New procedures announced allows residents to return back to the UAE starting 1 June

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced new procedures for residents who have been stuck abroad amid the COVID-19 crisis. Starting 1 June 2020, residents can start returning back to the country 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. 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 19 March were told to apply for permission to return on the Twajudi assistance portal, a system previously dedicated to UAE citizens only. 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 center on +971600522222, +97123128867 or +97123128865.

From 15 May, applicants began receiving a message reading "in light of the current conditions and for your safety: we apologize 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 as well as pregnant women and children, have been prioritized in recent weeks.

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