190806 travel
Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: With Eid Al Adha and the summer break for schools around the corner, many UAE residents are gearing up for a long vacation. If you are still trying to figure out which country you want to spend your Eid or summer break in, here is a list of popular destinations for UAE residents and the visa and COVID-19 rules to keep in mind.

1. Europe – Schengen visa

While Schenghen countries are a popular destination for many UAE residents during the summer break, the visa application process needs to be completed well in advance, according to travel agents who spoke with Gulf News.

Subair Thekkepurath Valappil, a senior manager at Regal Tours Worldwide, said: “Tickets and visas for Europe are in high demand during the summer break but new applications for Schengen visas are currently closed and people can only book an appointment in August.”

Countries covered by Schengen visa:
According to the Migration and Home Affairs Department at the European Commission, these are countries that require a Schengen visa:
1. Austria
2. Belgium
3. Czech Republic
4. Denmark
5. Estonia
6. Finland
7. France
8. Germany
9. Greece
10. Hungary
11. Iceland
12. Italy
13. Latvia
14. Liechtenstein
15. Lithuania
16. Luxembourg
17. Malta
18. Netherlands
19. Norway
20. Poland
21. Portugal
22. Slovakia
23. Slovenia
24. Spain
25. Sweden
26. Switzerland

2. Georgia

The countries that offer visa-free travel to UAE residents are always a popular choice among residents, according to Bujair Mangalangattu, Supervisor at Deira Travel and Tourist Agency.

“We are seeing that people are interested in budget friendly destinations with visa on arrival for UAE expats. Some of these countries are Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia,” Bujair Mangalangattu, Supervisor at Deira Travel and Tourist Agency, said.

The latest COVID-19 travel rules for visitors, according to Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

We are seeing that people are interested in budget friendly destinations with visa on arrival for UAE expats. Some of these countries are Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia,” Bujair Mangalangattu, Supervisor at Deira Travel and Tourist Agency.

- Bujair Mangalangattu, Supervisor at Deira Travel and Tourist Agency

Vaccinated travellers

• A document confirming that they have both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Non-vaccinated travellers

• A negative PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test result, with the test done within 72 hours of travelling to Georgia. The test result must be presented in Georgian, English or Russian.

3. Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan also offers visa on arrival to most UAE residents. According to the official Azerbaijan tourism website – Azerbaijan.travel –citizens and residents of the UAE must fulfil the following COVID-19 requirements:

Submit an official document issued by the relevant country (COVID passport) on complete vaccination, or recovery from COVID-19 for passengers over 18 years of age.

To read more about other visa-free travel destinations for UAE residents, click here.

4. Indonesia

According to travel agents who spoke with Gulf News, East Asian countries are also popular among UAE residents who may have already visited nearby destinations that offer visa-free travel options. Additionally, COVID-19 travel restrictions have been lifted for fully vaccinated visitors in countries like Indonesia, with the popular resort island of Bali opening its borders for international travel in February 2022.

“Countries like Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia are also popular because the visa application is online and the process only takes one to two days, with visa approval rates also quite high,” Valappil said.

Countries like Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia are also popular because the visa application is online and the process only takes one to two days, with visa approval rates also quite high.

- Subair Thekkepurath Valappil, a senior manager at Regal Tours Worldwide

Documents needed for visa to Indonesia

According to Valappil, these are the documents you need to submit to apply for an e-visa for Indonesia:

• Passport copy
• Flight tickets
• Accommodation booking

COVID-19 requirements

To be able to travel to Indonesia, you need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated passengers are subject to on arrival PCR testing and a five-day quarantine, according to Emirates Airlines.

5. Singapore

Another popular COVID-19 destination among UAE residents is Singapore, which has similar visa requirements as Indonesia, according to Valappil.

To apply for an e-visa as a tourist, you would need to submit the following documents:

• Passport copy
• Flight tickets
• Accommodation booking

The visa request is processed within one to two days.

COVID-19 travel requirements for Singapore:

Passengers need to present a vaccine certificate, showing that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or take a PCR test 48 hours before their departure time, according to the website of Emirates Airlines.

Download ‘TraceTogether’, Singapore’s official contract tracing app, which is available for both Apple and Android devices, and register your profile by providing your personal details, health history and flight details.

Three days before departure, visitors must submit a health declaration form through Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) website - www.ica.gov.sg