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CORONAVIRUS COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

This is information is current as of May 28, 2020

For all queries, we ask that you consult our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's), and you can email us on Embassy.AbuDhabi@dfa.ie

 

Why is the Embassy closed when restrictions are being lifted?

While the Embassy is closed to the public on health and safety grounds, staff are continuing to work remotely and to provide essential and urgent services to Irish citizens. This is in compliance with the UAE authorities’ ongoing directive that employees are allowed to work in offices only if it is absolutely necessary. 

We hope to begin re-opening the Embassy on a phased basis in the coming weeks, subject to local guidelines and the putting in place of protocols and procedures to safeguard the health and safety of Embassy staff and visitors to the Embassy. 

 

Can I return to Ireland this summer – what restriction are in place?

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to self-isolate for 14 days, upon arrival, and it is mandatory to complete a Public Health Passenger Locator Form to this effect. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

 

United Arab Emirates

What restrictions have been put in place by the government in the United Arab Emirates?

The Government has asked the public to stay at home unless it is necessary to get essential supplies, such as food and medicine, or perform essential jobs.

The UAE’s national disinfection programme is in operation between the hours of 8pm and 6am in all Emirates except Dubai, which between the hours of 11pm to 6am. You should monitor local media and comply with the directions of local authorities. In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, a permit is required to leave your home during these hours and you should apply through the Dubai permits website or the Abu Dhabi Police website. 

The UAE has announced a partial re-opening of shopping malls and commercial centres from 25 April, with some restrictions on entry.

It is mandatory to wear a facemask in public and follow social distancing requirements.

 

What flight restrictions have been announced for the UAE?

On 23rd March, the UAE announced the suspension of all passenger and transfer flights, taking effect within 48 hours.

 

When will flights resume?

The UAE authorities have allowed some flights to facilitate the repatriation of residents and visitors wishing to leave the country from 5 April.

The UAE airlines are offering special flights to London Heathrow and other European hubs. 

Emirates has announced passenger flights, including daily flights from Dubai to London Heathrow, until 30 June. 

Etihad has announced passenger flights from Abu Dhabi to European hubs, including London Heathrow, up to 15 June. 

Etihad will operate direct flights from Abu Dhabi to Dublin on 30 May and 6 and 13 June. 

These commerical flights can be booked on the airlines website, by calling their call centres, or through a travel agent. 

If flying to London or another destination, it will be necessary to book connecting flights to Ireland. Aer Lingus and Ryanair are operating a limited schedule of flights from London and other European hubs to Dublin, subject to change and cancellation. 

You should be aware of the possibility of flight changes or cancellations and should contact the airline to confirm travel details.

If you are travelling to Ireland and plan to transit Paris or Brussels, please inform us by email embassy.abudhabi@dfa.ie as specific transit rules may apply.  

 

Can I transit through the UAE?

International passenger transit through UAE airports was suspended from 25 March.

Emirates has announced the resumption of flights between the UK and Australia from 21 May, transiting in Dubai. 

Etihad will operate flights between the UK and Australia from 15 May, transiting in Abu Dhabi.   

Transit passengers may not be permitted to leave the aircraft upon landing in the UAE.  

 

What documents do I need to travel to the airport?

You should carry your flight ticket/travel documents with you to produce if required, and you should apply for a permit if travelling from Dubai or Abu Dhabi during the national disinfection programme hours, currently 8pm to 6am. 

If travelling to Ireland via another country, you should confirm transit rules with your airline, and you should have an onward flight booking to Ireland before seeking to board a flight in the UAE, boarding may be denied otherwise.

If you are travelling to Ireland and plan to transit Paris or Brussels, please inform us by email embassy.abudhabi@dfa.ie as specific transit rules may apply.

 

I plan to visit the UAE. Should I travel?

The issuance of new UAE entry visas was suspended from 19 March. Entry to the UAE is currently only permitted for UAE citizens and residency visa holders who have received permission from the authorities to return to the UAE.

The Irish Government is advising all Irish citizens against non-essential foreign travel.  Anyone returning to Ireland, except from Northern Ireland, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

 

I am an Irish citizen who lives in the UAE but had travelled abroad. Will I be allowed to return?

All commerical passenger and transfer flights were suspended from 25 March.

The UAE had previously announced that holders of valid visas would no longer be allowed enter or re-enter the country until at least 2nd April. These restrictions remain in place. 

From 9 May, the UAE airlines have operated some flights to Abu Dhabi and Dubai to facilitate the return of UAE nationals and residents abroad. UAE residents must obtain permission to return to the UAE from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA). Applications for ICA approval should be made through the UAE Residents Entry Permission service. The ICA advises passengers to wait for approval before booking flights.

