Dubai: Have you been aching to travel after cancelling international trips for over a year? With more and more countries opening up to tourists, you may be planning a quick trip. But if you are concerned about the steps you need to take to have a smooth and safe journey, here is a checklist on all the tests, regulations and quarantine rules you need to keep in mind.
1. Choose your destination carefully
Where do you plan to travel? Is it a country that has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases? If so, it is best to exercise caution and pick another option for your trip. In a press briefing on July 6, by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), people were asked to learn of the requirements and procedures of the countries they wish to visit and adhere to them as to avoid any penalties for violations applied in these countries, while adhering to the preventive measures.
Earlier this month, Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management advised travellers to observe utmost caution when travelling and to avoid visiting places that are experiencing a severe COVID-19 outbreak.
2. Choose places that offer quarantine-free travel
Once you land, would you be required to complete a quarantine? Or does the destination that you chose, offer quarantine-free travel?
There are several countries across the world that have opened up to travellers, offering the option for quarantine-free travel, in case you are fully vaccinated or present a negative PCR test result.
3. Wait for your maximum immunity to kick in
Not only is it advisable to be fully vaccinated before you travel, the Dubai Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has advised people to wait for at least 14 days after their second dose before travelling anywhere. This allows sufficient time for the body to maximise its immunity.
4. Get a PCR test
For international travel, you would need to get a negative PCR test report, either 48 or 72 hours before the time of your flight’s departure, based on your destination’s travel requirements. PCR tests are available across the UAE, with the option for going to a health centre, opting for drive-through or even having a home sample collection.
5. Keep printed copies
Along with your passport and ticket, you should also keep multiple copies of your negative PCR test result and your vaccine certificate.
If you are not eligible to get a vaccine due to health conditions, make sure you keep a copy of your vaccine exemption.
6. Download the IATA Travel Pass
Check if your airline is using the IATA Travel Pass, which has now been linked to the Al Hosn app. Most major airlines in the UAE are now using the IATA Travel Pass, for ease of travel. With the Travel Pass now being linked to Al Hosn, all your information on vaccination and PCR tests will be available through the app and can be verified easily by the airlines as well as the immigration authorities of your port of destination.
Download the Al Hosn app and any other app required by your port of destination
If you have not yet downloaded the Al Hosn app, it is important to do so immediately. Also, find out more about whether the country you are travelling to has a contact tracing or COVID-19 related app, and make sure you enter the necessary details, like your vaccination status and PCR test report on it.
7. Follow COVID-19 precautions throughout your trip
While you are at the airport, on the airplane or in the city you are travelling to, make sure you follow the basic COVID-19 precautions all the time. This includes wearing a face mask in public, avoiding crowded places and always maintaining a social distance of at least two metres from others.
8. Planning your return – Get a PCR test
When you are planning to return to the UAE, you may need to take a PCR test within 48 hours of your flight departure time and also take a test on arrival, depending on the country that you are travelling from, or the flight regulations.
9. Check for quarantine requirements
Once you come back to the UAE, the quarantine regulations will vary based on whether you are landing in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Sharjah.
In Abu Dhabi, you may not need to quarantine if you are arriving from any country mentioned on the Green List. However, you would need to get a PCR test done on arrival, as well as a follow up test done on Day 6 and another one on Day 12, in case you are not vaccinated.
If you are travelling from any other country, you would need to quarantine for seven to 12 days, depending on your vaccination status.
Based on the country that you are returning from, you might be tested again on arrival at Dubai’s airport. If you are required to take another test on arrival, you must remain in quarantine at your residence until you receive the test result. If the test result is positive, you must stay in isolation and follow the instructions of Dubai Health Authority. If the test result is negative, you do not need to quarantine yourself.
It is also important to download the COVID-19 Smart DXB app.
You would need to take a PCR test upon arrival at Sharjah’s airport and stay in quarantine until you receive the results. If the result is positive, you must stay in isolation for 10 days and follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health and Prevention.