UAE flights: No Covid PCR tests for vaccinated; do passengers need a booster shot?

Full list of approved vaccines that travellers must have taken for test exemption


Sahim Salim


Waheed Abbas

Published: Wed 2 Mar 2022, 1:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 2 Mar 2022, 10:41 PM

The UAE recently eased several Covid safety rules, including those around travel. According to the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), fully vaccinated passengers don’t need to take a pre-travel Covid PCR test.

This applies to passengers from all destinations flying to any airport in the UAE.

Though the NCEMA did not specify whether a booster dose is required to maintain the status of being ‘fully vaccinated’, UAE airlines have specified the rules. Airlines have also posted the list of approved vaccines that qualify residents and tourists for the PCR test exemption. Here is all you need to know.

What does ‘fully vaccinated’ mean?

According to Etihad Airways, passengers must produce a Covid-19 vaccination certificate containing a QR code.

“To be fully vaccinated … you must have received two doses of the same vaccine, or one dose of Janssen … at least 14 days before departure (28 days before for Janssen),” the website says.

Emirates Airline website says that passengers must “present a valid vaccination certificate(s) reflecting that (they are) … fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the WHO or the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and includes a QR code.”

Flydubai has similar information on its website, but adds that the certificate must be “in English or Arabic”. Emirates says vaccination certificates in other languages are acceptable if they can be “validated at the departure point”.

None of the airlines mention the requirement of a booster dose to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’.

Which are the approved vaccines?

Etihad specifies the following vaccines to travel to the UAE without taking a PCR test:

• AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria)

• AstraZeneca (SK Bioscience Co Ltd. from Korea)

• Covishield

• Covovax

• ​​Covaxin

• Janssen

• Moderna

• Nuvaxovid

• Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty)

• Sinopharm

• Sinovac

• Sputnik V

Flydubai also has a similar list of approved vaccines.

When must the vaccine have been taken?

Emirates and Flydubai don’t specify the time period that passengers have to wait to fly after getting their jabs. However, according to Etihad, passengers with two doses of any approved vaccines except Janssen must have received their second dose at least 14 days before departure. Those with Janssen must have received the jab at least 28 days prior to travel.

Who must take a pre-travel PCR test?

Etihad says that you must take a PCR test 48 hours before your flight to Abu Dhabi if:

• You are not fully vaccinated and do not hold a Covid-19 recovery certificate

• You are transiting in Abu Dhabi and a test is required at your final destination.

Do children need to take PCR tests?

This differs for travellers to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

For travelling to Abu Dhabi, children aged below 16 are exempted from PCR tests, according to Etihad.

Emirates and Air Arabia say that children aged below 12 are exempted from the requirement for travelling to Dubai and Sharjah, respectively.

Does the PCR test result need a QR code?

Flydubai says that passengers must present a printed copy of a valid negative Covid-19 PCR test result with a QR code in English or Arabic.


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