Children Under 12 Stranded In India Unable To Reunite With Parents In UAE

by Vaishnavi Venkataraman
Children Under 12 Stranded In India Unable To Reunite With Parents In UAE

A number of kids under 12, are stranded in India ever since the pandemic broke out and flights to UAE were suspended. And now, the children are unable to reunite with their parents in the UAE. This is because multiple airlines do not accept unaccompanied minors. The UAE allowed expats stuck in India to re-enter the country from 12 July. A 15-day window has been provided, after mutual acceptance by the Indian & the UAE government.

All residents travelling back must have ensure they have valid residency permits. In addition, they must also produce a negative Covid certificate on arrival. However, parents of minors are under despair as children under 12 are unable to travel despite having return permits. Meanwhile, Emirates Announces Mandatory Covid Negative Certificate For Travellers From 10 Countries. 

Airline Policies Take An Emotional Toll On Kids & Parents

Poonam Sapre, a Dubai-based mother is under severe emotional stress as the rule has kept her away from her daughter. Poonam’s daughter Eva Sapre is 10 years old and is now stuck in Hyderabad for over 3 months. The situation has taken an emotional toll on the little girl. “We have GDRFA (General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs) approval for her but the airlines are not accepting her booking, saying she is under 12,” Poonam told the media.

On that note, Flights To Dubai Have Started And COVID-19 Test On Arrival Is Free For Indians.

Apart from Emirates and Etihad, all other airlines including flydubai and Air Arabia are refusing to accept minors. Sapre added that only flydubai is flying the Hyderabad-Dubai route, and most other airlines have stopovers, which is difficult for children to manage all alone. When the family reached out to the airlines for comment, they said that all these rules have been in place ever since the pandemic broke open.

Another Dubai-parent who wished to stay anonymous, said her eight-year old son was stuck in Kerala and is unable to return due to the airline policies for minors.

In order to bring back their kids to the UAE, some parents are forcefully flying out to accompany their kids on the flight back home. On that note, British Airways To Resume Passenger Flights To Dubai From July.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Approvals, PCR Test, & Flights

India and UAE have allowed their airlines to carry people authorised to travel between the two countries. The scene at Dubai International airport was a rather emotional one, as the first Air India flight, AI1975, from Delhi, landed at Sharjah International Airport at 10.30 am on 12 July.

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Air India announced that Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) approved UAE Residents can travel on the Vande Bharat Mission flights operated by it and AI Express from 12-26 July. However, the journey comes with a host of approvals and protocols. Here’s a step-by-step guide to approvals, PCR test and flights.

Also Read: People Will Be Scared To Travel Till Customer Confidence Is Built: Neerja Bhatia, Etihad Airways

1. Approvals

There has been a lot of confusion if residents traveling back to the UAE must secure approval from GDRFA or ICA. The UAE government has issued clarification on the same. Residents who are returning to Dubai or Sharjah from India, must get a valid pre-departure approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA).

On the other hand, those entering Abu Dhabi or any other airport in the country must have a valid approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA). Besides, Air India Express on its website clarified that only those who hold a valid resident permit can book tickets on these flights. Also Read: Covid-19’s Impact On The Indian Airline Industry

2. Documents To Carry

For Residents Returning To Dubai

  • A valid approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA)
  • A Valid Negative Covid-19 PCR test report from a government-authorized laboratory
  • Download Covid-19 – DXB Smart App
  • Health Declaration and  Quarantine Undertaking forms to be filled and submitted at the Dubai Airport on arrival
  • Passengers will not be permitted to travel if the ICA or GDRFA approval has expired

For Residents Returning To Abu Dhabi & Sharjah 

All documents for residents returning to Abu Dhabi will be the same as for Dubai. However, residents returning to Abu Dhabi must get approval from ICA. Those returning to Sharjah must have valid approval from ICA or GDRFA.

3. Covid-19 PCR Test

Residents travelling back to Sharjah, Dubai or Abu Dhabi must carry a valid negative covid-PCR test report. The test must not be older than 96 hours, prior to departure.

4. On Arrival In UAE

Dubai: Upon arrival in DXB, all passengers must take a PCR test and stay in their residence until the test results are out. Those who test positive must undergo isolation and follow the Dubai Health Authority guidelines.

Abu Dhabi: PCR testing and temperature scanning will be done.

Sharjah: PCR testing will be done on arrival. Also read Etihad To Resume Flights To 15 Destinations From Mid-July.

5. Can people with a work permit or a visit visa travel?

NO. At the moment, only resident permit holders are allowed to return to the UAE from India- between 12- 26 July.

Click here for a complete List Of Flights operating from India to the UAE