Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in the United Arab Emirates rescind visa extension for foreign nationals July 11. Other COVID-19 restrictions in place.

  • Alert Begins: 11 Jul 2020 02:50 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 31 Jul 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 in the UAE canceled a visa extension for foreign nationals impacted by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Foreign nationals whose visas had expired March 1-31 have been given three months from July 11 to renew their documents, after authorities revoked an earlier decision to extend their validity through Dec. 31. Foreign nationals currently abroad have been given a grace period to return once flights between their location and the UAE resume. Other measures in effect in the UAE are included below.

Movement Restrictions

On July 4, Abu Dhabi Emirate eased intra-Emirate travel restrictions for its residents, permitting 48-hour trips outside the emirate, provided a COVID-19 test is taken before departure. Trips lasting longer than 48-hours require a test to be taken outside of Abu Dhabi before arrival. Residents of other emirates wishing to enter Abu Dhabi must still be tested before their arrival. Results must be presented to authorities via the UAE's "Al Hosn" app or through an official message from any hospital or screening center affiliated with the country's National Screening Programme. Previously, Abu Dhabi authorities had implemented a permit system.

Residents and nationals wishing to leave the UAE must first obtain a permit from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA). Any traveler exiting from an Abu Dhabi-based airport must obtain a negative COVID-19 test 48-hours prior to departure. Travelers must also complete a health declaration form. All returning residents, except those from Dubai, have to be tested in the country they were in, before boarding a flight to the UAE. Currently, there are accredited labs in 106 cities across 17 countries. Additional labs will likely be added. Upon arrival, travelers will undertake another COVID-19 test and quarantine for 14-days. Regular inbound flights for tourists and visitors are not yet flying into Abu Dhabi.

Residents of Dubai Emirate must apply via Dubai's General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) for permission to return. If flying with Emirates Airlines (EK), certain flights require a negative COVID-19 test certificate obtained 96-hours prior to departure. All travelers to Dubai, including passengers with a connecting flight, must complete a health declaration form. Upon arrival, travelers will take a COVID-19 test and remain in their residence until they have received the test result. Residents are required to register their details on the "COVID-19 DXB" app on arrival and before departure. Residents of Dubai will not be permitted to leave their residencies until they have received their results.

Since July 7, international tourists have been permitted into Dubai. Travelers must have travel insurance with COVID-19 cover or declare that you will bear the costs associated with treatment if necessary before you travel. Tourists must obtain a negative COVID-19 test obtained 96-hours prior to departure. A test is also available on arrival in Dubai, if travelers have not taken one in their home country. If taking a test upon arrival, travelers will have to undergo isolation until they have received their result.

Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways have resumed some regular nonrepatriation flights to several global destinations. Passengers are only permitted to fly if they comply with their destination countries' entry criteria and requirements.

Following the completion of the national disinfection campaign, Dubai trams have resumed regular operation hours. Since at least May 30, other shared transportation services in Dubai, including marine transportation, are operational.

Business and Social Restrictions
All residents and Emirati nationals are required to wear protective face coverings in public and maintain adequate social distancing. Nationwide restrictions on children under the age of 12 visiting shopping malls were lifted June 24.

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

In Dubai Emirate, children under the age of 12 and those over 60 years old are now permitted to visit swimming pools, cinemas, gyms, and shopping malls. They are also able to visit museums, art galleries, public libraries, parks, and beaches, which are allowed to function at 100 percent capacity. Stringent precautionary measures will continue to be enforced in public areas and facilities across Dubai based on guidelines issued by local and federal authorities.

Authorities in Abu Dhabi Emirate have allowed hotel beaches, shopping malls, restaurants outside shopping malls, and museums to reopen with a reduced capacity. Individual outdoor sports practiced in open spaces, such as horse riding and cycling, are also allowed for people aged 12-60.

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