Dubai holidays: Latest FCDO update for UAE as covid testing and quarantine rules change

Simon Calder discusses border closures and travel

Dubai holidays now come with stringent restrictions due to coronavirus. The destination is on the travel corridor list and has not yet banned UK flights over the mutant strain of covid identified here but the UAE does have many travel rules in place. Yesterday, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) announced a new update to their travel advice.

Dubai travel advice

From today, visitors are now allowed to fly to Abu Dhabi.

The FCDO explained COVID-19 testing and quarantine rules for the UAE capital which lies south of Dubai had therefore changed.

“Visitors are allowed to travel by air to Abu Dhabi with effect from 24 December,” said the FCDO.

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“Visitors can travel to Abu Dhabi by road but must have had a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of travel.

“There is also a requirement for further testing if visitors and residents remain in Abu Dhabi for six days or longer. Further information is available on the Emirates News Agency website and from the Abu Dhabi Media Office.”

The UK is not on the city’s ‘green list’ of countries and therefore Britons will need to quarantine for 10 days on arrival

“All arrivals will be required to wear a medically approved wristband for the duration of their quarantine,” detailed the FCDO.

“The wristband will be provided at Abu Dhabi airport after clearing immigration. Arrivals under the age of 18, over the age of 60, diplomats or those suffering from a chronic disease will be exempt from having to wear the wristband.”

Tourism website Visit Abu Dhabi explained travel procedures on its website.

Before making any travel arrangements to Abu Dhabi, you need to ensure the following:

– Contact your airline for important travel information and familiarise yourself with the guidelines and regulations set by relevant authorities

– Ensure you meet entry visa requirements to visit the UAE. You can check your visa requirements here

– If you are travelling with Etihad Airways, you’ll be covered by Etihad’s COVID-19 global wellness insurance cover. Cover is included with every Etihad Airways ticket for travel up to March 31, 2021 – click here.

– Etihad Airways has introduced a comprehensive Wellness guide, with all the information you need to know about travelling safely

UAE airline Etihad Airways updated its travel advice to passengers yesterday after the covid testing was reduced from 96 hours to 72.

“Following an announcement by the National Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, effective 24 December 2020, Etihad Airways requires all guests flying from the United Kingdom to present a negative PCR test within 72 hours validity of their flight departure time,” said the carrier in a statement.

It continued: “Etihad is the only airline in the world requiring 100 percent of its passengers to show a negative PCR test before travelling and again on arrival into Abu Dhabi, ensuring peace of mind for all on board.

“PCR tests must be conducted at a government accredited medical facility. Suggested facilities can be found at

“As many COVID-19 PCR test certificates do not currently show the date and time the test was taken, guests are required to show evidence of this at check-in, for example by presenting their appointment confirmation.

“Children under 12 and people with severe and moderate disabilities are exempt from COVID-19 PCR testing.”

Covid tests are also required for Dubai. “Individuals travelling from the UK to Dubai now have the option to undertake a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival at Dubai airport,” the Foreign Office explained.

“If you test positive for COVID-19 on arrival in Dubai, depending on your symptoms and your accommodation plans, you may be required to self-isolate in a government-led facility, a hospital, your hotel or privately arranged accommodation.”

It added: “In all circumstances, the test must be a COVID-19 PCR swab test. Other test results including antibody tests are not accepted.”

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