All UAE residency visa holders can return through any of the country's airports

Visa rules and regulations clarified and explained through government’s #AskDXBOfficial initiative

Even residents with expired visas can return, as long as there are no movement restrictions between the country they are flying from and the UAE.

All UAE residents who are in possession of a valid residency visa are allowed to return through any of the country’s airports, provided they get a permit from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) and a negative Covid-19 test result.

The clarification was provided by Major General Mohammed Al Marri, director general of GDRFA as part of the #AskDXBOfficial initiative, launched by Dubai Media Office, which gives the public and the media a chance to ask questions to Dubai’s senior government officials.

Al Marri revealed that even residents with expired visas can return, as long as there are no movement restrictions between the country they are flying from and the UAE.

He said: “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, providing they take a pre-travel Covid-19 test and obtain a return permit through the GDRFA website.”

However, people who are currently in the UAE with expired visas have been warned that they must be renewed before leaving the country with expectations of returning to the UAE.

“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’s best for them to renew their visas before exiting the country, to enable their return,” he said.

Al Marri also had reassuring words for those who have incurred fines after losing their jobs as a result of the Covid-19-enforced travel restrictions.

He said: “To all those who have accumulated fines, please do not assume you cannot exit the country. We at Dubai Airports and GDRFA will handle each humanitarian case individually and facilitate their travel.”

Al Marri confirmed that passengers can choose any carrier operating to and from Dubai Airports to leave or return to the country and can enter through any UAE airport as long as they are in possession of a GDRFA permit and negative Covid-19 test.

“All airlines permitted to operate at Dubai Airports have a right to transport their passengers to the UAE and are obliged to ease residents’ process if returning and obtaining an entry permit. And at immigration, we greet our residents and welcome their return,” he said.

For people who have obtained a return permit to Dubai, but are unable to leave the country they are in due to travel restrictions, Al Marri said: “Those who are granted a return permit to Dubai, but are still unable to travel due to the airport being closed in the country they are in are required to wait until air bridges to the UAE reopen. They must then reapply for the return permit and have it approved.”

He also clarified that it is not mandatory for each member of family to get travel permission. “If head of the family including father or mother gets approval, children are not required to get travel approvals and the whole family can return to the UAE with one approval if they are travelling together,” he said.

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