TheNational hamburger logo

Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 January 2021

CORONAVIRUS

Travelling to Dubai? Our guide to testing, approvals and quarantine periods for tourists and residents

Tourists are flocking to the emirate this winter, but the rules can vary significantly based on your country of origin

In recent weeks, Dubai updated its travel rules to make it easier for more passengers to travel to the emirate without taking a pre-flight PCR test.

Travellers from the GCC nations can now take a test on arrival. Last month, travel rules were also eased for those coming from the UK and Germany.

But strict guidelines are in place for passengers of all other countries, depending on the virus situation.

What kind of tests are valid to board a flight to Dubai? What are the travel rules and quarantine period for people travelling from Dubai to Abu Dhabi? The National explains.

I’m a tourist coming to Dubai. Should I take a pre-flight PCR test?

Tourists from nearly 105 countries need to show a negative coronavirus test before they board their flight to Dubai.

Airline passengers from the United States and all European countries but the UK and Germany should take pre-departure PCR tests before they board their flights to Dubai. The results are valid for 96 hours from the date of the test.

Antibody and home-testing kit results are not accepted. Passengers must carry an official, printed certificate in English or Arabic. SMS and digital certificates are not accepted and the PCR test should be taken no more than 96 hours prior to departure.

The above entry rules apply to passengers travelling from the countries listed below:

Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives Islands, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the United States.

Tourists from a second list of countries require double testing – one before departure and a second test on arrival in the emirate.

The two-test rule applies to passengers from the below countries:

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Cote d’lvoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Tourists from six countries are exempt from pre-flight tests and can be screened on arrival

Only six countries are exempt from the pre-flight PCR test requirement.

Passengers from the Gulf nations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman do not need a pre-flight test. Instead, they can get a PCR nasal swab at Dubai’s two airports.

Last month, tourists from the UK and Germany were also exempted from pre-departure tests.

Anyone tested on arrival must isolate in their hotel until they receive their results by text message or via the government's Covid-19 app.

I am a tourist leaving Dubai? Should I be tested before departure?

Tourists leaving Dubai will need to take a PCR test only if it is required by the country they are travelling to.

Some passengers may need to take a PCR test before they depart or another kind of test if it is specified by a destination country.

For example, there are specific testing requirements and documents passengers need to complete if they are travelling from Dubai to China.

A laser screening centre for Covid-19 on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi border screens more than 6,000 people every day. Antonie Robertson / The National
A laser screening centre for Covid-19 on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi border screens thousands of people every day. Antonie Robertson / The National

I am a Dubai resident travelling back to the emirate. What tests and approvals do I need?

Dubai residence visa holders need a return approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.

As of December 10, UAE residents travelling from the list of countries below have the option to present a negative pre-flight PCR at check-in counters OR take a PCR test on arrival at Dubai airport in the terminal:

Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives Islands, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Republic of North Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

Travellers taking a test within 96 hours of departure must bring an official, printed certificate in English or Arabic to check in. SMS and digital certificates are not accepted.

Residents from the below countries need a pre-flight test taken 96 hours before departure and should be tested again on arrival:

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Cote d’lvoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Eighteen new 24-hour DPI testing stations have been opened on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi border. Chris Whiteoak/The National
Many clinics and testing facilities across Dubai are now offering more affordable PCR tests. Chris Whiteoak / The National

I am a Dubai resident. Do I need a PCR test before leaving the emirate?

Dubai residents who leave the emirate will need to be tested only if it is required by the country they are travelling to.

But if a resident travels out of Dubai and then returns, he will need the GDFRA approval and must take the PCR test to board the flight back.

Residents do not need Dubai government approval to leave the emirate.

What are the travel rules for people going from Dubai to Abu Dhabi?

All passengers entering Abu Dhabi must have a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours of landing in the UAE. Travellers may also have to quarantine depending on their point of origin and duration of stay in the country.

Abu Dhabi updated its quarantine, testing and travel regulations on Tuesday.

Travellers from “green countries” will not need to quarantine under the updated Covid-19 safety measures announced by Abu Dhabi Emergency Crisis and Disasters Committee.

The changes are part of a move towards full resumption of economic activities.

If I have just landed in Dubai and want to go to Abu Dhabi, should I get tested?

Those who land in Dubai and head straight to Abu Dhabi must have a negative PCR test result within 48 hours and take a DPI test at the border.

Travellers from green countries must self-isolate until they receive a negative result from the PCR test taken on landing.

The countries currently on the green list are: Australia, Brunei, China, Greece, Greenland, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

The quarantine period for travellers coming from other countries was reduced to 10 days from 14 in Abu Dhabi.

Travellers intending to stay in the emirate for longer than six consecutive days must undergo a PCR test on day six, and on day 12 if they remain in the emirate for 12 consecutive days.

Country classifications will be reviewed every two weeks.

I have been in the UAE for up to eight days. How many tests should I take and for how long must I quarantine in Abu Dhabi?

In this case, the quarantine period will be reduced by the number of days a passenger has already spent in another emirate. So if a traveller has been in Dubai for eight days before entering Abu Dhabi, then the quarantine will be reduced by that time, if required at all, after entering Abu Dhabi.

What if I have spent more than 10 days in the UAE before entering Abu Dhabi?

Citizens and residents must take a PCR test or a laser DPI blood test within 48 hours of travelling to the capital. The reports must be presented to officials at the Abu Dhabi border.

However, anyone who intends to stay in Abu Dhabi for longer than six consecutive days must undergo a PCR test on day six, and on day 12 if they remain in the emirate for 12 consecutive days.

What are the testing rules for citizens?

Emiratis returning to Dubai were recently exempt from taking a PCR test prior to departure and were tested on arrival.

What are the exceptions?

Volunteers of the Covid‑19 vaccine trials and those who have taken the shot are exempt from the tests.

Passengers transiting in Dubai are not required to present a test certificate unless it is mandated by their country of origin or final destination.

Children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability are exempt from this test.

Transit passengers who have booked a hotel outside the airport, must present a negative PCR test certificate that is valid for 96 hours from the date of the test before departure.

Testing centres on Dubai-Abu Dhabi border in pictures

Updated: December 27, 2020 01:20 PM

NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to: