Link copied

The Latest Travel Requirements and COVID Guidelines for Dubai

If planning to visit Dubai soon, for work or pleasure, find out the latest travel requirements and guidelines in this article.

December 29, 2020

The holiday season is upon us, and after an eventful year, to put it mildly, people are eager to step outside their homes and travel. Dubai has, for long, been a much-loved “winter” destination, its relatively warm weather providing tourists with an escape from colder climes. 

A vibrant and animated city in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is an entertainment hotspot where you’ll find everything from theme parks and the best restaurants in the world to awe-inspiring architectural structures, malls, and exotic adventures. 

For business travelers, Dubai is the economic hub of the Middle East. Its prime location, savvy attitude, and forward-thinking attract multinationals from across the globe, creating an energetic business environment. 

So, when COVID-19 first came into the picture, both tourism and business in the Middle East took a big hit. Dubai Expo 2020 got postponed to 2021. However, Dubai was quick to stand up and was amongst the first few places to welcome international travelers, way back in July.

Behind this successful endeavor to bring things as close to normal is a pro-active government responsible for keeping everyone safe. Among the measures taken by the local authorities is an extensive COVID screening process that begins much before you board a flight to Dubai and continues till you leave the city. 

Is a COVID-19 PCR Test Required for Travel to Dubai?

Looking at the changing face of air travel in a pandemic world, one can expect that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests will be crucial when traveling from one country to another. 

Dubai is no different and has been at the top of its game since reopening its borders. To keep the virus under control, local authorities have put in place stringent entry requirements for anyone flying into the United Arab Emirates.

If planning to visit Dubai soon, for work or pleasure, please keep in mind the following conditions;

  • COVID Testing – To visit Dubai, you need to have a negative PCR test report, taken no later than 96 hours before arrival. 
  • Testing Labs – The PCR test is only accepted if done from an authorized laboratory or hospital. Please check the list of designated labs in your home country before getting tested. 
  • PCR Report – The PCR test certificate should be in English or Arabic. Only a physical copy of the report is accepted. No SMS or digital versions will be considered.
  • Minors – At present, children below 12 years traveling to Dubai are not required to get the PCR test done. 
  • Vaccination – Dubai does not ask for a certificate of immunization for the time being. 

There are a few exceptions and additions to the above rules. 

Travelers arriving from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, UK, and Germany need not get tested before arrival. They can opt for the PCR test on arrival facility offered at Dubai Airport. 

Travelers from the following countries require two PCR tests. One, before departure (within the 96-hour timeframe), and the other upon arrival in Dubai;

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Irrespective of COVID guidelines in Dubai, keep in mind that several airlines ask for a PCR test before they allow you on board. Therefore, check the rules of the airline you plan on taking. 

Do Tourists have to Quarantine?

The majority of travelers will not have to quarantine once they enter the country, provided they have a negative PCR test certificate and do not show any COVID symptoms upon arrival. 

This one step has been instrumental in reviving Dubai’s tourism. Moreover, it has been welcomed by the international business community since most business travelers visit the city for a short period and cannot afford to spend time in quarantine.   

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

Yes. Anyone wanting to visit the country needs to have travel insurance, preferably one that covers all COVID-related ailments. 

If traveling with Emirates or FlyDubai, the airlines offer all of their passengers a 31-day “free and automatic COVID cover.” While the benefit is for flights up until 31st December 2020, it is likely to continue in 2021. But still, always check with the airlines when flying in the new year. 

The reason why travel insurance is a necessity is the “health declaration form” you will have to fill before boarding the flight to Dubai. Through the form, you self-declare not having any COVID symptoms and that you will bear any and all medical and isolation costs if infected during the trip. 

Visa Requirements

Dubai is back to implementing the same visa requirements, as was the case before COVID. There are three broad visa categories for tourists and business travelers. Depending on your country of residence, you will either have to take a visa before arrival, you can enter Dubai visa-free, or you might be eligible for a visa on arrival.

Since immigration requirements change from time to time, it is pertinent to check your country’s visa status when booking a Dubai flight. 

Do Transit Passengers Need a PCR Test?

