Now Indians can Bypass US Entry Restrictions via Dubai or Abu Dhabi as UAE Resumes Issuing Tourist Visas

With effect from August 30, 2021, the United Arab Emirates resumed issuing tourist visas to only fully-vaccinated nationals of the countries, including India, tourist arrivals from where had been suspended hitherto. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) made this announcement jointly on August 28. The UAE’s entry guidelines include certain conditions to be met by UAE tourist visa holders from India and other countries.

“This was the most-awaited good news for Indians who are subject to Joe Biden’s presidential proclamation 10199 and not eligible for National Interest Exception (NIE). Having a UAE tourist visa, they can bypass the US entry restrictions via Dubai or Abu Dhabi. They can take a 14-day stopover in Dubai or Abu Dhabi before traveling onward to the United States. If your travel or return to the US is urgent, you can book a multi-city trip to USA from India with a 14/15-day stopover in the UAE. Many Indians, including those on B2 visa, have bypassed the US entry ban via Doha, Qatar,” said the chief travel advisor of Indian Eagle, a leading air-ticketing partner of Indians in America.

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UAE’s travel guidelines for tourists from India

A UAE tourist visa is valid for 30 or 90 days for single or multiple entries. Starting August 30, the UAE issues tourist visas to only Covishield-vaccinated Indians. The UAE tourist visa will not be granted to those inoculated with two doses of Covaxin unless this vaccine is approved by the WHO. Below is the list of WHO-approved vaccines that make Indians and other foreign nationals eligible for entry to the UAE:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine
  • SII/Covishield and AstraZeneca/AZD1222
  • Janssen/Ad26.COV 2.S
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA 1273)
  • Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine
  • Sinovac-CoronaVac
  • Jamalika (Sputnik V) vaccine

If the UAE tourist visa holders register their full-vaccination status through the ICA platform or AL HOSN App (available in Google Play and Apple App stores for free download), they will be able to avail the benefits provided to those vaccinated in the UAE during their stay or stopover in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

As per the UAE’s entry guidelines for tourist visa holders, Indians need to take a COVID PCR test twice before boarding flights to Dubai or Abu Dhabi from India. They must take an RT-PCR test not more than 48 hours prior to catching the flight. The test report must be issued by a certified lab within 48 hours and have a QR code linking to the original certificate. They also have to take a rapid PCR test within 6 hours prior to scheduled departure from the origin airport in India. On testing negative in both the tests, India tourists can travel to the UAE. They will undergo a PCR test on arrival at an entry airport in the UAE.

Please note rapid antigen test reports are not accepted in the UAE. With major Indian airports conducting rapid PCR tests for UAE-bound travelers, it is easy to get a Rapid PCR report before boarding. Delhi IGI Airport, Chennai MAA Airport, Kempegowda BLR Airport, Mumbai CSMI Airport, Kochi COK Airport, Ahmedabad International Airport, Trivandrum International Airport, Calicut International Airport, Hyderabad RGI Airport, Kolkata International Airport, and Lucknow International Airport have Rapid PCR testing facilities.

Rapid PCR test costs at airports in India: 

  • Mumbai Airport: Rs 4500 per person; reports available in 1-2 hours
  • Delhi IGI Airport: Rs 5000 per person; reports available in one hour
  • Bengaluru Airport: Rs 3200 per person; reports available within 2 hours
  • Hyderabad Airport: Rs 6000 per person; reports available in one hour
  • Chennai Airport: Rs 4000 per person; reports available within one hour
  • Cochin Airport: Rs 2500 per person; reports available within one hour
  • Trivandrum Airport: Rs 2500 per person; reports available within one hour
  • Calicut Airport: Rs 2500 per person; reports available within one hour
  • Ahmedabad Airport: Rs 4000 per person; reports available in one hour

If you travel to Abu Dhabi before entering USA    

Starting September 5, 2021, quarantine is eliminated in Abu Dhabi for fully-vaccinated travelers from India and other countries. But there is a catch. You will be considered fully vaccinated only if you have taken two doses of the same vaccine (from the above list of WHO-approved vaccines), at least, 14 days before your scheduled flight to Abu Dhabi. Fully-vaccinated travelers from non-green countries, including India, will undergo a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival, day four and day eight.

