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Dubai’s COVID Travel Protocols and You

When the world came to a screeching halt earlier this year as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, major discussions focused on the various ways that countries could re-open their economies in a safe, secure manner—travel was, perhaps, the industry facing the most scrutiny. In the months that followed, we’ve seen various countries and cities employ different strategies to re-energise these sectors, and Dubai is no exception. 


With tourism making up a large percentage of the city’s economic landscape, it was imperative that all of the relevant parties found a way to make travel as safe as possible. Today, we’ll look at the various travel restrictions and regulations that Dubai has put in place to accomplish precisely that. 


In order to curb the spread of the virus, Dubai has instituted different travel restrictions that are based both on citizenship as well as whether individuals are leaving the city or arriving.


While travellers leaving the city will have to follow the protocols put in place by the governments of their destination countries, taking a test when departing for Europe, in particular, is mandatory in Dubai. This test must be completed within 96 hours of departure, with few exceptions. Notably, children and passengers suffering from disabilities are exempt from these requirements.


Individuals preparing for travel to Dubai are faced with more complex restrictions that vary depending on their citizenship and residency status. 


Citizens of the Emirate can now return to Dubai without requiring a negative test result prior to travel. However, authorities do require that returning citizens get tested on arrival in order to limit potential community spread of the virus. 


Visa-holding residents have a few more hoops to jump through. On top of obtaining a negative PCR test result, residents must also obtain prior permission to travel to Dubai from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs. This means that travel preparations need to be conducted well in advance, so plan accordingly in order to ensure that all of the necessary paperwork is completed and received on time. 


Tourists must obtain a negative PCR test result prior to travel. This test must be completed no more than 96 hours prior to departure, and the official, printed certificate needs to be presented at check-in—digital copies are not accepted at the airport. It’s also possible, in some cases, that an additional test might be required upon arrival. If this is the case, travellers must remain in their hotels or place of residence until they receive their test results. 


Finally, it’s mandatory for all travellers to download the official DXB Smart App, which is available on both Android and iOS devices. Filling out the information requested by the application ahead of time will ensure that your arrival at the airport goes smoothly. 



Despite being severely interrupted as a result of the pandemic, travel continues to play an important role in business today. Thankfully, while there are new restrictions in place that require some forethought to successfully navigate, travel to Dubai is now as safe as it possibly could be, given the circumstances. That means that, whether you’re scheduling a trip to meet with potential investors or business partners in the Emirate, you can now arrange your travels in complete confidence.

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