Updated 3 December 2021
Starting August 2021, the UAE opened up international travel from India since the previously imposed travel ban. Flights resumed operations, and Indians who travelled to the UAE were finally allowed to book their seats. Large-scale events such as the Indian Premier League (IPL), the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2021, technology expo Gitex, and the Dubai Shopping Festival also gained a lot of traction from travellers in India due to flight resumptions.
Read on to know more about current flight news for UAE-India travel.
Can you travel from India to the UAE?
The UAE no longer bans flights from India and Indians with a valid residency visa can now travel to the Emirates, if they are fully vaccinated and adhere to the necessary entry requirements.
After several months, the UAE has lifted restrictions on return of fully vaccinated residents from several counties including India. A new set of relaxed travel guidelines by the country’s National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) and Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) came into effect starting September 12.
#NCEMA & ICA: Permitting to return of fully vaccinated with #WHO approved vaccines- holders of valid UAE residence visa coming from the countries previously on the suspended list, starting from 12 September 2021. pic.twitter.com/BgkJ8yT0GX
— NCEMA UAE (@NCEMAUAE) September 10, 2021
Who is eligible for entry?
Indian travellers who have received both doses of a WHO-approved vaccine can fly to the emirates. They must have received the second vaccine dose at least 14 days before travel.
Before travelling to the UAE, eligible passengers to travel to Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah need to receive approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA). Registration for arriving individuals is available on the ICA app and website. Those who wish to travel should start with filling in personal and passport details, residency address in the UAE, then uploading vaccine details and attaching proofs.
If they reside in Dubai, they’ll also need pre-entry approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
However, registering vaccination certificates is optional for travellers who wish to enjoy the benefits made available in the UAE to vaccine recipients. Only certificates of vaccines approved in the UAE will be approved, and accredited certificates will show on the AlHosn app.
Testing and quarantine
Individuals can fly between the two countries but will be subject to the following measures:
- Pre-departure testing. You’ll have to take a test 48 hours before scheduled arrival at a laboratory approved by the UAE or by India. The test result must have a QR code. You must also present a negative result (with a QR code) of a rapid PCR test conducted at the departure airport within six hours before departure.
- Post-arrival testing. On entering the UAE, you’ll be asked to take a test on arrival.
- Quarantine: If the test returns positive, travellers will be required to quarantine. Unvaccinated travellers arriving in Abu Dhabi will have to quarantine for 10 day and take a test on day 9, after which you can end quarantine if the result is negative.
To recap, eligible Indian travellers with tourist visas/UAE residency need to:
- have a vaccine certificate stating that they have been fully vaccinated with WHO-approved vaccine, and the second dose was 14 days prior to travel. This is optional as this will allow you to enjoy perks available for vaccinated recipients in the UAE.
- reach your departure airports six hours in advance
- have a valid COVID‑19 test certificate issued within 48 hours of the time of sample collection and scheduled flight departure
- take a COVID‑19 Rapid Antigen or Rapid PCR test with a QR code at the airport 6 hours prior to departure
- receive prior approval from the ICA (and from GDRFA if they reside in Dubai)
Tourist visa for India to UAE
Therefore, Indian passport holders with tourist visas can enter UAE jurisdiction. Travellers who are fully vaccinated can now start applying for tourist visas and directly journey to the UAE.
Unvaccinated tourist visa holders, on the other hand, will be able to visit UAE only if they haven’t been in India in the last 14 days. Except for the 14-day stay at a third country requirement, other requirements will vary for every emirate.
#NCEMA & ICA: Starting from 30th August, application for tourist visas will be open to people from all countries, provided that they are fully vaccinated with one of the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines.#TogetherWeRecover pic.twitter.com/dTsB5pNXvd
— NCEMA UAE (@NCEMAUAE) August 29, 2021
Visa on arrival
Indian Nationals with a normal passport who are travelling to or from India via Dubai can obtain a visa on arrival in Dubai for a maximum stay of 14 days provided they:
- have a visitor visa or a green card issued by the Unites States, or
- a residence visa issued by the United Kingdom or European Union
The visa issued by United States, United Kingdom or European Union has to be valid for a minimum of 6 months
India to UAE flights
Individuals in the exempted categories can still travel back to the UAE with Air India.
Air India operates regularly scheduled flights from major Indian cities to Dubai.
- Delhi to Dubai – up to one flight available 7 days a week
- Mumbai to Dubai – up to one flight available 7 days a week
Air India also has regular flights to Abu Dhabi.
- Chennai to Abu Dhabi – up to one flight available on Tuesdays every week
- Delhi to Abu Dhabi – up to three flights available 3 days a week
While other airlines such as Spice Jet and IndiGo are usually scheduled to travel to UAE, currently the airline with the most flight availability is mentioned.
If you want to change the booking to any later date, the difference in the current and future fares will be additionally chargeable.
If you want to cancel your booking and get a refund, no charges will be applicable.
For more details, click here.
India to Dubai flights
If you have booked tickets before 1 April 2021 for travel on or before 31 December 2021, you can keep the ticket with you and choose to fly any time with Emirates in 36 months from the date of your original booking, or you can request a refund.
If you have booked tickets after 1 April 2021, you can either change the dates or and ask for a refund at no extra charge. All such tickets will be valid for 24 months.
If you want to use the ticket to travel later on, just keep it safe with you till then. It will be accepted for any flight to the same destination or within the same region, in the same or any class, depending on the date of your booking.
Emirates operates regularly scheduled flights from major Indian cities to Dubai.
- Delhi to Dubai – up to three flights available 7 days a week
- Mumbai to Dubai – up to two-three flights available 7 days a week
Emirates also has regular flights to Abu Dhabi.
- Chennai to Abu Dhabi – up to four flights available 7 days a week
- Mumbai to Abu Dhabi – up to four flights available 7 days a week
If you want to change the flight booking, call Emirates if you booked directly, or your travel agent.
If you want a refund, apply here.
For more details, click here.
India to Abu Dhabi flights
Etihad keeps its tickets open for you to use whenever you feel confident about travelling. Essentially, you have four options.
- You can cancel your flight and accept Etihad Credit. The airline will reward you with up to USD 400 and up to 5,000 Etihad Guest Miles. Your credit will be added to a Travel Bank account to pay for flights or extras at any time within two years. Get Etihad Credit
- You can rebook and change the flight date and destination anytime before 31 October 2021. There’s no fare difference if you rebook in the same fare class and travel within the same zone.
- You can keep your ticket open till 31 October and if you aren’t able to use it within 12 months of your first cancelled flight, you will be entitled to a refund.
- You can ask for a refund. However, you’ll be eligible for a refund only in the following cases.
– Any Etihad Airways flight on your ticket has been cancelled and you purchased your ticket directly with Etihad Airways or a travel agency in Australia, Canada or the USA, or your ticket originates in the European Union (including Switzerland and the UK)
– Your ticket has an original travel date on or after 1 October 2020 and a flight on your booking has been cancelled
– You have received a positive COVID-19 PCR test result (you must present your test result in line with country regulations). You can request a refund between 96 and 24 hours before your flight departure time
– Travel is restricted by government regulations and you are unable to travel. You can request a refund a maximum of 14 days before your flight departure
For more details, click here.