Excerpted from the United Arab Emirates Guide.
Traveling to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) generally requires a visa unless the foreign national falls into one of the visa exemption categories. The UAE has been promoting the opening of its national borders to tourism, business and diplomacy. In keeping with this policy, the UAE has continued to build relations with other nations including the nations of Europe, Asia, the United States and its Middle East neighbors. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for all immigration-related matters
The kind of visa required for entry into the UAE depends on several different factors, including the nationality of the applicant, the purpose of the planned visit and its planned duration. If the applicant is coming to work in the UAE, a visa can only be obtained through the potential employer or sponsor.
Entry Service Permits
An entry service permit applies to visitors to the UAE in the following positions and their accompanying family members: representatives of company management, sales managers, account auditors and delegations from companies or establishments to carry out a commercial activity in the UAE. This visa is also available for people of those nationalities authorized to obtain a tourist visa.
The applicant must be sponsored by a UAE citizen/resident, a company or a hotel licensed to operate within the UAE. A refundable guarantee from expatriates who wish to sponsor distant relatives is required. This visa is valid for entry within two months from its date of issue.
Passport holders of the countries listed below do not require prior visas in order to enter the United Arab Emirates for business or tourist visits lasting 30 days.
Full-time students must be sponsored by one of the licensed universities or educational institutions in the UAE (recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education). An e-form application (noting the fees are paid), including a clear, passport-sized (4.3cm x 5.5 cm) photo with a white background of the person who will be approved by the sponsor (as a means of authenticating identity) or authorized signatories (signed and date stamped), is acceptable.
This is just a sample of what you'll find in the complete United Arab Emirates Guide.