As per the latest updates, Abu Dhabi is also open to unvaccinated travelers from India. If you are unvaccinated or vaccinated with a vaccine that WHO does not approve, you will undergo 10-day quarantine in Abu Dhabi, a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival and day nine.

With green status in the Al Hosn App, you can travel quarantine-free and access public places in Abu Dhabi. To get green status in the app, you must register your vaccination status via the ICA Smart Travel Service or ICA app, at least, 5 days before your flight to Abu Dhabi. The UAE’s medical committee requires five working days on an average to review your vaccination status. On registration, you will receive a QR code via email. You will get a UID number on showing the QR code after you land at Abu Dhabi International Airport. You can also enter your passport number at the ICA Smart Travel Service portal to find the UID number. You need to register on the Al Hosn app, using the UID number. On successful registration, your status will be shown green on the app.

If you travel to Dubai before entering USA

Dubai accepts only Reverse Transcription‑Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT‑PCR) test certificates with QR codes from ICMR-approved labs in India. Entry will be denied to Dubai on the basis of antibody tests, home-testing kits, and NHS COVID tests. Taking an RT-PCR test before traveling to Dubai is not mandatory for children under the age of 12 and Indians with moderate or severe disability. It is highly recommended that you check with Emirates Airlines and confirm this test exemption. You must stay indoors in a hotel or some residence in Dubai until you receive the report of the test that you will take on arrival at Dubai International Airport. You need to download the COVID-19 DXB Smart app.

Also Check: All you need to know about Emirates’ air bubble flights

Know how to apply for UAE tourist visa

A single-entry tourist visa to the UAE, with 30-day validity from the date of issue, costs Rs 6000 per person. You can apply for a UAE tourist visa at VFS Global’s Dubai Visa Processing Centers in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. The Kolkata and Mumbai visa application centers will resume services from September 6, 2021. In Pune and Ahmedabad, the visa application centers will resume operations from September 13.

28 thoughts on “Now Indians can Bypass US Entry Restrictions via Dubai or Abu Dhabi as UAE Resumes Issuing Tourist Visas

  1. Satish


    I have a valid US tourist visa. If i want to stop over for 15 days, can i get visa on arrival and stop in dubai or should i get the 30 day visa?

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Satish! According to Emirates Airlines, Indians with a valid US tourist visa can avail the UAE’s visa on arrival during their itinerary from the US to India. Besides, the visa on arrival is valid for 14 days, whereas a 30-day tourist visa is valid for 60 days from the date of issue.

  2. Snehil

    My parents and father in law have a valid US visa, and they wanted to visit us in the US. So is it possible to then have them stay in Dubai for 15 days and then clear US port of entry at Abu Dhabi or Dubai for their onward journey to the US?

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Snehil! It is possible if they are fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine.

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Nain! In our knowledge, the UAE’s visa on arrival is available for those traveling from the USA to India via Dubai/Abu Dhabi. The visa on arrival is valid only for 14 days. If you are required to spend 15 days in Dubai before entering the US, it is recommended that you apply for a tourist visa (which entitles you to a 30-day stay in the UAE) before traveling to the UAE.

  3. Surojit

    I am having US Visa (B1/B2). I am thinking to go USA via Dubai after staying 14days in Dubai. If i enter dubai on 18 Oct and take Visa for 14 days, on which date I have to leave Dubai for US? I am confused. Is it 1st Nov or 2nd Nov?

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Surojit! Please note Dubai is 5-8 hours ahead of the US time. For instance, 12:01 am Friday in Dubai is 4:01 PM Thursday in Washington DC (EST). Therefore, it is strongly recommended you stay minimum 15 days in Dubai before traveling to the US. If you enter Dubai on October 18 in the morning, you should enter the US on November 1 by night or November 2 in the morning.

