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Updated 12 January 2022

The UAE, one of the favourite destinations of travellers, has been partially open for a while now, thanks in part to the successful vaccination drive and vigilant efforts by all parties involved. Thus, it comes as no surprise that UAE is imposing strict vaccination requirements to partner countries on their vaccine bubble and green list arrangements.

India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Namibia, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, South Africa, Nigeria, and Afghanistan are among the countries from which citizens are able to travel into the UAE from September 12. Certain visitors from these countries are now allowed in, provided they have been fully vaccinated either in the UAE or in their country of residence.

So, what are the vaccines approved for travel to the UAE? Find out below.

List of approved vaccines in the UAE

Travellers can enter Dubai and the UAE, and enjoy quarantine relaxation only if they have received a vaccine approved by the UAE authorities. So far, the following vaccines have been approved by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the Emirates:

  • Sinopharm
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca, i.e Covishield
  • Pfizer/BioNTech
  • Sputnik V
  • Sputnik Light
  • Moderna
  • Janssen
  • Sinovac
  • Hyatvax

We’ll update this list as and when the country authorizes more vaccines.

Note that the Dubai Health Authority has clarified that Covishield will be accepted as “Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and Covishield are the same vaccine”.

Covaxin will be conditionally accepted only for Indian travellers with valid residency permits.

 

Which vaccinated travellers can travel to the UAE now?

Visitors from banned countries

Dubai, which had previously barred all passengers from the COVID-19 hotspots of India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Sudan, Vietnam, Zambia and Uganda has now eased its restrictions for vaccinated travellers, provided they have obtained pre-entry approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and, if they’re residing in Dubai, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

Only passengers with a valid UAE residence visa who have been fully vaccinated with a UAE-approved vaccine in either UAE or in their country of residence are permitted to return to the UAE.

If you are flying from India, Pakistan, Nigeria or Bangladesh, you must get your PCR test certificate from one of the labs listed in the designated laboratories to document to be accepted on the flight.

 

India

Travellers from India with valid UAE residence visas must have already been fully vaccinated in the UAE or in India. They must have received the second vaccine dose at least 14 days before travel.

They must also hold a printed negative result from a PCR test taken in a lab authorised by the government of India complete with a QR code. The test must be taken no later than 48 hours from the time of departure. Within 6 hours of boarding the plane, travellers must undertake a fast PCR test at the departure airport, and the test result must include a QR code. Additionally, travellers must have obtained prior approval from the ICA. If they reside in Dubai, they will also need another pre-entry approval from GDRFA.

Rapid COVID tests will also be conducted prior to boarding the flight and upon arrival in the UAE.

Bangladesh

Passengers travelling from Bangladesh must undergo a pre-departure test at an accredited laboratory within 48 hours and bring a QR code with them. Passengers will also be required to do a quick PCR test at the airport 6 hours prior to departure and will be subjected to another PCR test at the destination airport.

Residents who have received the second dose of any WHO-approved covid-19 vaccine and have a vaccination certificate from the health authorities, including the certificate on the Al Hosn App, are fully vaccinated.

Indonesia

If you’re flying to Dubai or another emirate, you must first register with the ICA Smart Travel Service before flying. If you are a UAE citizen or travelling through Abu Dhabi, this does not apply.

A COVID-19 PCR test is required 72 hours before you fly to UAE. Rapid COVID tests will also be conducted prior to boarding the flight and upon arrival in the UAE. You’ll need the UAE Al Hosn app when you arrive in the UAE.

If you’ve had all of your vaccinations outside of the UAE:

  • Register at least five days prior to your travel.
  • If you don’t register by the deadline, your vaccination status may not be recognised, which means you won’t get a green pass on the Al Hosn app and may have to quarantine.
  • After you’ve registered, you’ll receive an email with a QR code

Note: For passengers arriving from Indonesia, it is mandatory that the COVID‑19 PCR report includes a QR code linked to the original report for verification purposes. The QR code must be presented at check‑in and to representatives of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) upon arrival in Dubai airports.

All vaccinated passengers arriving from the countries in the green list will be required to repeat the test on day 6, with another test on day 9 for unvaccinated passengers.

South Africa

If Abu Dhabi is your final destination, you must take a PCR test 48 hours prior to departure. Depending on your destination, further testing may be required. Please print your test results or bring your lab report from an authorized laboratory in SA with you to the airport for validation. By obtaining a PDF copy of your COVID-19 PCR test certificate from the Al Hosn app, you may show or share a copy of your COVID-19 PCR test findings.

