More than 200,000 UAE residents stranded outside the country since March are now returning to the country with the ease in travel restrictions. However, they need to follow some procedures in order to safely return to the country and curb the spread of coronavirus, which has so far infected more than 63,000 people in the UAE.
Dubai residence visa holders planning to return to the emirate need to apply for prior approval via the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) recently made the decision to waive off the requirement for UAE residents to take ICA approval before travelling back to the country. However, this decision does not apply to Dubai as the emirate has a separate system for immigration.
According to Emirates Airline, Dubai residents need to apply for return approval when they book their flight via the airline’s website or contact centre. They can also complete the application on the GDRFA web portal before making the booking and will be asked to input their resident file number, which is mentioned on the visa under ‘file’. They can check the application status on GDRFA’s website and will receive an email with a reference number once the application is approved.
All passengers arriving in Dubai must bring a negative Covid-19 test certificate from a recognised health centre or lab. Some passengers may be asked to take another test at the airport and will be required to quarantine until the results are out. Those who test positive for coronavirus will need to quarantine for 14 days.
Those returning to the other six emirates must also bring a negative test result and will be required to take another test on arrival. They are required to download the Al Hosn app and are required to quarantine for 14 days, even if the results are negative.