Some passengers will need transit visas good for 96 hours when traveling through the United Arab Emigrates' Dubai International Airport (DXB), but transit visas are not needed if airline passengers with a layover do not leave the terminal building, since they will not be entering the United Arab Emigrates. Transit visas are only necessary for U.S. residents who are not U.S. citizens or citizens of countries that UAE has listed as eligible for a free-of-charge visit visa. For U.S. citizens on short business trips, a 30-day free-of-charge visa acquired at DXB is preferable to a transit visa, since no visa fee applies. Transit visas can be arranged via two airlines, Emirates (emirates.com) and Etihad Airways (etihadairways.com), or via Marhaba Services (marhabaservices.com) for passengers traveling on other airlines.
Contact your airline sponsoring the transit visa; this will be either Emirates or Etihad Airways. Contact Marhaba Services if traveling on another airline. Both Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways allows travelers from some countries -- U.S. citizens are not eligible -- to apply for visas online. For Etihad Airways, this applies to travelers who are not eligible for a visa on arrival, while Emirates lists eligible countries on its webpage. You may also download an application online and fill it out before you get to DBX.
Gather all documented proof that will be needed (see "Things You'll Need"). Remember you will need to show confirmed hotel reservations in order to obtain a transit visa, as well as a confirmed airline ticket.
Visit the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (dubaitourism.ae) once you get to DXB. Fill out the application if you haven't done so already, submit all travel documents needed with your application and submit the visa payment fee. At the time of publication, the cost of a transit visa is $51.73. You may also need to visit your airline's counter for additional information.
Wait for up to an hour to receive your transit visa; the waiting time will depend on the volume of applicants.
Things You Will Need
Passport valid for at least six months
Letter from employer
Confirmed hotel reservations
Confirmed ticket traveling through Dubai
Letter from employer or bank letter
Note that U.S. residents who are citizens of Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Niger or Yemen are not eligible for the 96-hour transit visas on arrival.