There are two types of transit passengers in Dubai. The ones utilizing the 48- or 96-hour transit visa that allows you to enter the city will need a negative PCR test report. 

Similarly, with the restarting of the Dubai Connect feature, a within 96-hour PCR test is compulsory for anyone using the free hotel stay benefit during a long layover. If compelled to remain at the airport, you will have access to the Dubai Connect lounge and complimentary refreshments. 

For passengers not leaving the airport, you may or may not need a negative PCR test report, depending on your country of origin. 

Transit passengers from the following countries are not required to have a PCR test:

Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives Islands, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Republic of North Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, United States.

Transit passengers from the following countries are required to have a PCR test:

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Please remember that even if you are not required to take a PCR test when transiting through Dubai, it might be mandatory to enter your destination country. 

What Happens Upon Arrival in Dubai?

Upon arrival at Dubai Airport, you will undergo a temperature check via thermal screening irrespective of whether you have a negative PCR test certificate or not.

In case of any suspicion, the authorities may request you to re-take a PCR test at the airport. Afterward, you will either be required to stay at the airport or will have to quarantine yourself in the hotel room until the result is negative. 

If tested positive, you will undergo a 14-day quarantine, during which your health will be monitored and treatment administered as per medical advice.

Is Dubai COVID Safe?

Dubai took the threat imposed by COVID-19 seriously from the very beginning. That is why it has managed to remain open while other countries are still struggling. 

Among the noteworthy safety precautions taken by locals and authorities in Dubai are;

  • Temperature Checks – At your hotel’s reception, in the lobby of your client’s company, at the mall, or in a restaurant, temperature checks before allowing entry are standard across Dubai.
  • Regular Sanitization – Malls, hotel rooms, business offices, cafes, playgrounds, and Dubai beaches are sanitized around the clock.
  • Safe Hotel Check-In – Quickly adapting to present-day needs, hotels in Dubai now offer contactless check-in for all their guests.
  • Safe Dining – Scan a barcode, and the menu of the restaurant pops up on your phone. You’ll find contactless menus at most restaurants in Dubai, helping limit COVID-19. 
  • Digital Safety – Cashless transactions are on the rise, and everyone is encouraged to use credit cards over cash for big or small purchases in Dubai.  

Health Protocols to Follow in Dubai

COVID management for the traveler does not end once you exit the airport. The local government expects everyone to follow the strictest of protocols to keep the pandemic under control. Among the essential COVID requirements in Dubai are;

  • DXB Smart App – Everyone needs to have the DXB Smart App installed on their phones upon arrival in the country. The contact tracing app is an excellent resource for all things COVID-related, from emergency numbers and information on closed-to-public areas to the latest statistics and live help.
  • Masks – Wearing of masks is enforced strictly across Dubai. Anytime you are in a public area, whether indoors or outdoors, you should have your face covered. 
  • Social Distancing – Attending a business meeting, shopping in the mall, or playing on the beach, social distancing norms include staying at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart from others. 
  • Regular Sanitization – While hotels and public places regularly sanitize surfaces, it is equally important that you do the same. Frequently wash hands and carry hand sanitizer in your briefcase. 

COVID-19 Requirements when Leaving Dubai

There are no complicated procedures to follow at the time of leaving Dubai. You should, however, be aware of any requirements implemented by the destination country. In all likelihood, you will need a negative PCR test since most airlines and governments demand it presently. 

In such a case, there are several authorized COVID-19 testing labs in Dubai. Do keep in mind that the results can take time, and the labs are not responsible for any delays. Therefore, get the test done 2-4 days before your flight.      

Whether a business traveler or a tourist looking for a relaxing break, Dubai, thanks to its dedicated approach towards keeping visitors and residents safe, is a great destination to explore during these otherwise challenging times.  

Travelers who booked via SoldoutNight can also  make use of SoldoutNight’s multi channel customer to check on Dubai travel requirement updates. 

Disclaimer: UAE continuously monitors rising COVID threats within the country and around the world. While the information shared is up-to-date at the time of publication, please check the official Dubai Tourism website for any changes in travel requirements and COVID Guidelines.