With airline guidelines and restrictions constantly changing, here’s a detailed explanation of everything you need to know.
In light of the Omicron threat, countries around the world, including the United Arab Emirates and India, have updated their travel metrics for arriving and departing passengers.
Travel bans in “red list” countries; pre-departure and upon arrival travel tests; and several other new warrants have discouraged many travelers from taking that well-deserved winter break.
In the early days after the World Health Organization (WHO) designated B.1.1.529, Omicron, as a variant of concern, the travel and tourism industry confirmed an increase in booking cancellations. India also announced a postponement of the resumption of international flights which were due to start from December 15, after the Indian Ministry of Health announced cases of Omicron in the country.
“However, now that health experts have said that Omicron’s symptoms are not very intense, interest in travel during the winter holidays is once again at its peak,” said Afi Ahmed, director. general of Smart Travels.
December is the peak travel season, especially for those traveling to India and ticket prices are usually sky-high. “At the moment, demand is normalizing. Expats from the United Arab Emirates are planning trips to celebrate Christmas and New Years in India. It is also the high season for weddings in India, ”he added.
Given the ever-changing guidelines, Khaleej Times has put together this factual record that answers all of your questions.
What are the last Indian mandates?
The Indian government has identified some countries “at risk”. They understand:
European countries, including the United Kingdom
Travelers from these countries should:
- If the test is positive, be transferred to a medical facility and treated according to standard protocol.
- If they test negative, they will need to be quarantined at home for seven days and present for a retest on the eighth day.
- Travelers from ‘at risk’ countries must submit a negative RT-PCR report and self-report form on the Air Suvidha portal and also undergo a mandatory Covid-19 test on arrival.
Rules for UAE-India travelers
UAE is not on India’s risk country list
- All passengers are required to complete the Self-Declaration Form (SDF) and upload a negative RT-PCR test report to the Air Suvidha portal.
- Children under five are exempt from pre-arrival and post-arrival testing. However, if they show symptoms upon arrival or during the home quarantine period, they should be tested and treated according to protocols.
- Airlines should ensure that travelers have a negative RT-PCR report before allowing them to board.
- A 2% random sample of passengers arriving from safe countries will need to undergo PCR testing on arrival.
- If they test positive, a sample will be sent for genomic testing and they will undergo treatment according to protocols.
- If they test negative, they must self-monitor their health for 14 days.
Cost of RT-PCR testing in India
- At Delhi Airport, you can take the test for INR 500 (Dh25) and get the result within six to eight hours.
- The cost of rapid PCR tests, which is a requirement set by the UAE government, varies from airport to airport. The cost in Mumbai is 3900 INR (195 Dh) and in Kozhikode and Delhi it is priced at 2490 INR.
State level measures
- All international travelers are required to submit an online self-declaration form on Air Suvidha along with the last 14 days details.
- Passengers are required to upload a negative PCR test report performed 72 hours prior to flight.
- All foreign travelers will be tested upon arrival. People who test positive will be transferred to hospitals. But people coming from high-risk countries who test negative will have to undergo a seven-day quarantine and then take another test.
- Passengers who test negative will be allowed to return home. Only the driver will be authorized to transport passengers.
- Face masks and face shields are mandatory for drivers carrying passengers from the airport.
- High-risk passengers arriving from South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and those who have been to these countries in the last 15 days can be disembarked as a priority and separate counters will be organized by the airport management .
- Mandatory RT-PCR for a seven-day institutional quarantine for all passengers from high-risk countries. Positive cases will be transferred to a hospital.
- A second PCR test will be performed on the seventh day.
- The government has asked all international travelers to send their 15-day travel history before departure. Passengers passing through Mumbai airport will need to take a Covid-19 PCR test.
- All other passengers arriving from safe countries and countries listed as at risk by the Department of Health and Family Welfare will be subject to protocols listed by the government agency.
- The state government has imposed a PCR test and a seven-day home quarantine.
- Those who test positive or symptomatic will need to be tested at home on the fifth day, while those who test negative will be quarantined at home for seven days.
- In addition, asymptomatic patients will be tested on the seventh day; if they are positive, they will be treated separately, or will be immediately hospitalized.
- All passengers will be required to take a PCR test upon arrival if they have failed to produce a recent report.
- All travelers will be required to undergo testing. Passengers who test positive for Covid-19 or show symptoms will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
Jammu and Kashmir
- All international passengers will be required to undergo a mandatory RT-PCR test at the airport, followed by a seven-day home quarantine.
- Passengers will then be retested on the eighth day of the home quarantine, or if they develop symptoms during the quarantine.
- And even if the RT-PCR report is negative, they will have to self-monitor for an additional week in strict home quarantine.
* Source: Airport Authority of India
Travel rules for passengers traveling from India to UAE
- GDRFA or ICA approval is not required for tourists traveling to UAE
- Residents must provide valid ICA or GDRFA approvals.
- Indian nationals with normal passports traveling to or from India via Dubai can obtain a visa upon arrival in Dubai for a maximum stay of 14 days, provided they have a visitor visa or a green card issued by the United States, or a residency visa issued by the United Kingdom or the European Union. The visa issued by the United States, United Kingdom or European Union must be valid for at least six months.
- A valid negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate with a QR code for a test performed within 48 hours, validity should be calculated from the time the sample was taken, prior to departure from an approved healthcare facility .
- A rapid PCR test report with a QR code for a test performed at the departure airport within six hours of departure.
Source: UAE Airlines