  4. vasudev

    Hi ,
    I am having a valid US H1b Visa ,and thinking to travel to dubai this week and stay there for 15 days and then fly to usa , so for this requirement my US H1 visa validity also should be 6 months ?
    Normally India to USA one or two months visa validity also does not matter so i am confused can you please advise

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Vasudev! Below is the checklist for travel to Dubai:

      1. Passport with minimum 6 months validity
      2. A pre-approved Visa for 30 days
      3. Mandatory Confirmed Return/Onward Ticket
      4. A Valid Negative Printed RT PCR report with QR code with test completed within 48 hours from last departure of Direct flight to Dubai
      5. A rapid PCR test report with a QR code for a test conducted at the departure airport within six hours of departure
      6. Covid – 19 DXB Smart App
      7. Travel/Health Insurance
      8. Passengers arriving in Dubai from India will be required to take another COVID 19 PCR test on arrival at Dubai International airport

  5. Sameer

    Hello there,
    My parents intend to travel America and they hold US visitor visa on Indian passports.They have not been vaccinated yet.
    1)Is it possible for them to enter Dubai and get on arrival Dubai visa ,stay 14days at relatives place and travel further to America?
    2)Does USA allow Unvaccinated vsitors into America with a PCR negative certificate?

    Pls advice,

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Sameer! The current travel scenario is much complicated for US visa holders. Unvaccinated/vaccinated Indians with a negative COVID-19 report can travel to the US only if they have NIE approval. Otherwise, they need to take a 14/15-day stopover in a third country before entering the US. But only vaccinated Indians (who took Covishield vaccine doses) can take a stopover in Dubai or Doha. Unvaccinated Indians can take a stopover in Turkey.

  6. Trisha

    Hi …my parents are going to travel from India to USA via Abu Dhabi on 1st dec on B1/B2 visa.
    Both are fully vaccinated .
    Can they travel without quarantine in Abu Dhabi.

  7. Dips

    Hi, I’m traveling from US to India and have a 5 day stay at Dubai. I have a US green card. So is my understanding correct that I’ll be able to get the 14 day visa on arrival on Nov 20 and then spend 5 days at Dubai..before taking my flight to India? Please confirm.

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Dips! You can plan your itinerary that way. Please note you will have to take an RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to traveling to India from Dubai.

  8. prakash

    Hi, i plan to travel to US from India thru Dubai by Emirates. Transit time is 13 hrs. Iam Indian passport holder. Is it permitted?

  9. Krishna

    Hello Guys,

    I have an US F1 visa and UAE tourist visa.
    My travel plan is to go to Dubai from Hyderabad with IndiGo airlines on 23rd of December and then take a flight from Dubai to USA(chicago) on 27th of December 2021 with Emirates. Can anyone tell me if this is possible or any issue. Thanks in Advance.

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Krishna! No issues. You can travel this itinerary. Please note the UAE’s certain regulations apply to you as you will exit Dubai Airport and take a 3/4-day stopover there. You need to take two COVID-19 tests – an RT-PCR test within 48 hours prior to your flight from HYD and a rapid PCR test at HYD Airport within 6 hours prior to your flight.

  10. Raghavan Srinivasan

    My son has a valid US student visa. Can he fly to US by going to Abu Dhabi, taking visa on arrival and then switching to US bound flight within few hours? Is mandatory stay in UAE required? He is fully vaccinated

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Raghavan! Fully vaccinated and covid-negative Indians don’t need to take stopover in a third country before entering the US. He can transit via Abu Dhabi and take a connecting flight to USA.

  11. Sukumar

    Hi, I am a Canadian permanent resident with a 10 year US B1 Visa. Can I travel from India to Dubai with the required RTPCR tests and continue to the USA without additional tests in Dubai? on Emirates? The connecting flight we are planning is within 3 hours.

  12. Mahesh

    Hi Team,
    I have an F1 visa and my parents have a visitor visa can we travel to the USA from India using Etihad?
    The time between 20th Dec – 7th Jan 2021.

  13. Gopal


    I’m an Indian and I have a work visa in UAE. I would like to attend a business meeting with my co employees in USA. What would be the procedure? Also, When I got graduated 3years back I was rejected my F1 2 times. Will my f1 then affect B1 now?

    Kindly let me know.


    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Gopal! We have little knowledge of your scenario. All we can tell you is that you need to take a viral antigen or RT-PCR test the day before your travel to USA from Dubai or India. At the same time, you must be fully-vaccinated.


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