The Maldives Arrival Guide

The Maldives Arrival Guide

Planning is not easy, nor is travelling. That’s exactly why we have put together this comprehensive guide to give you exactly what you need to know to get to the Maldives, and then on to your accommodation.


The main gateway of the Maldives is Velana International Airport, commonly known as VIA. This international airport is located on its own island, known as Hulhule, which is connected by land to the capital city of Maldives, Male’ and its satellite island Hulhumale.

To get to the Maldives, you need to book an international flight from your home city, to Velana International Airport (VIA) in Maldives. Major international airlines operate daily flights to the Maldives, such as Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Srilankan Airlines and many more. These international airlines are major transport hubs that connect the Maldives to every corner of the world. Make sure you book a flight that lands in Maldives before 5 PM (+5 GMT) in local time to guarantee your onward transfer to the islands.

Download the “VIA Maldives” application to your IOS or mobile device

Download the “VIA Maldives” application to your Androidor mobile device

Once you book your international flight to get to the Maldives, the next information you need in hand is the procedure that follows after you arrive.


During your flight to the Maldives, the airline staff will hand you an arrival card which needs to be filled and handed over to Maldives Immigration. Make sure this form is filled before you land to avoid the crowds. Once your flight lands in the Maldives, three formal procedures follow, which are Immigration, Baggage Claim and Customs.


Once you are led inside the arrival hall, the first thing you will see is the Maldives Immigration counters. Here, you need to hand over your passport and arrival card to the Immigration officer.

Maldives Visa

Maldives issues a free 30 day visa on arrival to all nationalities, so you do not need to apply for a visa before you travel. However, please ensure that you have a return ticket which guarantees your departure from the Maldives once your holiday is over to the Immigration personnel. Kindly be informed that the issuance of this visa at the discretion of the Maldives Immigration. 

Read more about the Maldives tourist visa here

Baggage Claim

Once you receive your Maldives tourist visa, proceed to Baggage Claim. This area is not hard to find as it is immediately beyond the Immigration counters, so you will not miss it. Look for your airline on the screens above you, and collect your baggage from the respective baggage carousel.


Once you’ve ensured that you have all of your baggage, proceed to the customs area. Just like the other areas of Velana International Airport, this area is also hard to miss. If you’re required to declare any items, kindly do so with one of the friendly customs officers. If you do not have anything to declare, proceed beyond Customs and walk through the automatic doors to the welcome area.

Read more about Maldives Customs rules and regulations here

Beyond Arrival Hall

As you walk out of the arrival hall, the first thing you will notice is the welcome party. Here, look for the representative of your accommodation, who will be holding out a board with the logo of the property. Once you meet your representative, please follow their precise directions for the rest of the way.

In any case where you missed the airport representative, proceed to the Tourist Information Counter and call the hotel hotline. The Tourist Information Counter is located on your left, as you proceed out of the arrival hall.

Read more about Tourist Information Counter here

Familiarize with Velana International Airport (VIA) with this interactive map

West Sands Ukulhas Counter Information

Counter no. F3
+960 9651515

Speedboat Transfer

If you have booked Ukulhas transfer, please wait for further instructions from the representative. Kindly be informed that we offer shared speedboat transfers via a third party combined with other guests and locals.

Other Transfers

Whilst speedboat transfer is the most common method of transportation, it is also possible to reach the islands with Seaplane and Slow Boat transfers.

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