The United Arab Emirates has withdrawn its requirement binding all Pakistani travellers to get their Covid-19 vaccination certificates attested by the Foreign Office and the UAE embassy starting August 1, hours after news of the condition became public.
The order was withdrawn after the Foreign Office took up the matter with UAE authorities.
Both FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri and UAE Ambassador to Pakistan Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al-Zaabi confirmed that the condition had been reversed.
Attestation of vaccination certificates by the FO and the UAE embassy will not be mandatory for Pakistani travellers, Al-Zaabi told Dawn.com.
He said travellers would be required to carry only the vaccination certificate issued by the National Database & Registration Authority (Nadra) once the flight operation from Pakistan is resumed.
Meanwhile, the UAE embassy in Islamabad in a tweet said "the vaccination certificate of Covid-19 is not considered currently a requirement for travel to the UAE."
Earlier, the UAE authorities had conveyed to the Government of Pakistan to required all visitors from August 1 to get their vaccination certificates attested by the FO and the UAE embassy before proceeding with other paperwork.
In a letter dated July 14, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the Embassy of the UAE in Islamabad wrote to the Pakistan government: “… as per the recent instructions issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abu Dhabi, Government of United Arab Emirates that from 1st August 2021, it is mandatory to carry UAE Embassy attested vaccine certificates for Covid-19 issued by the National Database & Registration Authority (Nadra) along with Counselor Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Islamabad attestation before traveling to UAE.”
Confirming the authenticity of the letter, FO spokesperson Chaudhri at the time said Pakistan would extend all-out cooperation to the UAE, adding that the FO would also provide assistance to Pakistanis to get their Covid-19 certificates attested from the Foreign Office before sending the same to the UAE Embassy.
“We have also contacted Saudi Arabia to register Chinese vaccines for Pakistanis,” he added.
In its order issued last month, the UAE had extended a ban on inbound flights from 14 countries including Pakistan till July 21, 2021.
In a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority had said that flights from 14 countries, including Pakistan, would remain suspended until July 21, 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, it added that cargo flights as well as business and charter flights would be exempted from the suspension.
The countries facing the ban on flights till July 21 included Pakistan, India, Liberia, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Zambia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and South Africa.
Qatar resumes visa on arrival for Pakistanis
Meanwhile, Qatar has resumed its visa-on-arrival facility for Pakistani travellers, it emerged on Thursday.
In an alert sent to trade partners, Qatar Airways while quoting Qatar's immigration policy said Pakistani nationals could obtain a tourist visa valid for 30 days by paying a fee of QAR 100, which can be extended for a similar period.
In order to avail the facility, Pakistani travellers will need a passport valid for at least six months, confirmed return ticket, polio vaccination certificate and confirmed hotel reservation.
They will also be required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with vaccines approved by Qatar's Ministry of Public Health, having completed a period of 14 days after the last dose before travel. Travellers will need to present negative PCR test results carried out within 48 hours prior to arrival.
According to the notice, travellers will have to undergo electronic registration on the Ehteraz platform to obtain the public health ministry's approval before travelling.
Passengers who have not received both doses of the vaccine 14 days prior to arrival will not be allowed entry.
According to information available on Qatar Airways' website, the following vaccines have been approved/conditionally approved by the country's Ministry of Public Health:
- Pfizer/BioNTech (Comernate)
- Moderna (Spikefax)
- AstraZeneca (Coveshield/Oxford/Vaxepheria)
- Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (One dose)
Conditionally approved vaccines