UAE-India flights: Step-by-step travel guide for passengers amid Omicron concerns
With airline guidelines and restrictions changing constantly, here's an in-depth explainer on all you need to know
In view of the Omicron threat, countries across the world, including the UAE and India, have been updating their travel measures for arriving and departing passengers.
Travel bans on ‘red list’ nations; pre-departure and on-arrival travel tests; and several other fresh mandates have discouraged many travellers from taking that much-needed winter break.
In the initial days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) designated the B.1.1.529, Omicron, as a variant of concern, the travel and tourism sector confirmed a rise in cancellations of bookings. India also announced a postponement in the resumption of international flights that were set to begin from December 15, after India’s Ministry of Health announced cases of Omicron in the country.
“However, now that health experts have said the symptoms of Omicron are not very intense, the interest in travel during the winter holidays is one again peaking,” said Afi Ahmed, managing director of Smart Travels.
December is peak travel season, especially for those flying to India and ticket prices are usually sky-high. “Right now, the demand is normalising. UAE expatriates are planning trips to celebrate Christmas and the New Year in India. It is also peak wedding season in India,” he added.
Given the constantly changing guidelines, Khaleej Times has put together this fact file that answers all your questions.
What are the latest Indian mandates?
The Indian government has identified some countries ‘at risk’. They include:
Countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom
Travellers arriving from these countries must:
- If tested positive, be shifted to a medical facility and treated as per standard protocol.
- If tested negative they will have to home quarantine for seven days and appear for a re-test on the eighth day.
- Travelers arriving from countries ‘at risk’ must submit a negative RT-PCR report and self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal and also undergo a mandatory Covid-19 test on arrival.
Rules for UAE- India travellers
UAE is not on India’s at-risk list of countries
- All passengers must mandatorily fill-up the self-declaration form (SDF) and upload a negative RT-PCR test report on Air Suvidha portal.
- Children under five are exempt from pre-and post-arrival testing. However, if found symptomatic on arrival, or during the home quarantine period, they shall undergo testing and be treated as per protocols.
- Airlines must ensure travellers possess a negative RT-PCR report before allowing them to board.
- A random sample of two per cent of passengers arriving from non-risk countries will have to undergo PCR testing upon arrival.
- If tested positive, a sample will be sent for genomic testing and they will undergo treatment as per protocols.
- If tested negative, they must self-monitor their health for 14 days.
Cost of RT-PCR tests in India
- At Delhi Airport, you can get the test done for INR500 (Dh25) and get the result within six to eight hours.
- Cost of rapid PCR tests, which is a requirement set by the government of UAE, vary from airport to airport. Cost in Mumbai is INR 3900 (Dh195) and at Kozhikode and Delhi it is priced at INR 2490.
- All international travellers are required to submit a self-declaration form online on Air Suvidha as well as details of the last 14 days.
- Passengers are required to upload a negative PCR test report taken 72 hours prior to the flight.
- All foreign travellers will be tested upon arrival. Those tested positive will be moved to hospitals. But people coming from high-risk countries and testing negative will have to undergo a seven-day quarantine and then take another test.
- Passengers tested negative will be allowed to proceed home. Only the driver will be allowed to transport the passengers.
- Face masks and face shields are mandatory for drivers transporting passengers from the airport.
- High-risk passengers arriving from South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, and those who have been to these countries in the past 15 days can be deplaned on priority and separate counters will be arranged by airport management.
- Mandatory RT-PCR for seven-day institutional quarantine for all passengers arriving from high-risk countries. Positive cases will be shifted to a hospital.
- A second PCR test will be carried out on the seventh day.
- The government has asked all international travellers to send their 15-day travel history before departure. Passengers transiting through Mumbai airport will be required to take a Covid-19 PCR test.
- All other passengers arriving from non-risk countries and countries listed as at-risk by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will undergo protocols listed by the government body.
- The state government has mandated a PCR test and seven-day home quarantine.
- Those who test positive or are symptomatic will have to undergo home testing on the fifth day, while those who test negative, will be in-home quarantine for seven days.
- Further, the asymptomatic ones will be tested on the seventh day; if they test positive, they will be treated separately, or will be immediately hospitalised.
- All passengers will have to take a PCR test upon arrival if they failed to produce a recent report.
- All travellers will be required to undergo tests. Passengers who test Covid-19 positive or found symptomatic will undergo a 14-day quarantine.
Jammu and Kashmir
- All international passengers will be required to undergo a mandatory RT-PCR test at the airport, followed by a seven-day home quarantine.
- Passengers will then again be retested on the eighth day of the home quarantine, or if they develop any symptoms during the quarantine.
- And even if the report of RT-PCR comes negative, they will be required to self-monitor for one more week at strict home quarantine.
*Source: Airports Authority of India
Travel rules for passengers travelling from India to UAE
- GDRFA or ICA approval is not required for tourists travelling to the UAE
- Residents must provide valid ICA or GDRFA approvals.
- Indian Nationals with a normal passport who are travelling to or from India via Dubai can obtain a visa on arrival in Dubai for a maximum stay of 14 days, provided they have a visitor visa or a green card issued by the United States, or a residence visa issued by the United Kingdom or European Union. The visa issued by the United States, United Kingdom or European Union has to be valid for a minimum of six months.
- A valid negative Covid‑19 PCR test certificate with a QR code for a test conducted within 48 hours, validity should be calculated from the time the sample was collected, prior to departure from an approved health facility.
- A rapid PCR test report with a QR code for a test conducted at the departure airport within six hours of departure.
Source: UAE airlines