Dubai Reopening To Indian Travelers: A Guide

After two full months, the UAE is reopening to Indian residents looking to return to the country. However, considering the high health risk, the government has added several requirements before and after arriving in the UAE. This includes being fully vaccinated with select vaccines, a three-step testing program, and more. Here’s a guide to the full requirements for travel.

Emirates 777
The two-month-long ban has affected thousands of Indians hoping to return to the UAE. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Pre-flight

Before jumping to book tickets to Dubai, it’s important to note who is eligible to travel currently. Starting June 23rd, those with valid residence visas will be allowed to enter the UAE from India. This means travelers or those on tourist visas still remain banned from traveling.

If you hold a residence visa, the UAE has set strict health requirements due to high cases and new variants in India. All travelers must have taken both doses of a UAE-approved COVID-19 vaccine (Sinopharm, Pfizer, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Sputnik V). For India, this means only travelers who have taken two doses of Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca) or Sputnik V can fly right now.

IndiGo A320neo
India recently extended the gap between Covishield shots to 12 weeks as shortages emerged, possibly preventing many from traveling. Photo: Airbus

Considering 90% of vaccines given in India are Covishield/AstraZeneca, most residents should be able to travel. However, India’s long gap of 12 weeks means that most under 45 have not had their second dose, barring them from entering the UAE. However, if you have managed to get both doses and are fully vaccinated, you’re one of the lucky few eligible to fly.

Testing

Assuming you’ve met the residency and vaccine requirements, testing is next on the list. All travelers from India (minus UAE citizens) must take an RT-PCR test 48 hours before departure. Importantly, the test reports must come with a QR code that links back to the results to prevent fraud.

Once you’ve tested negative, passengers must take a rapid COVID-19 test four hours before departure. This means passengers will have to arrive at the airport at least five hours in advance to take the rapid test and complete the usual formalities.

Air India Express Boeing 737-800
The combination of pre-flight RT-PCR and rapid testing should help avoid many positive passengers onboard. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Commons

Upon arriving in Dubai, passengers will have to take another RT-PCR test at the airport. Results from this test could take 24 hours to arrive, until which passengers must undergo an institutional quarantine, usually at nearby hotels. Diplomats and UAE citizens are exempt from the institutional quarantine.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Strict

While Dubai’s entry restrictions are undoubtedly strict, they will be a relief to thousands of Indians stranded due to the April travel ban. However, many will struggle to meet the vaccine requirement due to the spacing between doses. Moreover, passenger loads will remain low as tourists remain barred from entering Dubai.

Along with India, UAE also loosened restrictions for travelers from Nigeria and South Africa. It’s likely that tourists from India will be allowed to return in the coming weeks, especially since cases continue to fall. For now, keep an eye out for further updates on traveling to Dubai this summer.

What do you think about the UAE’s new entry requirements? Let us know in the comments!

1 Shares: