20200819 dubai airport
Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: With some UAE residents now being allowed to enter the UAE, following an announcement by the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) on August 3, you may be wondering how you can apply for approval to return to the UAE, if you have been stuck outside the UAE.

For passengers coming from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda, these are the requirements that need to be fulfilled to enter the UAE, as per the announcement by NCEMA:

1. Submit a request on the website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) to obtain the necessary approvals.

2. Vaccination certificates certified by the concerned authorities in the country.

3. Submit a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test result within 48 hours from the date of departure, provided that the tests are from accredited laboratories and carry a QR Code, and that laboratory test is conducted before boarding the plane.

4. Follow the precautionary and preventive measures upon arrival, including quarantine and PCR checks upon and after arrival, in addition to follow-up and health monitoring.

Update: Earlier this week, several airlines, including Emirates announced that passengers would not need to present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate to board Dubai-bound flights.

In an update on August 11,  blog post on Air India Express provided a list of documents passengers needed to travel to the UAE from India.

Passengers with valid UAE resident visa will be accepted to travel from India to UAE subject to holding following documents:

• For UAE residence visa holders issued from Dubai and travelling to Dubai: 'Return Permit for Resident outside UAE form' which is issued to the passenger(s) from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) (detailed procedure below).

• For UAE residence visa holders travelling to UAE other than Dubai: “Return Permit for Resident outside UAE form” which is issued to the passenger(s) from ICA (detailed procedure below).

• Expo 2020 Visa holders are permitted to travel to UAE without GDRFA/ICA.

Travel requirement for all passengers for travel from India to UAE:

• A valid negative COVID-19 test certificate with QR code linked to the original report. This has to be issued within the valid time frame, i.e. 48 hours from the time of collecting the sample to the scheduled departure time and has to be taken from an ICMR approved laboratory.

• A Rapid PCR test report that should be based on molecular diagnostic testing intended for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid for SARS-COV-2 viral RNA; conducted at the Indian departure airport prior to four (4) hours of departure.

According to Air India, passengers are advised to report six hours prior departure as Rapid PCR test counters at airports would close two hours prior to the departure.

How to get an approval from the ICA

Step 1: Visit the ICA website

You would need to visit the following link - https://smartservices.ica.gov.ae/echannels/web/client/guest/index.html#/registerArrivals

or by clicking on the ‘Register Arrivals’, which is listed among the services offered by the ICA on their website - https://smartservices.ica.gov.ae/echannels/web/client/guest/index.html#/dashboard

Step 2: Fill in application form

Enter your details like your name (for your Arabic name, it will be auto-filled after you enter the name in English), gender, date of birth, place of birth, expected arrival date, port of arrival and departure and email address.

Entering all the details correctly – including your email address – is important, as a QR code will be sent to your email.

Step 3: Fill in your passport details

Next, you will be asked to fill in your passport details, like the passport number, date of issue and expiry, etc.

Step 4: Enter your UAE details

You would then need to provide your UAE address and mobile number.

Step 5: Fill in details of your COVID-19 vaccine and PCR test dates

You will then be asked to enter details of the dates on which you got the first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the date at which you took the PCR test.

Step 6: Upload documents

You will then be asked to upload your passport copies, photograph, PCR test result and COVID-19 vaccine certificate.

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Step 7: Confirm details

Finally, you will be asked to sign a declaration confirming that the details are correct, and that you will adhere to all the instructions and procedures issued by the health authorities.

Then, hit send.

If approved, you will receive an official notification from the ICA through email.

How to get an approval from GDRFA

For Dubai visa holders, you will need to apply for an approval with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) Dubai. To do so, follow these steps.

Step 1: Visit the GDRFA website

Visit the following link - https://smart.gdrfad.gov.ae/Smart_OTCServicesPortal/ReturnPermitService.aspx

Step 2: Search for applicant

You will then need to search for the applicant through the residence visa number. You will also need to provide your nationality and year of birth.

Step 3: Provide travel details

The system will then generate the basic details like your name in English and Arabic as well as your passport number.

Below this ‘Applicant information’ there will be a section for travel information. Enter the country you will be arriving from and the airport you will land at. Check the box to confirm you will bear the expenses of quarantine if you are infected with COVID-19.

Step 4: Upload documents

Upload documents including your passport copy, photograph, PCR test result and COVID-19 vaccine certificate.

Confirm the details of your application and click send.

If approved, you will receive an official notification from the GDRFA through email.