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03/01/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/28/2021 23:49

Latest Rules for Returnees: Do Residents Outside the UAE Need Return Permit Now?

This article has been reviewed by Wego's editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate.

Residents of the UAE looking to return to the country must first acquire the appropriate return permit based on their issued visa and destination. Between ICA approval and GDRFA approval and whether or not they're required based on your emirate of destination, things can get a tad confusing.

The following is the breakdown of the return permits for residents outside of UAE.

Returning to Abu Dhabi

International travellers permitted to travel to the UAE through Abu Dhabi are Emirati nationals, residents with a valid residence visa, and those who are eligible for a visa on arrival. All other types of visas remain suspended. If you are travelling to Abu Dhabi, you must follow these additional rules:

  • take the PCR test 72 hours before your flight, if you are flying from the United Kingdom
  • download the ALHOSN UAE app on your mobile phones before you travel to Abu Dhabi
  • undergo a thermal screening and another COVID-19 PCR testing on arrival at Abu Dhabi airport.

The rules apply to all travellers, except children under the age of 12.

Travellers no longer need ICA approvalto enter the UAE via Abu Dhabi, however, they are recommended to visit uaeentry.ica.gov.aeand submit their passport number and Emirates ID number to receive instant verification of their entry status.

Returning to Dubai

Both Emiratis and non-Emirati residents holding Dubai residence visas looking to return to Dubai must ensure that they would be able to satisfy all the necessary entry requirementsto Dubai, as well as any specific requirements their country of departure may have.

Please note that GDRFA approval is no longer needed. The same is true with ICA approval.However, travellers are recommended to visit uaeentry.ica.gov.aeand submit their passport number and Emirates ID number to receive instant verification of their entry status.

The following regulations apply

All passengers arriving into Dubai from any point of origin (GCC countries included) must hold a negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.

  • Dubai residents returning to the city should present a negative Covid19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.
  • Children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability are exempt from the COVID‑19 PCR test.
  • The certificate must be a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. Other test certificates including antibody tests and home testing kits are not accepted in Dubai. Travellers must bring an official, printed certificate in English or Arabic to check in - SMS and digital certificates are not accepted. PCR certificates in other languages are acceptable if they can be validated at the originating station.

Passengers arriving into Dubai from the below countries will be required to take another COVID‑19 PCR test on arrival at Dubai International airport.

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Russia, Senegal, Slovakia, Somaliland, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Passengers transiting through Dubai from the above countries, are required to present a negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure, as well as to follow any requirements mandated by their final destination. Passengers transiting through Dubai from all other countries do not need a COVID‑19 PCR test unless required by their final destination.

Rules for travel from South Africa and Nigeria

You will not be able to enter Dubai if you have been in South Africa or Nigeria within 14 days of departure to Dubai. This includes transiting in other countries within 14 days before travelling to Dubai. This is not applicable for UAE nationals who are returning to UAE.

Test exemptions

Children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability are exempt from this test. There may be specific test exemptions in your country of origin and final destination. Please check the requirements before you travel.

UAE nationals are exempt from doing the COVID‑19 PCR test prior to departing from the origin station to Dubai. They will be tested on arrival in Dubai.

Returning to Sharjah

Residents looking to return to Sharjah must comply with the following.

  • You no longer need approval from ICAto return to the UAE
  • You must present a negative PCR test result before boarding; this test should have been conducted within 96 hours before the date of travel
  • You must take another PCR test upon arrival at Sharjah's port; if you test positive, you or your sponsor will bear the cost of isolation and medical expenses
  • You need to download the Al HOSN app on your mobile phones to allow authorities to monitor your health while you are in quarantine.