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Expats whose Dubai residence visas expired after April 20, 2021 are allowed to return to the UAE until November 10. Image Credit:

Dubai: Expats from six countries including India and Pakistan with expired Dubai-issued residence visas have been allowed to return to Dubai until November 10, says FlyDubai.

In a statement to Gulf News on Monday, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), Dubai said expired residence visas of some expats stranded abroad due to COVID-19, have been extended.

“The procedure will be done according to certain conditions and procedures including that the beneficiaries must be outside the country since the expiry date of residency between April 20, 2021 and November 8, 2021). GDRFA-Dubai will extend the residency visas until November 9,” the statements reads. The GDRFA also made it clear that the residency file should not be canceled at the request of the sponsor.

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30-day grace period

“In addition, when expats with expired visa enter the country, the system will give them a 30 days grace period from the date of entry to change his/her status and renew their visas.

“The GDRFA has extended the expiry date of Dubai-issued UAE resident visas for nationals of India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda who are stranded outside of the UAE,” FlyDubai said on its updated travel advisory for passengers on its website.

Who qualifies

The airline made it clear that the rule applies to “Dubai-issued UAE resident visas which have expired or will expire between 20 April 2021 and 09 November 2021 inclusive.”

“The expiry date will, however, not be extended for UAE residents with Dubai-issued visas who have stayed outside of the UAE for more than 6 months if they left before 20 October 2020,” the airline explains.

It is still not clear whether the same rule applies to expats holding residence visa issued by other emirates such as Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. However, the airline clarifies that expats who hold valid UAE residence visa issued by an emirate other than Dubai, are required to take travel approval from uaeentry.ica.gov.ae. They can also check the validity of their visas at smartservices.ica.gov.ae.

However, passengers will be allowed to board the flight only after they take ‘travel permit’ by applying on the GDRFA website. Passengers can also check their visa status by visiting GDRFA website: amer.gdrfad.gov.ae/visa-inquiry.

Outside the country for six months

An official told Gulf News that expats who have been stranded abroad for more than six months (180 days) and their visas are still valid, can also come back to the UAE subject to approval and other conditions such as PCR test and the RAPID PCR test.

Visit visa holders

Earlier this month, the UAE has allowed passengers carrying passports of India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Uganda with tourist visas with certain conditions. These passengers must not have entered or been to these six countries for at least for 14 days before arriving in the UAE. They must produce a negative PCR test taken from the country of their departure.

UAE residents (with a Dubai-issued visa) who have been in India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Uganda in the previous 14 days must comply with the following conditions to enter Dubai:

Travel requirements for all passengers
*Valid GDRFA approval to return to Dubai
*Printed copy of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken in the country of departure by an approved health service no more than 48 hours prior to the departure of their inbound flight to Dubai
*A rapid PCR, RT PCR, ID NOW or molecular test for SARS COV2 at the airport within six hours of boarding the aircraft in their country of departure.
*Must undergo a PCR test on arrival in Dubai
Note: Children under 12 years and UAE nationals are exempt from PCR testing and vaccination requirements