How to Get Visa to the Maldives

July 08, 2024

The Maldives offers a visa-on-arrival system for all nationalities, making it easy to enter for tourism. Typically, tourists can stay for up to 30 days, with the possibility of an extension. However, the specific requirements and duration of stay may vary depending on the purpose of your visit.

This comprehensive guide will help you understand everything about getting a visa for your trip. The Maldives has different types of visas and rules for visitors from various countries.

We will explain all the important information you need to know to make your visa application process smooth and easy.

Types of Visa in the Maldives

The Maldives offers several types of visas depending on the purpose of your visit. Here is each type in detail:

Tourist Visa

The tourist visa is the most common visa for people who want to visit the Maldives for a holiday. This visa is easy to get for most visitors.

Here are some important things to know about the tourist visa:

  • It is usually given for 30 days
  • Travellers from all the countries can get this visa for free when they arrive in the Maldives
  • You don't need to apply for it before you travel
  • It is perfect for travellers who want to enjoy the beaches, resorts, and beautiful ocean of the Maldives

Work Visa

If you want to work in the Maldives, you will need a work visa. This is different from a tourist visa and has more requirements.

Here's what you should know about the work visa:

  • You must have a job offer from a Maldivian company before applying
  • Your employer will help you with the visa application process
  • The work visa allows you to stay and work in the Maldives for a specific period

Business Visa

For people who want to visit the Maldives for business purposes but not to work long-term, there is a business visa. This is good for exploring business opportunities.

Some key points about the business visa:

  • A business visa allows you multi-entry
  • The Ministry of Economic Development handles business Visa applications
  • The application process is more detailed than for a tourist visa

Dependant Visa

For family members of people working in the Maldives, there is a dependent visa. This allows spouses and children to join their family members in the country.

Important points about the dependent visa:

  • The main visa holder (worker) must sponsor the dependent visa
  • Proof of relationship is required (marriage certificate, birth certificate)
  • The visa duration is usually linked to the main visa holder's stay

Marriage Visa

If you're married to a Maldivian citizen or planning to marry one, you might need a marriage visa. This special visa allows foreign spouses to live in the Maldives with their Maldivian partners.

Here are some important things to know about the marriage visa:

  • It's for foreigners married to Maldivian nationals
  • You need to complete the legal marriage process in the Maldives
  • The visa is usually valid for 1 year initially but can be extended to 5 years
  • You must apply online through the IMUGA portal

Meeting Visa

For those coming to the Maldives to attend a meeting, conference, or convention, there's a special short-stay visa called the Meeting Visa. This visa is designed to make it easier for professionals and delegates to visit the country for brief business-related events.

Here are some key points about the Meeting Visa:

  • It is granted on arrival for a 14-day stay
  • Applies to any foreign national attending events
  • Cannot be extended beyond the initial 14 days

Tourist Visa in the Maldives

tourists at the velana international airport check-in entrance

One of the best things about visiting the Maldives is that all nationalities enjoy free on-arrival tourist visas. This means you can enter the country without applying for a visa in advance. You can stay in the Maldives for up to 30 days with a tourist visa.

Requirements for a Tourist Visa

Even though you don't need to apply for the visa in advance, you still need to meet some requirements:

  • Your passport must be valid for at least 06 month
  • Fill out the traveller declaration form within 96 hours to the flight time and submit it electronically via IMUGA
  • You need a return ticket or onward flight booking
  • You should have a confirmed hotel or resort booking
  • You might be asked to show you have enough money for your stay

For all visitors to the Maldives, getting a tourist visa is as easy as showing up at the airport. You don't need to apply for a visa before your trip. This saves time and makes planning your holiday easier. The visa is valid for 30 days. This is usually enough time for most holiday visits to the Maldives.

Cost of the Tourist Visa

The 30-day tourist Visa on arrival is free. This is one of the things that makes visiting the Maldives so attractive!

Airport Process for Tourist Visa

When you arrive at the airport in the Maldives:

  • Go to the immigration counter
  • Show your passport and documents
  • The officer might ask you some questions about your visit
  • If everything is okay, they will stamp your passport with the visa

Remember, the visa on arrival is for tourists only. If you're coming to the Maldives for business or work, you'll usually need to apply for the appropriate visa in advance.

