Many UAE residents are now flying back to the country after being stuck elsewhere due to travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
As the country returns to normalcy, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) and the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) in the UAE have launched the second phase of the UAE Resident Return Programme.
Under this programme, residents of Abu Dhabi who are stranded abroad can now return to the emirate without taking approval in advance. To verify their UAE entry status before booking their flight, residents can visit uaeentry.ica.gov.ae and enter their Emirates ID and passport details. This step is optional but passengers must carry a photocopy of their passport and UAE residence visa, as they will need to present these after arriving in Abu Dhabi.
Those travelling back to the UAE capital via Etihad Airways must have negative COVID-19 PCR test results, received from an accredited lab or health centre based in the country they are in. They need to present their test certificates before departure and the test should be taken within 96 hours before departure. However, people of determination and children under the age of 12 are exempt from taking this test.
Following the decision to end the approval process to enter Abu Dhabi, travel agencies have reported an increase in the number of inquiries received from residents overseas. However, Dubai residents are still required to seek approval from the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigner Affairs before travelling to the country.
Most businesses and leisure destinations have now opened up in the UAE, as more than 57,000 coronavirus patients have recovered from the infection. Meanwhile, health authorities in the country are conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials, in which 15,000 volunteers from 107 nationalities are participating and will be given their second doses during the upcoming weeks.