Travelling to UAE? PCR testing, mask wearing; latest Covid rules for flights explained

With daily caseloads hovering around the 300-mark, virtually zero deaths, several precautionary measures have been relaxed


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Published: Thu 29 Sep 2022, 6:47 AM

Last updated: Thu 29 Sep 2022, 2:05 PM

Travelling to and from the UAE is now almost back to pre-pandemic normal, with authorities further easing Covid safety rules. With daily caseloads hovering around the 300-mark and virtually zero deaths and minimal hospitalisation rates, several precautionary measures — including those around mask wearing — have been relaxed in the UAE.

Here are the latest Covid safety rules to travel to the UAE, including PCR testing requirements for some passengers:

>> Mask wearing

Three UAE-based airlines - Emirates, Etihad and flydubai - have confirmed that masks are not mandatory for passengers onboard. A Dubai Airports spokesperson said that mask wearing is optional for passengers at Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC).

However, based on rules applicable at intermediate or final destinations, airlines may request passengers to wear the face covering onboard.

Etihad Airways said masks will only be required for passengers flying to China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Maldives, Philippines, South Korea, Seychelles or Canada.

>> PCR testing

- Abu Dhabi

According to information available on the Etihad Airways website, passengers fully vaccinated against Covid-19 do not need to take a PCR test before flying. It is also not required for those holding a Covid-19 recovery certificate issued within 30 days.

Unvaccinated passengers need to take a PCR test 48 hours before their flight. Children under the age of 16 are exempted.

For the airline to consider a passenger fully vaccinated, he/she should have a vaccine certificate with a QR code.

- Dubai

Information posted on the Emirates website states that passengers travelling to Dubai must present one of the following:

1. A vaccination certificate, reflecting that the passenger is fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the World Health Organisation or the UAE, and includes a QR code.

2. A negative Covid‑19 PCR test certificate issued within 48 hours from the time of sample collection to the time of boarding. The certificate must be issued by an approved health service provider with a QR code.

3. A medical certificate issued by the relevant authorities that the passenger has recovered from Covid‑19 within one month from the date of recovery to the date of arrival.

Children under the age of 16 are exempted.

>> Green Pass on Al Hosn

It is recommended that travellers to the UAE download the Al Hosn app, although it is not mandatory. You need a Green Pass on the app to access some public places in Abu Dhabi, including malls, hotels and events.

The pass turns green on getting a negative PCR test result. The status remains green for 30 days for vaccinated individuals, after which they need to take another test to retain it. For unvaccinated individuals, the pass remains green for seven days after a negative PCR test result.


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