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Dubai: UAE’s airlines have updated their travel requirements after authorities announced the relaxation of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Emirates airline said effective February 26, 2022, passengers travelling to Dubai from all countries (GCC included) must fulfil one of the below requirements:

Present a valid vaccination certificate(s) reflecting that the passenger is fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the WHO or the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and includes a QR code system; or

Present a valid negative COVID-19 test certificate that should be based on a molecular diagnostic test intended for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid for SARS COV 2 viral RNA, that is issued within 48 hours from the time of sample collection and issued by an approved health service provider, with a QR code system; or

Present a valid medical certificate issued by the relevant authorities that the passenger has recovered from Coronavirus SARS Cov 19 within a period of one month from the date of recovery to the date of arrival, with a QR code system

If requested, passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival in Dubai and self quarantine until they receive a negative result. In the event the passenger tests positive, then they should follow the guidelines issued by the relevant Health Authority in the Emirate of Dubai.

Transiting passengers

Transiting passengers are not required to present a COVID-19 PCR test certificate unless it is mandated by their final destination. Passengers booked with Dubai Connect/Stopover packages must follow the same PCR test requirements as applicable for passengers arriving/entering Dubai.

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Following categories of passengers are exempted from PCR test requirements:

UAE nationals are exempt from taking a COVID-19 PCR test before departing for Dubai. They must be tested on arrival in Dubai, irrespective if they are holding a valid negative COVID-19 RT PCR certificate from the point of origin. This is also applicable for passengers accompanying a 1st degree UAE nationals’ relative or domestic worker escorting a UAE national sponsor during travel.

Children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability are exempt from taking a COVID-19 RT PCR test.

Abu Dhabi rules

On its website, Etihad Airways said passengers don’t need a test to fly to Abu Dhabi if they are fully vaccinated or hold a COVID-19 recovery certificate with a QR code dated within 30 days of departure; guests under the age of 16 need not get tested.

Passengers must take a PCR test 48 hours before flight to Abu Dhabi if they are not fully vaccinated and do not hold a COVID-19 recovery certificate; or they are transiting in Abu Dhabi and a test is required at the final destination.

"We warmly welcome this move by the UAE authorities to make travelling to and from Abu Dhabi and the UAE even easier, while maintaining a safe environment," said Terry Daly, Executive Director Guest Experience, Brand and Marketing, Etihad Airways.

"Abu Dhabi has built a reputation for delivering a robust response to the pandemic with high vaccination rates and a comprehensive approach to health and safety measures," said Daly.

PCR test result must contain a QR code if the travelers are arriving from: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Botswana, Congo, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

“If you do require a PCR test and you are unable to present proof of your negative COVID-19 PCR test, you will not be permitted to travel,” said Etihad.

Opening up

The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), in coordination with its main partners, has announced updating the COVID-19 countermeasures from Saturday (February 26).

The announcement came in support of the ongoing efforts at the country level to achieve sustainable recovery while maintaining public health and safety against the background of the continuation of various activities and return to normality nationwide. According to the update, mask-wearing is mandatory in public indoor spaces and optional outdoors. It’s also been decided to cancel the quarantine requirements for COVID-19 contacts. COVID contacts working in all state sectors have to conduct a PCR test daily for five days’ time.