New UAE announcement allows residents stranded abroad due to COVID-19 to return from June 1.
19 May 2020| Last updated on 20 May 2020
UAE residents with a valid residency are eligible to return.
UPDATE 20.05.2020: Returning residents only require a valid residency visa. A family living in the UAE has been clarified as not a prerequisite.
On late Monday night, a new official announcement allows UAE residents stuck overseas due to the coronavirus travel restrictions to return from June 1.
Provided that the residents meet specific criteria, according to The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation and Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.
Residents who wish to return to the country must have a valid residency visa in the UAE.
If you are eligible and wish to return to the Emirates, you must register with a Residents’ Entry Permit via online government services: smartservices.ica.gov.ae.
The decision was made in an effort to “reunite families affected by the measures taken in light of the current exceptional circumstances”.
"The move is aimed at streamlining their safe return to the UAE", UAE authorities added.
UAE residents receive rejected applications
Previously, expats who were abroad when the UAE shut down its borders and implemented strict travel restrictions were informed to apply for permission to return via the Twajudi assistance portal.
Expats who had a valid UAE residency visa found difficulties in securing their requests. Although some were able to return to the country through special repatriation flights, there were residents whose applications were rejected.
Rejected applicants would receive a message which read, “In light of the current conditions and for your safety: we apologise for not fulfilling your request due, to the incompatibility of your request with the requirements for entry to the country."
Flights have been limited in their numbers, and the number of seats available are also cut down due to mandatory social distancing rules on board.
Priority was first given to passengers who are essential workers such as medical staff and teachers, as well as pregnant women and children.
Visas expiring after March 1 are valid until 2021
Brigadier Khamis Al Kaabi, the official spokesman of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, confirmed the new decision.
He said that the new return procedures applies to residents stuck outside the UAE when flights were suspended.
"Expats who have their visa expiring after March 1, 2020, will have them valid until the end of December this year, whether they are inside or outside the country," Brigadier Al Kaabi added.
Authorities confirmed there are 832 new COVID-19 cases in the UAE, bringing the total to 24,190. 1,065 patients have recovered, for a total of 9,577 cases.
Around the world, there have been an estimated 4.8 million confirmed cases with 318,000 deaths and nearly 1.7 million recoveries.