Can I fly to Dubai and Abu Dhabi from the UK? Travel list restrictions explained

Both emirates require negative PCR tests taken before departure to the UAE

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Since the start of the pandemic, countries have changed their travel rules on an almost monthly basis, meaning passengers frequently have to alter their plans.

After several changes to the amber and red lists over the summer, British politicians are suggesting that the rules for flying into the UK from the UAE could be revised again.

This could make it easier for UAE residents and Emiratis to visit Britain.

Travelling from the UAE to the UK

At present, travellers from the UAE must quarantine on arrival in the UK. AFP

At present, people who received their Covid-19 vaccinations in the UK are not required to quarantine if they travel from the UAE to the UK. They need only take a Covid-19 test before they leave the UAE, and again on or before day two after arrival.

However, because the UAE is on the amber List, residents and Emiratis arriving in the UK are required to quarantine at home or in the place where they are staying for 10 nights, with the first day counting as zero.

They must also take Covid-19 tests before they leave the UAE, and again on day two and day eight in the UK. If they want early release from quarantine, they can take a test on day five, under the Test to Release scheme.

James Cleverly, Britain's Minister for Middle East and North Africa, on Saturday said the UK was "finalising arrangements" to include UAE citizens and residents in its plans to allow those fully vaccinated travellers in other countries to visit the UK without needing to quarantine from October 4.

People travelling in the opposite direction – from the UK to the UAE – have two sets of rules to consider, according to which emirate they are visiting.

What are Dubai's entry rules for travel from the UK?

Tourists arrive at Dubai International Airport. Photo: AFP

Dubai does not require visitors from the UK to be vaccinated. On check-in, they are required only to show the result of a negative PCR test taken no more than 96 hours before departure, although Emirates airline requires the test to have been taken within 72 hours.

No other types of Covid-19 test are accepted, including antibody tests or home testing kits. Certificates must have been issued by an authorised facility in the passenger's departure country.

Passengers can either use recommended laboratories, or any trusted and certified laboratories in the UK to take a PCR test. National Health Service Covid test certificates are not accepted for travel from the UK.

Travellers must bring an official printed or digital certificate in English or Arabic to check in – SMS certificates are not accepted.

Children under 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability are exempt from the testing requirement.

UAE citizens are also exempt from testing before they leave for Dubai, but they are required to get a Covid-19 test on arrival in the emirate.

Once passengers arrive there is no need for further tests or quarantine, unless they recently travelled to certain countries before boarding a flight in the UK.

Transit passengers may face further testing.

What are Abu Dhabi's rules for travel from the UK?

People travelling from the UK to Abu Dhabi are not required to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated.

However, travellers who are not vaccinated must quarantine for 10 days because the UK is still on Abu Dhabi's red list.

To be fully vaccinated, you must have received two doses of the same vaccine, or one dose of Janssen, at least 14 days before departure.

These should be one of the following vaccinations: AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), AstraZeneca (SK Bioscience Co Ltd. from Korea), Covishield, Janssen, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty), Sinopharm or Sputnik V.

All travellers, regardless of their vaccination status, must also show the result of a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before departure.

The certificate may be printed, or passengers can present the lab report digitally for validation at the airport.

Passengers must also download Al Hosn app before they board the flight. The app is used for tracing Covid-19 cases, and as digital evidence of negative PCR results and vaccination.

Travellers must also register with the ICA Smart Travel Service. This applies to adults and children or infants. It also applies if you are travelling to Dubai or another emirate.

On arrival in Abu Dhabi, vaccinated travellers from the UK are required to take a Covid-19 test. They will also need to take PCR tests on day four and day eight if they remain in the emirate.

Non-vaccinated travellers from the UK are required to quarantine at a home or in their hotel room for 10 days, and take a Covid-19 test on arrival and on day nine. They are not required to wear a tracker wristband, unless they test positive for the coronavirus.

The tests in the airport are free, and Dh50 everywhere else in Abu Dhabi.

Children under 12 and people with severe and moderate disabilities do not need to take a PCR test before they fly.

On arrival, anyone under the age of 16 is exempt from the vaccination and testing requirements listed above.

How to use the Al Hosn app

Updated: September 21, 2021, 6:42 AM