With the Union government lifting the pandemic-induced curbs on tourist and visit visas for travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after five months, airlines can now carry any Indian national holding any type of valid UAE visa to the seven emirates.

Till now, only Indian and UAE nationals having resident visa, fresh job visa or student visa were allowed to travel on flights operated by Air India Group, Air India Express and chartered flights to the UAE.

“It would be for the airlines concerned to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian nationals to enter the UAE with the particular visa category before issuing ticket and boarding pass,” the Civil Aviation Ministry has said in the communication.

The Centre was under pressure to allow all with valid UAE visas after the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai started issuing new visit visas for Indians. Many kith and kin of NRIs were not able to fly to the seven emirates due to the restrictions.

Non Resident Keralites (NoRKs) with valid United Arab Emirate’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) entry permit and residence visa to the UAE depend on the tourist and visit visas to take their kith and kin to the UAE during holidays in Kerala.

Air India Express, Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia and flyDubai that were operating with poor load on the return flights to the UAE will immensely benefit from the new relaxations. An official of a foreign carrier said booking had commenced and the response was overwhelming. The flyers will have to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.

The Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and the National Crisis & Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) have come up with the second phase of the UAE Resident Return Programme which removes the need for residents of Abu Dhabi to wait for approval to return to the capital while overseas. This step will further ease the re-entry process for professionals as schools and universities reopen and regular working practices are resumed in the emirate.

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