India, UAE Agreement On Special Flights Extended Until Further Notice

by Vaishnavi Venkataraman
India, UAE Agreement On Special Flights Extended Until Further Notice

The special travel window that allowed UAE Residents stuck in India to return home has been extended until further notice. As India’s Vande Bharat Mission moves to the fifth phase, over 105 flights set to operate from UAE to various cities in India. As of now it has been decided that a total of 74 flights will operate from Sharjah and Dubai to various cities in India. The flights will begin service from 1 August to 15 August.

In addition, 31 special flights will fly from Abu Dhabi to Indian cities between August 1 and 15 as part of Phase 5. The formal announcement and online booking details of the special Air India and Air India Express flights will be announced shortly.

“I can confirm that the existing travel arrangement to bring back passengers who have received approvals stipulated by the UAE Government will continue for the time being. People need not worry,” Neeraj Agarwal from Consul Press, Information, and Culture told Khaleej Times.

No Changes In The Existing Agreement

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. The first Air India flight, AI1975, from Delhi, landed at Sharjah International Airport at 10.30 am on 12 July.

Neerja urged that the existing travel agreement will continue. In addition, UAE airlines and private Indian carriers are also allowed to bring back residents their return leg. People who wish to go back to India need not worry as a number of airlines from the UAE, including private and Indian carriers will now begin service. The same applies to Indians wanting to head back to the UAE.

India’s Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday tweeted:

Step-By-Step Guide For Expats Returning To UAE

The UAE government announced that a PCR test will be mandatory for ALL passengers arriving at DXB. The rule applies to all tourists, residents, transit passengers, and Emiratis. The PCR test is mandatory for inbound passengers arriving from a list of 29 countries as issued by Emirates airline. The new rule is effective from August 1, at all UAE airports. Here’s the list of countries:

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Armenia
  3. Brazil
  4. Bangladesh
  5. Djibouti
  6. Egypt
  7. Eritrea
  8. India
  9. Indonesia
  10. Iran
  11. Iraq
  12. Kazakhstan
  13. Kyrgyzstan
  14. Lebanon
  15. Montenegro
  16. Nigeria
  17. Pakistan
  18. Philippines
  19. Russian Federation,
  20. Serbia
  21. Somalia
  22. South Africa
  23. Sri Lanka
  24. Sudan
  25. Tajikistan
  26. Tanzania
  27. Turkmenistan
  28. Uzbekistan
  29. Select airports in the United States

Besides, all incoming passengers must produce a negative Covid certificate upon arrival in DXB, from 1 August.

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. Meanwhile, Here Are The Travel & Testing Rules For Those Travelling Abroad This Summer.

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

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.

In a recent development, UAE Cabinet Announced Grace Period For ALL Residents With Expired Visas.

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 to find out more about the rules and guidelines for expats returning to UAE. 

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