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Updated 29 December 2021

Return permits and approvals have become an inevitable part of travel while entering the UAE. For non-UAE residents travelling from certain countries, approval of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) must first be obtained, and if they’re residing in Dubai, approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) is also required.

With the help of smart GDRFA (smart.gdrfad.gov.ae) services, the online portal launched by the GDRFA, obtaining such necessary permits is now easier than ever. Read ahead to know more about the services offered, like visa and passport applications and entry approvals, easily accessible through smart GDRFA. 

What is smart GDRFA?

Smart GDRFA is the online portal launched by the GDRFA that deals with immigration administrative services. There are a whole host of other services for both individuals and companies. You can find the location of Dubai Immigration (GDRFA) office locations, should you need it. You can also get answers for any legal concerns related to Dubai immigration rules and policy.

Access for Dubai citizen or resident sponsor

  • Apply for a visit visa for your relatives 
  • Use the smart gates on the airport with the app if you are registered already for the gates 
  • Apply for a residence entry permit for your family members (wife and children)
  • Apply for a new residence for your family members (after they have arrived in the UAE with a residence entry permit)
  • Renew residence permits for your family members 
  • Transfer your residence to your new passport
  • Check eForm application, residence application, residence and entry permit status
  • Apply for fee refund for refused applications and warranty refund for entry permits
  • Apply for cancelling resident for any sponsored under your sponsorship
  • Generate the “travel status report” and the list of people you sponsor (“sponsor and sponsored report”)

As a Dubai citizen, you additionally can:

  • Get an Entry Visa for domestic helpers (maids, nannies, etc.)
  • Request a new or renew UAE passport

Access for tourist arriving in Dubai

You can extend your on-arrival visa.

Access for company registered in Dubai

  • Extend, renew or cancel an entry permit for anyone your organization sponsors before they enter the UAE 
  • Request Establishment Card or PRO card renewal
  • Request Establishment Card or PRO card in replacement of a Lost/damaged one
  • View the list of individuals your organization sponsors
  • Generate sponsor and sponsored report

Smart GDRFA e-services

You can easily access the following e-services available round the clock via the GDRFA website:

Citizenship and personal status services

  • Issuance of new passport
  • Passport renewal
  • Replacement of damaged/lost passport 
  • Issuance of statements
  • Issuance of a family book
  • Amendment of a family book
  • Replacement of a lost/damaged family book

Entry & return permits

  • Return permit for residents outside UAE
  • Entry permit
  • Temporary work permit 
  • Sponsorship file (individual)

GDRFA approval

UAE Residence Visa holders travelling to Dubai from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Sudan must have GDRFA or ICA approval to enter the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This does not apply to passengers who have other visas, such as newly issued residence or employment visas, short stay or long stay visa, holders of 10 year UAE Golden visa, Investor or Partner visa, visit visa or visa on arrival.

To obtain the GDRFA approval, the following are required:

  • an official vaccination certificate issued and approved in the UAE or abroad. At least 14 days must have passed since the last required dose of the vaccine was administered.
  • a valid passport
  • a valid residence visa
  • a valid Emirates ID
  • a valid PCR test result
  • a valid email address

To obtain the GDRFA approval, you must first ensure that you have all the prerequisites detailed above and then simply follow the steps below.

  • Go to the GDRFA’s online portal to start your application process
  • Prepare the necessary documents; your passport, visa and Emirates ID. You will be required to enter your Resident File Number. Find this number on your visa under file. Fill out the form accordingly
  • Provide the remaining required documents; vaccine certificate, PCR test result, photograph, as well as a copy of your passport
  • Before submitting your application, confirm that all provided information is accurate and click send

If your application is successful, an email with a GDRFA reference number will be sent to your email.

Residency services

  • Status adjustment
  • Residency visa
  • Renewal of residency visa
  • Data amendment of residency visa
  • Cancellation of residency visa
  • (Companion) family members in residency visa
  • Transfer of residency visa

Port services 

  • Marine port services
  • Airports control

Violator follow up

  • Circular about a sponsored person in the administrative list
  • Cancellation of a circular about a sponsored person in the administrative list
  • Exit permit 
  • Temporary closure
  • Fine collection
  • Issuance of statements 

Establishments support services

  • Issuance of establishment card
  • Renewal of establishment card
  • Adding a category to establishment card
  • Data amendment of establishment card
  • Ban
  • Issuance of representative’s card
  • Renewal of representative’s card
  • Data amendment of representative’s card
  • Cancellation of representative’s card
  • Cancellation of establishment card

You can easily track the application status of these requests by accessing the “Status Tracking” service. Simply provide details like the file/application number, mobile number, transaction details and view the current status of your application. 

Smart GDRFA app

These GDRFA services are also available via the GDRFA app on both iOS and Android platforms. This application provides you access to the most frequently required services of Dubai Immigration.