UAE flights: Indian residents land in Dubai, clarify travel process
Expats reveal how much they paid to fly to UAE on day 1 after travel rules were eased.
Joy, relief and gratitude: These sum up the emotions experienced by stranded expats as they landed in the UAE on day one after travel restrictions were eased.
Starting August 5, residents who have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UAE; and vaccinated and unvaccinated health workers, teachers, humanitarian cases and those employed in federal and local government agencies can fly to the UAE from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda.
Previously, passenger entry from these six countries was suspended on flights to the UAE.
The first set of stranded residents from India landed in Dubai and Sharjah in flights operated by Emirates and Air Arabia, respectively, early on the day.
Remya Vikram landed in her second home after three months of being stranded in India.
She had travelled to her home country in early April for a family gathering along with her husband and daughter. She decided to stay on because of a health issue, while her husband managed to return on April 24 – the same day when the UAE announced suspension of passenger entry on flights from India.
For those who had followed all safety protocols, travel was a breeze as operations were streamlined.
A resident who returned on the Emirates flight from Cochin, Kerala, said there were about 100 passengers.
Explaining the protocol for vaccinated residency visa holders, the passenger, Ashraf, said only those who had received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in the UAE were allowed to board the flight.
He also clarified that the approval process for Dubai-issued visa holders flying to Dubai varies from that for holders of visas issued in other Emirates.
Dubai visa holders must get the approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) website:
Others need to get the approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) website.
Ramya said she had managed to get both ICA and GDRFA approvals as she did not want to take a chance. “The approval process does not take much time if all documents are in place.”
Ticket fares on day 1
Another resident, Rajesh Purakkot, said he had gone to India to be with his family on July 2. He said he booked his tickets via a travel agent in India on August 4 for Rs19,200 (Dh950).
“I did my PCR test on the same day. The result came in by evening, and my brother in Dubai entered all the relevant details on the GDRFA website, after which we got the approval,” he said.
He added that the approval process took about 30 minutes.
He also clarified the process after landing in Dubai. “We underwent a PCR test on landing at the airport. We were asked to quarantine till the results came.”
Yet another resident, Abdul Rahman, said the ticket prices shot up within a day. “On August 3, the ticket cost about Rs18,000 (Dh890), but then I decided to do a PCR test before booking it. I booked it the next day, and by then, it had shot up to Rs27,050 (Dh1,340).”
He also reiterated that the process was smooth as long as one had all the relevant documents.
Remya said she paid Rs20,000 for the ticket.
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