Every 30 or 40 days expats are driving up to the Oman border, spending a few minutes doing admin then driving back to Dubai.
What is going on?
It’s the infamous VISA RUN.
It is not like that.
A normal tourist visa gives a visitor 30 days (or 40, it’s a bit vague) so if you want to stay longer there are a few options.
Work visa. Normally provided by the company you are working for.
Buy your own work visa.
Make a once a month exit and entry into the UAE.
And actually, that is what a lot of international freelance people do.
This is the story of my first visa run. Saturday 14th March 2015
I get excited at the little things. I always have. To me it’s just my way. Others find it surprising. A benefit being it keeps me young at heart and in a perpetual state of “WOW!”
Saturday morning was no different. To some, having to drive a 5 hour round trip to keep the admin up to date might seem a boring chore.
I couldn’t wait to get up and begin this epic, romantic adventure. Sandwiches made (Tuna mayo and pepper) bottles of water. A can of coke. A bag of salt and vinegar crisps and a twix all packed into the Land Crusier and we were set to go.
The destination is Oman. Driving through the desert to get to, and cross the boarder of Oman. What adventure!
What actually makes the road trip even more exciting is that there are small pockets of Oman inside the UAE. So first you pass out of the UAE, into Oman then quickly back out again before getting to the main border. A very odd experience. This state of affairs came about by the asking of a very simple question amongst tribe leaders at the formation of the Emirates.
It was a question of tribal allegiance (of whom do you want to side with?) and it was asked, 70 years ago, by the leaders of the four rival clans who ruled the Musandam Peninsula to a group of elders of the east coast mountain village of Madha.
And while all the other villages and towns around them aligned themselves to the ruling families of what are now Sharjah, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, the Madhanis were swayed by the local representative, or wali, of the sultan of Oman.
At the main Oman border is a new three story building. A big car park is busy with Ex Pats on the same mission as me. Inside, it is like a small airport customs area. A simple for to fill in, then a queue at one of the five windows.
50 Dhs is handed over and three new stamps into my UK passport meant I was clear to pass back into Dubai for another 30 or 40 days. Depending who you listen to.
The forums are full of chatter about this issue. Some adamant that it is 30 days. Some thinking it might be 40. The UAE customs staff insisted it was 40.
The officers at the check points ask if you are renewing a visa. It’s all above board and allowed.
I’ll make me next run on the 20th April. And find out for sure.