Which countries do UAE residents need approval from before flying to Dubai?

Emirates airline says passengers from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are among those who must apply to the GDRFA or ICA before travel

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UAE residents from any emirate can now fly to Dubai, according to regulations introduced last week.

However, some, depending on where they are flying from, must seek permission first before they can travel.

The rule covers most of the 14 countries from which travel was previously banned to the UAE earlier this year, owing to a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases, but not all.

So, which are they?

The National explains.

From which countries do UAE residents need approval to fly to Dubai?

Residents returning from 10 countries must first seek permission from either the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, or the GDRFA, if they live in Dubai, or the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, or ICA, if they live elsewhere in the country.

The 14 countries from where travel was previously banned to the UAE are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Namibia, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and South Africa.

According to Emirates airline, the 10 countries from that list from which residents must first seek permission before returning are:

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • South Africa
  • Uganda
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia
  • Indonesia

Where is permission not necessary from?

Permission is not required for those travelling from Nepal, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Liberia.

What about tourists from the 10 countries?

No, the rule only applies to UAE residents.

Do residents have to be vaccinated to fly to Dubai?

No. Dubai sets its own immigration and coronavirus rules and does not require residents to be vaccinated to return.

What are the rules in Abu Dhabi?

All incoming passengers must register with the ICA before boarding flights and should have approval to travel before flying.

From August 27, passengers are now required to submit their details on the ICA platform before checking in. After registration, they will receive a QR code, which will be required to board any flight to the UAE capital.

The new rules apply to all travellers flying into Abu Dhabi, except UAE citizens and those transiting directly to another country. There are separate rules in place for anyone flying from a destination on the UAE’s flight ban list.

Any passengers planning to fly to the UAE capital and continue on to Dubai or another emirate must also receive approval from the ICA to fly. Children and infants are not exempt and must be registered by their parents before travel.

Any passengers who have been vaccinated outside of the UAE should register and upload their documents for approval at least five days in advance of travel, Etihad Airways said.

This will allow UAE authorities to review the travellers' documents to assess whether they qualify for Al Hosn app's Green Pass.

People who have been fully vaccinated in the UAE do not need to upload vaccine certificates to the platform, but all other ICA registration details must be completed.

What is the rule in other emirates?

Air Arabia said passengers from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka who are travelling on e-visas need to provide proof that they are vaccinated against Covid when flying to Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.

They must wait at least 14 days after receiving the second dose of a Covid vaccine in the UAE. Proof must be shown in the form of a vaccination certificate, and their Al Hosn app must also be green. Registration via ICA is also mandatory before flying.

Updated: September 05, 2021, 10:46 AM