In a major initiative, the UAE administration on Thursday launched a campaign to bring back UAE visa holding residents who got stranded abroad in the wake of Coronavirus lockdown and travel restrictions. The initiative targets the return of almost 200,000 visa holders with the coordinated efforts between the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
With the pandemic restrictions easing across the Emirates, the administration has been organizing special flights to bring back UAE residents stranded abroad, prioritizing those separated from their relatives and other urgent humanitarian cases. In the first phase between March 25 and June 8, almost 31,000 citizens returned to the Emirates as reported by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority.
As per the Federal Authority For Identity and Citizenship (ICA) website, residents with valid visas and are outside the country will be able to apply for entry permission in the UAE through the latest initiative in the next phase. It is in view of the announcement made by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and ICA on May 18 allowing the people with valid UAE visas stuck abroad to return to the country from June 1.
For the returning citizens, COVID-19 checks will be conducted and they will undergo mandatory quarantine for a period of 14 days. Furthermore, the NCEMA has stated that the cost of travel and quarantine will be incurred by the travellers. They have also been asked to download one of the approved apps to track their health status in a bid to ensure their safety and of others as well.
Documents required for eligibility criteria include passport copy, valid residence visa copy and proof for the reason of visit outside the UAE. People can visit the ICA website for registration for returning to the Emirates.
Major General Mansour Ahmed Al Dhaheri, director-general of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship,has also stated that people will have to obtain an approval from the authorities to return back to the UAE for which they can apply to the website smartservices.ica.gov.ae. Once approval is received, applicants can book their flight tickets.
Travel restrictions in a bid to control the spread of Coronavirus have been in place in the UAE since March which resulted in thousands of residents stranded across several countries.
Last month the ministry and authority released a joint statement emphasising on its efforts to facilitate the return of holders of valid UAE residency outside the country to reunite with their families.