Long Eid break in UAE: Top six visa-free destinations residents can visit during the holidays

Travel agents have warned residents to book their tickets soon as possible



by

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Fri 15 Apr 2022, 6:23 PM

Last updated: Wed 27 Apr 2022, 11:14 AM

With the long Eid Al Fitr break soon approaching, one question looms on everyone’s mind - is it a good idea to head out of the country for a quick break?

While leisure travel is on everyone’s mind, many citizens and residents don’t want the trouble of applying for tourist visas. However, travel agents have warned residents to book their tickets soon as possible as air flight seats to these destinations are selling out.

Do Emirati nationals need a Schengen visa?

Citizens of the UAE do not need a Schengen visa for short-term visits to the members of the Schengen countries, VFS Global has clarified.

The bilateral agreement, signed in May 2015 between the European Union and the UAE, allows citizens of the Emirates to stay in the Schengen area without a visa for up to 90 days within any 180 days, said VFS.

However, many nationalities, including holders of the UAE residence visa, must procure a visa to travel to the Schengen states. Many expatriates, however, are hoping to travel to destinations that offer tourists visa on arrival.

High demand, tickets sold out

According to Rasheesh Babu, COO of Musafir.com, leisure travel is currently witnessing a tremendous boost. “Overall, tourism is opening. For example, we only have two to three Bangkok seats left; everything else has been sold out,” he said. Babu said, “Demand is high in the budget and luxury travel segments. People are keen to travel post-pandemic,” he added.

Malik Bedekar, operations manager at Smart Travels, “Demand among UAE residents is very high for travel Baku, Georgia, Maldives, and Turkey because these destinations offer visa-on-arrival for residence visa holders.” Moreover, travellers are unable to get appointments for Schengen visa appointments ahead of the Eid holidays.

Here are the top destinations and costs per traveller

Tour operators offer packages that include return airfare, accommodation in a four-star hotel, return transfer, selected tours, breakfast, and travel insurance per traveller. Here are some of the top visa-free destinations UAE expatriates can travel to during the upcoming Eid Al Fitr break. All residents need to show are complete Covid-19 vaccination records and a copy of the UAE visa.

Bangkok, Phuket; Thailand

Starting from Dh3,999 per traveller

Reuters File
Reuters File

According to Babu, the visa is on-arrival for UAE, Indian and Filipino nationals. However, residents need to register for a travel pass on the Thai airport website and pay online for an RT-PCR test that needs to be done upon arrival at the Bangkok airport. “These destinations are currently selling out fast,” said Babu.

Male, Maldives

Starting from Dh5,999

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File photo

Bedekar said, “Fully vaccinated passengers do not need to produce a PCR test pre-departure. However, non-vaccinated travellers need to provide an RT-PCT test valid for 48 hours.” Passengers need to fill out a travel declaration form ahead of departure.

Tbilisi, Georgia

Starting from Dh2,499

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File photo

According to Fly Dubai’s travel advisory, passengers arriving in Georgia must submit a pre-registration form at https://tinyurl.com/krzcafmu. Those who have recovered from Covid 100 days ago and passengers with a Covid-19 vaccination certificate showing that they were fully vaccinated need not fill out the form. The vaccination certificate must be in English. Unvaccinated travellers must provide a test report valid for 72 hours.

Baku, Azerbaijan

Starting from Dh2,499

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File photo

Travellers should have a UAE residence visa valid for four months at the time of arrival in Azerbaijan. Passengers above 18 should provide an official Covid-19 vaccine certificate or an official letter stating recovery from Covid-19.

Azerbaijan do not need passengers to provide PCR test results. The only thing that is required is vaccination certificate or immunity certificate.

Yerevan, Armenia

Starting from Dh2,599

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File photo

All passengers travelling to Armenia must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test result from a test taken at most 72 hours before arrival or a Covid-19 vaccination certificate showing that they were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival.

The certificate must show that they received: the first vaccine dose of Janssen at least 28 days before arrival; or the second dose of AstraZeneca, Moderna (Spikevax), Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty), Sinopharm, Sinovac or Sputnik V at least 14 days before arrival.

Tirana, Albania

Starting from Dh3,999

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File photo

UAE residents will no longer be entitled to obtain a visa on arrival in Albania. However, this does not apply to passengers with a valid 10-year UAE resident visa (Golden Visa), passengers with a valid multiple entry visa issued by the USA, UK, or multiple entry C visas issued by a Schengen member state. Foreign nationals holding a standard UAE resident visa must apply for a pre-arranged e-visa via the official website.

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dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com


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