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What does the UAE – UK Air Corridor mean for Dubai?

by Dubai Travel Planner

Promising news but still many restrictions to abide by

The information in this article has been superceded.

Exciting news for both UK expats in the UAE and UK residents wishing to visit Dubai: On Thursday the UK announced that arrivals from the UAE would no longer need to complete 14 days of self-quarantine on arrival to the UK from 4:00 am on Saturday, 14 November 2020.

On a similar note, since Dubai reopened it’s borders to international tourists on 7 July 2020, there has been no compulsory quarantine imposed on arrival to Dubai for MOST passengers.

The UAE-UK air corridor could mean families and friends stranded by COVID-19 restrictions or unable to take holiday leave including the strict self-quarantine measures could now take a quarantine-free vacation in both directions.

The announcement by the UK Government also saw Bahrain, Turks and Caicos Islands, Laos, Iceland, Chile, Cambodia and Qatar added to the government’s travel corridor following a decrease in risk from coronavirus in the listed countries.

The fine print of the UAE-UK air corridor

Whilst we’re still seeking clarification on a few points, here’s what we DO know and visitors in both directions should immediately bear in mind:

Flying to the UAE from the UK

  • The air corridor from the UK to the UAE is still restricted until 2 December, at this stage, due the lockdown in England.
  • A negative PCR test is still required for those flying from the UK to the UAE, however, on 26 October 2020, a rule change allowed arriving residents AND tourists from the UK to complete this test on arrival in Dubai, rather than within the 96-hour window before flying required for other nationalities – as detailed here.
  • The no-quarantine rule only applies for arrivals into Dubai and the Northern Emirates of the UAE.
  • All passengers flying Etihad into Abu Dhabi still require a negative PCR test within 96 hours BEFORE flying.
  • If you arrive into AUH, you will immediately be fitted with a medically approved tracking wristband to ensure adherence to the self-quarantine rules.
  • The tracking wristband is removed after a further COVID test is completed on day 12 (negative result) AND 14 days have expired since your arrival to the UAE.
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Flying to the UK from the UAE

  • On 2 October the Dubai Media Office announced that Emiratis, residents and tourists travelling overseas from Dubai are only required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test prior to departure if their destination country requires a pre-travel negative test certificate. It is not a requirement for travellers to the UK to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test prior to arrival in the UK. The UK Government passenger locator form is still required.
  • England is still on lockdown until 2 December, at this stage. Do be mindful this means:
    • People are being told to stay at home unless they have a specific reason to leave, such as work which cannot be done from home and education.
    • You may leave home only for exercise, medical reasons, food and other essential shopping and providing care for vulnerable people or for volunteering.
    • Meeting indoors or in private gardens will not be allowed but individuals can meet one other person from another household outside in a public place, maintaining social distance.
    • Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail across the nation are closed but takeaways and click-and-collect shopping can remain open.
    • Leisure and entertainment venues, including gyms are closed.
  • Although you are not expected to self-quarantine as part of the air-corridor arrangement, your ARE required to abide by local laws in the UK.
Quiet street in central london during lockdown

Please note, this information is correct to the best of our knowledge as of 13 November 2020. As with many visa entry rules to Dubai this year, the situation has changed rapidly. Always clarify facts on international travel with your Foreign Affairs Department, the rules of the country you will be visiting and any additional rules that may be applied by your airline.

What now for international travel with the UAE?

We do hope that this is a positive sign for the return of tourism to Dubai but should reiterate our stance that travel should be carefully considered at the time. The rules are subject to change without notice and tourists must respect strict health and safety measures. Within Dubai this includes but is not limited to :

  • Passing through thermal heat detectors or having your temperature taken before entering any indoor spaces.
  • Wearing a face mask whenever in a public building, public transport or crowded space – this includes many outdoor attractions too where mask-wearing is compulsory.
  • Sanitising and washing hands regularly.
  • Retaining a safe social distance from others.
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You can learn more about the Dubai Assured stamp here.


Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai

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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.

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