Coronavirus Pandemic

#India2UAE: How to ensure PCR test is valid and all other things to remember before flight

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on July 12, 2020 | Last updated on July 12, 2020 at 08.32 pm
India2UAE, PCR test, valid, calculated, 96 hours, things to remember, before flight


The validity of PCR test is calculated 96 hours from the time of sample submission, not once results are released.

Residents, who arrived in the UAE today on the first commercial flights from India, shared a number of travel tips for those who are still planning their journey.

Must know: Returning to UAE from India? Get your Covid-19 tests done here


Fresh from the airport, they shed light on misconceptions, clarified requirements that must be met, and offered advice for a smooth travel experience.

Kamini Kannan, a Dubai expat who was on the first Emirates flight from Kochi to Dubai, stressed that travellers must ensure their PCR Covid-19 tests are valid.

Important: #India2UAE: Which approval should I get - GDRFA or ICA?

"The validity of results is calculated 96 hours from the time of sample submission, not once you receive the test results. Also, get the test done from ICMR-accredited test centres. Some of the passengers were not allowed to board the flight as their tests were done at non-accredited centres," said Kannan.

A detailed list of centres are mentioned on the Arogya Setu app. "In this case, book your ticket on day three after submitting the sample. In that way, in case there is a flight cancellation, you still have day four," she explained.

Information: Indian expats to return to UAE from July 12: List of flights

Trishna Singh, whose husband travelled from Delhi to Dubai, explained what to expect at airports in the UAE.

"Upon landing, just before immigration, airport authorities collect the declaration form and hand over a small pouch with the testing kit," she said.

"The immigration process is normal, but we did not walk through the smart gates. After immigration, you have to walk into the Covid-19 testing area, give them the test kit, and they perform the nasal swab."

The airport staff then explained how the Covid-19 Dubai app works, noting that results will be sent via the app.

"Only Dubai Duty-free shops were open. Once you exit, taxis are waiting as usual," Singh said.

Based on the experience of expats who just arrived from India, here are the top things to keep in mind while preparing for the UAE flight:

>It is better to get your PCR test done before booking flight tickets to the UAE

>Calculate the validity of your PCR test 96 hours from the time you submitted your sample

>Keep copies of your GDRFA/ICA approvals ready before travelling

>Arrive at the airport early

>Though PPE kits and face shields are provided to passengers before boarding, it is good to carry your own

>Don't forget to bring a bottle of hand sanitiser

>If you are travelling with kids, ensure that they are wearing masks

>Pre-packed food is provided on the flight, it's best to save it for later

>Home quarantine is recommended until test results of passengers are released

>If your city in India is on lockdown, you can travel to the airport. However, if you need to travel from one state to another, apply for an online e-pass on 

>Plan ahead and keep a plan B, plan C, plan D

Travellers' document check list:

>A copy of GDRFA approvals from passengers travelling to Dubai, Sharjah

>A copy of ICA approvals for passengers travelling to Abu Dhabi. Please note: Passengers with ICA approvals can enter through all airports in the UAE.

>A copy of your PCR Covid-19 negative test

>Health Declaration and Quarantine Undertaking forms to be filled and submitted at the Dubai Airport on arrival

>Passport and air tickets 


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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