20200819 dubai airport
Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Travelling from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka to the UAE? If you are confused about the latest travel guidelines, here is a roundup of the updated COVID-19 protocols that need to be adhered to.

As per the website of Emirates airlines, UAE residence visa holders coming from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Sudan must have an approval from either the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) or the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Porst Security (ICA).

The website also states: "This [requirement] does not apply to passengers who have other visas, such as newly issued residence or employment visas, short stay or long stay visa, holders of 10 year UAE Golden visa, Investor or Partner visa, visit visa or visa on arrival."

Complete list of documents required:

1. ICA or GDRFFA approval.

2. A negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate with a QR code for a test conducted within 48 hours, validity should be calculated from time the sample was collected, prior to departure, from an approved health facility.

3. A negative COVID‑19 Rapid PCR test report with a QR code for a test conducted at the departure airport within six hours of departure.

How to get an approval from the ICA

Step 1: Visit the ICA website

You would need to visit the following link - https://beta.smartservices.icp.gov.ae/echannels/web/client/guest/index.html#/issueResidentEntryPermission/request/708/step1?administrativeRegionId=1&withException=false

Step 2: Fill in application form

Enter the following details:

1. UAE Identity Number

2. Passport Number

3. Passport Type - Select from a drop-down menu - Ordinary passport, Diplomatic passport, etc.)

4. Current nationality - Select from a drop-down menu

your details like your name (for your Arabic name, it will be auto-filled after you enter the name in English), gender, date of birth, place of birth, expected arrival date, port of arrival and departure and email address.

Entering all the details correctly – including your email address – is important, as a QR code will be sent to your email.

Step 3: Check the Capcha box.

Once you apply for the approval, you will receive a notification on the website itself, as well as through an email on your registered email address.

ICA approval screenshot
A screenshot of the approval you will receive from the ICA. Image Credit: Gulf News

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How to get an approval from GDRFA

For Dubai visa holders, you will need to apply for an approval with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) Dubai. To do so, follow these steps.

Step 1: Visit the GDRFA website

Visit the following link - https://smart.gdrfad.gov.ae/Smart_OTCServicesPortal/ReturnPermitService.aspx

Step 2: Enter your Residence Number

You will then need to search for your application in the system through the Residence Number. The residence number is the 'File number' on the residence visa stamped in your passport. For Dubai visa holders, the number would start with 201. You will also need to provide your nationality and year of birth.

Check the box for 'I'm not a robot' and click 'Search'.

Step 3: Provide travel details

The system will then generate the basic details like your name in English and Arabic as well as your passport number.

Below this ‘Applicant information’ there will be a section for travel information. Enter the country you will be arriving from and the airport you will land at. Check the box to confirm you will bear the expenses of quarantine if you are infected with COVID-19.

Step 4: Upload documents

Upload documents including your passport copy, photograph, PCR test result and COVID-19 vaccine certificate.

Confirm the details of your application and click send.

If approved, you will receive an official notification from the GDRFA through email.