The outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in various changes in the travel industry. Almost all the countries closed their borders for foreigners and international flights remained suspended for a long period of time. Those who were stranded on other destinations faced great difficulties in reaching their homeland.
However, things are much better now vis-à-vis the COVID situation as the vaccination process is in it full swing. Still, many countries are not welcoming people belonging to high infected areas. The UAE, too, had a list of countries whose residents were not allowed to travel to the emirates. For example, residents of India and Pakistan, along with other nations, such as Nepal, Uganda, Nigeria and Sri Lanka had to spend the 14-day quarantine period in a third country before they could return to the UAE. The condition here was that they had to get both their vaccines in the UAE only.
However, as per new regulations, passengers belonging to the aforementioned countries can now return to the emirates, even if they have not completed the two-week quarantine period on a third country.
Regulations to be Followed by Dubai Returnees
Indians and Pakistanis returning to Dubai have to follow to a set of regulations before they could get entrée in the emirate. These include:
- Getting both their vaccines in the UAE
- Having a valid residency visa
- Getting pre-travel approval from the relevant authority. This depends on the emirate they have to travel to.
Furthermore, they have to follow the same list of regulations in their homeland which are applied in the UAE.
Effects of Changed Regulations
The immediate effect of recently changed regulations is the increased number of returnees in the UAE. Furthermore, flight fares have seen a surge as well. There was a substantial difference in flight fairs one day before and after of the announcement. However, returnees are willing to buy expensive tickets o that they could return to their second home ‘ Dubai’.
Popular Destinations for Quarantine
During the period when the emirate had restricted the entry of people belonging to red list countries, Uzbekistan, Maldives, Armenia, and Serbia remained popular choices for returnees to spend their quarantine period. They were also required to show proof of negative COVID test prior to landing for which they were getting tested in authorised laboratories hours before taking off.
While rapid testing facilities are available at Tashkent International Airport, Uzbekistan, the remaining passengers are getting tested in authorised laboratories hours before their flight to the UAE, an Air Arabia call centre agent explained.
The government has exempted some categories of travellers from meeting the criteria of getting both their vaccinations in the UAE before coming back. These include teachers, Expo-2020 workers, and students. Furthermore, people on certain humanitarian grounds are also given permission to return to the emirate even if they have not gotten a vaccine.
This recent change in the regulation has certainly proved to be good news for those who consider Dubai their second home and were vying to return here and resume their professional activities.