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Passengers at Abu Dhabi International Airport Image Credit: File photo

Dubai: UAE residents returning from India holding the permit from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) are not allowed to fly to Abu Dhabi from India, Gulf News has learnt.

Passengers must have a permit from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) to fly to Abu Dhabi, Air India Express has said in an updated notification for passengers flying from India to the UAE.

In a blog, the airline that is operating around 100 flights during the 15 days from July 12 to 26, has provided the latest updates about the approvals in the format of an FAQ.

According to the FAQ, passengers from India with GDRFA permits will be allowed to fly to Dubai and Sharjah only.

“Passengers with expired ICA / GDRFA approval will not be accepted at check-in,” the airline said, adding that passengers with expired permits should apply afresh for entry into the UAE.

In the travel guidelines and regulations on its website, Abu Dhabi’s national carrier Etihad also stated that passengers without ICA approval will not be accepted at check-in.

“Before you can fly to Abu Dhabi, you must apply for ICA approval. The service will ask for your flight booking reference, though this field is not mandatory and can be left blank.

If your application is successful, you’ll receive a unique ICA approval number, which you will need when your check-in for your flight. If you do not have ICA approval, you will not be accepted at check-in,” the airline stated.

Gulf News has learnt that some passengers, who had booked their tickets to Abu Dhabi, were turned away at airports in India as they carried GDRFA permits.

A passenger flying from Kannur International Airport in Kerala to Dubai said he witnessed a few passengers being turned away from the airport since they were holding GDRFA permit to fly to Abu Dhabi.

“They are not allowing people with GDRFA permit to check-in for Abu Dhabi flight. It seems only ICA permit holders are allowed to fly to Abu Dhabi,” he said.

While Air India Express said its passengers from India to Dubai are allowed to fly if they hold the permit from either the GDRFA or ICA, Emirates stated that passengers holding Dubai residence visa flying back to Dubai “must have return approval from GDRFA.”

Emirates passengers are also required to have their GDRFA application number to complete their flight booking, the airline said in an update related to repatriation flights to and from Delhi, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.