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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 (90)

  • AndyC says:

    “The test should be taken no later than 96 hours before your arrival into the UAE”. ‘No earlier’, surely, not ‘no later’?!

  • Eshaq says:

    This is bonkers. Just when things should start being eased they go and do this. This whole COVID thing is ridiculous and is making companies, governments and people do silly things which ultimately do more harm than good in the long term.

    • Colin says:

      It makes a lot more sense than the “anti terrorism” measures at airports though given that hardly anyone dies from terrorism

  • Prins Polo says:

    In many places, it is not easy to take a test AND get results within 96 hours (or less, if you discount the travel time). Often takes 3-5 business days to get the results, so you need to find a lab that does rapid tests (and that’s not easy) and time your test well.

    • Andrew says:

      I get tested at work weekly. I usually have a 4pm test on the way out of the office and get an email response by 10am the next day.

      There’s no cerification though, it’s just a basic “You haven’t been pozzed up” email.

  • Andrew says:

    The governments of the world really are going to kill off the tourism industry with measures like these. Who’s going to bother to go through all this just to sit on a beach? And the problem is, a bit like facemasks in shops – once a rule like this is in place, it’s going to be a long time before it’s taken away, like vaccine long time away.

    • Spursdebs says:

      Well I suppose I’m going to have to do it if they don’t change it by next January. I can’t bear the thought of disappointing my grandson. Just something else to add to the list along with getting permission for medication that they never look at or ask but you can’t risk it as penalties so severe.

    • Colin says:

      Remember when people said that things were getting back to normal a few weeks ago because Spain was open for tourists again?

      • Andrew says:

        Absolutely – we aren’t going to be travelling without a lot of hassle for a good few years.

        • Colin says:

          I’m hopeful that it won’t be anything like a few years but it certainly wasn’t going to be within a few months of the peak in Europe that normality was achieved in travel. If I go on holiday any time soon, I’ve accepted that there’s a reasonable chance of disruption and/or inconvenience.

    • Andrew says:

      I’m hoping that when deaths don’t start going up in 2-4 weeks despite opening up, travel, ‘case’ spikes in Leicester and Spain (much the same as they didn’t after shops opening, schools opening, pubs opening, BLM protests and crowds on beaches) that common sense will prevail, we’ll realise that in much of the world the Covid threat has been broken and that it really is time to get back to the ‘old’ normal.

      • Colin says:

        Won’t happen.

        • Colin says:

          Just to clarify. We won’t be going back to the normal any time over the next couple of months.

        • Andrew says:

          I actually agree. Common sense rarely prevails. Such a sense of fear has been instilled into the population (rightly at first) that it will take a long time to overcome it.

          • Colin says:

            Regardless of any fear, working from home is generally going to continue for a lot of people (in big companies in London anyway) so things won’t be back to “normal” soon. A lot of people seem to be enjoying themselves (2+ hours a day more free time due to no commute for many) and are more productive at home and as their employer won’t force them to go back any time soon, they certainly won’t be choosing to go back.

            (I realise that some people are desperate to go back to the office etc and some jobs require physical presence but a lot don’t).

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Yes, a classic example of forced seemingly negative disruption driving or greatly speeding up beneficial change.

            Reduction in commuting greatly benefits the individual (cost/time) and society (less stress on transport networks, less pollution). There are certainly benefits to a team all being physically together at times, but at the same time it is not necessary to be together all day every day to secure those benefits, as many companies have now found out.

          • Colin says:

            Maybe every person working from should pay a “Pret tax” of £5 a day given that that’s the only reason the government wants people to go back to the office?

      • Lady London says:

        i think @Novice is right and Nov-Feb this winter will be a period to particularly watch out for.

        IME kicking off sometime betwee end Sep and early Nov.

        This virus isnt done with us yet

  • Paul says:

    In 1984 Saudi Arabia required Everyone, including expats to provide a pint of blood to obtain an exit visa. I was based in Khamis Mushayt at the time and wrote to the British Ambassador to complain. His reply, which I kept until a few years ago, stated, and I quote “when in Rome……”
    Even then the UKs support for their own nationals was supine and I have never trusted the FO or embassy staff to this day. They simply don’t care.
    The USA basically told the Saudis where to get off and the requirement was dropped.

    • mr_jetlag says:

      That sounds ridiculous. Got a source for this?

      • Paul says:

        Yes, me. I was there and was directly affected. As I said the US got it stopped but the British Embassy were then as there are now supine and useless.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      That’s nearly an armful!

      • Charlieface says:

        I didn’t come here to be insulted by a legalised vampire!

  • Mike says:

    the FCO “when in Rome” reply to ex pats is still very much in existence…

    • Jonathan says:

      What do you expect them to do? Far too many people think they can run crying to the embassy & they’ll send a gunboat or helicopter full of SAS to fix the (normally self-inflicted) problem. If you’re in someone else’s country you play by their rules, no matter how absurd.

      • paul says:

        No, I expect countries to behave reasonably and after a 30 years of plowing the expat life I can say I never had cause to ask anything of a British Embassy ever again.

        When in Rome is all well and good – providing the rules (particularly utterly ridiculous rules) were/are in place when you go to that country. To impose a rule which says you must give blood to leave the country, is manifestly unjust, unfair and counter to human rights and common decency. I spent 3 years in the Kingdom and other than this bit of nonsense had no issues. I didn’t like public beheadings (still don’t) – mullahs with sticks attacking the ankles of women- or many of the other restrictions which I saw as a restriction on my personal freedom. But they paid well and so I put up with it.

  • BP says:

    I seen this the other day. Tests in the UK cost £135 and must be booked here:

  • Mark says:

    Just go somewhere else if you can.
    Totally crazy.