Dubai: With scheduled flights likely to resume soon in India, you may be planning to travel to the country, whether you are flying directly from the UAE or only transiting through the UAE on a longer flight.
During a trip to the India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai on Saturday, India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said that the country is moving towards the resumption of scheduled flights.
However, as part of special air travel arrangements that India has signed with the UAE, as well as other countries, flights have been plying on this route despite the restrictions on scheduled flights. But there have been updates issued by India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) on travel guidelines for international arrivals.
Travelling from the UAE to India
On November 11, MOHFW issued a new set of guidelines for international arrivals “in supersession of all guidelines issued on the subject on and after October 20, 2021.”
While the guidelines provide details on what passengers need to do before their flight, during the trip and after they arrive in the UAE, this is what the guidelines say about the requirements for the COVID-19 PCR [Polymerase Chain Reaction] test for children:
“Children under five years of age are exempted from both pre- and post-arrival testing. However, if found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during the home quarantine period, they shall undergo testing and treated as per laid down protocol.”
Travelling from India to the UAE
If you are travelling from India to the UAE, the requirements will vary depending on the airport at which you land.
As per the Emirates airlines website, children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability are exempt from taking a COVID 19 RT PCR test.
The website of Etihad airlines provides the following guidelines for PCR tests: “You must take a COVID-19 PCR test before every Etihad Airways flight, even if you are just transiting.”
The guidelines add: “Your PCR test certificate must contain a QR code for our airport staff to validate, or you will not be able to travel. Please check with your testing clinic of choice that the result will have a QR code before proceeding with your test.”
If you are unable to present proof of your negative COVID-19 PCR test, you will not be permitted to travel, as per the website.
Air Arabia’s website provides the following guidelines for PCR and rapid test: “Passengers including UAE nationals arriving from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are required to take COVID-19 PCR test, conducted within 48 hours of the flight arrival time. Passengers are also required to conduct a rapid PCR test at the airport six hours prior to departure and will go through another PCR test at the arriving airport. Children under the age of 16 are exempt from the tests. Test results for passengers arriving from Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Nepal and India should carry a QR code on it.”
So, before you plan your trip from India to the UAE, it is important to reach out to the airlines with which you are travelling, to ensure that you fulfill all the latest requirements they have in place for COVID-19.