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ICA approval for flights to UAE from restricted countries: Who can apply

Team KT/Dubai
Filed on August 16, 2021 | Last updated on August 16, 2021 at 11.46 pm
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The authority reiterated who could get the approval and the requirements for it.


Starting August 5, passenger entry resumed for UAE residents stranded in countries from where flight restrictions apply.

Listen to this story and more on the 8@8 with David Light podcast

Ever since, hundreds of stranded passengers from restricted countries, including India and Pakistan, have travelled back to the UAE.

On Monday, August 16, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) urged valid residency visa holders wishing to return to the UAE from restricted countries to apply for approval from the ICA website. (Dubai residents need to get approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, GDRFA.)

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The ICA reiterated who could get the approval and the requirements for it.

>> Requirements:

- They must have received full vaccination doses in the UAE.

- At least 14 days must have passed since the second dose.

- They must have a vaccination certificate approved by the UAE authorities.

>> Some categories are exempted from the vaccination requirement:

- Medical personnel working in the UAE.

- Residents working in the education sector.

- Students studying in the UAE.

- Workers in federal and local government authorities.

- Those completing medical treatment in the UAE.

- Those wishing to return on humanitarian considerations.

Irrespective of which category you come under, getting an ICA approval is mandatory to travel back to any airport in the country in the UAE, except Dubai.

In response to a query by a customer about travelling to Dubai from restricted countries, Emirates Airline’s official customer service handle tweeted: “At this time, we can only accept Dubai residents with stamped visas for travels from India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Uganda to the UAE.”

Air India Express had recently specified the documents passengers with UAE residency visas travelling from India to any airport in the Emirates must carry:

>> For holders of residency visas issued in Dubai and travelling to Dubai, passengers must get ‘Return permit for residents outside UAE’ form from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) through: https://smart.gdrfad.gov.ae/Smart_OTCServicesPortal/ReturnPermitService.aspx

>> For holders of residency visas issued in other Emirates, they must get the form from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) through https://smartservices.ica.gov.ae/echannels/web/client/guest/index.html#/registerArrivals

(Those with visas issued by organisers of Expo 2020 Dubai can travel to the UAE without GDRFA/ICA approvals.)

>> Passengers must have a negative Covid-19 test certificate with QR code linked to the original report. The test must have been done within 48 hours of departure at an ICMR-approved laboratory.

>> A rapid PCR test report based on molecular diagnostic testing must be conducted at the Indian departure airport within four hours of departure.





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