Student Visa Process for United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Your host university in Sharjah will solicit a student visa on your behalf, and you will receive a scanned copy of this visa by email prior to your departure for Sharjah. 


API provides as much information as possible regarding the visa process, but be aware that visa requirements and procedures could change at any time. 

Visas are issued by the American University in Sharjah once they are processed by the UAE government. The decision to issue a visa is entirely under the discretion of the UAE government. API is not able to provide refunds for students whose visas are not approved for any reason. 

What you can do now that you are conditionally accepted by API:

  • Apply for a passport or renew your passport if necessary.
    • Your passport should be valid at least one year beyond your return date to the United States after the study abroad session.
    • Your passport must have at least 3 blank visa pages remaining.
  • You will receive the AUS Student Visa Request Form from your Program Coordinator/Program Manager by email after you are conditionally accepted to the program. At that time we will ask you to complete the form, sign it, and email it to [email protected]. Upon receipt of the form, this visa form will be marked as complete in your online account.

What you can do once you are officially accepted by AUS:

  • Purchase your flight (see Flight Form for details). Do not plan to arrive before the program start date, as your visa may not be ready early.
  • Keep an eye out for an email with a scanned copy of your visa. This should arrive at most 1-2 weeks before your departure date.
  • Check the scanned copy of the visa to make sure that all the information on it matches the information in your passport.
    • If all the information is correct, print out a copy of the scanned visa.
    • If there is an error, let API know immediately so we can get you a corrected copy.

When you travel:

  • Take the printed copy of your visa (sent by email) with you to Sharjah.
  • Make sure you have a copy of your entry visa with you in your carry-on luggage when you arrive in the UAE (make sure all the information typed on the visa is correct).
  • You will be directed to Passport Control which involves digitized fingerprinting and a retinal scan. You must complete this process. DO NOT enter the UAE as a tourist.
  • Be sure to have your original passport and Entry Permit Visa stamped with the arrival date. When you go through Passport Control, be sure to ask the agent to put the customs stamp ON THIS VISA. If the customs desk officer isn’t really paying attention and mistakenly stamps your passport instead, then the visa isn’t valid. 
  • If you enter UAE as a tourist, a hefty fee is required to change your visa status from Tourist to Resident and you might be asked to exit and re-enter the UAE.
  • You will have 60 days from the date of entry to be in the country, and this is a single entry visa. 
  • If you decide you want to leave the country at any time during the program, you can cancel your visa and then re-enter as a tourist, so long as you hold nationality in one of the listed countries here.
  • If you do not hold one of these nationalities, you are advised not to leave the country during your program. Please note that at the end of the program you have to pay the cancellation fee of AED105 (US$29).