Dubai is relaxing its COVID-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers

Feb 28, 2022

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Planning a sun-soaked trip to Dubai before winter starts to feel like spring? Good news, then: negative PCR tests have been scrapped as an entry requirement for fully vaccinated travellers.

New rules, which came into effect on 26 February 2022, say that passengers who are considered fully vaccinated can enter the city with just proof of their vaccination status.

The vaccine will need to have been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the United Arab Emirates itself – which includes the U.K.’s most common jabs, such as Pfizer, Oxford AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Janssen.

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Vaccine certificates (such as the NHS COVID Pass app or the printed certificate) with a scannable QR code will be accepted by the UAE.

Otherwise, you’ll need valid proof that you’ve recovered from the virus within the last month to enter.

For unvaccinated passengers, who aren’t able to show proof of recovery, you’ll still need to undertake a PCR test via an approved health provider before you travel. Travel guidance says that the certificate proving your negative result must be issued within 48 hours of sample collection.

The latest Dubai entry rules are kept up to date on the Emirates website.

Related: Best ways to redeem Emirates Skywards miles for maximum value

All that said, there is still a chance you could be expected to take a PCR test when you land at the airport.

The Emirates website clearly states: “If requested, passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival in Dubai and self-quarantine until they receive a negative result.”

While not a definite, it is something to be wary of if you’re travelling there – especially if you happen to test positive and are suddenly required to quarantine.

But families will be pleased to know that children under 12 are exempt from testing requirements.

Related: A peek inside the newly-upgraded Emirates lounge for youngsters at Dubai International Airport

Once in Dubai, you’ll be required to wear masks indoors at airports, shopping malls and other indoor venues – but you’ll no longer need to wear them at the beach or in outdoor spaces.

It’s also good to keep in mind that the rules for entry vary in different parts of the UAE. The above only refers to the current understanding for entering Dubai.

What are travel rules for the rest of the UAE?

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE – and has its own very-slightly-different entry requirements for Brits.

Fully vaccinated arrivals don’t need to take pre-departure tests, nor do people with valid COVID-19 recovery certificates (so long as all the relevant proof can be provided), however, you will be required to undergo a PCR test on arrival. We do however advise that you check local rules and regulations ahead of your travel – at the time of writing the FCDO had not updated its website’s information to reflect the recent changes. TPG has reached out for further clarification here.

Abu Dhabi classes full vaccination as the second dose of your vaccine, or the one-shot Janssen jab, taken at least 14 days before you arrive.

Etihad Airways offer a helpful guide on the requirements to visit Abu Dhabi — which you can view here.

Related: Flying high: What it’s like to fly Etihad business class on the A380 from New York to Abu Dhabi

Choose from a drop-down menu whether you are a UAE national, UAE resident or tourist, then select your vaccination status, and you’ll be provided the basics information per your personal requirements.

Once you’re in Abu Dhabi, you’ll be required to wear masks while in indoor public spaces, too, including corridors in your hotel – but they’re no longer required by law while you’re outdoors. Social distancing is also a requirement here.

For major updates to UAE entry requirements, visit the FCDO website.

Featured image by @AAS via Twenty20

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