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Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: If you are planning to fly to India with your family, you may be wondering if children need to take a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test. Will they be exempt due to their age? If not, can they show a vaccine certificate instead?

Here is a detailed guide on all you need to know about the COVID-19 travel requirements for children flying to India.

General guidelines for passengers

In general, the guidelines issued by India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) stipulate the following requirements that need to be met by international passengers arriving in India:

a. Submit complete and factual information in self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal (https://www.newdelhiairport.in/airsuvidha/apho-registration) before the scheduled travel, including last 14 days travel details.

b. Upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report (The test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey)
OR
Certificate of completing full primary vaccination schedule of COVID-19 vaccination.

c. Submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report. Each passenger will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise.

Exemption from PCR test for children under the age of five

According to the guidelines, children under five years of age are exempt from both pre- and post-arrival testing. However, if found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during the period of self-monitoring, they shall undergo testing and treated as per laid down protocol.

What if my children is over the age of five?

If your child is over five years old, he or she would be required to fulfil either of the following two requirements:

1. Be fully vaccinated. As per the list of countries announced by MOHFW on February 28, 2022, vaccinations received in the UAE will be accepted in India. The child would need to show that he or she has completed the full primary vaccination schedule of COVID-19 vaccination.

OR

2. Take a PCR test 72 hours before the flight’s departure time.

At which age can my child be vaccinated in the UAE?

From February this year the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) along with local health bodies in each emirate had begun providing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children above the age of five.

Earlier, in May 2021, MOHAP had approved the emergency local use of Pfizer vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and15 following clinical trials and a strict assessment.

As of May 2021, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is administering Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to the following groups on priority:
- children with chronic diseases
- those who live with vulnerable family members
- those living with members who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical reasons.

In Abu Dhabi, you do not need an appointment for your children for the Pfizer vaccine. Department of Health - Abu Dhabi provides the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children aged 12 years and above at all of Mubadala and SEHA vaccination centres, according to the UAE government's official website - u.ae

At which age can children get a PCR test?

Health authorities provide PCR tests for children above the age of three and many centres may also have the option of getting a saliva sample taken, instead of using a nasal swab. In Dubai, you can contact the Dubai Health Authority on 800 342 to get more details on the PCR test for children. In Abu Dhabi, you can call the Department of Health on 02 4493333. In other emirates, you can call the Emirates Health Services hotline on 04 665 0000.