Expats Stuck In India Urge Governments To Extend Deadline For Return To UAE

by Vaishnavi Venkataraman
Expats Stuck In India Urge Governments To Extend Deadline For Return To UAE

UAE expats stuck in India have started returning home from 12 July. India and UAE have allowed their airlines to carry people authorised to travel between the two countries. However, Indians stuck in their home country have urged both governments to extend this window. Many Indians are finding it difficult to plan their return before the special agreement for flights expires on July 26.

Their plea comes just as India-UAE special flights decided on extension, after a surge in demand. However, UAE expats fear that the ‘surge’ might actually be a wrong indication of the actual scenario. Expats stranded in India claim that most flights flew with few passengers as many of them were unable to board flights due to hurdles by airlines and passengers.

Meanwhile, Emirates Announces Mandatory Covid Negative Certificate For Travellers From 10 Countries. 

Difficulties Faced By Stranded Indian Expats

Obtaining approvals from ICA, getting PCR test done as per the requirement of each emirate, and lack of charter flights for repatriation are some of the hurdles Indians trying to catch their return flight to the UAE are facing. A lot of expats who have been careful and stayed indoors are now having to expose themselves and their kids due to the mandatory Covid test for travel. Some of them staying in tier two cities also complain of the lack of approved labs nearby. Click here to find out more about the rules and guidelines for expats returning to UAE. 

Another expat Abhishek Kumar, 34, from Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh went to India to pick up his son. Ever since, the father and son have been stuck in India, while Abhishek’s wife is all alone in UAE. After repeated applications, Abhishek’s son has received permit to enter the UAE. However, his application has been rejected more than five to six times. With the deadline fast approaching, Abhishek is clueless about how to get back to his work and home in the UAE.

In order to be able to get back to their home and work, Indians stranded outside the UAE are requesting to extend the deadline for their return.

Indian Government To Liberalize Air Travel

The new Consul General of India in Dubai, told Gulf News that India is trying to liberalize air travel. “The government of India is looking at liberalising the whole regime worldwide. We have already seen those signs. We are waiting for information from Delhi about further liberalisation in air travel connectivity. I am sure after this period, we should be seeing further liberalisation,” said Dr. Puri.

On that note, Here’s How A Dubai Resident Got Home From India after travelling for 40 Hours. 

#India2UAE: A Step-By-Step Guide To Approvals, PCR Test, & Flights

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.

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.

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.

List Of Flights

A list of flights have started operating from India to the UAE as of 12 July. Etihad, Emirates, Air India, Spicejet and Air Arabia are scheduled to provide services to various Indian cities. Etihad, Fly Dubai, Air India & More Airlines Announce Reopenings. 

Here is the list of flights that have been announced so far.

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Emirates – Flights to five Indian cities
– Bengaluru: Twice daily
– Delhi: Twice daily
– Kochi: Twice daily
– Mumbai: Thrice daily
– Thiruvananthapuram: Once daily

Etihad- Services to six Indian cities from 15-26 July
– Mumbai: Daily
– Delhi: 6 times a week
– Chennai: 5 times a week
– Bengaluru: 5 times a week
– Kochi: Twice a week
– Hyderabad: Once a week

On that note, Etihad Trials ‘Contactless’ Technology At Check-In- here’s how it works.

Air Arabia- Services to 10 Indian cities

Air India Express- Multiple flights to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah
– Kannur to Dubai
– Thiruvananthapuram to Dubai
– Kozhikode to Sharjah
– Delhi to Abu Dhabi
– Delhi to Sharjah

Air India has also resumed 36 Flights Between USA And India From July 11 To 19. However, international flights for the public remains suspended till July 31. 

SpiceJet- 4 flights from India to Ras Al Khaimah
– Delhi
– Mumbai
– Kozhikode
– Kochi