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Traveling to Dubai or Abu Dhabi? These Are the New COVID-19 Rules To Keep in Mind


Photo: Domen / Van De Velde

In response to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the region, travel regulations in the UAE have been altered to minimize risk on both the local community, and tourists coming in from other countries like the United Kingdom. Regulations may differ slightly from one emirate to the other, which is why travelers need to be constantly aware of the new updates.

 If you’re traveling to Dubai…

Whether considered residents or tourists, vaccinated or unvaccinated, travelers to the UAE need to present a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours of departure. For those coming from the UK, NHS certificates and home kits will not be considered eligible. Exceptions to this rule apply to the minority of Emiratis returning to their home country—locals will require to do a PCR test upon arrival. Children aged under 12, and travelers with moderate to severe disabilities, will also considered as exceptions to this rule. However, an obligatory PCR upon arrival will have to take place at Dubai airport.

If travelers test positive upon arrival, they will be required to quarantine and follow the guidelines set by the Dubai Health Authority. They will also need to download the Covid-19 DXB Smart App for further updates.

If you’re traveling to Abu Dhabi…

Rules for those traveling to Abu Dhabi are very similar to the ones for Dubai. However, fully vaccinated travelers will need to test upon arrival to Abu Dhabi airport after baggage collection. No quarantine is required, especially for visitors from the UK. However, a PCR test on Day 4 and Day 8 are mandatory to ensure that the virus was not contracted at any time during the trip.

Unvaccinated travelers will need to test upon arrival at the airport, and must quarantine for ten days. Another PCR test should be taken on Day 9. Airport PCRs are free, but the subsequent tests on Day 4, 8 or 9 may be chargeable.

If you’re traveling from the UAE to the UK…

Negative PCR tests are no longer a requirement from people traveling from the UAE to the UK. However, certain airlines like Eithad Airways may still insist on passengers taking the test prior to boarding.

Travelers must book a government- approved Covid-19 test for the second day upon arrival, which can either be a lateral flow test or a PCR. This test can be taken any time after arrival, with Day 2 being the outer limit. The day of arrival is considered Day 0, and the passenger locator form must also be filled 48 hours before arrival.

Positive PCR test travelers must self-isolate, and positive lateral flow test results require a PCR test. The same rules apply to unvaccinated travelers who are under 18 years, and are medically exempt from taking the vaccine.

Unvaccinated travelers also include those who have taken the second dose within less that 14 days, and should present a negative PCR test result within 48 hours of travel. A government-approved Covid-19 test should also be booked and payed for upon the second day of the stay, which can also be either a lateral flow test or a PCR.

After arrival in England, travelers must quarantine at home for 10 days, and take Covid-19 tests on Day 2 and post Day 8. If a traveler tests positive in the Day 8 test, isolation is required for ten days from the day the test was taken.  Those staying in the UK for less than 10 days need to quarantine the entire time.

If you’re traveling with children…

Children aged 4 and below do not need to conduct any Covid- 19 tests. Kids aged 5-17 need to follow the testing rules for people who qualify as fully vaccinated.

Read Next: Dubai Shares Strict New Rules to Manage the Uprise of Covid-19 Cases

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