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Dubai: Are you an UAE resident who is planning to travel to the Emirates from India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Uganda? Make sure you reach the airport well in time for the COVID-19 test that needs to be conducted at the airport before departure.

Several airlines have updated their guidelines for travellers from these countries, clarifying that the test can be conducted within six hours prior to the time of departure. Here is a roundup of the guidelines issued by some airlines flying residents to the UAE.


According to the Emirates website, all passengers with a valid UAE residence visa are allowed to travel to and through Dubai from India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda, subject to the following conditions:

• Dubai visa holders must apply for pre-entry approval through General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

• Passengers with a UAE visa sponsored by Dubai EXPO 2020 do not require GDRFA approval to enter Dubai.

• Passengers must have a valid COVID 19 test certificate issued within 48 hours between the time of sample collection and scheduled flight departure. Only COVID 19 PCR [Polymerase Chain Reaction] test reports from certified labs that issue a QR code linked to the original report will be accepted.

• Passengers must complete a COVID-19 PCR rapid test at the departure airport before the departure of their flight. The Rapid PCR test can be conducted within six hours prior to departure. Rapid antigen test will not be accepted.

• Passengers must complete a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival in Dubai.

UAE Nationals are exempted from the above requirements but subject to COVID 19 PCR test on arrival in Dubai.

All other passengers who have been in India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda in the past 14 days will not be permitted to enter Dubai.


According to the Etihad airlines’ website, passengers must take a rapid PCR test within six hours of boarding their flight. Rapid PCR tests must be taken at an airport facility. Any test taken outside of an airport facility will not be accepted. Pre-register for your rapid test and arrive at the airport at least six hours before your flight to assure that you receive your rapid test results in time.

When you arrive in Abu Dhabi, you will be required to quarantine for 12 days and wear a medically approved wristband for the duration of your quarantine – this will be provided by the authorities at Abu Dhabi airport after you clear immigration. You must also take a PCR test on arrival, Day 6 Day 11.

Air India Express

In a notification on its official Twitter account, Air India Express said that passengers travelling to the UAE from India are requested to report at the airport at least six hours prior to the departure.

As per the entry requirement of the UAE, a rapid PCR test will be conducted for every passenger at the respective Indian departure airport.

The test counters will start four hours before departure time and would close two hours prior to departure.


On its website, flydubai provided the following requirements for UAE residents (holding valid Dubai-issued visas) to fly to Dubai from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda:

• They must have a valid GDRFA approval to return to Dubai;

• They must be able to present a printed copy of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result (displaying a QR code) in English or Arabic from a test taken in the country of departure by an approved health service no more than 48 hours prior to the departure of their inbound flight to Dubai;

• They must undergo a rapid PCR, RT PCR, ID NOW (a molecular test for detection of nucleic acid for SARS-COV-2) at the airport within six hours of boarding the aircraft in their country of departure;

• They must undergo a PCR test on arrival in Dubai.

It is important to note that travel regulations are regularly updated and can vary depending on the city and country you are travelling from. This is why it is important to always check the latest guidelines before you book your tickets and plan your trip.