Dubai: UAE announced it would allow its resident visa holders stranded in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal to enter UAE from August 5.
The General Civil Aviation Authority and National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, said fully vaccinated UAE residents holding valid visas from those countries can fly back to UAE. The decision also applies to Nigeria and Uganda.
Flights to the UAE from these countries were suspended over COVID-19 Delta variant concerns. With the latest move, travellers meeting these criteria can enter the UAE, provided that 14 days have passed since they received the second dose. Also, travellers from prohibited countries who hold vaccination certificates approved by official authorities from those countries are allowed. They are also supposed to produce a PCR test result 72 hours from the time of travel.
Travel will resume for transit passengers from all countries where they were previously stationed, provided the travellers’ last destination is accepted and a laboratory examination is submitted within 72 hours from the time of departure. The country’s airports will allocate special lounges for transit passengers.
Who are allowed without vaccination?
Medical staff, including doctors, nurses, and technicians working in the UAE are allowed, regardless they are vaccinated or not. Vaccinated and unvaccinated expats working in the education sector also have the green light to return.
Other categories include students completing their education in UAE-based institutions; passengers with humanitarian issues; workers from UAE’s federal and local government agencies; and those who need to complete treatment in the UAE. It is not mandatory for them to be vaccinated to enter UAE.
Where to apply for travel permit?
All the excluded categories need to apply online through the website of the Federal Authority for Identity Citizenship (ICA) (https://smartservices.ica.gov.ae/echannels/web/client/default.html#/login) or the GDRFA (https://www.gdrfad.gov.ae/en) to get the necessary approvals. Along with their application, they need to attach their vaccination certificates approved by competent authorities.
Passengers also need to submit a prior negative PCR test within 48 hours from the date of departure, provided the tests are from accredited laboratories and bear a QR Code. A quick lab test needs to be conducted before boarding planes. A PCR test will be conducted upon arrival, which will be followed by home quarantine.
Bookings yet to start
UAE airlines – Emirates and Etihad – have still not provided any update on their flights from India.
Emirates airline, however, issued a statement welcoming the latest announcement from the country’s regulators.
“Emirates would like to thank the UAE National Crisis & Emergency Management Authority and UAE General Civil Aviation Authority for their continuous efforts and evaluation of the pandemic situation globally, and implementing protocols to ensure the safety and health of the community while maintaining a secure path for travelers,” said an airline spokesperson.
“Emirates welcomes the latest announced travel exceptions and protocols, which enables travel to resume from more countries from 5 August, facilitating connections for families and businesses - our website will be updated with the latest protocols and requirements for travel,” said the spokesperson.
“We continue to actively engage with all relevant stakeholders and authorities on the latest health and safety regulations and look forward to welcome all passengers on our flights”
A travel industry source said flights are not available until August 7, but expects schedules to be updated soon.
What we know so far?
April 22: General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) announce the suspension of all inbound flights for national and international carriers coming from the Republic of India.
May 23: Emirates airline says passenger flights from India will remain suspended until June 14, 2021. The carrier says that travellers who have transited through India in the last 14 days will not be accepted to travel from any other point to the UAE.
June 19: Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai says passengers from India with a valid residence visa who have received two doses of a UAE-approved vaccine, will be allowed to travel to Dubai from June 23; Emirates airline says it will resume flights connecting India, South Africa and Nigeria to Dubai from June 23.
June 23: Flights between India and UAE will remain suspended until July 6, says Air India; over the next couple of days, Etihad and Emirates confirm the same on Twitter
June 25: UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority, in a Notice Issued to Airmen (NOTAM), says flights from India and 13 other countries, including Liberia, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic Of Congo, Uganda, Zambia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and South Africa, will remain suspended until 23:59 hrs of July 21, 2021.
June 29: Flights from India to UAE have been suspended until July 21 by UAE authorities, Etihad airways says on its website.
July 1: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) announce that UAE citizens are prohibited from travelling to countries the UAE has banned entry from recently. The list includes India.
July 2: Emirates says it has suspended all passenger flights from India “effective until further notice”; Dubai carrier later says it has halted all passenger flights from the South Asian country until July 15, 2021.
July 17: Etihad Airways says inbound flights from India would remain suspended until July 31.
July 26: Flights from India to UAE will remain suspended until August 2, says Etihad
July 28: Emirates says it will suspend the carriage of passengers from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to Dubai until August 7.
July 31: UAE’s ban on inbound flights from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka could be further extended from August 7 depending on government mandates, says Etihad