After months of doubt and uncertainty, thousands of UAE residents stranded in their countries due to travel suspension can now finally breathe a sigh of relief as the government announced that a special category of residents is now allowed to re-enter the country.
To enter, an appropriate return permit is required depending on the visa issued and the destination. For non-UAE residents traveling from certain countries, you must first obtain approval from the Federal Office for Individuals and Citizenship (ICA), and if they reside in Dubai, approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners (GDRFA) is also required.
Below is a breakdown of return permits for residents outside the UAE.
First of all, if you are a Dubai resident visa holder traveling from a restricted country, GDRFA approval is required in addition to ICA approval for your return to Dubai. All other resident visa holders do not need to apply for GDRFA approval.
Please note that Dubai residents arriving from India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Uganda must obtain both GDRFA and ICA approval.
You must also ensure that you have been fully vaccinated with a UAE-approved vaccine and have an official vaccination certificate issued and approved by the relevant authorities in the UAE or abroad. At least 14 days must elapse since the last dose of vaccine is administered.
However, according to the NCEMA announcement, some returning residents are exempted from the vaccination requirement. The exceptions apply to medical and other medical personnel working in the UAE, they will be allowed to return regardless of their vaccination status, provided other conditions are met.
In addition, you must also be able to meet all the necessary requirements for entering Dubai, as well as any special requirements that may be in the country of departure.
How do I get GDRFA approval?
You can apply for GDRFA approval on the GDRFA online portal. During the application process, you will be asked to enter your resident file number. This number is indicated on your visa in the “File” section.
If your application is successful, you will be sent an email with a GDRFA reference number.
What documents do I need?
All you need is your passport, visa and Emirates ID.
Requirements for travel to Dubai
All passengers traveling to Dubai from any point of departure (including the Gulf Countries) must have a negative COVID 19 PCR test certificate for a test performed no more than 72 hours before departure, except when traveling from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India. Indonesia, Pakistan and other countries. Sri Lanka (specific requirements are listed below).
The certificate must be a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Other test certificates, including antibody tests, rapid PCR tests, and home test kits, are not accepted in Dubai. Travelers must bring an official, digital or printed certificate in English or Arabic for registration – SMS certificates are not accepted. PCR certificates in other languages are acceptable if they can be verified at the originator’s station. COVID – 19 digital certificates are accepted upon arrival at Dubai International Airport security checkpoints.
PCR certificates for COVID – 19 must be issued by an authorized institution in the country of departure of the passenger. Certificates that have already been submitted for travel to another destination cannot be used for re-entry, even if they have not yet expired.
Passengers arriving from the following countries are required to have the COVID – 19 PCR report include a QR code associated with the original report for verification purposes. The QR code must be presented at check-in and to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) upon arrival at Dubai airports: Sudan, Lebanon, Egypt and Ethiopia.
Test on arrival
Passengers arriving in Dubai from the following countries will need to undergo another COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival at Dubai International Airport:
Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Cote d’Ivoire, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Russia, Senegal, Slovakia, Somaliland, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe.