UAE, May 19, 2020: UAE residents who have been stuck abroad amid the coronavirus outbreak will be able to return from June 1, provided they meet specific criteria.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation and Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship said those wishing to return to the UAE must have a valid visa and family in the country.
Residents were instructed to register in the service titled Residents’ Entry Permit on the website smartservices.ica.gov.ae.
The announcement was made late on Monday night.
The ministry and authority said the decision was made 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", the statement said.
Expatriates who were overseas when the country’s borders closed on March 19 were told to apply for permission to return on the Twajudi assistance portal, a system previously dedicated to only UAE citizens.
Residents with valid residency visas outside the country who found it difficult to follow up on their requests to return were instructed to check the authority’s website or phone the call centre on +971600522222, +97123128867 or +97123128865.
While some residents have been returned to the UAE under special circumstances, many of those who applied were recently told their applications were rejected.
From Friday, applicants began receiving a message reading "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."
It is understood that essential workers including medical staff and teachers, and pregnant women and children have been prioritised in recent weeks.
Last month, UAE authorities said all residency visas would remain valid until the end of the year.
Brig Khamis Al Kaabi, of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, confirmed the decision, saying it applied to those caught outside the country 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," Brig Al Kaabi said.