Syed Shayaan Bakht, Staff Reporter
An Indian with a valid Abu Dhabi visa returned to emirate with the Federal Authority for Identity & Citizenship’s (ICA) approval.
Janice Breganza, a banker, went to Goa to meet her parents in April.
On April 24, the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority suspended all flights from India to UAE with the emergence of the COVID-19 variants and spike in cases in India.
She was planning to return soon to the UAE but had to reschedule her travel plans.
Things got tough for Janice as her three small children and husband were in the UAE.
Hoping for flight resumption was the hardest part, Janice recalled during a telephone interview with Gulf Today.
In the first week of August, the UAE authorities have allowed vaccinated stranded residents in India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda to return to the UAE.
For UAE Resident VISA holders travelling to UAE other than Dubai: “Return Permit for Resident outside UAE form” which is issued to the passenger(s) from the below ICA link: https://smartservices.ica.gov.ae/echannels/web/client/guest/index.html#/registerArrivals
The news was well received by affected residents.
Like Janice, thousands of residents were stranded in India. Some had gone for business, while others had to make emergency trips after their kin demises.
To all, the news was a big relief.
But Janice had another issue to cover.
She is not vaccinated.
And the current guidelines only permitted vaccinated residents to return.
Janice took a chance.
Janice’ husband Joaquin D’Souza is a Golden visa holder. Like his wife he is also a banker.
Joaquin contacted Gulf Today on Aug. 10 to clarify whether Janice can travel or not.
As per guidelines, Janice is permitted to travel to Abu Dhabi as she is a direct family member of a Golden Visa holder, and humanitarian ground.
Janice booked her flight from Goa to Abu Dhabi via Mumbai on Aug.13 with Air India.
She also got all clearance from ICA to travel to Abu Dhabi and underwent PCR test 48 hours prior to her departure. The test was negative.
She went to the Dabolim Airport on time, but she was told that she can’t travel with new passport and that she needs approval from the authorities.
The airport immigration later approved her to travel to Mumbai, informing her that the she will under Rapid PCR test there.
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At Mumbai airport, all her documents were reviewed the Rapid test was conducted. She was told that she is fit to travel.
It was layover at the Mumbai airport that made her skeptical but she remained composed.
Her flight took off from Mumbai just before midnight on Friday for Abu Dhabi.
Everything went according the plan.
Janice landed safely at Abu Dhabi.
All passengers were directed towards Terminal 2 at the airport.
An emotional Janice recalled that everything was organised in Abu Dhabi.
“We were directed to immigration right after disembarking the jet.
“There were no rush and we passengers cleared it in record time.”
Janice said, “We were told to undergo a PCR after immigration.”
There I was given a wristband that would track my moment for the next 12 days.”
According to the travel guidelines, all passengers arriving in Abu Dhabi from India will be doing home quarantine for 12 days.
Passengers must take the PCR test on day 6 and day 11.
An excited Janice said, “She is happy to be home again with her kids and husband.”
She confirmed that she has been informed about PCR test on day 6.
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad said, “From Sunday 15 August, if you have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, you will only be required to quarantine for 10 days when you arrive in Abu Dhabi.
You will not be required to quarantine if you are travelling from a green list country.”
Travel Requirement for all Passengers for travel from India to UAE:
1. A valid Negative Covid-19 test certificate with QR code linked to the original report. This has to be issued within the valid time frame, i.e. 48 hours from the time of collecting the sample to the scheduled departure time and has to be taken from an ICMR approved laboratory.
2. A Rapid PCR test report that should be based on molecular diagnostic testing intended for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid for SARS-COV-2 viral RNA; conducted at the Indian departure airport prior to four (4) hours of departure.
Approved vaccines in the UAE are:
Passengers are advised to report 6 hours prior departure as Rapid PCR test counters at Airports would close 2 hours prior to the departure.
The health authorities said, “Strict measures are being considered to restrict the movement of unvaccinated individuals and to implement preventive measures such as restricting entry to some places and having access to some services, to ensure the health and safety of everyone."
Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, the spokesperson for the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, announced the review and update of the National Travel Protocol to include easing of procedures for vaccinated with regard to isolation and quarantine, according to the destinations concerned.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) announced 990 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the UAE to 711,428.
The authority stated, according to the decision on the control of entry and residence of foreigners, that in order to obtain an entry visa to visit a friend or relative, the foreigner coming to the country must be a friend or relative of a citizen, regardless of the degree of kinship, and that the foreigner coming to the country must be a first-degree or first-degree relative of a resident residing in the country.
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