Travelling to Abu Dhabi on a tourist visa: the latest Covid rules you need to know

Tourists flying to the capital must have a negative Covid-19 result from a test taken no more than 48 hours before departure

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Abu Dhabi updated its travel rules for tourists on Thursday.

Travellers were reminded to check visitAbuDhabi.ae for the latest information and Covid-19 precautionary measures before making plans.

Here are the rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors from both green list and non-green list countries:

Travellers who are vaccinated or exempt from vaccination flying into Abu Dhabi

1. First, check the UAE recognises your vaccine. Abu Dhabi accepts vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation and the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention Society.

2. Travellers must download the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship (ICA UAE Smart) app or visit the ica.gov.ae website to complete the Register Arrivals Form 48 hours before the travel date. All travellers will need to validate their vaccination (or exemption) 48 hours before travel via these platforms.

They will be asked to submit personal information, passport details, travel itinerary, address when in Abu Dhabi and a copy of their vaccine certificate.

These will need to be approved before the journey. The average time for the Medical Committee to process applications is 48 hours.

3. Be cleared to fly. Travellers must take a PCR test within 48 hours of their departure and fly only once a negative test result has been received.

4. Upon arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport, travellers will need to take another PCR test (only children under 12 and individuals with official exemptions are exempt). This PCR test is available within the terminal and is free of cost, with results received within 90 minutes. Travellers can depart the airport and wait in their hotel for the results.

For unvaccinated travellers flying into Abu Dhabi

1. All the pre-flight rules are the same. Travellers must take a PCR test within 48 hours of their departure and fly only once a negative test result has been received.

3. The same PCR testing rules on arrival are applicable.

How are rules different for green list versus non-green list countries?

1. If the unvaccinated traveller comes from a green list country, they will need to take another PCR test on days six and nine (the day of arrival is day one). They will not be required to quarantine if the result is negative. If positive, they must quarantine.

2. If the unvaccinated traveller comes from a non-green list country, they will need to quarantine. If their PCR result taken at the airport is negative, they can go to the hotel and quarantine for 10 days.

If positive, they will be given a wristband to wear during their 10-day quarantine period.

Both positive and negative travellers from the non-green list will need to take a second PCR test at a Seha testing centre on day nine. If the traveller was previously positive and then shows a negative, they can remove their wristband.

If travellers have transited through a green list country from a non-green list country to Abu Dhabi but have spent less than 10 days in the green list location before arriving in Abu Dhabi, they must still complete the quarantine in Abu Dhabi.

Any time spent in the green list country before arriving in Abu Dhabi will count towards the 10-day quarantine period.

Abu Dhabi border scanners for Covid-19 are in place for commuters on the E11. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Tourists coming from other emirates

Vaccinated tourists must present proof of their full (double) vaccination status via their home country’s official vaccination certificate through a mobile application or physical certificate.

They must also present a negative PCR test result received within the past 14 days if they were in the UAE, or a negative 48-hour PCR test obtained from their home country. Unvaccinated visitors can enter with a negative PCR test obtained within the last 96 hours.

Fully vaccinated and unvaccinated international travellers coming into Abu Dhabi via Dubai or other emirates must follow the same guidelines as the vaccinated and unvaccinated international travellers flying direct, plus a few additional on-ground measures.

These include:

1. Be cleared to fly. Depending on departure country or airline, travellers may be required to take a PCR test within 48 hours of their departure, with a negative result mandatory. Travellers are advised to check official channels or airline requirements ahead of travel. Information on those required to take the test ahead of travelling can be found on the Emirates Airline website.

2. Register and share personal information. Download the ICA UAE Smart app or visit the ica.gov.ae website to complete their Register Arrivals Form 48 hours before the travel date.

3. Depending on the traveller’s departure country, they may be required to take a PCR test upon arrival at Dubai International Airport or Sharjah International Airport. If they take the test at the airport, they must remain in their hotel until results are received. If positive, the traveller will undergo isolation and follow the health authority guidelines of each emirate.

4. All passengers travelling to Abu Dhabi via the road will be scanned by an EDE mobile scanning device at the entry point of the emirate.

For tourists entering Abu Dhabi via the Dubai/Abu Dhabi Road entry point, the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi has assigned the right-hand lane (Lane 1) as a dedicated tourist lane.

This lane also has a designated guest’s service office and officials to help tourists.

Anyone with potential Covid-19 symptoms will be sent for a free rapid antigen test, with results delivered within 20 minutes. If the test is positive, travellers can continue into Abu Dhabi but must isolate either at a quarantined hotel or their accommodation, if visiting friends or family.

5. Vaccinated tourists must present proof of their full (double) vaccination status via their home country’s official vaccination certificate through a mobile application or physical certificate and present a negative PCR test result obtained within the past 14 days. Unvaccinated tourists can enter by presenting a negative PCR test result obtained within the past 96 hours.

6. For the vaccinated, there will be no further testing or quarantine measures in Abu Dhabi if they test negative.

7. For an unvaccinated traveller who originally comes from a green list country and through Dubai or the other emirates, they will not be required to quarantine once they arrive in Abu Dhabi.

If the unvaccinated traveller originally comes from a non-green list country and through Dubai or the other emirates, they will be required to quarantine for 10 days once they arrive in Abu Dhabi. If they spent some time in Dubai, or other emirates, before arriving in Abu Dhabi, these days will be counted as the part of the 10 days.

Entry to attractions in Abu Dhabi

To enter public attractions in Abu Dhabi, the majority of which allows access to vaccinated visitors only, people will need to present proof of their full (double) vaccination status via their home country’s official vaccination certificate or by their home country Covid-19 response mobile application, along with a negative PCR test result, obtained within the past 14 days.

Unvaccinated tourists will not have access to attractions, except for hotel accommodation.

People can download the UAE's test and vaccine app, Al Hosn, to show the green status to enter malls and attractions in the emirate.

What are the isolation rules in Abu Dhabi?

In order to end their isolation period, people who tested positive for Covid-19 must get two negative PCR results 24 hours apart or conduct a PCR test on days eight and 10, and complete 10 days in isolation with no symptoms presented in the final three days of quarantine, after a medical assessment.

Those with mild or moderate symptoms or who do not suffer from chronic illnesses must retest in any health facility in the emirate while continuing to isolate.

If this test is positive, the patient will be contacted by a specialist and told to complete isolation procedures.

Patients in these categories must also receive two negative PCR tests within 24 hours in order to end isolation. But they are urged to continue to comply with precautionary measures once they resume activities.

People who are close contacts will receive a text telling them to take a PCR test and to self-register in home quarantine through a link provided in the message.

Fully vaccinated people must quarantine for seven days, with a 10-day requirement if unvaccinated.

Those who record a positive test must then follow the same protocols set out for those who contract the virus.

Those who test negative should take an additional PCR test – on day six for those who are vaccinated and day nine for those unvaccinated.

If the result is again negative, they can end isolation in line with Covid-19 safety rules.

How often is the green list updated?

Regularly. The most recent changes were made on January 1 and came into effect from January 3.

As of January 3, the list will comprise 71 countries.

The UK, which has reported a surge in Covid-19 cases fuelled by the Omicron variant, was removed, as were Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, Russia and Lebanon.

Abu Dhabi tourist attractions - in pictures

Updated: January 24, 2022, 5:19 AM
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