Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Dubai Airports

Dubai: Travelling to or from the UAE anytime soon? From September 28, new rules have come into effect in the UAE, with some COVID-19 restrictions eased.

On September 26, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) announced updated guidelines for COVID-19, with specific protocols for the aviation sector that would affect international passengers. The guidelines came into effect from September 28.

Here is what you need to know about guidelines for travelling in and out of the UAE.

Masks not required on some routes

In the announcement on September 26, NCEMA said that airlines would be allowed to decide if wearing face masks on flights will be mandatory or optional.

Following the announcement, Emirates and flydubai announced that for passengers travelling to Dubai, masks will no longer be mandatory on board.

However, both airlines reminded passengers that when travelling from Dubai, or transiting through Dubai, the mask rules of your destination would still apply throughout your journey.

In an announcement on its website, Etihad airlines stated: “We have relaxed our rules around masks on board. You will only need to wear a mask if you are flying to China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Maldives, Philippines, South Korea, Seychelles or Canada.”

Air Arabia, too, announced that wearing a face mask is not mandatory on Air Arabia flights for passengers arriving to the UAE.

Flying to the UAE

In the announcement made by NCEMA, for international passengers coming to the UAE, the current protocol is still valid for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Fully vaccinated passengers do not need a PCR test

From February 26, 2022, fully vaccinated passengers need to present a valid vaccination certificate(s) reflecting that the passenger is fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the UAE and includes a QR code.

Unvaccinated passengers coming to the UAE

Those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, can either present a valid, negative result of an RT-PCR test conducted within 48 hours before arrival, or present a recovery certificate (containing a QR code) from COVID-19 issued within 30 days before departure, if they were previously infected with the virus.

COVID-19 PCR test and vaccination exemptions

• Children below 12 years old.
• Passengers with moderate to severe disabilities:
- Moderate or severe disability includes neurological disorders and intellectual or developmental disabilities. For example: Acute spinal cord injury, Alzheimer's disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Ataxia, autism spectrum, Bell's Palsy, brain tumours, cerebral aneurysm, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, epilepsy, and seizures.
- All other passengers, including those who are visually impaired, hearing impaired or physically challenged must hold a negative COVID-19 RT PCR test certificate as per the requirements.

Flying out of the UAE

According to NCEMA, the requirements for pre-departure testing for vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be determined at the request of travel destinations.