UAE to ease flight restrictions from six countries including India and Pakistan

Fully vaccinated residents, plus unvaccinated people in key job categories, can apply to return home to the Emirates

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The UAE will ease travel restrictions from six countries on its flight ban list to allow some residents, who are stranded abroad, to fly back to the Emirates.

The government said all vaccinated individuals, as well as unvaccinated people in certain job categories, can seek permission to return from August 5.

The decision includes people who are in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda, state news agency Wam reported.

Quote
I want to get back to work. I heard this news about people being allowed back and I’m happy this could happen soon
Nathiya Fethaleese, staff nurse stranded in India

Travellers must have a valid UAE residency and have proof of having received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine in the Emirates.

Unvaccinated people in certain categories can also return

There are further exemptions that cover people who are not vaccinated.

They include medical workers, teachers at schools and universities in the Emirates, students, residents with extenuating circumstances, patients undergoing medical treatment in the UAE and employees who work for federal or local government agencies.

These people must apply for permission to return on the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship website. On Tuesday, the site did not appear to have a section where people could seek permission to travel.

Returning residents must also obtain a negative PCR test result received within 48 hours from their date of travel. A rapid test will be conducted before boarding the flight and travellers will undergo precautionary measures, including further PCR testing and quarantine, on arrival to the UAE.

Delegates and business people, as well as golden visa residents, were previously allowed to return to the UAE from anywhere on the banned travel list, as long as they had obtained prior approval.

Relief for stranded expats

Restrictions on passengers from India flying to the UAE have been in place since April 24 and from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh since May 12.

A handful of exemptions allowed diplomatic staff, stranded Emiratis and golden visa holders to return on flights.

People who flew to the six countries for holidays, weddings and to see family found themselves unable to return. The UAE imposed entry restrictions on anyone who had been in these countries for 14 days.

Those who could afford to flew to other countries, particularly the Caucasus, eastern Europe, and even East Africa before flying home to the Emirates.

A Dubai nurse said she is looking forward to returning to her job in the UAE after close to four months of being stuck in India.

“I’m waiting for a flight and for approvals,” said Nathiya Fethaleese, a nurse with a Dubai hospital who has worked in the UAE for more than 12 years.

“Now I’m hoping I will get on the flight to Dubai soon.”

Ms Fethaleese has taken both doses of Sinopharm in the UAE and has been in India since April 13 to visit family for a three-week vacation.

Her hospital has been trying to get clearance for medics stuck in India and she is hopeful the process will come through quickly.

“My company said to come back when possible and to be safe in India,” she said.

“But I want to get back to work. I heard this news about people being allowed back and I’m happy this could happen soon now.”

Updated: August 4th 2021, 7:26 AM