Extending Your Stay

Sometimes, when you're enjoying the beautiful beaches and clear waters of the Maldives, 30 days just isn't enough! If you find yourself wanting to stay longer, you can extend your visa. Here's what you need to know about extending your stay in the Maldives:

Required Documents

To extend your visa, you'll need:

  • Your passport
  • A completed visa extension application form
  • A passport-sized photograph
  • Proof of sufficient funds for your extended stay
  • A valid reason for extending your stay
  • Proof of accommodation for the extended period

When to Apply for Extension: It's important to apply for your visa extension before your current visa expires. Don't wait until the last minute – start the process at least a few days before your visa end date.

How Long Can You Extend: Usually, you can extend your tourist visa for up to an additional 60 days. This means you could stay in the Maldives for up to 90 days in total.

Where to Apply: You need to apply for your visa extension at the Maldives Immigration office in Malé, the capital city. If you're staying at a resort on another island, ask them to help you with the process.

Cost of Extension: There is usually a fee for extending your visa. The cost can change, so check the current fee when you apply.

Processing Time: Visa extensions are usually processed quickly, often within a day or two. However, it's best to allow extra time just in case.

Multiple Extensions: While it's possible to extend your visa more than once, each extension request is considered separately. There's no guarantee that multiple extensions will be approved.

Overstaying Your Visa: It's very important not to overstay your visa in the Maldives. If you stay longer than your visa allows, you may have to pay a fine, and it could cause problems for future visits.

Working During Extended Stay: Remember, a tourist visa extension doesn't allow you to work in the Maldives. If you want to work, you need to apply for a separate work visa.

Leaving and Re-entering: If you extend your visa and then leave the Maldives, your extension might not be valid when you return. Always check with Immigration if you plan to leave and re-enter during your extended stay.

Special Circumstances: In some extreme special cases, like medical emergencies, the Maldives authorities might be more flexible about visa extensions. Always communicate clearly with Immigration if you have a unique situation.

Maldives Meeting Visa


If you're planning to attend a meeting, conference, or convention in the Maldives, you might be eligible for a Meeting Visa. The Meeting Visa was introduced in 2023. It's a 14-day visa granted on arrival for foreign nationals attending specific events in the Maldives. Here's what you need to know about this short-stay visa:

Eligibility for a Meeting Visa

To qualify for a Meeting Visa, your primary purpose must be:

  • Attending a meeting, conference, or convention for permissible businesses
  • Participating in a government or state meeting
  • Attending an event arranged by entities with government approval

Required Documents for a Meeting Visa

You'll need to prepare the following for your Meeting Visa:

  • A complete travel itinerary with return tickets
  • Confirmed booking at a registered hotel
  • Proof of sufficient funds for your stay
  • A passport with at least 06 month validity and a Machine Readable Zone (MRZ)
  • Traveller Declaration submitted via IMUGA within 96 hours of your flight

Meeting Visa Duration

The Meeting Visa is valid for 14 days and cannot be extended. You can't switch to a Business Visa while on a Meeting Visa. Moreover, passports with extended validity are not accepted.

Remember, the Meeting Visa is designed for short business-related visits. If you're planning a longer stay or different activities, you might need to consider other visa options. Remember to check the latest information from Maldives Immigration before your trip.

Maldives Work Visa

person in a black suit holding a black briefcase

If you are planning to work in the Maldives, the process is more complex than getting a tourist visa. Here is what you need to know about the Maldives work visa:

Job Offer Requirement

Before you can apply for a work visa, you must have a job offer from a company in the Maldives. The company will act as your sponsor for the visa.

Employer's Role

Your Maldivian employer plays a big part in the work visa process. They will:

  • Start the visa application process for you
  • Provide the necessary documents to support your application
  • Communicate with the Maldives immigration authorities

Required Documents for Work Visa

You'll need to prepare several documents for a work visa application:

  • Valid passport
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Educational certificates
  • Professional qualifications
  • Police clearance from your home country
  • Medical certificate
  • Employment contract

Quota System: The Maldives has a quota system for foreign workers. This means there are limits on how many foreign employees a company can hire. Your employer needs to make sure they have an available quota before offering you a job.

Work Permit: Along with the work visa, you'll also need a work permit. This is usually arranged by your employer and allows you to legally work in the Maldives.

Visa Duration: Work visas are typically issued for the duration of your employment contract. This could be for a few months or several years.

Renewal Process: If your contract is extended, you'll need to renew your work visa. This process should be started before your current visa expires.

Changing Employers: If you want to change jobs while in the Maldives, you'll need to go through a new visa process with your new employer. You can't simply transfer your existing work visa.

Family Members: If you want your family to join you in the Maldives, you can sponsor them for dependent visas once you have your work visa.

Taxes: When working in the Maldives, you'll need to pay taxes according to local laws. Make sure you understand your tax obligations before starting work. Visit the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority website for more information.

