Visit visa holders can soon travel to the UAE, thanks to the new Air Bubble agreement between the two countries. The decision comes as India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) eased restrictions to a list of countries. The UAE will soon be added to this list. Meanwhile here are COVID-19 Rules You Must Know For Traveling To These 10 Countries.
India-UAE Air Bubble Likely Soon
India and UAE are currently planning an Air Bubble scheme that will support the travel corridor set up to operate flights between both the countries till August 31. Indians with visit or tourist visas and new entry permits will be permitted entry into the UAE based on certain terms and conditions that will be finalized under the Air Bubble.
The Indian embassy and the Consulate have recommended to permit stranded Indians to travel to the UAE, to reunite with their families, even if they only had a visit visa.
The new rule will come into effect only after a formal notification from Ministry of Civil Aviation. People traveling to the UAE must wait for the formal announcement before booking the tickets. Earlier, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs said that visit visa holders, especially jobseekers will not be allowed to travel to the UAE . However, the UAE has now started allowing Indians with valid visas to travel.
Many Indians who recently obtained visit visas to Dubai through travel agents have been held up at the airports as airlines are currently taking only those passengers with valid UAE residence visa. The Ministry of Home Affairs has also permitted OCI cardholders to India from countries with which the bilateral travel arrangement has been finalised.
“Foreigners from these countries have also been allowed to avail Indian visa facility for business, medical and employment purposes. Indian citizens have also been allowed to travel to such countries on any type of visa,” MHA tweeted.
What Are Airlines Saying?
The Air Bubble is yet to be finalized and as of now airlines are permitted to only fly UAE residents with valid visas and return permit receipts (ICA/GDRFA) are allowed. Emirates in a recent reply to a passenger said the airline was only operating repatriation flights to Dubai. Only passengers with valid UAE resident visa are permitted to travel on repatriation flight. The rule might however change depending on government approvals and travel restrictions.
OCI Cardholders From UK, US, Germany and France Can Now Enter India
The Ministry of Home Affairs announced on August 7 that OCI cardholders from countries with which air bubbles have been finalised can enter India. This implies that currently, OCI cardholders from UK, US, Germany and France can travel to India.
Additionally, any foreigners from these countries can also obtain an Indian visa for business, medical and employment purposes. The announcement further reads that Indians who wish to travel to these specific countries are also allowed to do so, on any visa type. Meanwhile, here’s who can travel in and out of India in August.
SpiceJet To Begin Flights To London From September 1
Currently, only government-owned Air India is allowed to operate flights to UK. But now, private carrier SpiceJet has secured slots at London Heathrow Airport, all set to be effective from September 1. These flights are set to be a part of air bubble or air corridor established between India and UK. The government of India has currently set up air bubbles with US, UK, Germany and France.
The Indian government had launched the special evacuation mission, known as the Vande Bharat Mission, which is currently under operation. The Vande Bharat Mission began on 6th May, and is operating flights to various countries. Under this initiative, 9,49,105 stranded Indians from foreign countries have been repatriated till August 5, according to a tweet by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Now, the government is allowing certain OCI cardholders as well to enter the country. Meanwhile, here are some Indians sharing their experiences of the Vande Bharat Mission.