UAE travel: GDRFA, ICA approval scrapped for all residents, airlines confirm

Emirates, Etihad Airways and Air India have updated their travel protocols


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Published: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 2:37 PM

Last updated: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 10:46 PM

All UAE residents can now travel into UAE without a pre-travel or registration on the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) or Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP/ICA) portals, the country’s flag carriers have confirmed.

“UAE residents with a valid visa who have been fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine will be permitted to fly to the UAE. This applies to guests who have been out of the country for more than six months,” Etihad Airways said on its website.

Emirates Airlines updated its travel protocols for Dubai-bound passengers on Saturday. It said: “All UAE residents can now travel to Dubai without GDRFA or ICA approvals.”

Meanwhile, Air Arabia has instructed its returning passengers to visit before booking a flight to verify their entry status and carry a photocopy of passport and resident visa during the flight.

“No prior approval is required if resident of Sharjah or any other Emirate,” the Sharjah carrier explained on its website.

India’s flag carrier Air India also confirmed on Friday that the pre-travel ICA/ GDRFA approvals are not required for UAE-bound residents any longer. Other private Indian carriers have made similar announcements as well.

According to the latest ease of Covid-19 restrictions announced by the government of UAE late Friday evening, UAE-bound vaccinated travellers are also not required to present a PCR test ahead of their travels.

Instead, travellers must present an approved Covid-19 vaccination certificate containing a QR code. Unvaccinated individuals must submit a valid PCR test result 48 hours ahead of their travels. Those unvaccinated can also present a certificate of recovery from a Covid-19 infection within one month from the date of travel containing a system QR code.


Significant changes have also been made for Abu Dhabi bound international travellers. The ‘green country’ system and Covid-19 testing requirements related to list of countries have been scrapped. Additionally, on-arrival quarantine protocols have also been removed for all international travellers.

While airlines are yet to update their websites with the most recent travel protocols, Etihad Airways issued a statement on its website which read: “Testing requirements are changing. It will soon be even easier to travel the world with us. We will provide a further update before March 1, 2022 to confirm what this means for testing.”

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