Great News: ICA Approval NOT NEEDED For UAE Residents Landing In Abu Dhabi

by Vaishnavi Venkataraman
Great News: ICA Approval NOT NEEDED For UAE Residents Landing In Abu Dhabi

UAE Residents landing in Abu Dhabi international airport will no longer need an ICA approval. Pakistan Airlines confirmed the news, and also added that the new rule will be effective from 11 August. This comes as a big sigh of relief for expatriates stranded outside the UAE waiting for approvals to come to the UAE. On that note, India Has Eased Travel Rules For Select Countries, UAE Might Soon Be On The List.

The ICA permit was mandatory for all UAE Residents stranded abroad. Dubai resident visa holders must obtain permission from General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDDRFA). In addition, those with visas from Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah must register on ICA via smart channels to be able to travel to the UAE. However, now, this is not require permission if they arrive at the Abu Dhabi Airport.

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

PCR Test Is Mandatory

All other travel requirements including PCR test will be mandatory for all travellers arriving in Abu Dhabi or in any other airport in the UAE. India and UAE have allowed their airlines to carry people authorised to travel between the two countries. 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. The mission started on 12 July and is now extended due to the high demand.

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).

Those entering Abu Dhabi do not require an approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), as per the recent update.

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.

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

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

Guidelines To Follow

  • Travellers must ensure their PCR tests are valid. Note that the validity of the test is considered once you give the sample, not after the results are received. Test must be done only at ICMR-accredited test centres. Results from other centres will not be accepted. Its better to get the PCR test done before you book your tickets.
  • If the city you are travelling from in India, is under a lockdown, you are still permitted to travel to the airport. However, those who need to travel from one state to another, apply for an online e-pass on
  • Arrive early at the airport.
  • Carry a sanitizer.
  • If you’re travelling with kids, ensure they wear masks
  • Pre-packed food is provided in the flight
  • Upon arrival at DXB, all passengers are given a small pouch with the testing kit. After immigration, passengers must head to the covid testing area, where a nasal, swab test will be done. The airport authorities then explain how the Covid-19 Dubai app works, and test results will be sent via the app.
  • Home quarantine is recommended until test results are received

That said, could The Future Of Airplanes Be Double-Decker Seats? Read on to find out.

Checklist Of Documents

  • Valid GDRFA approval for those travelling to Dubai & Sharjah
  • Negative PCR test result
  • Health and declaration forms to be filled upon arrival
  • Passport & a valid flight ticket

Until you can fly again, here are some weird virtual tours that you can take from across the world.