UAE flights: Do India, Pakistan passengers need GDRFA, ICA approvals?

Rapid Covid PCR tests have been scrapped for travellers from the subcontinent


Waheed Abbas

Published: Wed 23 Feb 2022, 11:14 AM

Last updated: Wed 23 Feb 2022, 7:04 PM

The UAE airlines have dropped the requirement for the rapid PCR test taken at the airport for travellers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This includes Dubai’s flagship carrier Emirates, budget carrier flydubai, Sharjah’s low-cost airline Air Arabia and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways.

In addition, some airlines from the Indian Subcontinent have also confirmed to Khaleej Times that rapid PCR test requirement has been done away with for passengers from the four Subcontinent countries.

Below is an updated guide for passengers travelling from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to different cities of the UAE related to Covid-19 PCR tests as well as approvals from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs-Dubai (GDRFA) and the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICA).

In addition to the UAE carriers, airlines from the subcontinent are also implementing these new rules for the UAE-bound passengers.

Travellers from the Indian Subcontinent to Dubai:

Below are guidelines for passengers flying to Dubai with Emirates and other airlines:

•Passengers must present a negative Covid 19 PCR test certificate with a QR code

•The test must have been conducted within 48 hours, validity should be calculated from the time the sample was collected

•Conduct PCR test from an approved health facility

•Passengers are no longer required to take a rapid PCR test at the airport six hours before departure.

•Passengers arriving in Dubai from the Indian Subcontinent will be required to take another Covid 19 PCR test on arrival at Dubai International airport.

•Approval from GDRFA or ICA is required for residents prior to departure.

•Passengers who have a newly-issued residence or employment visa, short stay or long stay visa, golden visa, investor or partner visa, visit visa or visa on arrival are exempted from the approval

Passengers coming to Sharjah:

According to Air Arabia and other airlines flying to the emirate of Sharjah, passengers coming from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are required to observe the following guidelines:

•Covid-19 PCR test conducted within 48 hours of the flight arrival time

•PCR Test results should carry a QR code on it

•Passengers will be required to present a copy of the test report at the check-in counter

•Take another PCR test at the arrival

•Passengers are no longer required to conduct rapid PCR tests at the airport 6 hours prior to departure

•Children under the age of 16 years are exempt from PCR tests

•Prior approval from the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security


Passengers coming to Abu Dhabi:

Below are guidelines for passengers travelling from the Indian subcontinent to UAE capital by Etihad Airways and other airlines:

•Must carry a negative PCR test with a maximum of 48 hours before flight departure

•The test result must include a QR code

•Passengers not able to present negative Covid-19 PCR test will not be permitted to travel

•Children under 12 and people with severe and moderate disabilities are exempted from PCR tests

•Etihad Airways website doesn’t mention the requirement of rapid PCR test six hours before departure

•Passengers need approval from ICA prior to the departure

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