The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most talked about thing in the last year or so. The virus continued to spread across the world, with over 181 million cases and nearly 3.93 million deaths attributed to the disease as of June 2021.
The pandemic presents a tough choice for not only the governments but also for the travel community; many countries have seen major lockdowns which meant travel bans, some of which are still applicable to this day.
Dubai reopened to visitors in August of 2020 but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still has the United Arab Emirates in the Level 4 category which means high risk. Their first advice is to avoid traveling to UAE but has also provided a complete list of dos and donts if traveling there is a must.
Understanding the Restrictions
Dubai is a landmark; it is a cumulation of business, entertainment, and pleasure. From being a scenic vacation spot to raising millions of dollars in investment, Dubai is truly one of the most diverse cities on the planet. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, things have changed and these changes. have brought in new rules and regulations that are to be followed by everyone who plans on visiting the UAE or Dubai.
Visitors who are fully vaccinated hailing from countries such as Seychelles, Bahrain, Serbia, Italy, and Greece are allowed quarantine-free travel. Another country hopefully to be included in this list will be the Maldives but their government is still negotiating the terms and conditions.
Apart from India, here are the guidelines set by the UAE authorities: all visitors which are over the age of 12 can only travel if they have medical insurance and have a negative PCR test conducted 72 hours prior by a nationally recognized body.
There are some instructions put in place which are to be followed by the visitors for the completion of the check-in certificate. The health declaration must be completed before you travel and you must also register on the COVID-19 DXB app. In addition to these requirements, having travel insurance is also a necessity.
Some travelers are required to take additional tests upon their arrival whereas some don’t. The countries which are not required to do so include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman. However, if they want to opt for the additional tests then they are more than welcome to do so. Visitors from more than 50 countries which include Argentina, Ghana, and Morocco must take those additional tests. A complete list is provided here which breaks down the countries based on their test requirements.
From the 23rd of June, the travel restrictions have been slightly lightened for passengers traveling from India, South Africa, and Nigeria. The travelers must be fully vaccinated and must undergo all the additional tests, however. The Government of Dubai website has all the latest information regarding the rules, regulations, and restrictions. You can log on to the website for the latest information.
Talking about not being able to enter the country, a temporary restriction has been put on travelers from Zambia, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Additional countries which are currently barred from entry include sub-continent’s Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. The restrictions are said to be eased from the 7th of July.
Dubai is planning on forcing people to quarantine those who are showing symptoms upon their arrival. The cabinet has also mentioned that this isolation will be paid by the traveling personnel for themselves; the only exception is the passengers of Emirates, which covers the cost of its passengers.
People traveling to Abu Dhabi must isolate for at least 10 days and the countries included in the green list can be checked out from here. Unless a new rule has been passed, the mandatory isolation was said to end from the 1st of July.
In January 2021, the UK placed the UAE on its travel “red list.” This means only travelers resident in the UK can travel from the UAE to England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. They’ll have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival alongside all members of their household.
COVID Statistics in UAE
The overall cases in the UAE have crossed 635,000 with over 1,800 casualties since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The last 3-week average stands at 2,039 cases each day and the government is working tirelessly to lower the number even further, which includes mass vaccinations and so on.
The Dubai Health Authority claims that more than two-thirds of the population in Dubai has already been vaccinated, which has brought a lot of relief to the people visiting Dubai. With Expo 2020 around the corner, Dubai has ramped up its efforts to ensure that its image on the global stage is presented positively.
Requirements for Tourists Arriving in Dubai
Here is the official information you will need to know about if you plan on traveling to Dubai post-pandemic. This information is completely accurate and is one of the most comprehensive guides.
Before You Travel
- Ensure you meet entry visa requirements to visit the UAE.
- All passengers arriving in Dubai from any point of origin (including GCC countries) must hold a negative PCR test certificate, for which the test must be taken no more than 72 hours prior to the time of departure. As announced on 19 June 2021 and effective from 23 June 2021, travelers from certain countries must hold a negative PCR test, taken no more than 48 hours prior to the time of departure. Please see the following links for a list of countries for which this is now applicable: Dubai Airports | Emirates.
- Negative COVID-19 certificates must be printed in English or Arabic; PCR certificates in other languages are acceptable if they can be validated at the originating station (the date and time of the test must be detailed). The printed certificate must have a valid QR code. No handwritten, SMS, or digital certificates will be accepted.
- You may be required to take another test at Dubai Airports upon arrival if traveling from select destinations or if you show symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival. All travelers must check the country requirements from which they are departing.
- Children under the age of 12 and passengers with a severe or moderate disability are exempt from the PCR test.
- Ensure you have medical travel insurance with international coverage that covers COVID-19 before traveling.
- If you are traveling with Emirates airline or FlyDubai and have purchased your ticket after 1 December 2020, you will automatically benefit from additional multi-risk travel insurance provided by AIG Travel. Please see the following links for more information: Emirates airline | FlyDubai
From Your Destination
- Take a PCR test up to three days prior to your date of travel (maximum 72 hours). You may be required to take another test at Dubai Airports upon arrival. As announced on 19 June 2021 and effective from 23 June 2021, travelers from certain countries must hold a negative PCR test, taken no more than 48 hours prior to the time of departure. Please see the following links for a list of countries which this is now applicable for: Dubai Airports | Emirates
- Present an official, printed certificate of the negative test at check-in. The Negative PCR COVID-19 certificate must be printed in English or Arabic; PCR certificates in other languages are acceptable if they can be validated at the originating station (the date and time of the test must be detailed). The printed certificate must have a valid QR code. No handwritten, SMS, or digital certificates will be accepted. There are designated laboratories where you can take the test. Please check with your airlines before departure. If you are traveling with Emirates, please click here for a list of accredited labs.
- Please note airlines have the right to deny travelers if they display any symptoms of COVID-19.
Arriving at the Airport
- All arrival passengers have their temperature taken with thermal screening devices.
- You may be asked to take an additional COVID-19 PCR test. Passengers who need to get a test done at arrival in Dubai should either wait in their place of residence or hotel or undergo institutional quarantine until they receive their results, which is expected within 24 hours. UAE citizens and diplomats are exempted. Please click here for a list of countries where this is applicable.
Leaving the Airport
- Tourists are required to download the COVID-19 – DXB Smart App (iOS or Android)
- In the case of a positive test result, you will need to strictly comply with 10-day isolation as instructed by the Dubai Health Authority.
- Follow the precautionary measures applied in Dubai including wearing masks, maintaining a two-meter social distance, and washing hands regularly.
UAE public health authorities provide information on their websites:
- Abu Dhabi Department of Health updates on COVID-19(link is external)
- Dubai Health Authority updates on COVID-19(link is external)
- UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention(link is external)
- UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation(link is external)
- UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority(link is external)
Instructions Provided by Airlines
For authenticated news, you can check out the following links where airlines have posted official and updated news regarding travel to UAE or Dubai. From the latest news to the best practice to adopt if you are to travel to UAE.
|Q. Is it safe to travel to Dubai? What measures do you have in place?
|Q. Do I need a COVID-19 test when traveling to Dubai?
|Q. What are the international requirements when traveling to Dubai?