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Travel guidelines for vaccinated expats in quarantine countries eased

Dubai: Agents have told Khaleej Times that UAE citizens who are currently on quarantine for 14 days in a third country can now return to their home country even before the two-week period is completed. Passengers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda will be subject to the new regulations.

‘They can return as long as they adhere to the same list of rules set by the UAE authorities for passengers originating from these countries, which means they must be fully vaccinated in the UAE and must have valid residency visas,’ said Raheesh Babu, the group chief operating officer of online travel agency Musafir.com.

A pre-travel approval from relevant immigration authorities is also mandatory, depending on the emirate they are flying to. ‘Some of our passengers, who booked tickets via the Sharjah-based budget carrier Air Arabia, are returning to the UAE before the completion of their 14-day quarantine,’ he added.

In addition to rapid testing facilities at Tashkent International Airport, Uzbekistan, other passengers are also tested in authorised laboratories hours before their flight to the UAE, an Air Arabia call-centre agent explained. Armenia, Uzbekistan, Serbia, and the Maldives have become popular destinations for UAE residents stranded in countries on the UAE’s ‘red list’ since May of this year.

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‘For months, residents in large numbers have been travelling to these destinations and returning to the UAE,’ said TP Sudheesh, general manager of Deira Travels.

UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) announced last week that fully vaccinated residents from countries on the red-list can return to the Emirates from August 5, provided both vaccine doses were taken in the UAE. Travel authorities are allowing certain categories of travellers – including healthcare workers, teachers, students and Expo 2020 workers – to travel without getting a vaccine.

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