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emirates tourism post covid

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The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on the Travel and Tourism industry of the countries the world over. Among these countries was the United Arab Emirates, whose Tourism sector contributes a major portion to the GDP of the country. After months of suspending flights and the entry (and even exit) of tourists, the UAE finally started allowing people to enter the country on Tourist basis, and new Travel Regulations were put into effect from August 1st, 2020. Issue of entry and work permits finally resumed on January 4th, 2021. Here we describe the changes that occurred in the Emirates Tourism Post COVID.

How have the Dubai Travel Regulations Changed Post COVID-19?

On March 19, 2020, the UAE government decided to suspend the provision of Visa on Arrival to passengers from exempted countries. These regulations were to be imposed on passport holders of exempted countries, till appropriate medical clearance processes are activated at the departure, following the global precautionary measures. 

Also, the UAE government had suspended the entry of all valid visa holders, who were out of the country at that time, for a renewable two week period, from March 19, 2020, 12:00 noon. 

However, holders of diplomatic passports were exempted from such regulations.

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Changes in the Tourist Entry and Travel Regulations:

Before Flying:

The updated Travel Regulations of the UAE were put into effect from August 1st, 2020. Now, all tourists, transit passengers, citizens, and residents need to present a negative COVID PCR-Test. All passengers are required to carry the original, hard copy of their negative RT-PCR test report while traveling, which should not have been issued more than 96 hours prior to the date of departure. Designated Laboratories have been specified by the UAE government, any of which may be used by passengers to get the PCR testing done. This is mandatory for people entering the UAE from Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. The name on the PCR certificate should match that on the passport.

Dubai does not accept any other test certificates, like home testing kits and antibody tests.

Apart from these, the additional documentation required for entering the UAE is still similar to the pre-COVID requirements. 

  • Visa valid for entry into the UAE
  • Proof of hotel accommodation, and confirmed return tickets
  • A hard copy of Medical Overseas Travel Insurance, with international coverage
  • The Health Declaration Form needs to be completed before departure

Note: Infants and Children below 12 years of age, are exempted from having to undergo a COVID RT-PCR test. All ages over 12 years are required to be tested, except those who have a serious disability. 

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After Landing at the UAE/Dubai Airport:

  • Upon entering the UAE or Dubai, all passengers are required to hand over their Quarantine Undertaking Form to the Dubai Health Authority Staff. 
  • Temperature checks are to be performed on all passengers, using thermal scanning devices
  • All passengers are required to download DBX Smart App, the UAE COVID app, and fill their details into the same.
  • The government of the UAE may require the passengers to undergo another COVID PCR test upon landing in the country. Passengers who take the test are required to remain in their hotel or lodgings till they receive their test results 
  • In case the passengers receive positive results, they will be required to undergo an adequate period of quarantine, and follow the guidelines of the Dubai Health Authority.
  • Alternatives to isolation like institutional quarantine (at dedicated hotels/facilities), home, or hospitalization, may be allowed.
  • Any expenses incurred during the quarantine, hospitalization, or medical treatment, will be covered under the medical travel insurance. Home or hotel quarantine is not covered. 

Other Precautionary Measures:

All tourists who visit the UAE or Dubai are required to:

  • Maintain physical and social distancing
  • Undergo temperature checks
  • Wear masks 

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Have the travel suspensions on UAE/Dubai been lifted?

The Dubai airport started allowing tourists to enter the country after months of travel suspension. The updated Travel Regulations were put into force from August 1st, 2020. 

Q. What new documentation is required to enter the UAE post COVID?

Post COVID, all passengers are required to present original hard copies of their negative COVID RT-PCR test certificates, and to possess a medical travel insurance, to cover any expenses incurred in case a passenger is found to be COVID-positive upon landing in the UAE. Upon reaching the UAE, all passengers have to complete the quarantine undertaking form.

Q. What is the procedure on landing in the UAE?

All passengers are expected to complete the Quarantine Undertaking Form upon landing in the UAE. Thermal scanner detection is mandatory for all passengers, and they are expected to undergo a standard 14-day quarantine period upon their arrival. The UAE government may ask for the passengers showing symptoms of COVID-19 to undergo the COVID PCR testing again, and if the results are positive, they will be required to undergo standard quarantine.


The effect of the pandemic on the UAE is evident in the change in regulations of the Emirates Tourism Post COVID. The most important of these is that citizens are required to carry original hard copies of their COVID PCR test certificates.   

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