Dubai Announces New COVID-19 Travel Rules: All The Latest Guidelines You Should Know

by Vaishnavi Venkataraman
by Vaishnavi Venkataraman 3672

On Friday, Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced changes for tourists, citizens, expats and passengers transiting via Dubai. The new rules aim at easing travel for all, while exempting citizens from unwanted tests, while ensuring safety and precautions.

Here’s everything you need to know if you’re traveling to, from or via Dubai Airports:

Do You Need A PCR Test Prior To Returning To Dubai?

As per the new guidelines, Emiratis returning to Dubai need not take a PCR test prior to departure, irrespective of the country they are travelling from. The test will be done upon arrival in Dubai Airport. However, the exemption is applicable only for citizens. Tourists and expats arriving in Dubai must take a PCR test from one of the approved labs, prior to departure. In addition, transit passengers must also have a PCR test done, if their final destination country demands so.

Do You Need A PCT Test If You Are Departing From Dubai?

Travellers departing Dubai must have a PCR test prior to departure if their destination requires it. This means, Emiratis, expats and tourist travelling from Dubai must take a negative PCR test only if their destination country requires a pre-travel negative test certificate.

Who Needs A GDRFA Approval?

All residents returning to Dubai need approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA). The approval permit is valid for 30 days and can be applied before departure in case of a vacation or business trips. If rejected, residents can re-apply after 5 days. The permit is single-use only and cannot be used for mutiple-trips into the country.

Residents returning to Abu Dhabi do not require a prior approval from ICA. However, a negative PCR test from any of the accredited labs is mandatory 96 hours before departure. Upon arrival, passengers must undergo a PCR test at the airport. A 14-day quarantine is mandatory in Abu Dhabi for all international passengers coming into the emirate.

All those entering Sharjah need not have approvals from GDRFA or ICA. However, a negative PCR test done 96 hours prior to departure is mandatory for all travellers. Passengers will be screened once again upon arrival in Sharjah airport. Those travelling to other countries from Sharjah must adhere to the rules and get a PCR test done if required by the country.

What Are The Rules For Visit Visa And Tourist Visas?

Recently, Dubai opened up visas for all nationalities. However, make sure you check the current flights to Dubai, prior to applying for a visa. Visit visas are issued by GDRFA and therefore no additional permission is required. It is always best to check for the latest updates before planning a trip.

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