Al Hosn: how to download and register the UAE's Covid-19 vaccine app

The app is now required for entry to a variety of venues in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

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The UAE's flagship test and vaccine app is helping to get life back to normal amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Al Hosn allows the user to show proof they have taken a coronavirus vaccine, or had a recent test.

The app is needed to enter live venues, bars and sports events in Dubai. In Abu Dhabi, from Tuesday June 15, it will be required to enter supermarkets, malls and gyms, among other premises.

So how do you download and register Al Hosn?

Here's our step-by-step guide.

How do I download Al Hosn app?

First, download the app from the Apple or Google Play store. It is about 36MB in size so won't take long to complete.

Once ready, enter your Emirates ID number – that's the long number on the front of your card.

If you're not a UAE resident or don't have an Emirates ID yet, you need to enter your "Unified ID" number.

What's a Unified ID number for Al Hosn?

If you are flying with a pre-arranged visit visa, you will have 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.

You will need to contact the immigration services – GDRFA in Dubai or ICA for the rest of the country – and ask them to generate a number for you. Tourists and newly-arrived residents on stamp-on-arrival visas have reported problems getting a unified ID number.

I received the vaccine abroad. Can I upload it to Al Hosn?

Not yet. The authorities are expected to update the app soon, but as a tourist or new arrival to the country you cannot scan or upload your vaccine certificate onto the app.

According to the Department of Health Abu Dhabi website, "recipients of a vaccine outside the country" can apply for an exemption. The exemption would show up on your Al Hosn app.

The following number is listed for further information: Istijaba service - 800 1717.

Speaking last month, Dr Farida Al Hosani, a government health spokeswoman, said people seeking an exemption in Abu Dhabi should arrange an appointment at a Seha or Mubadala Health vaccine clinic.

Once there, they will be evaluated and a medic will decide whether the individual is exempt or not.

The person will be given an official report to use until the exemption is reflected on the Hosn App.

What is Al Hosn for?

The app does two things: it serves as a test-and-trace system that helps the authorities to track if someone has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

It uses your phone's Bluetooth function to "talk to" other devices. If someone you were in close contact with later tests positive, the authorities know who you are and can ask you to isolate and get tested.

More recently, it has been used as official proof that you have had a coronavirus vaccine, to show the results of a PCR test from a lab or hospital, and show how recently that test was taken.

The app negates the need to carry around a print out of a test or vaccine. Clinics upload your results directly to the app.

Al Hosn means 'the fort' or 'fortress' in Arabic.

Can I enter Abu Dhabi without Al Hosn app?

Whether you're a resident or visitor, you will be asked for proof of vaccination or a recent PCR test on the Al Hosn app when you reach the Abu Dhabi-Dubai border.

If you cannot download or register the app, ensure you have some physical proof of vaccination, ideally a certificate, to show the police.

If there is an issue, you may be sent for a rapid DPI test, which is located on a turn-off near the border checkpoint and costs Dh50, before being allowed to proceed.

Where in Dubai do I need to be vaccinated to enter?

In Dubai, bars, nightclubs and live music and sporting events are required to ask all patrons for proof of coronavirus vaccination via the Al Hosn app.

Restaurants, including those licensed to sell alcohol, are not necessarily required to ask for proof. It depends on whether they have a bar licence or a restaurant licence.

Some premises may take the decision to ask patrons for proof of vaccination, for example, if you wish to sit at the bar, so it's an idea to have your app ready in advance.

Where in Abu Dhabi do I need to be vaccinated and show Al Hosn to enter?

Abu Dhabi's new Covid-19 safety rules that govern entry into some public places will come into effect from June 15.

People who have "green status" on their Al Hosn app will only be allowed into shopping malls, large supermarkets, gyms, hotels, public parks and beaches, private beaches and swimming pools, entertainment centres, cinemas and museums, and restaurants and cafes.

Do I need to keep Bluetooth on for Al Hosn to work?

The authorities urge users to keep Bluetooth on at all times for the tracing aspect of the app to work.

The app prompts you to turn off battery saving functions too.

Early versions of the app drained a phone's battery quite quickly but that appears to have been fixed in recent updates. The most recent update was in the middle of May.

Does Al Hosn consume my data?

The app is "whitelisted" by Du, Etisalat and Virgin, which means it does not use your data.

Proof of coronavirus vaccination or a recent PCR test is now required to enter some places in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Antonie Robertson / The National
Proof of coronavirus vaccination or a recent PCR test is now required to enter some places in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Antonie Robertson / The National

What do I do if Al Hosn doesn't work?

Some users have said they cannot get the app to work. One of the early issues was that hospitals and clinics had not correctly uploaded vaccinated patients' data to Al Hosn. This appears to have been resolved and most people receive green status after getting their second vaccine shot. You should also receive the 'E' status 28 days after the second shot.

In April, Weqaya, Abu Dhabi's health portal, said it was "facing some technical issues with Al Hosn app and our team is working on fixing them, we understand this might be inconvenient".

The app has since been updated several times.

If, for example, your first dose shows on Al Hosn but the second doesn't, Weqaya advises people to delete the app and download it again.

If the problem persists, you should email info@weqaya.ae.

Their WhatsApp service appears to get the quickest response - 056 3346740.

How do I contact Al Hosn?

Weqaya (for Al Hosn app) info@weqaya.ae or WhatsApp service - 056 3346740.

You can speak to Seha on (800) 1717 for Covid-19 related enquiries.

Seha also now offer a WhatsApp chat service on: (02) 410 2200

Updated: June 15, 2021 11:47 AM

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