04 October Tuesday
Entry for vaccinated persons only

Dubai eases travel restrictions from India and two other countries; relief for expats

Anas YassinUpdated: Sunday Jun 20, 2021

Manama: Dubai has decided to allow Indian expats who have been fully vaccinated with the UAE approved shot to enter from June 23.

The new rule, which was issued by the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai, will take effect from June 23, and will be applicable to all inbound passengers from India, South Africa and Nigeria, the Dubai Media Office said.

Passengers from India and South Africa should have taken two doses of a UAE-approved vaccine and required to carry RT-PCR tests report from labs approved by the federal governments of these countries. However, vaccination is not made mandatory for Nigerians, but all other conditions apply. In addition to all this, Indians are required to take a rapid PCR test four hours prior to their journey.

Apart from vaccination, residence visa holders from India are required to present a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 48 hours before departure. Only readable QR-coded PCR test certificates are accepted. UAE citizens are exempted from this requirement.

Besides, Indian expats are required to undergo a rapid PCR test four hours prior to flight departure. They must undergo another PCR test upon arrival in Dubai. They should also required to undergo institutional quarantine until they receive their arrival PCR test result, which is expected within 24 hours. UAE citizens and diplomats are exempted from institutional quarantine.

The UAE has approved four vaccines for use on eligible individuals against the coronavirus infection; Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V and Oxford-AstraZeneca. However, it is unclear whether the UAE has approved vaccines administered on Indian and South African citizens in their countries.

In India, Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is manufactured locally and sold under the brand name of Covishield. India has been administering Covishield for the last few months. Recently, Saudi Arabia recognised the Covishield vaccine as an equivalent of the AstraZeneca shot.

Dubai authority’s new decision has come as a sigh of relief to hundreds of Indians, who have been stranded in their home country for the last two months. The UAE suspended all passenger arrival from India on April 24 amid a dramatic surge of the second wave of Covid-19 infections. Since then, thousands of residents, including hundreds of healthcare workers, have been stuck in India.

The Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor and Consul-General of Dubai to India Dr Aman Puri, welcomed the decision and thanked the Dubai government for easing entry restrictions for inbound passengers from India to Dubai.

Meanwhile, Emirates Airlines has confirmed it will resume transporting passengers from India, South Africa, and Nigeria in accordance with the new travel protocols from June 23.