Guidelines for travelling to Dubai during the coronavirus pandemic
The Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest in the world. A popular travel destination and a crowded Transit Hub, the Dubai Airport, which was closed for international travel in the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic, is slowly opening its operations. If you intend to travel to or via Dubai, ensure you stay updated with the Dubai Travel Guidelines.
As the world is gradually opening its borders slowly and steadily, many countries are permitting international travel, albeit with certain restrictions. Dubai is one of the select few countries that has now lifted its travel restrictions for almost all countries. The Dubai EXPO 2020, which got postponed to 2021, is expected to receive maximum international traffic in the latter half of this year. If you intend to travel to or via Dubai, you should be aware of the travel guidelines for Dubai during pandemic.
General Guidelines for Travelling To Dubai
The Dubai Government has issued the following guideline for travelling to Dubai during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- From 30th August, travellers from all countries can apply for a tourist visa. They must be fully vaccinated with the WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccines
- General Directorate of Residency & Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) or Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) approval is not required anymore for tourists travelling to the UAE
- All passengers travelling to Dubai from any origin country, including Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, must present a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR report taken within 72 hours before departure from their origin. Exceptions apply for passengers travelling to Dubai from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, Indonesia
- The test must strictly be a Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test. Per the latest travel guidelines for Dubai, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) will not accept antibody tests, NHS tests, rapid PCR tests, home-testing kits or SMS certificates. Passengers must carry an official test report either in English or Arabic consisting of a QR code
- Passengers must present RT-PCR test reports that are issued by authorised labs only
- If the passenger has previously presented a report while travelling to another destination, the DHA officials will not accept it, even if the report is within the specified validity period
Passengers Exempted From RT-PCR Test
According to the Dubai travel guidelines, the following passengers are exempted from taking the RT-PCR Test.
- UAE nationals departing for Dubai from any point of origin
- Passengers are accompanying a first degree relative of UAE nationals or domestic workers
- Domestic workers who are escorting a UAE national sponsor during travel
- Children under the age of 12 years and travellers who have a moderate or severe disability
- Moderate or severe disability including neurological disorders and intellectual/developmental disabilities. For example, Acute spinal cord injury, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, Autism spectrum, Ataxia, Brain tumours, Bell's palsy, Cerebral palsy, Cerebral aneurysm, Epilepsy, Down Syndrome and seizures
- All other travellers, including visually impaired, hearing impaired or physically challenged, must hold a negative COVID 19 RT PCR test certificate as per the requirements stated in the guideline for travelling to Dubai by the UAE Government
Countries Required to Follow Specific Protocols
In the document comprising the travel guidelines for Dubai during a pandemic, certain countries must follow strict protocols if they wish to enter Dubai. These include Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia. As an Indian traveller intending to visit Dubai, you must adhere to the Dubai travel guidelines from India.
Requirements For Travellers from These Countries
- Travellers from the countries mentioned above must present a valid negative Covid-19 PCR test report with a QR code within 48 hours of departure
- Travellers must take a rapid PCR test with a QR code at the departure airport within 6 hours before departure
- Bangladesh, Nigeria, Vietnam and Zambia Airports do not have rapid PCR testing facilities. Passengers from these four countries are not permitted to enter Dubai yet
Dubai Travel Guidelines from India
Indian nationals holding an ordinary passport and travelling to India but transiting through Dubai can obtain a UAE Visa-on-arrival in Dubai. The validity of the visa above is 14 days, and Indian Nationals must fulfil any of the below criteria:
- Hold a visitor visa or a green card issued by the United States of America
- Hold a residence visa issued by the United Kingdom or the European Union
- The USA, UK and European Union issued visa types should have a minimum validity of 6 months
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Transiting Via Dubai
- All passengers who are transiting through Dubai must complete all the requirements specified by their final destination
- Transit passengers from the below-listed countries must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test report for a test taken within 72 hours before departure:
Africa: Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia
Asia: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia
- Other transiting passengers are not required to present the test report unless their final destination mandates it
Mandatory Test on Arrival
According to the guideline for travelling to Dubai circular issued by the UAE government, all passengers – whether residents or tourists, arriving in Dubai from the following countries must take a 2nd Covid-19 PCR test on arrival at either of the 2 Dubai airports.
- Africa: Angola, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Morocco, Somaliland, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe
- Europe: Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
- Far East: Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, and the Philippines
- Gulf and the Middle East: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and Syria
- Indian Ocean Islands: The Maldives
- South America: Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.
- West Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan
After Arriving in Dubai
- Per the travel guidelines for Dubai, the Dubai airport authorities may ask you to take a 2nd Covid-19 PCR test. If you take the test, you must strictly remain in the hotel or residence until the result is known
- If you are tested positive, you must undergo isolation and follow all the Dubai Health Authority guidelines
- For the authorities to monitor you efficiently, you must download the COVID19 – DXB Smart App on your Android or iOS mobile device
Now that Dubai has opened its doors for tourism, tourist attractions are likely to get crowded. However, international travellers must follow all Dubai travel guidelines and prevent any possible spread of the virus.
*Disclaimer: The updated information is valid as of 6th September 2021 and is subject to change.
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