COVID-testing rules for Air Travel To And From Dubai

With travel restrictions being eased, Summer travel in the UAE is set to fly (no pun intended)!

Tourists are going to make their way to Dubai, however it’s going to be a challenge for its own crisis authority and immigration service, with different rules from the rest of the country and the world for that matter.

Last week, travel regulations were updated by the authorities, which allows UAE residents and citizens to travel to any destination as long as health and safety measures are met.

Leaving Dubai? You Can Travel But You Need Permission

Before booking flights, Dubai residents who wish to fly abroad have been advised to apply to Dubai’s immigration service, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), for permission to leave, and also return to, the country.

If the flight is with Emirates airline, residents will need to obtain a GDRFA number to book their outbound flight.

The main difference between Dubai and federal rules, is that Dubai visa-holders are NOT required by the emirate’s government or airlines to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) before flying.

Those living in Dubai but working on a visa from another emirate, will have to follow federal rules which requires them to gain travel approval via the Tawajudi system.

UAE nationals however, should register with the Tawajudi system to allow communication with them while traveling.


Coming To Dubai

Residents who wish to travel to Dubai will have to be tested for COVID-19 at the airport and will also have to stay at home until receiving the results, which could take up to three days.

If the results test positive, a 14 days isolation period is required.

Tourists that visit Dubai will have to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nasal swab test up to four days prior to flying. This can be done at a hospital or private clinic in their home country and the test-result documentation must be with them upon arrival to the city.

Travelers who have valid, recognized tests, and showing no COVID-19 symptoms, will not have to be tested in Dubai nor will they be subject to quarantine. If the tourist is unable to be tested before traveling they will be screened by medics on arrival at Dubai airport (this includes children).

Abu Dhabi and Northern Emirates Residents

Abu Dhabi and Northern Emirates residents must apply to the federal government’s ICA/Tawajudi system for permission to travel abroad and will have to test negative for COVID-19 before leaving Abu Dhabi or any other UAE airport.

Passengers who do not have a valid negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of flying in their possession, will not be permitted to board the aircraft.

Once at the destination, travelers will have to be tested before making their way back to the UAE – this is the major difference from Dubai’s system which does not require it.

When returning, passengers will have to show their negative test before boarding their plane back to the UAE and on arrival. A 14 day quarantine period is also mandatory even if the test was negative.