The granting of permission to return to the UAE is at the discretion of the UAE immigration authorities.

The UAE authorities have established helpline numbers for those affected 0097123128867 and 0097123128865, and the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) can be contacted by email on Operation@ica.gov.ae.  

UAE visa holders who receive permission to return to the UAE from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) should contact Etihad and Emirates to book a flight. 

 

I have received permission from the UAE authorities to return. How do I book a flight to the UAE?

Etihad will operate flights from Dublin to Abu Dhabi on 30 May, and 6 and 13 June. Flights from London to Abu Dhabi are scheduled until 15 June. 

Emirates is operating flights to Dubai from London Heathrow and other locations.

The approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) to return to the UAE may be requested to make flight bookings and/or when checking in at the airport.  

 

What measures are in place for those returning to the UAE?

Passengers arriving in the UAE will be required to go through thermal screening and may be tested for Covid-19. There will be a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days at home or in a designated facility. You should follow the directions of the local authorities.

 

I am an Irish citizen and I need to update or change my UAE visa status. Can I do this?

The UAE Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship announced on 13th April that visas and entry permits that expired after 1 March 2020 are now valid until the end of December 2020. This includes visit visas, residency visas and ID cards. 

For residents it applies to those both inside and outside the UAE. For visitors it applies only to those who are still in the UAE.

If you have questions on the validity or expiry of your visa, or on change of visa status (e.g. From a Resident visa to a Visit visa) you should contact UAE Immigration – see the ICA website.

 

Who should I contact in an emergency situation?

For emergencies involving an Irish Citizen please call the Embassy in Abu Dhabi on +971(0)2 495 8200.

 

• You will be asked to leave a message on the answering machine.

• Remember to state:

o your name,

o the nature of the problem,

o where you are now, and

o the details of how the Duty Officer can contact you (e.g. leave your mobile phone number, or the phone number of the hotel/hostel where you are staying).

• If necessary, contact the police also.

• The answering machine is monitored regularly, and the Duty Officer at the Embassy will contact you as soon as possible.

• Please note that the Duty Officer will deal with emergencies only.

• Any non-emergency messages left will have to be deleted to preserve space.

 

Embassy Services

While the Embassy is closed to the public on health and safety grounds, staff are continuing to work remotely and to provide essential and urgent services to Irish citizens. This is in compliance with the UAE authorities’ ongoing directive that employees are allowed to work in offices only if it is absolutely necessary.

Paper-based passport and Foreign Birth Registration applications are not currently being processed. Please do not send applications or supporting documents to the Embassy until further notice. See https://www.dfa.ie/passports/ for further information.

While you can still renew your passport using Passport Online, your application may not be processed until normal operations resume.

New passports may not be dispatched to the Embassy until normal operations resume.

 

Ireland Entry Visas

I want to submit an application for an Irish visa. Can I still apply?

We have taken the decision to temporarily cease accepting new Ireland visa applications. This is effective from close of business 20th March 2020 until further notice.

Ireland visa queries may be sent by email to abudhabivisastaff@dfa.ie

 

Qatar

I am an Irish citizen in Qatar – can I leave?

A limited number of commercial flights are currently operating from Qatar to Ireland and to other destinations.

We ask that you Register on our Citizens Registration portal - https://citizensregistration.dfa.ie/

If you have a query or require an essential service, please email embassy.abudhabi@dfa.ie

If you wish to discuss your situation, we can arrange to call you back.

 

I am a Qatar resident but currently abroad. Can I return to Qatar?

The Qatar authorities have advised all citizens and residents to avoid non-essential foreign travel. Since 16 March, non-Qatari citizens, including those with a Qatar residence permit, will not be permitted to enter Qatar. This does not apply to transit passengers, who will still be able to transfer through Qatar.

Some flights to and from Qatar have been suspended. This is an evolving situation, and you should contact your airline or travel provider before travelling.

 

Kuwait

I am an Irish citizen resident in Kuwait. Can I leave?

The Kuwait authorities suspended all commercial flights to and from Kuwait from 13 March until further notice. Land borders with Saudi Arabia and Iraq have been closed.

Qatar Airways is operating daily flights from Kuwait to Qatar until 30 May. From Doha, Qatar Airways operates some direct flights to Dublin. Booking is through the Qatar Airways website.

A full curfew is in place in Kuwait until 30 May. The Ministry of Interior has said that those with flight bookings can travel to the airport with a copy of their flight ticket. A copy of the flight ticket should also be given to the driver.

 

We ask that you Register on our Citizens Registration portal - https://citizensregistration.dfa.ie/

If you have a query or require an essential service, please email embassy.abudhabi@dfa.ie

If you wish to discuss your situation, we can arrange to call you back. 

 

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