Like many cities around the world, Dubai continues to be impacted by the damaging effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Unlikely many other cities and countries, however, Dubai & the UAE have not seen huge spikes in cases nor a high death toll. The testing regime is rigorous, and the rollout of vaccines has been rapid.
There are times when stricter measures need to be implemented for public safety; however, since early July 2020 Dubai re-opened for business.
This guide will direct you to the latest resources you will need to plan a successful trip to Dubai, even during the pandemic.
Dubai Open to Tourism
Dubai started to reissue tourist visas from 7 July 2020, one of the first cities in the world to fully re-open its borders.
Unlike many places to reopen, Dubai has never imposed a self-quarantine or hotel quarantine program, enabling new arrivals to freely travel pretty much as soon as they arrive, provided they meet certain rules.
Requirements for all passengers arriving in Dubai
Effective 26 February 2022, passengers travelling to Dubai from ALL countries must fulfil one of the below requirements
- Present a valid vaccination certificate(s) reflecting that the passenger is fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the WHO or the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and includes a QR code
- Present a valid negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate issued within 48 hours from the time of sample collection and issued by an approved health service provider with a QR code
- Present a valid medical certificate with a QR code issued by the relevant authorities that the passenger has recovered from COVID‑19 within 1 month from the date of recovery to the date of arrival
- See clear guidance given by Emirates here for international arrivals and what you need to do BEFORE you fly.
- This is the official Government portal for tourist arrivals into the UAE
The process arriving into Dubai
- Passengers arriving from some destinations may be required to take a follow up PCR when they arrive at DXB – NB this is not routinely done, nor is there presently a set list of countries where testing on arrival is mandatory.
- If the result is positive, you must follow the instructions given by the Dubai Health Authority
- If the result is negative, you’re free to go explore, within the rules!
Covid-related health rules in Dubai
These rules have varied over time, but the most common you’ll see at hotels, restaurants and tourist establishments include:
- Face mask wearing in all public spaces – although the outdoor mask mandate has been dropped from 26 February 2022 it is still wise to wear face masks in areas where its difficult to maintain social distancing.
- From time to time, restaurant table capacity and overall hotel capacity may be reduced – at present there are no longer restrictions in Dubai emirate
- The compulsory use of heat sensors on entering restaurants and shops has been abolished
- You can stay up to date with Dubai Health Authority advisories on their Instagram
- It is also recommended that you download the DHA DXB Smart App for the duration of your trip on Android and Apple
Different COVID rules apply in Abu Dhabi!!!
In mid-June 2020 Abu Dhabi closed its border with Dubai and has since implemented strict entry rules for anyone wanting to enter on the land crossing, in addition to its own rules for arrival by air.
Rules for Abu Dhabi have included:
- A “Green List” where self-quarantine is not required (if not on this list, quarantine rules apply)
- A domestic border crossing point between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Rule changes on 26/28 February 2022 abolish both the Green List and arrival self-quarantine rules and remove the border crossing point between emirates.
- You’ll find our complete guide on how to cross the Dubai-Abu Dhabi land border here (when applicable)
- You will find a comprehensive guide to Abu Dhabi arrival and self-quarantine rules here (now superseded)
In addition to arrival rules, Abu Dhabi requires visitors to the emirate to present “Green Status” or a Green Pass on their Alhosn App to enter public buildings. You can learn more about how to get the Alhosn App working on your phone and what Alhosn is required for over here.
7 NOVEMBER 2022: Please note that Green Pass rules for Abu Dhabi have now been abolished.
Travelling from Dubai to other Emirates in the UAE
For Emirates other than Abu Dhabi, there are no land border crossing checkpoints. Other health rules are applied in a similar manner, such as mask-wearing mandates for indoors and maintaining social distance.
You may be asked to present Alhosn to enter attractions in the Northern Emirates, similar to Abu Dhabi.
What if I get COVID in Dubai?
If a PCR test taken within Dubai show that you are COVID positive you need to follow the instructions given by the Dubai Health Authority. Presently,
- A self-quarantine period is required of 10 days.
- If you do not have a place to safely self-quarantine, you will need to go to a government quarantine facility and may be asked to pay.
- As a tourist, if you can safely quarantine in a hotel room this is permitted.
- After 10 days of self-quarantine you will be issued with a clearance letter from DHA stating you’ve recovered
- Call or WhatsApp 800 342 if you have questions about your result or quarantine status
PCR Testing in Dubai
If your return flight requires a PCR test to be performed, or if you require a PCR test to activate green status on your Alhosn, there are numerous locations across the city where this test can be performed.
- See a listing of PCR testing locations in Dubai here
- This service can come to you at your hotel and perform a PCR test
Please note we have provided the most up to date information we can from publicly available resources in the UAE. We cannot assist with your individual queries or travel arrangements. This is a personal travel blog, not a travel agency or affiliated in anyway with the airlines or any Government entities.Dubai Travel Planner
Rules can constantly change, but at present, borders to the UAE have never been more open than they are now since the start of the pandemic for international tourism. We hope you will have a safe and comfortable journey to Dubai.
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack, and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws, and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass from iVenture or a Go City Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.Dubai Travel Planner