Dubai COVID-19 travel rules, guidelines: Everything you should know

Dubai: On Friday, Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced a number of changes to the travel protocol for passengers arriving or departing from Dubai. These changes, authorities said, were aimed at easing hassles for passengers and exempting citizens from additional procedures, without compromising on precautionary measures to ensure the safety of all passengers.

Here are the top rules and guidelines in place until now when travelling to/from/through Dubai Airports. The most recent changes were taken following the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

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Who needs a PCR test prior to returning?

According to the revised protocols, Emiratis returning to Dubai from overseas are not required to do a PCR test prior to departure, regardless of the country they are coming from and the time spent there. They will only be required to conduct a PCR test on arrival in Dubai.

This exemption applies only to citizens, therefore, residents and tourists are still required to get a negative OCR test result before flying in from approved labs. Transit passengers also require a PCR test result if their final destination country requires passengers to have it.

Departures from Dubai – PCR test rule

If departing from Dubai, passengers are only required to have a negative PCR test result if their destination requires it prior travelling. Therefore, Emiratis, residents and tourists travelling overseas from Dubai are only required to undergo a PCR test prior to departure if their destination country requires a pre-travel negative test certificate.

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GDRFA approval for residents

Unline Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, Dubai returnees who are residents require an approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) in order to be granted entry at Dubai’s ports. The approval permit is valid for 30 days and GDRFA clarified to Gulf News in an exclusive interview that the permit can be applied for before departure in case residents are planning a vacation or business trip. If rejected, residents can re-apply after 5 days. GDRFA also told Gulf News that the permit is single-use only and cannot be used for mutiple-trips into the country.

Visit visas and tourist visas

Dubai had opened up visa applications for all nationalities a couple of months ago. However, make sure you check current flight operations to Dubai before applying for visas. Since visas are issued by GDRFA, no additional approval is required for this type of visa. It is always best to ask for the latest updates before planning a trip. 

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