India-Dubai travel: Residents can fly with GDRFA nod

Airline representatives will check for GDRFA approvals and test results, and not travellers’ vaccination status.

Dubai residence visa holders can travel from India to Dubai as long as they have an approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), in addition to negative Covid test results.

Airline representatives at check-in counters would be checking for these two requirements, and not travellers’ Covid vaccination status, Khaleej Times has learnt.

Responding to a customer on Twitter, an Emirates Airline support executive said travellers must have a negative result of a PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure and a negative Rapid PCR test result taken four hours prior to travel.

A top Air India official in the UAE confirmed to Khaleej Times: “As per instructions issued by civil aviation authorities in Dubai, for passengers to disembark in Dubai, only three documents are required. They need to have a GDRFA approval, negative RT-PCR test result taken 48 hours before departure, and a rapid PCR test result from the airport.”

A notice to travel agencies and other stakeholders has been issued by Indian carrier Vistara Airlines to this effect.

An airline source told Khaleej Times: “According to the regulations passed down to us from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, the airline’s responsibility is to check that Dubai-bound passengers have a valid GDRFA approval; and not their vaccination status.”

However, it is not immediately clear if airline representatives would confirm the vaccination status of passengers travelling to Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah airports.

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Passengers can apply for a GDRFA approval here.

Last week, the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) announced that fully vaccinated residence visa holders from the six countries can return to the UAE as long as both jabs of their vaccine doses have been taken in the UAE.

Some categories of travellers — including healthcare workers, teachers, students, Expo 2020 workers, medical exemption, and humanitarian cases — can travel irrespective of their vaccination status.

author

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for over ten years. For Khaleej Times, she covers NRI affairs, civil aviation, and immigration issues among other things. She completed her BA in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008 and is currently pursuing her MA in Leadership and Innovation in Contemporary Media at the American University in Dubai. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves food, and is mom to an over-enthusiastic Labrador retriever. Tweet at her @shootsprintrite.

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