Home The Bulletin Travelling to Dubai as a Dubai residence visa holder

Travelling to Dubai as a Dubai residence visa holder

by Out and About Mag.

Dubai residents travelling

Before you book

Depending on your UAE visa, you need to apply to either the GDRFA or ICA for approval to return.

Dubai residence visa holders

  • If you hold a Dubai residence visa and you are flying back to Dubai, you must have return approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). This only applies to Dubai visas.
  • Apply when you book your flight with us online or through our call centre or on the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) website.
  • During the GDRFA application process, you will be asked to enter your Resident File Number. This number is on your visa under File.
  • Check the GDRFA website to see the status of your application. If your application is approved, you will receive an email with a GDRFA reference number. If the application can’t be processed at the time of the request, you can try again after four days. There is no need to follow up on your status with our call centre or GDRFA.
  • GDRFA approval is only for Dubai residence visa holders.

All other UAE visa holders

If you hold a visa from any other emirate outside of Dubai, you must obtain entry permission from the Federal Authority through uaeentry.ica.gov.ae

Before you travelThere may be specific departure requirements in your country before you leave. Check the information on our Travel Requirements page.

The COVID‑19 PCR test requirements for Dubai have changed.

The following entry rules apply to UAE residents travelling from these countries and territories:

Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives Islands, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Republic of North Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

  • UAE residents have the option to present a negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate that is valid for 96 hours from the date of the test before departure or take the COVID‑19 PCR test on arrival in Dubai.
  • The certificate must be for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Other test certificates including antibody tests and home testing kits are not accepted in Dubai.
  • If you are taking a test before you depart, you must bring an official, printed certificate in English or Arabic to check in – SMS and digital certificates are not accepted.
  • If you are transiting in Dubai from the countries listed above, you do not need to present a COVID‑19 PCR test certificate unless it is mandated by your country of origin or final destination.

The following entry rules apply to UAE residents travelling from these countries and territories:

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Cote d’lvoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

  • Residents must take two COVID‑19 PCR tests: one before departure with a validity of 96 hours from the date of the test, and a second test upon arrival in Dubai.
  • The certificate must be for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Other test certificates including antibody tests and home testing kits are not accepted in Dubai.
  • You must bring an official, printed certificate in English or Arabic to check in – SMS and digital certificates are not accepted.
  • If you are transiting in Dubai from the countries listed directly above, you must have a negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate that is valid for 96 hours from the date of the test, as well as any requirements for your final destination.

Test exemptions:

  • Children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability are exempt from this test. There may be specific test exemptions in your country of origin and final destination. Please check the requirements before you travel.
  • UAE nationals are exempt from doing the COVID‑19 PCR test prior to departing from the origin station to Dubai. They will be tested on arrival in Dubai.

COVID‑19 testing laboratories:

  • The UAE government has specified designated laboratories. You can either use the recommended laboratories in the list or any trusted and certified laboratories in your country of origin to get your COVID‑19 PCR test.
  • If you are flying from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, you must get your certificate from one of the labs listed in the designated laboratories document to be accepted on the flight.

At check‑in

  • All travellers to Dubai, including passengers with a connecting flight, must complete this health declaration form and give it to the staff at check‑in. You can download it now and bring it to the airport with you, or you can complete it at check‑in.

When you arrive

  • You may need to take another COVID‑19 PCR test on arrival. If you take a test at the airport, you must remain in your residence until you receive the test result.
  • If the test result is positive, you will be required to undergo isolation and follow the Dubai Health Authority guidelines.
  • You must also download the COVID19 – DXB Smart App iOSAndroid
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