Useful Links

Important Information

When planning your trip to the Maldives and dealing with visas, there are some important things you should keep in mind. This information will help you avoid problems and enjoy your time in the Maldives:

  • Check Official Sources: Always get your visa information from official sources like the Maldives Immigration website or the Maldivian embassy in your country.
  • Rules Can Change: Visa rules and requirements can change without much notice. It's a good idea to check the latest information close to your travel date, even if you checked earlier when planning your trip.
  • Different Rules for Different Nationalities: Remember that visa rules can be different depending on your nationality. What applies to your friend from another country might not apply to you.
  • Passport Validity: Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date you plan to enter the Maldives. This is a strict rule that applies to all visitors.
  • Return Ticket: A return ticket or an onward flight booking is essential. Immigration officers may ask to see this when you arrive.
  • Proof of Accommodation: You should have a confirmed booking for your stay in the Maldives. This could be a hotel reservation, a resort booking, or an invitation letter if you're staying with friends or family.
  • Sufficient Funds: Be prepared to show that you have enough money for your stay in the Maldives. This could be in the form of cash, credit cards, or bank statements.
  • Respect Local Laws and Customs: The Maldives is a Muslim country with some strict laws. Make sure you understand and respect local customs and regulations to avoid any problems during your stay.
  • Health and Travel Insurance: While not strictly related to visas, it's a good idea to have travel insurance that covers health emergencies. Some types of visas might require proof of health insurance.
  • Working on a Tourist Visa is Illegal: Remember that you cannot work in the Maldives if you're there on a tourist visa. This includes volunteer work. If you want to work, you need a proper work visa.
  • Visa Extensions: If you think you might want to stay longer than 30 days, it's better to plan for this in advance rather than trying to extend your visa at the last minute.
  • Special Circumstances: If you have any special circumstances (like a medical condition that might require an extended stay), it's best to contact the Maldives Immigration or embassy before your trip to discuss your situation.
  • Keep Your Documents Safe: Always keep your passport and other important documents safe during your stay. It's a good idea to have copies stored separately or digitally.
  • Emergency Contact Information: Keep emergency contact information handy, including contacts for your country's embassy or consulate in the Maldives.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can I stay on a tourist visa? The standard tourist visa allows you to stay for 30 days. However, you can usually extend this up to a total of 90 days.

Do I need a visa if I'm staying on a resort island in the Maldives? Yes, you still need a valid visa even if you are staying at a resort. The good news is that all tourists can get this visa on arrival.

Can I work with a tourist visa? No, you cannot work in the Maldives with a tourist visa. This includes volunteer work. You need a special work visa to be employed in the Maldives.

How early should I apply for a visa? For tourist visas, most people don't need to apply in advance as they can get a visa on arrival. For work visas or other special visas, start the process at least 1-2 months before your planned travel date.

Is it expensive to get a Maldives visa? The 30-day tourist visa on arrival is free for all nationalities. Other types of visas or visa extensions include fees.

Can I get a visa on arrival if I'm travelling by sea? Yes, you can get a visa on arrival if you're entering the Maldives by sea. But, you must arrive at a designated port of entry.

Do children need a separate visa? Yes, all travellers, including children, need their own visa to enter the Maldives.

Can I leave the Maldives and re-enter on the same visa? Generally, the visa on arrival is a single entry. If you leave the Maldives, you must get a new visa when you return.

What if I overstay my visa? Overstaying your visa can result in fines and may cause problems for future visits. Always make sure to extend your visa or leave before it expires.

Can I change my visa type while in the Maldives? You will need to leave the country and apply for a different type of visa from outside. For example, you can't change from a tourist visa to a work visa while in the Maldives.

Do I need a visa if I'm just transiting through the Maldives? If you're just transiting and will stay in the airport, you usually don't need a visa. But if you want to leave the airport, even for a short time, you'll need a valid visa.

Can I apply for a Maldives visa online? For tourists, there's no need to apply online as you can get a visa on arrival. However, you must fill out the traveller declaration form on IMUGA. For other types of visas, there are online application options.

What's the difference between a visa and a work permit? A visa allows you to enter and stay in the Maldives, while a work permit specifically lets you be employed. If you're coming to work, you'll need both.

Can I extend my visa more than once? While it's possible to extend your visa multiple times, each extension is considered separately and there's no guarantee it will be approved.

Do I need a sponsor for a tourist visa? For a standard tourist visa, you don't need a sponsor. However, for work visas or certain other types of visas, you might need a local sponsor.

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