Dubai residents planning on traveling abroad this summer will now have to seek the government’s approval before booking their flights.
According to the latest government announcement, passengers must file an online form titled Return Permit for Resident Outside UAE, seeking permission from Dubai’s immigration service, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) prior to booking their return flights. In order to submit the form, passengers will need to enter their destination as well as the Resident File Number, which can be found on their visa under ‘File’.
If permission has been granted, they will then receive a reference number through which they can proceed to book flights online or with airline staff. Emirates airlines outlined the entire process on its website while reminding travelers that it is not responsible for managing the application process neither can it check on an applicant’s status.
“All Dubai residents must do this, whether you are returning after the travel restrictions or you want to fly out of Dubai and return,” says the website.”If your application is approved, you will receive an email with a GDRFA reference number. If the application can’t be processed, you can try again later. Once you have your approval, you can book your ticket and you will be asked to enter your GDRFA reference number.”
This specific application process is not the same for UAE residents who have a visa issued in another emirate besides Dubai. They must use the separate federal ICA/Tawajudi site instead.
Those seeking permission must also agree to bear the expenses of treatment and quarantine, either through their insurance or otherwise, if they test positive for Covid-19 upon returning to the UAE. Getting tested for Covid-19 after landing in the Emirates is mandatory for all passengers and they must isolate themselves until the results are ready. They have also been mandated to download a mobile application that allows them to be monitored while in quarantine.