Residents outside the UAE for more than six months can return by March 31

The new rule represents a three-month extension on a previous deadline

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UAE residents who have been outside the country for more than six months will be allowed to return before March 31.

Under normal circumstances, residency visas automatically expire if the holder has been abroad for more than 180 days.

But an exception was made last year due to the pandemic, when tens of thousands of people were stuck outside the Emirates as countries across the world closed their borders to limit the spread of the virus.

A deadline requiring all those with lapsed visas to return had previously been set for December 31.

“If you hold a UAE resident visa and have stayed outside of the country for more than 180 days, you will be allowed to enter the UAE until March 31, 2021,” flydubai said on its website. “Without approval to return to Dubai, you will not be accepted for travel.”

Residents returning to Dubai require approval from the emirate’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs before they book their flights.

Air India Express, a budget carrier, also shared the update on social media.

“Passengers who have stayed outside Dubai for more than 180 days can return until March 31, 2021,” it said on Twitter.

Anyone who holds a residency visa issued by other emirates must confirm their return by completing a form on the ICA website before booking their flight.

“If you do not confirm your entry/re-entry to the UAE, you will not be accepted for travel,” Flydubai said.