Expats stuck abroad due to Covid-19 restrictions will be able to return to the UAE.


New rules allow expats to return to UAE from June 1


DUBAI – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) said expatriates stuck abroad due to the coronavirus restrictions will be able to return to the UAE from June 1.

The authorities said that those wishing to return to the UAE must have a valid residency visa and a family in the UAE in order to return to the emirates.

Expatriates who meet this criteria can apply for Resident Entry Permit, previously known as ICA approval, through the Twajudi service.

The free service aims to facilitate their safe return to the UAE in emergency situations, particularly during the pandemic.

June 22 update: 

New system for expats to get ‘instant approval’ to return to Dubai

New Dubai rules for arriving tourists starting July 7

The Ministry advised applicants not to book their travel tickets in advance unless they have received approval of their application.

“After getting the application approvals, please proceed to book your travel tickets as per your actual traveling dates,” the Ministry added.

Those without emergencies or urgent reasons to return to the UAE amid movement restrictions due to the pandemic are urged to wait until immigration and travel policies return to normal.

How to register your request

1. Go to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship website or click here

For expats returning to Dubai, check this June 22 update: New system for expats to get ‘instant approval’ to return to Dubai

2. Key in your information, including Emirates ID number, passport number and the reason you left the UAE.

3. Attach supporting documents:

– Coloured photo
– Copy of residence visa
– Passport copy
– Proof of reason you left the UAE (letter from company in case of business trip, or flight tickets)
– Return ticket to UAE (optional)

Residents stranded abroad when flights were grounded in March have received permission to return to the UAE. On May 9, Etihad has started limited flights to Abu Dhabi for those who received permission to return to the country. Emirates also announced that it has opened flight bookings for similar flights back to Dubai.

Emirates, Etihad open flights to allow expats to return to UAE

Those with exceptional cases have been flown into the UAE since the coronavirus pandemic disrupted travel around the world, as in the case of a couple who were stranded in South Africa when borders closed. Dubai-based expats Mark and Chiara Hill arrived in the emirate on a special flight arranged by the UAE government so they can be reunited with their daughter.

Couple stranded in South Africa now back in Dubai to reunite with daughter

The Ministry said the Twajudi for Residents aims to “ensure the health and safety of residents on its land and facilitate their return to the country in emergency cases”. ICA/Expat Media

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