Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Lebanese in Dubai heading back home? Here's what you need to know:

In the midst of the pandemic happening globally, there has been a lot of concerns and confusion regarding when we can fly again. And I am almost certain that most of us Lebanese are wondering how can we go back home specially with all the problems taking place in our home country, be it the economic hardship, currency collapse, electricity cuts and potential scarcity of food.

Many of us are scared and worried to go back and not just because there's a pandemic cloud reigning over our heads. 

From my side, I decided to go back home to see my family and see if there is anything I can do to help and show support. I booked my flight with Emirates, so I will share below the steps you need to keep in mind, it's quite straight forward once you know what they are. I assume the process is similar for MEA.

Photo: Woman checking in at an Emirates counter in DXB airport during Covid19
Source: Emirates.com



GDRFA Application Number text box on Emirates.com flight booking form


Here is what Dubai residents need to know:
  1. Prior to booking your ticket, you need to apply for a permit to come back to Dubai (you will need to enter your residency VISA file number - second line on your residency visa), once you have an approval from GDRFA (mine came within 5 minutes), you will be able to insert the application number in the designated box while booking the ticket. If you have already booked your ticket, you should still apply for the permit and have the approval email ready while checking-in at DXB airport's check-in counters. If for any reason your return date changed and need a new approval, you can submit a new application in the last 7 days before the expiry of the approved return permit (source: GDRFA website). The permit is valid for 30 days.
  2. Fill Lebanon's health declaration form prior to flying to Beirut. 
  3. Pre-pay for the PCR test that will take place when landing in Beirut Airport with your airline. Double check if it's already included in ticket, if not you will need to call them to pay for that by providing your ticket reference number. Someone mentioned that for MEA, PCR test cost is already included in ticket price (if someone can confirm). Make sure you print the receipt of the PCR test (you will get a copy as PDF to your email). It's much easier than showing it off your phone as for some reason, confirmation of payment of the PCR test is not always showing up at check-in or boarding.
  4. Before leaving to Lebanon - so far - you are required to do a PCR test within 96 hours before your flight and show it at check-in (recommended that you print that)
  5. As of August 1st, people flying from Lebanon are required to do a PCR test in a designated lab in Lebanon within 96 hours before flight time. More info here and designated laboratories in Lebanon here
  6. When coming back to Dubai, you will need to do a PCR test on landing in DXB airport.
  7. You need to also print and fill the following forms (UAE Health declaration form and Quarantine consent form) and have them ready with you to hand over to Dubai Health Authority.
  8. You must also download the COVID-19 DXB Smart app (iOS / Android)
Woman picking up her suitcase from the baggage belt at DXB Terminal 3 airport. 
Source: Emirates.com


Click on image to see larger size
Designated Laboraties in Lebanon


You can read more about the general guidelines for tourists visiting Dubai here as well: https://www.emirates.com/ae/english/help/flying-you-home/

You can find below the full detailed guidelines:


Source: Emirates.com

Hope this helps and have a safe trip.

Disclaimer: The post above is to the best of my knowledge. It's always best to confirm directly with the airline and the official sources. The post was written on July 7th, 2020 and last updated on July 29.

2 comments:

  1. It's about time I'm able to find such a comprehensive post!! I've been struggling so much to figure out what the heck I'm meant to do if I want to leave the country, and I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to write this out so clearly!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome! Always best to confirm with the airline if you have any doubt but hopefully this can be a good start.

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