UAE-UK travel: British expats planning trips back home after rules ease


Dubai - On Wednesday night, the UK government moved the UAE, India, Bahrain and Qatar from the ‘red’ list of countries.


James Jose

Published: Sat 7 Aug 2021, 3:31 PM

Many British expats are planning trips back home after the UK government moved the UAE from the red list to the amber list.

On Wednesday night, the UK government moved the UAE, India, Bahrain and Qatar from the ‘red’ list of countries – from where travel is banned – to the ‘amber’ list. Now, travellers from these countries will be allowed to travel to the UK from Sunday (August 8).

Aaron Sargeant, who has lived in Dubai for six years, is planning to travel next month to see his family whom he last saw in December 2020.

“I will be travelling back home next month and a lot of my friends are doing the same as well. I will be home for two weeks for a much-needed break. Many of the expats here haven’t been home for at least nine months or a year or more. I actually go home twice a year and the last time I was back was for Christmas. So, it will be good to see the family after so long,” said Aaron.

“When I went during Christmas, there was a quarantine period but I don’t think it was enforced as much as it was until recently. Also, there is no hotel quarantine anymore which is good,” he added.

Prior to this, only British nationals and those with permanent residency, who arrive in the UK from a country in the ‘red’ list, had been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.

With the institutional quarantine previously costing £1,750 (Dh8290) per person, Aaron said many had taken alternate routes to reach the UK.

“Earlier, a lot of my friends travelled through Spain or Greece for those 10 days and then travelled from there to the UK. I know a lot of people who have done that,” he said.

Meanwhile, Barny Read, for whom Dubai has been a second home for seven and a half years, welcomed the move and said that he and his wife Tanya would be heading home for Christmas after two years.

“It has been really difficult for us with it being on the red list. It has been a nightmare just trying to plan on going home because of the cost of quarantine. It was £1,750, plus the flights, so it was way too expensive. With it being open now, it is great for us because me and Tanya, my wife can now travel during Christmas. It has been two years since I’ve been home and seen my parents. So, finally there is light at the end of the tunnel and we can actually start planning to go back and see family,” said Barny, who is from Wiltshire county, in the South West of England.

Barny too said that many of his friends had travelled to a third country to reach the UK when the UAE was on the red list.

“I know people who have either had to do long trips to return to the UK. One of my friends spent 10 days in Barcelona, just so that he could avoid having to spend all the money on quarantine. Another friend travelled to Seychelles for two weeks, before going back to the UK. People I already know now are booking their flights and are already trying to get back,” he said.

“With the UAE now being on the amber list and just being able to quarantine at home and being able to spend time with the family just makes it so much better now. It is a massive thing for us to just be able to see the family again,” added Barny, who also plans to attend a friend’s wedding in Ireland in September, where he is the best man.

Amanda Hacker, who has lived in Dubai for three years, is flying home on August 12.

“I’m flying out next Thursday. The last time I travelled back home was in December 2020. With this change, I can finally go home for a much-needed two-break at home and also attend a friend’s wedding. And also, financially as well, I wouldn’t have to pay for quarantine. So, it is a lot cheaper now. I didn’t want to go via another country and I wanted to go straight home. So, I guess it is the right time to do it if nothing else changes,” said Amanda.

“I have another friend who is probably going to go back for 12 days. are heading back as well. I also know someone who is actually flying back tomorrow. It has been a while and a tough year so it would be good to go home for a while and also away from the heat,” she added.

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