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Updated January 2022

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) has launched its Smart Services program to further facilitate citizens and residents looking to return to the UAE. The UAE has also announced a special category of residents permitted entry to travellers from specified countries provided they have obtained pre-entry approval from the ICA.

Read ahead to know more about the services offered, like visa validity checks and entry approvals through the Smart Services program. 

What is the ICA Smart Services?

The ICA Smart Services provide UAE and foreign nationals a centralized portal from which they may access various services pertaining to visa inquiries, permit inquiries, payment of fees and fines and personal information updates.

The system provides a range of services for individuals according to each category, as follows:

  1. Citizens: Individual citizens can apply for services related to citizens (passport services, family book services, Emirates ID services) and services for the sponsored.
  2. UAE Residents: Individual residents can apply for services of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, such as visa, residency and Emirates ID services, for themselves and their sponsor.
  3. GCC Citizens: GCC citizens can apply for services related to their sponsored in addition to the services of the Emirates ID.
  4. GCC Residents: GCC residents can apply for services related to entry visas to the country for this category and administer the visa after its issuance.
  5. Visitors: Visitors can apply for services related to entry visas to the country by category and manage the visa after its issuance.

You can access these services through the official website or via mobile applications, available both on iOS and Android.

ICA Smart Services for UAE residence entry permit

Fully vaccinated residence visa holders from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan may only return to the UAE if they have obtained pre-entry approval from the ICA.

Note that Dubai visa holders from these countries must also obtain pre‑entry approval through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

To successfully obtain the UAE residence entry permit, follow this step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Visit the ICA website.
You would need to visit the ICA website.

Step 2: Fill in the application form.
Enter your details such as the Emirates ID number

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Step 3: Fill in your passport details.
Next, you will be asked to fill in your passport details like type and number.

Step 4: Confirm details.
Finally, verify that the details are correct and that you will adhere to all the instructions and procedures issued by the health authorities.

Step 5: Approval notification
A resident with valid visa documents received this message instantly on entering his details: “You fulfil the requirements to enter the country, and you can proceed with the completion of your travel procedures. Wishing you continued health and wellness.”

If you receive a similar message, you can proceed to book your air ticket. The ICA has advised residents to use the platform to verify the authenticity of their travel documents before booking a ticket.

ICA Smart Services for vaccine certificate registration

All arrivals to the UAE, be they residents or visitors, are obliged to register their vaccination status through ICA Smart Services. Do note that while vaccination is not a requirement for entry, non-exempt unvaccinated travellers will not be able to obtain the green pass required to access public places across Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The vaccination certificate registration is optional for passengers wishing to enjoy the benefits of being fully vaccinated by vaccines approved in the UAE.

Simply visit this ICA Smart Services link, indicate your current location, and fill in the form truthfully. Some documents you may need to prepare or upload later:

  • Passport
  • Personal image
  • PCR test result (optional)
  • COVID-19 vaccination card (optional)

Once you have completed the form and uploaded all the documents, tick off the declaration that your information is correct, the reCAPTCHA, and click “Send”.

When to register your vaccine certificate on the ICA Smart Services?

Depending on your vaccination status, you may need to plan for your ICA registration ahead of time as follows.

If you have been fully vaccinated in the UAE:

  • Register any time before you fly
  • You do not need to upload your vaccine certificate

If you’ve been fully vaccinated outside the UAE:

  • Register five days before your flight
  • If you do not register in time, your vaccination status may not be recognised – that means you will not receive a green pass in the Al Hosn app, and you may be required to quarantine
  • When you’ve registered, you’ll receive a QR code by email

If you have not been vaccinated:

  • Register any time before you fly
  • When you’ve registered, you’ll receive a QR code by email

The UAE has also announced the approval of COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued abroad, allowing passengers with approved vaccines to smoothly complete their travel procedures to Dubai.

ICA Smart Services for UAE visa status check

For residents looking to check their UAE visa status and validity or for those looking to track their UAE visa application progress, they can do so by utilizing one of the services provided by the ICA.

Residents and applicants simply need to visit the ICA dashboard and locate the appropriate service and receive information concerning visa issuance, types and validity, or the status of their visa application. Specifically for visa applicants, the application number and reference number are required to track their application.

Alternatively, for any enquiry regarding visa issuance, types and validity, you’re welcome to communicate directly with the ICA at the toll-free number 600522222.