UAE flights: GDRFA, ICA approvals; Covid PCR test validity; your guide to travelling to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah

Residents can travel to Dubai without a GDRFA or ICA approval, except when travelling from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Sudan



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Published: Wed 12 Jan 2022, 12:01 PM

Last updated: Thu 13 Jan 2022, 7:29 AM

The highly infectious Omicron variant of Covid-19 has resulted in tighter safety protocols and some border closures around the world.

The UAE, too, has tightened rules, with the country placing a ban on Emiratis from travelling unless they are fully vaccinated.

Here is your guide to travel to the UAE based on information collated from official sources as on January 12, 2022.

Abu Dhabi

(Information sourced from Etihad Airways website)

Registering via ICA Smart Travel Service

Unless you are an Emirati, UAE residents need to register via the ICA Smart Travel Service before flying.

If fully vaccinated in the UAE:

Register any time before you fly.

You do not need to upload your vaccine certificate.

If fully vaccinated outside the UAE:

Register five days before your flight.

When you’ve registered, you’ll receive a QR code by email.

If you have not been vaccinated:

Register any time before you fly.

When you’ve registered, you’ll receive a QR code by email.

Covid testing: Travellers must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test result before every Etihad Airways flight. If Abu Dhabi is your final destination, take the test 48 hours before your flight departure time. Some exemptions apply. Covid test is also required for transit passengers.

A rapid PCR test taken within six hours of boarding at the airport is also required for passengers from some countries like India and Pakistan.

Quarantine and testing on arrival:

Green List country

Test on arrival in Abu Dhabi airport.

No quarantine.

Test on day six.

Visiting from any other destination

Test on arrival in Abu Dhabi airport.

No quarantine.

Test on days four and eight.

Dubai

(Information sourced from Emirates website)

GDRFA/ICA approval

All UAE residents can travel to Dubai without a GDRFA or ICA approval, except when travelling from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

GDRFA approval is not needed for passengers who have other visas, such as newly issued residence or employment ones; short stay or long stay ones; 10-year UAE Golden Visa; Investor or Partner ones; visit visa or visa on arrival.

PCR test

Passengers from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Sudan must present a negative result of a Covid‑19 PCR test conducted within 48 hours. They must also present a negative result of a rapid PCR test conducted within six hours of departure.

Passengers travelling to Dubai from all countries (GCC included) must have a negative result of a Covid‑19 PCR test done no more than 48-72 hours before departure.

Travel from UK

All passengers from the UK to Dubai must hold a negative result of a Covid‑19 PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before departure. The RT‑PCR test result certificate must state the location of where the sample was taken.

Test on arrival

Passengers from some countries will need to take a PCR test on arriving at the Dubai Airport. Such travellers must remain at their residence till they receive the test result.

Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah

(Information sourced from Air Arabia website)

Registering via ICA Smart Travel Service

All passengers arriving in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah with a newly issued E-visa must register prior to their departure.

Abu Dhabi residency visa holders flying to Sharjah must visit uaeentry.ica.gov.ae before booking a flight to verify their entry status. No prior approval is required for visas issued in Sharjah or any other emirate.

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PCR testing

Passengers, including UAE nationals, arriving from India, Pakistan, Kenya, Nepal, Bangladesh, Uganda and Sri Lanka are required to have a negative result of a PCR test conducted within 48 hours of the flight. They are also required to conduct a rapid PCR test at the airport six hours prior to departure. Children under the age of 16 are exempted from the tests.

Passengers arriving from other countries can conduct the test within 72 hours of the flight departure time. All passengers will be tested on arrival. UAE nationals and children below 12 years are exempted from the test.


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