I am new here in UAE and I just landed a job in Al Ain. My tourist visa’s about to expire and I am waiting for my Work permit to be released. I was told that i still need to exit UAE (A to A) to have my passport stamped. As much as possible i don’t want to hop on a plane so I’ve been reading threads if it’s possible to do this in Buraimi, Oman (since it’s just a 15 minute ride away from Al Ain) unfortunately all i’m getting are info on EU national visa runs. Now my only option is board a plane either to Kish or Oman.
    Here are my questions, and I hope you could enlighten me with your inputs:
    > How much were the rountrip tickets to Muscat?
    > Did you pay for Omani visa fees or since it’s just A to A (and you dont have to go through Omani immigration) you only paid for the tickets?

    Thanks very much and i do wish to hear from you soon!


    1. Hi Eriko! Thanks for reading my blog. The company I was working for paid for the airfare and if my memory serves me right, it costs 500-700 dirhams, via FlyDubai. You don’t need an Omani visa because you don’t have to go through the immigration. You get off the plane, take your boarding pass (Dubai-bound) from the transfer desk and ride the same plane. The whole process will just take 40-45 minutes. Hope that helps! :)

  20. Thank you for sharing your exeperience, we wanted to know how it worked and this has helped us greatly..we now know what to do.

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