27 September Tuesday

UAE eases travel restrictions for Indian residents; lifts ban on transit passengers

Anas YassinUpdated: Wednesday Aug 4, 2021

Image Dubai International Airport

Manama : The UAE eased the entry restrictions on inbound travellers from six countries including India. The fully-vaccinated residence visa holders from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda can return to the UAE from 5 August, the National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) said on Tuesday. It also lifted a ban on transit passengers from these countries.

Residence visa holders should have received two doses of covid vaccine in the UAE at least 14 days before the date of travel, official news agency WAM reported. However, they would need to apply for online entry permits prior to travelling and would need to present a negative PCR test taken 48 hours prior to departure.

Those working in the medical, educational and federal or local government sectors in the UAE as well as those studying or completing medical treatment in the country would be exempt from the vaccination requirement as long as they receive Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) approvals.

Passengers travelling from countries where flights had been suspended would be able to transit through the UAE airports from Thursday as long as they present negative PCR tests taken 72 hours prior to departure, NCEMA said on Twitter. Transit travel should be subject to the approval from the final destination point. The UAE departure airports would arrange separate lounges for transiting passengers, the tweet added.

Resident’s entry is limited to those who have received the UAE approved vaccine. Sinopharm, Oxford Astrazeneca (Covishield), Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Sputnik V are the approved covid vaccines in the UAE. However, India’s covaxin has not been approved yet for use in the UAE.

The UAE, a major international travel hub and the biggest destination for Indian travellers, has banned passengers from India and few other countries on April 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This was later extended several times. The detection of covid strains in India also led to the prolongation of the ban. Tens of thousands of people, including Keralites who were scheduled to return after the holidays, were severely affected by the arrival ban. The ban on transit flights also affected passengers traveling to Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait.

The news has brought major relief to thousands of expats who have been stranded in Kerala since the arrival ban from April end.

The Indian Embassy in the UAE and the Indian Consulate in Dubai welcomed the UAE decision to ease the travel restriction and thanked the UAE authorities.