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Dubai and Abu Dhabi requiring covonavirus test certificates for entry, transfer AND EXIT

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In what appears to be an extremely harsh measure, given the position of Dubai and Abu Dhabi as tourist destinations and transit hubs, the UAE has announced that no-one will be allowed to board a flight to Dubai or Abu Dhabi if they are not in possession of a coronavirus negative test result.

The rule also applies to transit passengers who are simply passing through Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Dubai requiring coronavirus test

The test must be taken no earlier than 96 hours before your arrival into the UAE.  It is important to remember that NHS coronavirus tests are unlikely to be accepted, since all you receive is a short text message or email which can be easily faked.  You would presumably need a full certificate issued by a private laboratory. Children under 12 are exempt.

More worryingly, it appears that you will also need a coronavirus certificate in order to LEAVE the UAE for the UK and the EU.  This means that you will need to break off from your holiday to visit a private clinic in the UAE in the 96 hours before you return home and pay for another test.  The clinic must be on an airline-approved list.

A local media report I saw said that the exit test was only meant for UAE residents. The airports, Etihad and Emirates are insisting on a certificate from all travellers, however.

The Emirates website has more information here and the Etihad version is here.  The restriction applies to all flights from 1st August.

Comments (87)

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  • Novice says:

    Truth is the only way to get rid of this is by testing. If I was a leader of a nation, I wouldn’t do the whole lockdown thing instead I would do it in the opposite way. They should have tested each city/town everyone in the city/town and place a covid-free zone perimeter around and then carry on doing this placing localised zones where nobody can enter the city/town which has had all tested, without a test. Slowly they could have eventually gotten to testing everyone in UK or any country if same approach taken then once all population is tested then lift the restrictions and only test on foreign travel and during covid-free zone initiation not to allow foreigners in without test.

    To me that is logical. Anyway, it is just my opinion.

    UAE is on the right track for wanting to ramp up testing however I do think the ‘leaving UAE test is more for the reputation of the airlines as they don’t want a repeat of what happened recently on the Ryanair flight which ended up with covid carriers and spread it to others.

    BTW, @Lady London, I’m not a science writer. I just have an interest in facts and science.

    • Doug says:

      Two words. Incubation period

      • Lady London says:


      • Will says:

        A fair point, although if your not showing symptoms or testing positive your unlikely to have many virus instances present and as such are likely much lower risk than someone who is either showing symptoms or testing positive.

        • Novice says:

          I’m not a scientist but I still believe testing is very important. I know the govt has largely just abandoned giving numbers of tests now because it’s summer and they are acting as though this is seasonal. Although it’s not a seasonal virus, it appears to have calmed for now due to ppl being outside mostly but in winter, ppl will be looking to get cosy inside so it’ll be on the rise as soon as it gets cold out.

          And I was just fantasising to some extent. I don’t believe humans are all same so even in my scenario some ppl would have broken the zone safety.

          • Mike P says:

            Is this some kind of semi-literate parody account? If not, you are doing a very good job of pretending to be one.

  • Zed says:

    Under the new requirements, what would be the cancellation policy? If someone doesn’t know and arrives at the airport without having taken the test, the airline won’t let them fly, will they get a refund? Alternatively, do these new rules allow for cancelling the flight without charge?

    • Rob says:

      It’s tough. These are UAE Government rules. As always, the passenger is SOLELY responsible for making sure they have necessary visas, paperwork etc.

  • Ahmett Khan says:

    Dear Rob,

    Your article is very informative. Dubai is a wonderful place to visit as it has lots of visiting places. People are crazy to explore Dubai. But, I have a question that recently in this pandemic all the tourism and entertainment are closed. So, when Tourism and visiting places will be opened after the COVID??
    Do you have any idea?

    Thanks and Regards

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