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Planning to visit Dubai? Here are your visa queries answered!

All UAE residents holding a valid resident visa are allowed to return to Dubai once they receive a return permit from GDRFA-Dubai and obtain a negative PCR test result, the director-general of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai has revealed.

As part of a new initiative #AskDXBOfficial launched by the government of Dubai Media Office, Major General Mohammed Al Marri responded to a series of queries on current immigration and travel procedures and protocols for citizens and residents.

Is there any criteria for approving a return permit for Dubai residents?

All residents in the UAE can return to the country. However, there are some companies that must apply for the return permit on behalf of their sponsored employees. We have approved some such requests already. This is important because the residents return with guaranteed employment.

When UAE residents obtain a GDRFA permit to return to Dubai, is it possible to enter through Abu Dhabi or Sharjah?

For UAE residents arriving through Dubai or Abu Dhabi airports, the GDRFA permit allows residents to return to Dubai through any UAE airport.

What about tourist visas that were issued before the Covid-19 crisis?

This involves a partnership between the GDRFA and travel agencies to find the right solution whether that is to reschedule flights to a later date or book different tourist packages. Either way, we are optimistic that the flow of tourism will increase.

What is the status of Gulf nationals who are Dubai residents and are trying to return?

Gulf nationals are allowed to enter the UAE if there are scheduled flights between the GCC countries and the UAE while following all the precautionary measures. And so, there is nothing obstructing their entry into the UAE as long as airlines and airports are operating flights to the UAE.

Is it possible for those aged above 60 years to have their Dubai residencies renewed?

Renewing the residency of a person over 60 is dependent on the condition of their health and the sector they work in. Age is not a factor in granting residencies but health will always be a factor. Residency renewal for over-60s in good health will be processed the same as for under-60s in good health.

Are we allowed to leave the UAE and return with an expired residency visa that was extended automatically until the end of the year?

Holders of expired residency visas are not allowed to exit until they renew their residency visas. If they exit and wish to return with an expired visa, it will not be renewed upon their return. So, it is best for them to renew their visas before exiting the country to enable their return.

I have a valid residency visa, but I have been outside the UAE for more than six months. What steps do I need to take to return?

Those who have valid residency visas but are currently outside the UAE, their return is dependent on which country they are currently in. If there are no flight restrictions between the UAE and the country they are in, there is nothing obstructing them from returning provided they take a pre-travel Covid-19 test and obtain a return permit through the GDRFA website.

If a family jointly applies for a permit but some members are rejected, what is the next step?

Return permits for families can include all members – the mother, father, children and any domestic helpers. If any of them are not approved within this permit, there could be a mistake made while entering their data. But when domestic helpers are returning alone from their home country, their employers must apply for their return permit individually for them to return to work with the family once again.

Can residents enter and exit Dubai only on Emirates and flydubai or can they book on other airlines as well?

All airlines permitted to operate at the Dubai Airports have a right to transport their passengers to the UAE and are obliged to ease residents’ process of returning and obtaining an entry permit for them.

We obtained a return permit to Dubai but we are unable to leave the country we are in due to travel restrictions here. What is the solution?

Those who are granted a return permit to Dubai but are still unable to travel due to teh airport being closed in the country they are in, they are required to wait until air bridges to the UAE reopen. They must then re-apply for the return permit and have it approved.

What is passenger traffic like these days at Dubai’s airport?

Passenger traffic is on a daily rise with the numbers of arrival and departure passengers reflecting a 5 per cent daily increase. We are hopeful that by the end of the year, traffic will return as it was at the start of the year. We are optimistic and we are working as one team with Dubai Airports.

What is your advice for people who lost their jobs and were fined after being unable to leave the UAE due to travel restrictions?

The humanitarian cases department at the GDRFA in Dubai handles each case individually. We will facilitate each person’s travel procedures for them to return to their home countries and they hopefully are rehired in Dubai or find a new job here. So, to all those who have accumulated fines, please do not assume you cannot exit the country. We at the Dubai Airports and the GDRFA will handle each humanitarian case individually and facilitate their travel.

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