Kerala

Relief for NRIs as UAE brings in new exemptions for residency visa holders

A file photo of people stranded in the UAE arriving at the Calicut International Airport in May 2020. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Thousands of Non Resident Indians (NRIs), especially from Kerala, hope to rejoin their jobs and reunite with their families as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) allowed entry of expatriates with valid residency visas who have taken both doses of approved COVID-19 vaccine from Thursday.

However, they would have to cross multiple hurdles to make their way back to the UAE. Many of them now have to renew their visas since expatriate residents who reside outside for more than six months continuously will have their residency visas automatically cancelled. That means they would have to apply for a new entry permit to enter the West-Asian country again.

Employees stranded would have to obtain approval letters from their employer or sponsor, which must be submitted at the airport immigration counter. Likewise, the entry permits would be applicable for family visits and even transmit passengers from India.

Incidentally, the new relaxation in rules does not allow expatriates to re-enter the UAE even if they are on the 30-day grace period after their visa expiry. As such, their employer or sponsor, including spouse and parents, will have to cancel their existing visa and apply for a new entry permit.

Residency visa holders should get approval from either the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (Dubai-issued visa holders) or the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship (for visas issued in all other Emirates).

Tracking device

Those flying to Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah must quarantine at home and wear a tracking device for 10 days. They must also take RT-PCR tests on the fourth and the eighth day. However, passengers arriving in Dubai and Sharjah do not require quarantine but must take RT-PCR tests at these airports. A negative result of a PCR test conducted within 48 hours from the date of departure is also mandatory.

For taking preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs has also stated that applications could be rejected. Also, tourist visa holders from India have not been permitted to enter the UAE directly. But they should undergo quarantine in a third country for at least 14 days.

Transit passengers must have taken RT-PCR tests no later than 72 hours from the time of departure. Previously, the UAE had announced exemptions for its citizens and their first-degree relatives, EXPO2020 participants and golden visa holders.

Also, vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers from key sectors, including doctors, nurses and technicians, had been allowed entry into the UAE.

Departure flights

Meanwhile, with the UAE’s issuance of new travel protocol, the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) started departure flights early morning on Thursday. UAE Airlines Air Arabia and Emirates operated one service each to the Gulf country on the day.

Air Arabia flight G9-426 departed to Sharjah at 3.50 a.m. with 69 passengers on board, while Emirates operated EK531 to Dubai with 99 passengers. The flight departed at 10.30 a. m., said a communication from the CIAL.

(with input from Kochi bureau)


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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 2:58:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/relief-for-nris-as-uae-brings-in-new-exemptions-for-residency-visa-holders/article35748548.ece

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