Travellers from South Africa are currently not permitted to enter Dubai unless they are:

  • Employees of Official Missions/diplomatic missons between the UAE and South Africa.
  • UAE nationals, first degree relatives and their domestic/house workers/helpers.
  • Holders of a UAE Golden Visa.

To return to the UAE, travellers with UAE resident visas must obtain QR code permission from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) or approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

Nepal

Travellers from Nepal with valid UAE residence visas must have already been fully vaccinated in the UAE or in Nepal. They must have received the second vaccine dose at least 14 days before travel.

They must also hold a negative result from a PCR test complete with a QR code. The test must be taken no later than 48 hours from the time of departure. Additionally, travellers must have obtained prior approval from the ICA. If they reside in Dubai, they will also need another pre-entry approval from GDRFA. Passengers are required to download the ALHOSN application.

Non-vaccinated passengers arriving from Nepal will be subject to home or institutional quarantine. Rapid COVID tests will also be conducted prior to boarding the flight and upon arrival in the UAE.

Nigeria

Travellers from Nigeria with valid UAE residence visas must first obtain and present a negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate complete with a QR code from one of the authorized laboratories in Nigeria within 48 hours from the time of departure.

They must also have already been fully vaccinated in the UAE or in Nigeria with the second vaccine dose administered at least 14 days before travel. Additionally, travellers must have obtained prior approval from the ICA. If they reside in Dubai, they will also need another pre-entry approval from GDRFA. Passengers are required to download the ALHOSN application.

Rapid COVID tests will also be conducted prior to boarding the flight and upon arrival in the UAE.

For passengers travelling to Dubai as their final destination, travel is currently not possible as there are no rapid PCR testing facilities at the airport.

Pakistan

Travellers from Pakistan with valid UAE residence visas must have already been fully vaccinated in the UAE or in Pakistan. They must have received the second vaccine dose at least 14 days before travel.

They must also hold a printed negative result from a PCR test taken in a Pakistan Government Approved Lab complete with a QR code. The test must be taken no later than 48 hours from the time of departure. Additionally, travellers must have obtained prior approval from the ICA. If they reside in Dubai, they will also need another pre-entry approval from GDRFA.

Rapid COVID tests will also be conducted prior to boarding the flight and upon arrival in the UAE. Passengers are required to download the ALHOSN application.

Sri Lanka

Travellers from Sri Lanka with valid UAE residence visas must have already been fully vaccinated in the UAE or in Sri Lanka. They must have received the second vaccine dose at least 14 days before travel.

They must also hold a negative result from a PCR test complete with a QR code. The test must be taken no later than 48 hours from the time of departure. Additionally, travellers must have obtained prior approval from the ICA. If they reside in Dubai, they will also need another pre-entry approval from GDRFA.

Rapid COVID tests will also be conducted prior to boarding the flight and upon arrival in the UAE. Passengers are required to download the ALHOSN application.

Uganda

Travellers from Uganda with valid UAE residence visas must have already been fully vaccinated in the UAE or in Uganda. They must have received the second vaccine dose at least 14 days before travel.

They must also hold a negative result from a PCR test taken at an approved facility complete with a QR code. The test must be taken no later than 48 hours from the time of departure. Travellers must present a negative COVID 19 Rapid or Real Time PCR test certificate with a QR code for a test conducted at the departure airport within 6 hours of departure. They should also undergo a PCR test on arrival.

Rapid COVID tests will also be conducted prior to boarding the flight and upon arrival in the UAE. Passengers are required to download the ALHOSN application.

 

Visitors from green list countries to Abu Dhabi

Fully vaccinated travellers from Abu Dhabi green list countries, including UAE citizens and residents of Abu Dhabi, who have received the second dose of vaccine at least 28 days prior, do not have the quarantine requirement anymore. They will need to do an RT-PCR test on arrival and on day 6 from arrival.

Unvaccinated passengers arriving from the countries on the green list will be required to do an RT-PCR test on arrival, days 6 and 9 from arrival.

The vaccine reports must be documented on the AlHosn app. Children under 12 are exempt from testing unless they show symptoms of coronavirus.

Visitors from UAE vaccine bubble countries

The UAE has set up vaccine bubbles with different countries, facilitating convenient quarantine-free travel between the countries for vaccinated individuals. In the case of passengers from these countries, the UAE will be accepting vaccines approved by the countries respectively on the basis of applications or certificates issued by their health authorities.

Accordingly, these are the vaccines accepted by the Emirati authorities:

  • Bahrain: Sinopharm, Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik Light and Sputnik V
  • Kuwait: Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna
  • Greece: Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna
  • Seychelles: Moderna, Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sputnik V
  • Serbia: Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, and Sputnik V