Amid pandemic, Indian parents bring stranded kids back to UAE via US

With India offering no clarity on whether visit visa holders are allowed to travel to the UAE amid the COVID-19 pandemic, desperate Indian parents have been sending their children to the US so that they can travel to the UAE from there.

Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor had told Khaleej Times on Monday that the Indian government is yet to decide whether to allow its citizens to travel on visit visas.

Parents are running out of options and are now taking “drastic measures” to be reunited with their kids, Khaleej Times reported.

Sahad Sattar, a Dubai resident, said his two teenaged sons were stranded in the south Indian state of Kerala since March. They undertook a 46-hour journey from Calicut to Delhi and Chicago before flying to Dubai.

Inspired by this, more parents are opting for the route.

Nita Salam, an administrator for online initiative #takemetomom — a group that was formed by over 200 Indian mothers whose children are stranded in India — said many parents are asking about this route to the UAE.

“At least six parents have contacted me about this option. It is a desperate move. However, parents feel they are left with no other choice,” said Salam. She said parents need to be ready to face challenges while their children are in transit. “They could have issues in immigration.”

A Dubai-based parent whose son is in New Delhi told Khaleej Times: “I booked my son’s ticket to Washington earlier today (Tuesday). The irony is that when the lockdown in the US and India was announced, I had him travel from the US to India, thinking it would be easier for him to return to the UAE. He is a student at a US university. Now, he has to go back to the US.”

Since the US has different regulations for different states, the kids were not asked to serve a 14-day quarantine.