Traveling to the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix – Part 2: Permits, Visas & CIQ
This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, titled “Traveling to the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix – Part 1: Airports & Services.“
While the permit request process for Abu Dhabi is one of the easier worldwide, with minimal documentation requirements, it’s important to consider officially mandated permit lead times.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
Overflight and landing permits are required for Abu Dhabi and the UAE. These are relatively easy to obtain with official lead time of four business days. Although weekends in this region are Friday-Saturday, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) operates 24/7 in terms of processing and revising permits. Once a permit is approved a confirmation will be issued and this must be placed in the remarks section of your flight plan.
2. Permit documentation
For landing permits Abu Dhabi only needs a certificate of airworthiness. However, for Dubai you must provide certificates of registration and airworthiness, noise certificate, worldwide insurance, passenger and crew information and Air Operator Certificate (in the case of charter). Local contact information, and/or purpose of trip, is not needed for UAE landing permits.
3. Permit revisions
Permits for Abu Dhabi are valid +72 hours and are relatively easy to revise. For schedule changes within the 72 hour validity period notification only is recommended, but not required. For changes beyond validity period a revision request is needed and this request will normally be processed within 24 hours.
4. Airport slots & PPRs
Abu Dhabi currently has no airport slots at either OMAA or OMAD. There are also no prior permission required (PPR) mandates.
5. Passport requirements
Passengers need at least three months remaining validity on passports for stays not longer than three months. If you plan to remain in the UAE more than three months you’ll need at least six months remaining validity.
6. Passenger visas
Most passenger nationalities require visas for the UAE. In some cases, depending upon nationality, visas on arrival are possible. For example, U.S. citizens may obtain visas upon arrival for stays of up to 30 days so long as documentation has been forwarded in advance. This process takes only a few minutes to complete upon arrival.
7. Crew visas
Crew, who are listed on the gen dec, have crew ID and are in uniform, do not require visa to enter or leave Abu Dhabi.
8. CIQ clearance
Customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) is cleared within the fixed base operator (FBO) at Abu Dhabi Intl (OMAA) and Bateen (OMAD). Clearance process is 15-20 minutes, depending upon traffic at the moment. Operators may also request VIP clearance and handling at either Abu Dhabi airport. There’s an additional charge for this, and VIP clearance must be set up prior to arrival. This option allows for a more private clearance process as well as access to a VIP lounge.
A wide range of hotels options are available in Abu Dhabi, including many international chain brands. Plan on about 350-400 USD/night for crew accommodations during the Grand Prix period, as well as possible extended room cancellation policies. Many preferred hotels close to the race circuit may be sold out but we don’t expect issues in sourcing 4- and 5-star crew accommodations, even for short notice or last minute operations.
10. Traveling to/from Qatar
Due to ongoing political skirmishes in the region it’s not officially possible for GA to operate directly between the UAE and Qatar. If you need to stop at Qatar en route to/from Abu Dhabi this may be accomplished by making a tech stop at OOMS (Muscat) or another international location. You may also make application to the Abu Dhabi CAA for direct operating permission but this may or may not be approved. Plan on two to three weeks lead time for such requests.
As with any international operation it’s important to confirm all travel documentation requirements and CIQ processes prior to day of operation. GA clearances at Abu Dhabi are within the FBO and the process is usually very quick. Also, note that visas for passengers may be possible to arrange upon arrival depending on the nationality while crew that operate on official business into the country don’t require a visa.
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If you have any questions or would like assistance planning your next trip to the UAE, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.