Covid-19 travel rules for Eid and summer 2022: what UAE passengers need to know

Countries around the world are removing entry restrictions for international visitors

Thailand became the latest country to remove all Covid-19-related entry restrictions this week. Photo: Jeppe Hove Jensen / Unsplash
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Destinations around the world are continuing to relax entry restrictions as travel rebounds for the summer season.

Thailand became the latest country to remove all Covid-19-related entry rules this week, when it scrapped the need for incoming travellers to hold a Thailand Pass. The mandatory pre-travel registration previously required passengers to upload details of their vaccination status, as well as proof of medical insurance covering at least $10,000.

The country had already removed the need for vaccinated travellers to present a PCR test on arrival and is now allowing bars, pubs and karaoke clubs to extend their service hours beyond a previous midnight-closure mandate. In July, the requirement for mask-wearing in outdoor areas will also be lifted.

Are PCR tests still required for vaccinated travellers?

PCR tests are no longer required for vaccinated travellers entering most countries around the world.

However, one thing for tourists to note is that destinations have different requirements in terms of the recognised validity of their vaccine certificates. For example, Algeria requires the last dose of the vaccine to have been administered up to nine months prior to travel, in order for visitors to be exempted from showing a negative PCR test.

For entry to Morocco, the last vaccine dose must have been administered within four months, otherwise passengers are required to show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel. Visitors must also fill in a Public Health Passenger Form to enter the country.

Which countries have removed all Covid-19 restrictions?

Egypt announced last week that it would be lifting all Covid-19 restrictions, including the need for unvaccinated travellers to prevent a negative PCR test on arrival.

Other destinations that do not have any entry restrictions in place and allow unvaccinated travellers to enter without a PCR test include Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, the Maldives, Mexico, Norway, Oman, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and Vietnam.

Which countries still require Covid-19 tests on arrival?

Visitors to Australia are no longer required to take a Covid‑19 test before their departure, but may be required to take a test on arrival in some states and territories. Visitors to India will also be subject to random testing at some airports.

Vaccinated travellers to Mauritius must test on arrival at either the airport or a registered hotel, but do not need to do a PCR test before they travel.

Which countries require vaccinated travellers to present a PCR test?

All international travellers above the age of 12 arriving in Ethiopia must have a negative certificate for a PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure or an antigen‑RDT test within 24 hours of arrival.

In order to board international flights to Angola, it is mandatory to present a negative PCR test, carried out in the 72 hours prior to departure. All passengers will also be tested on arrival in Luanda.

Which countries remain closed to tourists?

Restrictions remain in place for travel to China, which has implemented strict controls on who is able to enter the country. Those who are granted access must take a double Covid‑19 PCR test and antibody test before departure. Quarantine restrictions are in place for passengers both before and after flying; visitors are advised to check the government's travel website for the latest restrictions at least four weeks beforehand. Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong also continue to maintain strict controls on foreign arrivals.

New Zealand will reopen its borders to all fully vaccinated tourists and visa holders from August 1; most visitors will have to take two rapid antigen tests after arriving. There are exceptions for travellers who cannot be vaccinated or for those who have specific entry visas, it is recommended to check on the government's travel website before flying.

From June 10, Japan started welcoming foreign tourists back to the country, but only if they are part of a package tour organised by a recognised travel agent and accompanied by a tour guide.

International visitors need to be fully vaccinated to visit and must have also had a booster shot of a recognised Covid-19 vaccine. The UAE has been categorised as blue in the country’s grouping system, which means visitors are not required to test or quarantine on arrival. However, all passengers arriving in Japan, including Japanese nationals, must show a negative Covid‑19 PCR test certificate taken within 72 hours of departure.

Do I need a PCR test to return to the UAE?

Passengers travelling to the UAE from all countries must be able to present a valid vaccination certificate or, if unvaccinated, a valid negative Covid‑19 PCR test certificate issued within 48 hours of boarding their flight. A valid medical certificate showing that the passenger has recovered from Covid‑19 within one month of the date of arrival will also be accepted.

UAE citizens arriving in Dubai are not required to present a PCR or vaccination certificate.

Do I need a PCR test to board my flight in the UAE?

Passengers travelling from the UAE only need to undergo PCR testing if it is required by the country they are travelling to. It is not mandated by UAE airlines.

Masks are still a requirement on UAE airlines.

Scroll through the gallery below for ideas on where to travel this summer

Updated: June 21, 2022, 12:13 PM