Abu Dhabi's green pass rules requiring anyone above the age of 16 to prove they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter many public places in the capital came into force on August 20.
The measures – managed through the green status on the UAE's test and vaccine app, Al Hosn – apply not only to citizens and residents who live in Abu Dhabi and those coming in from other emirates, but also to tourists.
But how do you obtain green pass status as a visitor to the Emirates?
The National explains.
What is a green pass and how do you get it and maintain it?
The green pass is an electric document, accessed through the Al Hosn app to prove a person’s vaccination status.
Both residents and tourists require this to enter many public places.
It is only possible to get a green pass if:
- A person is vaccinated and has taken a PCR test within the past 30 days
- The person obtains an official vaccine exemption, in which case the green pass is valid for seven days following a negative PCR test
- The person is under the age of 16, in which case the pass is automatically green with no need for PCR testing to maintain the status
- Those who received their second dose of the Sinopharm vaccine at least six months ago require a booster shot to maintain green status
Previously, those who were unvaccinated could take a PCR test to maintain green status for three days at a time. This rule no longer applies.
Everyone must now either be vaccinated, have obtained an exemption, or be under the age of 16 to get a green pass.
Where do I need a green pass?
The green pass entry rule covers all shops, restaurants, cafes, gyms, recreational and sports centres, health clubs and hotels.
Resorts, museums, cultural centres, theme parks, universities, institutes, public and private schools, and children’s nurseries also appear on the list. But supermarkets and pharmacies are excluded.
How can tourists get the Al Hosn app to prove their green pass status?
By visiting the ICA website or app, which will ask applicants to provide their passport details, as well as the name of the vaccination and dates of the first, second and third dose, where applicable, along with their vaccination card.
Applicants will receive an SMS confirmation with a link to the Al Hosn app. This must be downloaded before travel. It collates information such as PCR test results and vaccination status.
People can also upload proof of the vaccination they received via Al Hosn.
According to The Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi website, the app will recognise and automatically synchronise tourists’ international vaccination certificates uploaded on the ICA app or website.
Tourists will need to enter a Unified ID number to complete the registration.
If you are flying with a pre-arranged visit visa, you should carry a PDF or printout of the document to show on arrival.
On that form there is a temporary Unified ID number, usually in the top right corner of the page.
It is best to download the app in advance and enter the number, in case you need to use the app to enter somewhere soon after arrival.
If you are from a country that has a visa-on-arrival arrangement with the UAE you only receive a visa stamp on your passport and a five-digit number – not a Unified ID.
Abu Dhabi attractions will also accept tourists’ vaccination certificates from their home country app or official report, as well as the negative PCR result from the airport test via SMS, “in the case of any technical issues with Al Hosn,” said the Department of Culture and Tourism.
I am a university student returning to the UAE. Do I require a green pass?
Yes. A green pass is mandatory for anyone visiting many public spaces in Abu Dhabi, including tourists.
A parent living in the UAE can add their child or children to the app, and even other relatives including their own parents, but they will have to follow the steps below in order to obtain a green pass, if they are over 16 years-old, as the same rules apply.
I am a tourist and my children who are under the age of 16 are unvaccinated. Can they get a green pass?
Yes, children under the age of 16 do not require to be vaccinated, or PCR tested to obtain or maintain their green status, but they should still have a green pass profile on their parent’s app.
My parents or parent is over the age of 70 but is fully vaccinated. Can they get a green pass?
Yes. People over the age of 70 can now enter malls and will therefore require a green pass, which means they must follow the rules to obtain one below.
Which vaccines are approved for entry to the UAE?
All vaccines which have been listed by the WHO.
- Pfizer/BioNTech: Comirnaty
- Oxford/AstraZeneca, including Covishield, produced by Serum Institute of India
- Johnson & Johnson: Ad26. COV2. S
- Moderna: Spikevax
- Sinopharm: BBIBP-CorV
- Sinovac: CoronaVac
It is important to note that because Covaxin has not yet been approved by WHO, it is not yet accepted for travel to the UAE.
How do new residents to Abu Dhabi obtain a Green Pass?
New residents to the emirate are given a grace period of two months in order to be vaccinated before their Green Pass turns grey.
During the grace period, new residents must follow the procedure for those who are exempted from vaccination, which means taking a PCR test every seven days to maintain their green status.
New residents who have been vaccinated abroad will be classed as exempt from vaccination and can have their record validated by following the steps below.
Who can obtain an exemption and how?
Seven groups of people can obtain a vaccine exemption:
- Covid-19 patients
- Participants in clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines
- Pregnant women
- People vaccinated outside the country
- People previously infected with Covid-19, confirmed by a medical evaluation
- Those who are allergic to vaccines or any of their ingredients
- People suffering from conditions that may be incompatible with the vaccine. This must be confirmed by medical evaluation
Exemptions can be obtained by visiting an authorised medical centre for evaluation, which can be found on the Department of Health's (DoH) website.
The medical centre will submit a report to the (DoH), and it will in turn inform the applicant by a message whether it was successful.
The applicant will be informed by text message whether the application is successful. If granted, the exemption will automatically appear in the Al Hosn app.