Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Abu Dhabi Emirate in the UAE clarifies COVID-19-related quarantine requirements for international travelers late Sept. 17.

Alert Begins 18 Sep 2020 03:21 PM UTC
Alert Expires 31 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport, travel, and business disruptions, increased security

Authorities clarified quarantine restrictions for international travelers arriving into Abu Dhabi Emirate, late Sept. 17. All travelers into the UAE via international flights are required to quarantine for 14 days and must wear an electronic tracking bracelet. If international travelers arrive in one of the UAE's other emirates but plan to go to Abu Dhabi, the 14-day quarantine requirement still applies. Time spent in another emirate prior to entering Abu Dhabi will be deducted from the 14-day quarantine requirement. Those arriving in Abu Dhabi whose final destination is another emirate are required to obtain a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within 96 hours before departure. Travelers may leave Abu Dhabi during their quarantine period to visit another emirate; however, if they wish to return, they must follow entry guidelines. Travelers must take a PCR test on the 12th day of their quarantine. Other measures in effect in the UAE are included below:


  • Since Aug. 12, residents of the UAE no longer require approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) to return to the country. The ICA will automatically grant pre-approval for expatriate residents wishing to return without the need to apply for an entry permit. Residents are advised to provide their passport number, Emirates ID number, and personal data. In the past, regulations announced regarding the UAE have not always been applied to Dubai Emirate. Authorities have yet to clarify if this is the case.


  • All inbound and transit passengers traveling to the UAE must have a negative COVID-19 test certificate. The test must be taken a maximum of 96 hours before departure and from any government-approved lab. This excludes children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability. On Aug. 4, authorities expanded a list of approved facilities providing COVID-19 test results for travelers. Previously, travelers were required to take a test from facilities recognized only by the Emirati government.


  • People entering Abu Dhabi from the Dubai border will either need a negative PCR result, taken within the previous 48 hours, or a negative Diffractive Phase Interferometry (DPI) test result within the last 48 hours, accompanied by a PCR test result, which must have been received within the last six days.


  • All inbound passengers will undergo another COVID-19 test upon arrival in Abu Dhabi. Some flights from Abu Dhabi require a COVID-19 test result before departure. Regular inbound flights for tourists and visitors are not yet occurring.


  • International tourists have been permitted into Dubai since July 7. Arrivals have to download the "COVID-19 DXB" app. All travelers to Dubai, including passengers with a connecting flight, must complete a health declaration form.


  • All residents are required to wear protective facemasks in public and maintain adequate social distancing. As of Sept. 18, social gatherings must not exceed 10 family members.


  • Stringent precautionary measures will continue to be enforced in public areas and facilities across Abu Dhabi and Dubai based on guidelines issued by local and federal authorities.


  • Work permits were suspended effective March 19, except for internal transportation permits and employment permits for Expo 2020.


Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Back to the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center