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Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: If you are planning to travel soon and are not fully vaccinated, you may be wondering what the travel protocols are for unvaccinated passengers. Can you travel? Would a negative PCR test result be required? And would you need to quarantine?

Over the past few weeks, the UAE has updated the COVID-19 guidelines for incoming travellers, in line with the country's recovery plan to return to normalcy. In the latest announcement, made by the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) on April 13, updates were issued on the travel protocol for unvaccinated Emirati citizens as well as travellers under the age of 16.

So, if you are not fully vaccinated - i.e. you haven't received both the doses of COVID-19 vaccine and a booster dose, if eligible - then these are the travel protocols that are applicable.

Unvaccinated UAE citizens

As per the announcement made by NCEMA on April 13, this is the travel protocol for unvaccinated UAE citizens:

Undergo a PCR test 48 hours before departure date

• Complete the travel forms on the Al Hosn application to turn their health status 'green'. To do so, follow these steps:

o If you do not already have the Al Hosn app on your phone, download it from the App store or the Google Playstore.

o Enter your Emirates ID number to register your Al Hosn account.

o Once you have registered, tap on your name and swipe right to 'add pass'.

o You can then select the option to add 'Travel Pass - test result'. This will be updated after you receive your negative PCR test result in the UAE.

Also, when travelleing, citizens have been advised to contact the UAE diplomatic mission in the country they are in, if they suspect that they have contracted COVID-19.

Citizens have also been advised to use the Twajudi service – this is a service provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) to facilitate communication with UAE nationals abroad and coordinate their repatriation in case of an emergency or crisis.

To access the service, visit www.mofaic.gov.ae and log in using your UAE Pass account. You can then select the Twajudi service and enter your travel details, to facilitate your travel back to the UAE.

Who is considered as an 'unvaccinated'?
According to the Al Hosn app, a person is considered fully vaccinated if they have taken two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and a booster dose after six months of the second dose. If you do not fulfill this criteria, you will not be considered as fully vaccinated on the Al Hosn system.

Unvaccinated passengers under the age of 16

Unvaccinated passengers arriving in the UAE who are under the age of 16 are exempt from presenting a negative PCR test result upon arrival.

However, NCEMA stressed on the need for these passengers to adhere to all preventive and precautionary measures in place in the country.

Unvaccinated passengers coming in to the UAE

If you are a visitor or resident travelling to the UAE and are not fully vaccinated, you are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate issued within 48 hours after the sample was collected and issued by an approved health service provider with a QR code.

According to the website of Emirates airlines, test certificates sent via SMS are not accepted and the PCR test result must have a readable QR code. It is important to note that for transit passengers, the rules and conditions for entry at the final destination will apply.