Red vs green ICA message: What to check before returning to UAE


DUBAI – Expats returning to the UAE have been advised to get a “green” message from the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship (ICA) before returning to the emirates to avoid travel disruptions.

The advice came after UAE residents were reportedly stranded at the Abu Dhabi and Sharjah airports earlier this week.

UAE residence visa holders returning to Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and other emirates except Dubai no longer need to get prior ICA approval, however, the ICA advised travelers to update their record and check the validity of their travel documents through the website

Expats returning to Dubai still need to get pre-travel approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA). Travelers to the UAE also need to present a negative Covid-19 test taken not more than 96 hours prior to their flight.

On the ICA website, residents can get a message regarding their travel plans. A green message tells travellers they “fulfil the requirements to enter the country” and “proceed with the completion of your travel procedures”.

However, a red message is an indication that the planned travel to the UAE may be problematic.

“We will consider the possibility of rescheduling your travel date after 60 days to preserve your safety. We thank, and appreciate your understanding,” according to the message.

It is understood that passengers who received this red message were the ones stranded at UAE airports this week.

ALSO READ: Expats returning to Dubai still need GDRFA entry permit

Step-by-step guide before traveling to UAE

1. For passengers arriving in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, other emirates: Check the validity of your travel documents on Key in your Emirates ID number, passport number, passport type and nationality.

For Dubai residents: Get pre-travel approval from the GDRFA

2. Check for pre-travel approvals in your home country. Tourists must have international health insurance

3. Get a Covid-19 test at an approved centre (test must be taken not more than 96 hours prior to your flight)

4. Book your airline tickets

5. On travel date, sign a Health Declaration Form and download Al Hosn app (DXB Smart App for those arriving in Dubai)

ICA/Expat Media


‘Instant permission’ system to return to Dubai

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