Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19: India-Dubai passengers must have a PCR test result done within 48 hours

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on April 19, 2021

UAE and Indian airlines have shared the updates on their official platforms.

Passengers flying from India to Dubai will now have to follow revised regulations on PCR Covid-19 tests, UAE and Indian airlines have announced.

"Effective from April 22, 2021, passengers arriving in Dubai from India must be able to present a printed copy of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result from a test taken no more than 48 hours prior to the departure of the inbound flight to Dubai. The test result must also display a QR code," state the revised guidelines on FlyDubai’s website.

In case of Emirates, revised guidelines are effective from immediate effect. "Passengers are required to take a Covid19 PCR test not more than 48 hours before departure," states the travel requirement on the website.

Similar advisories have been issued by India's flag carrier Air India, budget carrier Air India Express and private airline Spice Jet.

Currently, passengers are required to undergo RT-PCR 72 hours before departure.

Passengers must also ensure that the ‘date and time’ of sample collection and time of reporting (result date and result time) are accurate. “The certificate must indicate a ‘negative’ test result, described either in Arabic or English, issued from a certified lab at the original point of destination where the passenger is travelling from,” read the advisory from the airlines.

Furthermore, it is mandatory that the report includes a QR code which is linked to the original report for verification by the airline. “At arrival, the Dubai Health Authority will verify the same,” said the airlines.

At present, only India’s flag carriers and Spice Jet have issued revisions to the existing pre-departure testing policies, according to travel agents in the UAE. Other Indian airlines and UAE carriers continue to have the PCR test validity at 72 hours before departure.

The Spice Jet advisory said: “The PCR test will be valid no later than 72 hours, 48 hours in case of Dubai, with effect from April 22, 2021, before departure. The stipulated time frame for accepting the negative Covid-19 reports should start from the date of sample or swab collection, and not the issuance date of the report.”

TP Sudheesh, general manager of Deira Travel and Tourist Agency, said: “The change in timing does make travel a little more complicated for the traveller as 48 hours is too less a time in case the passenger has any kind of last-minute emergencies.”

“All passengers must carry the printed copy of their negative Covid-19 reports and the test reports must be in typed form and not hand-written. Handwritten reports will not be accepted,” Spice Jet stated.

Furthermore, all negative Covid-19 reports should have the name and contact details of the providing laboratory or the health institute. “Information should be typed preferably in block letters, so it’s clear and easily understood,” the advisory added.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for over ten years. For Khaleej Times, she covers NRI affairs, civil aviation, and immigration issues among other things. She completed her BA in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008 and is currently pursuing her MA in Leadership and Innovation in Contemporary Media at the American University in Dubai. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves food, and is mom to an over-enthusiastic Labrador retriever. Tweet at her @shootsprintrite.

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