The total number of people with Covid-19 is rising constantly. At a time like this, it’s not difficult to fathom that there is a serious need to start practising social distancing as much as possible. The government has also issued multiple initiatives for Covid-19 prevention in the UAE. The most important one is introducing travel restrictions in the UAE, to curtail the spread of coronavirus.
CORONAVIRUS TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS IN UAE
Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in the UAE, the Ministry of Health and Prevention has actively designed and implemented precautionary measures in the country to control the spread of the disease. Part of these measures was imposing temporary travel bans in the UAE to high-risk countries during this coronavirus pandemic.
The UAE travel advisory had initially discouraged people from travelling unless absolutely necessary. But recently the government confirmed that as of 11:59 pm on Thursday 26 March, all passenger flights in and out of the UAE will be suspended for the next two weeks. Only vital cargo planes and emergency evacuation flights will continue to operate.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re travelling from the Dubai International Airport, the Abu Dhabi International Airport or any other airport in the country – these UAE travel restrictions apply until further notice.
The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) confirmed that visitors who could not leave the UAE due to closure of air and land borders will be granted permission to stay legally. A specific mechanism for support will be put in place, in the next few days.
Earlier the UAE travel ban for coronavirus only applied to limit travel to and from certain other high-risk countries which included People’s Republic of China, Iran, Italy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey amongst others.
Other travel restrictions in the UAE issued due to Covid-19 included a complete travel ban for all Emiratis (not residents) from travelling abroad, until further notice.
The government has announced the temporary suspension of UAE visas. There is also a travel ban in the UAE for all overseas residents. All overseas UAE residents will not be permitted from entering the country for the next two weeks. The advisory comes as a precaution to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the UAE.
The strict UAE travel restrictions for coronavirus have also been implemented by GCC states like Oman. As of 15 March, entry restrictions at Oman’s border with the UAE have been issued. For a period of one month, Oman has suspended issuing tourist visas as well as enforced a month-long ban on cruise ships visiting the country.
AIRLINE REFUNDS AND RE-BOOKINGS AFTER TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS IN THE UAE FOR CORONAVIRUS
If you were, in any way, affected by these coronavirus travel restrictions in the UAE, you might want to know about the cancellation, refund, re-booking and waivers announced by airlines to compensate your losses.
EMIRATES AIRLINES FLIGHT CANCELLATION
Emirates recently outlined its waiver policy in the wake of coronavirus travel restrictions. Passengers with tickets booked on/before 31st March and were affected due to reasons such as the UAE travel ban, travel advisory, quarantine requirements, mandatory lockdowns or flight cancellation by Emirates will be eligible for Rebooking or a Travel Voucher for ticket value with a validity of 12 months from the date of issue.
- For Emirates passengers whose flight bookings are on or before 30 June 2020, can rebook their flights to any Emirates destination within the same region without a rebooking fee or paying any fare difference.
- For customers who’ve booked directly with Emirates can visit the Travel Voucher webpage and add “Refund request due to Coronavirus” in the comments section.
- Customers who booked with a travel agent must contact them for further assistance with their bookings.
Etihad Airways introduced its fee waivers for passengers whose flights were cancelled due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. Any passengers, including the ones using Etihad Guest Miles, scheduled to fly with Etihad before June 30, 2020 facing cancellations can:
- Rebook flights for any date on or before 30 June 2020 without additional fees
- Request a cancellation and convert the booking value into Etihad Credit which can be used towards the next trip
- One change is allowed per booking, standard charges will apply to additional changes
- Rebooking will only apply if the intended route(s) are not subject to travel restrictions or bans
- When opting for Etihad Credit, the new flight must be booked before 30 September 2020. For outbound flights, bookings must be made before 30 April 2020.
Flydubai flights have also been affected after the travel restrictions in UAE for coronavirus prevention. The budget carrier has allowed passengers to either get a refund or book another flight as compensation.
Those who booked their flights directly from the flydubai can:
- Rebook, free of charge, to travel up to 60 days from the original date of travel. The difference in fare will be charged for rebooking more than 60 days from the original date of travel. Flights need for this option must be rebooked before 31 March 2020. Normal fare rules will apply to any changes made to bookings after 01 April 2020.
- Request a refund and convert the value of the ticket into a flydubai voucher
To rebook with flydubai, you can
- Call the helpline on +971-600-54-44-45
- Send them a private message via Facebook
- Email their concerns on email@example.com with the subject “Change my booking”
If you’ve booked your flights via travel agencies in Dubai, you should contact them to process your refund or rebooking requests.
Following the coronavirus travel restrictions in the UAE, Air Arabia passengers who faced flight postponement or changes in their travel plans can contact the airline’s customer help centre to;
- Change their flights to another date or destination without any modification fees, however fare difference if any would apply.
- Cancel their flights without any extra charges. The value can be converted into credit which can be used within 1 year on any Air Arabia flight
You can call Air Arabia helpline at: +971-6-5580000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s all we have for you now. If you have any other questions regarding travel during this time, please refer to our post on travel-related FAQs surrounding coronavirus in the UAE.
Hopefully, these travel restrictions and bans will be over soon and people would be allowed to take trips around the world more freely. For those travelling to and from Dubai at any given time, make sure you know about the items banned at Dubai Airport to avoid any unnecessary hassle.
It’s important to mention here, that coronavirus in Dubai and the UAE is still not an epidemic. All these steps are only a matter of taking precautions, just like the events cancelled in the UAE and the temporary closure of UAE venues like malls, restaurants and tourist attractions. For now, it is imperative for everyone living in the UAE to follow the government’s directives on tackling this disease and come out of it stronger as a nation.
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