Traveling to Maldives is a dream come true for many people – it can be for leisure, for work, studies, or even residence. Who wouldn’t want to stay long in an archipelago surrounded by the most beautiful views of the ocean? The country allows anyone who wishes to stay to do so, provided they have the proper documents sorted out first.

One of those requirements is the right visa for your staying conditions. Whether you’re looking for a few weeks of vacation, or you’re there to marry one of the locals, Maldives has rules and conditions for the type of visa you’ll need.

1.Types of visas

The Maldives has 6 different types of visas, depending on the category the applicant belongs to. All the information below came from the Maldivian Immigration website.

Travel visa

You don’t need a pre-arrival visa to enter the country. Instead, you will be given a tourist visa, which is granted for all nationalities. You can be given a maximum of 30 days depending on the decision of the Immigration. You can also request for an extension at the Head Office and should not take more than two days to process.

Extension costs MRF 750 for 60 days. There are a maximum 90 days that can be given in a single entry, which includes the free 30 days that you are entitled to on your visa before the extension. And while you hold a tourist visa, you are not allowed employment, as you will be deported if caught.

If your visa has expired and you failed to have it renewed beforehand, you can be denied refusal of an extension and can be removed immediately from the country.

Resident visa

Anyone granted with an Employment Approval (EA) is granted the resident visa. The employee must arrive at Maldives with a copy of the EA and it must also be declared in the Embarkation form.

As long as an employee’s EA is valid, so is their resident visa. Also, the visa is only valid with the EA. Permit holders should carry a valid Work Visa card always, as they may face immediate removal without any consultation with the employer.

A person who entered the country with a travel visa cannot be given a Resident Permit – they must re-enter the country with a valid EA to apply for a permit.

Student visa

Students who wish to continue studies in the country can apply for a student visa. This visa prohibits the holder from being employed in the country, and if caught, the student can be deported. The visa is valid as long as the holder is studying in the country.

Dependent visa

The wife, husband, or children of foreigners with a Resident Permit and a valid Work Visa can be granted the dependent visa. The dependent visa is charged MRF 750 for three months, and the Resident Permit holder must have a “no objection” letter from the employer when a dependent visa under theirs is applied for.The children of the Resident Permit holder should be less than 18 years old. The dependent(s) can enter Maldives on a tourist visa, then apply to the Immigration for a dependent visa. They should also apply before their tourist visa expires, as they can face immediate removal if not done so.

Marriage visa

There are two instances that one can get a marriage visa: either by intention to go to Maldives to marry a Maldivian or get married to a Maldivian overseas.In the case of going to Maldives for the marriage, the Immigration should be informed first, in writing, before arriving in the country. This should also contain the details of the Maldivian counterpart. The foreign spouse will first be given a tourist visa, then will be given a marriage visa once their marriage is registered with the relevant court of law.Those who got married overseas to a Maldivian will also be given a tourist visa upon their arrival and must register the marriage to the relevant court of law before its expiration to be granted a marriage visa.

The tourist visa, in both instances, can be renewed – failure to do so may mean that the foreign spouse would have to fly back to their country until the marriage is registered.

As well, the marriage visa will be canceled when the marriage is nullified by the court of law and as soon as the Immigration is informed. They will, however, give the foreign spouse time to sort out their affairs before fully revoking the visa.

Widow visa

If a Maldivian man is married to a foreign woman and he dies under that contract, the foreign woman is entitled to a widow visa, which will only be revoked once they remarry.

2.Requirements

The Maldivian visas have varying requirements, depending on the type and the regulations of the Immigration.

Tourist visa
• A valid passport with Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ) and should have at least 6 months of validity
• A valid departure ticket
• Enough funds to cover the expenses for the duration of their stay in the country (indicated as US$100 + $50 per  day) or a confirmation of reservation in a Tourist Resort or a Hotel in the country.

Resident visa
• A copy of Employment Approval
• Declaration of the Employment Approval in the Embarkation Form

Student visa
• A valid letter to the Immigration, by the guardian, stating the intention of the applicant to study in Maldives, a confirmation that the guardian will act as such to the applicant, and the field of study.

Dependent visa
• Letter of intent of marriage in the country addressed to the Immigration in the case of marriage in the • Proof of Marriage (in English) for spouses
• Birth certificate or passport for the children
• Letter of no objection from employer
• A valid Resident Permit of the provider

Marriage visa
• Letter of intent of marriage in the country addressed to the Immigration in the case of marriage in the country
• Registering of the marriage in the relevant court of law
• An unexpired tourist visa of the foreign spouse

Widow visa
• Proof of Marriage (in English)
• Death certificate of the Maldivian husband

3.Visa renewal

Maldivian tourist visas can be renewed – extending it to a maximum of 90 days (maximum 60 days extension after the first maximum 30 days granted by the visa). The Immigration will assess the applicant’s financial position for the stay period to see if they will grant the extension or not.

To apply for an extension, the applicant must accomplish the Visa Extension Application Form at the Head office during working hours. Any extension that will make the stay total exceed 30 days will be charged with 750 Rufiyaa – those that fall within the 30 days, counting the original stay duration, will not be charged.

4.Refusal of Entry

As with any country, a person can be barred from entering if the Immigration deems them unfit during questioning or interrogation. In Maldives, one can be refused entry if the Immigration:

• Have reasonable grounds that the person in question is carrying fraud travel documents;
• Suspects that the person might cause disruption of harmony or commit unlawful activities in the country; or
• See that the person has strong anti-semantic religious or political views

5.Removal or deportation from Maldives

• Is violating the employment prohibitions of their visa (tourist, student, and dependent);
• Is found participating, or with the intention to participate or initiate unlawful activity;
• Is suspected of disrupting the religious or political harmony of the country;
• Has been reported as a public nuisance;
• Is found with an expired stay permit; or
• Is found with an expired Work permit.

Like how the Immigration has the power to bar anyone from entering the country, they can also deport anyone who;

Staying in Maldives can be a wonderful experience. Whether it’s for a few weeks or for a lifetime, as long as your visa can let you stay peacefully (and legally!) in the country, you’re sure to enjoy the everyday life. Enjoy!