At the Dubai International Airport. Picture for illustration purposes only.


New rules for expats returning to UAE: Covid-free certificate required


DUBAI – As the UAE prepared to welcome UAE residence visa holders back in the country in July, the federal emergency authority has issued new guidelines for all returning residents.

On Sunday (June 28), the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) and Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship announced that residents retuning to the UAE need to show a Covid-free certificate before boarding their flights.

The new decision comes after Dubai announced its own measures for tourists arriving in the city from July 7. Click here to read more

Expanded rules for expats returning to UAE

Must I have a Covid-19 test before my flight?

Yes. All returning residents must complete a Covid-19 pre-examination at an accredited laboratory 72 hours prior to their flight, according to NCEMA.

Why is this necessary?

Without a valid negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of take-off, individuals will not be permitted to board the aircraft.

Where can I find an accredited laboratory?

As part of the first phase, accredited laboratories are currently found in 106 cities across 17 countries worldwide. Preparations are ongoing for additional countries and cities to be added in the next few days and will be announced as part of the second and third phases. More information about the list of accredited laboratories will soon be published on For more information, call 600522222.

Will the lab release the test result in time for my flight?

Accredited laboratories are aware of the time constraints and will deliver results digitally.

What if I am coming from a country without an accredited laboratory?

For residents returning from countries that do not have accredited laboratories, Covid-19 checks will be conducted upon arrival in the UAE.

Is ICA approval still mandatory?

Yes. You need to apply for approval to return to the emirates. For Dubai residence visa holders, the Return Permit Service was recently launched on the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) website for “instant response”. Those whose visas were issued in Dubai can apply here.

Those with residence visas issued from other emirates will continue to apply through the ICA website. Click here for details

What happens when I arrive in the UAE?

Residents will be directed to complete quarantine guidelines for 14 days either at home or a facility.

Who will pay for the cost of quarantine?

All costs for quarantine and medical assistance, whether at home or in another designated facility will be at the cost of the individual primarily.

In certain circumstances, the companies at which these returning individuals are employed shall need to bear all costs related to the medical examination and quarantine.

Is there anything else I need to do?

All returning residents will allow be required to download the AlHosn app which will allow the resident to be monitored while in quarantine and to monitor their health status. ICA/Expat Media


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