ICA approval scrapped for all residents in UAE

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The country's flag carriers have confirmed that all UAE residents can now travel into the country without a pre-travel or registration on the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) or Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP/ICA) portals.

"UAE residents with valid visas who have been fully immunized with an approved vaccine will be allowed to fly to the UAE." This applies to guests who have been out of the country for more than six months, according to Etihad Airways' website.

On Saturday, Emirates Airlines updated its travel protocols for passengers flying to Dubai. "All UAE residents can now travel to Dubai without GDRFA or ICA approvals," it said.

Meanwhile, Air Arabia has advised returning passengers to check their entry status at uaeentry.ica.gov.ae before booking a flight and to bring a photocopy of their passport and resident visa with them.

"No prior approval is required if a Sharjah or any other Emirate resident," the Sharjah carrier stated on its website.

Air India, India's flag carrier, also confirmed on Friday that pre-travel ICA/GDRFA approvals are no longer required for UAE-bound residents. Similar announcements have been made by other private Indian carriers.

According to the latest relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions announced by the UAE government late Friday evening, vaccinated travelers bound for the UAE will not be required to present a PCR test prior to their travels.

Travelers must instead present an approved Covid-19 vaccination certificate with a QR code. Individuals who have not been immunized must submit a valid PCR test result 48 hours before their trip. Those who have not been immunized may also present a certificate of recovery from a Covid-19 infection within one month of the date of travel, which includes a system QR code.

Significant changes have also been made for international visitors to Abu Dhabi. The 'green country' system, as well as the Covid-19 testing requirements related to the list of countries, have been abandoned. Additionally, all international travelers have been exempted from on-arrival quarantine protocols.

While airlines have yet to update their websites with the most recent travel protocols, Etihad Airways issued the following statement on its website: "Testing requirements are changing. Traveling the world with us will soon be even easier. We will provide another update before March 1, 2022 to confirm the implications for testing."

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