Do all residents need a negative Covid result to return to UAE?

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Dubai - Some KT readers suggest a negative Covid test result is not being listed as a requirement by certain airlines.

By Staff Report

Published: Tue 30 Jun 2020, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 1 Jul 2020, 4:42 PM

There are conflicting reports about whether or not airlines repatriating UAE residents from foreign countries are enforcing the requirement for a negative Covid-19 test result.
The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) had on Sunday, June 28, announced that all residents who are currently in foreign countries and wish to return to the UAE must furnish a valid and negative Covid-19 test result in order to be allowed to book a flight ticket on one of the UAE airlines.
Authorities said the Covid-19 test needed to be conducted at accredited laboratories across 106 cities in 17 countries across the world.
However, experiences shared by some KT readers suggest a negative Covid-19 test result is not being listed as a requirement by certain airlines.

Emirates and flydubai spokespersons redirected Khaleej Times queries to the latest updates on their respective websites. The guidelines listed on either of the airlines' websites did not include the requirement for a Covid-negative certificate when Khaleej Times checked at 6 pm UAE time on Tuesday, June 30.
The Emirates guidelines (updated on June 30 according to the website) advise all Dubai residence visa holders wishing to fly back to the emirate to procure the necessary government approval through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) website.
It also states that all passengers flying to Dubai are required to submit a completed health declaration form and quarantine undertaking form.

Returning residents will need to take a PCR test on arrival, download the Covid-19-DXB Smart App and declare whether they have travel insurance covering Covid-19 or will bear the costs of treatment or isolation, if required.
When Khaleej Times reached out to the Emirates customer care team, a representative offered the following clarification: "UAE residents don't need to carry any Covid-negative certificates. You can travel as planned provided you have an approval from GDRFA or ICA.
"As of now, PCR test is mandatory for all customers on arrival at Dubai airport, and it's free of charge."

The representative further added: "It's also important to check and complete any requirements mandated by your country of departure. There are certain departure countries that may require a certificate. If your local or country instruction exists, you'd need to secure one and follow local guidelines."
Similarly, one of the guidelines on flydubai's website states that passengers would need to take a PCR test at Dubai International "unless you are able to present a negative result issued within the last 96 hours".
Online guidelines by the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways (updated on June 29) do not mention the requirement for a Covid-negative certificate. "Before you travel to the UAE, you must have ICA approval from the government of Abu Dhabi. You will be asked to present your ICA approval at check-in," the airline says. "You must hold a valid UAE resident visa to enter the UAE," it notes, adding: "Strict isolation measures are in place across the UAE. When you arrive in Abu Dhabi, you must follow these carefully and self-isolate for 14 days." 

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