What you need to know before travelling
The UAE has resumed outbound travel and released guidelines for residents and citizens interested in travelling abroad, returning residents, and tourists arriving in the country. Here are key protocols to be followed as per the latest directive by the relevant authorities. Please note that some requirements for Dubai visa-holders may be different from those of other Emirates.
Procedures and information for UAE citizens from Dubai and residents with Dubai-issued visas who wish to travel abroad
Dubai is currently allowing travel to destinations that are accepting travellers. Citizens and residents with Dubai-issued visas are allowed to travel to several countries on any of the airlines that have approved flights to and from Dubai airports. Note: If you live in Dubai but have a visa issued from another Emirate, you need to follow the federal rules outlined for Abu Dhabi and other emirates.
- Travellers must meet guidelines of both Dubai and the country they intend to visit.
- Those who want to return to Dubai will need to get approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) by submitting a form on its website to be able to come back.
- Travellers who receive approval to return will be given a reference number needed to book flights online or with airline staff.
- Airlines have the right to deny travellers who display any COVID-19 symptoms.
- Emirates and Etihad Airways have announced that travellers heading to the UK and EU must present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 96 hours of departure. Children and people of determination are exempt.
- As some countries may require travellers to present a negative COVID-19 test result before travelling, please make sure to check if it's need by your desired destination.
- Returning residents with Dubai visas who want to arrive at Dubai airport will need to get approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) by submitting a form on its website to be able to come back. Those arriving at Dubai airport with visas issued by other Emirates need to get approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship's (ICA) website.
- Visa holders of Emirates other than Dubai should also visit uaeentry.ica.gov.ae and submit their passport number and Emirates ID number to verify their visa validity. They will need to present a photocopy of their passport and UAE residence visa upon arrival.
- Those who want to return to the UAE must print and complete a health declaration form to ensure they are clear of any symptoms.
- They should also print and sign a quarantine undertaking form stating their commitment to bear the costs of examination and treatment in case they contract COVID-19, and commit to a quarantine period if found positive.
- Both forms have to be handed over to the Dubai Health Authority staff upon arrival in Dubai.
- Those who want to return to the country also need to download and register with the COVID-19 DXB Smart App.
- According to Emirates airline, COVID-19 requirements for residents arriving in Dubai depend on which country they are coming from. The countries have been divided into two categories. See the full list and breakdown here. It is currently unclear if these rules only apply to Emirates passengers or all passengers arriving in Dubai regardless of the airline.
- Residents arriving from countries in the first category, such as Egypt, Pakistan and India, are required to take two PCR tests: one pre-travel test taken no more than 96 hours before departure, and another upon arrival at the airport in Dubai.
- Those arriving from countries in the second category, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and the UK, have the option to either take the pre-travel PCR test or the one upon arrival.
- The pre-travel test result should be presented in a printed certificate format in Engish or Arabic. It should have been taken at a UAE-approved laboratory, or if that's not available, at a local government-approved lab or facility.
- UAE citizens are exempt from the pre-travel PCR test, but are required to take the test upon arrival. Children under 12 years old and those with severe and moderate disabilities are exempt from both testing requirements.
- Those arriving from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh must use a UAE-approved medical facility for the pre-travel test.
Upon and after return
- UAE citizens will undergo a PCR (COVID-19) test upon arrival as they do not need to present a pre-travel test certificate. Residents arriving from countries in the first category defined above must also take the test upon arrival.
- Whoever has taken the PCR test at the airport must stay at home until the test results come out. The results may take around two to three days.
- Those who test positive must spend 14 days in quarantine.
- They are allowed to quarantine at home as long as they meet the quarantine conditions as defined by the official guidelines from the COVID-19 Command and Control Centre.
- Those who live in a high-density housing or on a sharing basis, will be required to isolate at a quarantine facility.
- For those who are employed, their employer should provide the quarantine facility in accordance with the COVID-19 Command and Control Centre guidelines or choose a quarantine facility provided by the government and bear the costs involved.
- Travellers must comply with all the precautionary measures advised in Dubai such as wearing masks, maintaining a social distance of 2 metres and washing hands regularly.
How to prepare for the airport in Dubai
Key Dubai airport requirements, restrictions and safety measures that you should be aware of before travelling from the city
Arrival at airport
Passengers flying internationally should be at the airport 4 hours before departure but not earlier than that.
All passengers will undergo thermal screening to check temperatures at Dubai airports.
COVID-19 test at the airport
Select airlines may perform COVID-19 tests for passengers before boarding.
Wearing a mask
Passengers are required to wear a mask at all times.
Passengers should wear gloves at all times.
Social distancing in effect
A minimum distance of 2 metres must be maintained at all times.
Passengers are required to disclose any symptoms before travelling by filling in a health declaration form.