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ICA/GDRFA approval: Returning Dubai residents need pre-travel permits, say airlines

Anjana Sankar and Dhanusha Gokulan /Dubai
Filed on August 15, 2020
ICA/GDRFA approval, Dubai, travel permits

(Photo: Dubai Airports/Twitter)

That decision stands revoked according to the latest tweets sent out by airlines.

UAE residents flying to Dubai will need pre-approval as the authorities have revoked the earlier decision to do away with return permits, Khaleej Times has learnt.

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) and the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) had announced on Wednesday that returning residents wouldn't need pre-approval to return. That decision stands revoked according to the latest tweets sent out by airlines.

Khaleej Times reached out to local authorities for comments, and clarifications are awaited.

Returning Dubai residents must have GDRFA approval

"Dubai authorities have revoked the decision to allow returning residents without ICA or General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) approval. Dubai residence visa holders who are flying back to Dubai must have return approval from the GDRFA," Air India Express tweeted on Thursday. 

The airline said the passengers to Dubai must download a Dubai Smart App and those flying to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah must download Al Hosn app. The airline is operating Vande Bharat Mission flights, carrying stranded UAE residents in India back to the Emirates.

Flydubai also issued a similar notice to its travel partners, saying the decision to allow residents' entry without pre-approval has been revoked. The Dubai Airports Operations Control Centre also sent out a notification to airlines, stating that returning residents need the approval.

"Please kindly note the decision to allow returning residents without ICA/GDRFA approval has been revoked. The existing process remains whereby all Dubai residence visa holders who are flying back to Dubai must have return approval from the GDRFA," the control centre said on Wednesday.

Emirates airlines has retained the status quo and said a GDRFA or ICA approval is needed.

Passengers returning to Abu Dhabi, Sharjah do not need ICA approval

Etihad Airways, Air Arabia, and Air India Express have said passengers returning to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah do not need ICA approvals. 

The UAE's flag carrier, Etihad Airways, said: "If you are a UAE resident, you no longer require ICA approval to return to Abu Dhabi. Before you book your flight, you are encouraged to visit uaeentry.ica.gov.ae. Please submit your passport number and Emirates ID number to receive instant verification of your UAE entry status - this will be based on your UAE residence visa validity."

It has also encouraged its passengers to carry a photocopy of their passport and UAE residence visa, as this will need to be presented upon arrival in Abu Dhabi.

Updating its blog, Air India Express has also recommended its passengers to upload their data on the uaeentry.ica.gov.ae to verify the validity of their travel documents.

Process different for visit-visa holders

Air India Express said: "For Indians with tourist visa (or) any valid visa of UAE and travelling to UAE - passport and related documents accepted for entry must have a minimum of six-month validity from the arrival date." 

It added that "health insurance covering COVID-19 is also mandatory". Passengers must also carry self-declaration forms and a quarantine undertaking form from the respective emirate they are landing in.

anjana@khaleejtimes.com and dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com 

 

 


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