This article is reviewed regularly by Wego’s editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate. 

Updated 2 August 2021

With changes to travel restrictions occurring frequently as the pandemic ebbs and flows around the world, keeping tabs on the latest flight suspensions and bans can get quite challenging.  While the UAE is not closed off entirely to international visitors, some countries have been suspended from entry primarily for pandemic safety reasons and some countries are even included in a do-not-travel directive.

Here’s what we know now about the state of international flights in the UAE.

Who can enter the UAE now?

For the most part, travellers can visit Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and other emirates from countries around the world as long as they are able to satisfy the prevailing requirements. However, the current flight suspensions may bar travellers departing from the following countries.

Countries on the UAE flight suspension list

Afghanistan

UAE authority has banned entry from Afghanistan starting 11 July. Transit flights for both countries are still allowed. Travellers who have been in Afghanistan for the last 14 days are also banned from entering the UAE. Exceptions apply for UAE nationals and their first degree relatives, members of diplomatic missions, holders of UAE Golden and Silver Visas and for emergency medical treatment cases.

Bangladesh

As per the UAE government’s directive, all flights to and from Bangladesh are suspended until further notice.  Furthermore, passengers who have travelled through Bangladesh in the last 14 days will not be accepted to travel from any other point to the UAE. The ban extends to transit flights coming from Bangladesh. Transit flights to Bangladesh may continue.

Members of diplomatic missions, holders of UAE golden visa, UAE nationals, passengers exempted and/or granted permission to enter the UAE by the appropriate authorities as well as passengers travelling on a business flight who have a valid COVID‑19 PCR test certificate will be allowed entry into the UAE. Only COVID‑19 PCR test reports from certified labs that issue a QR code linked to the original report will be accepted. Passengers may also be required to follow a 10-day home/hotel quarantine during when they must undergo COVID-19 PCR testing on Day 4 and Day 8 of quarantine.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The UAE has implemented a ban for travellers departing from the Democratic Republic of Congo starting from 11 June. The suspension will also affect passengers who have transited through the country in the last 14 days before their arrival into the UAE. However, Emirati citizens, diplomatic passport holders, and official delegations are exempt from the measure. Transit and cargo flights will also continue to operate.

India

The United Arab Emirates has yet again further extended the ban on travellers from India. Passenger flights from India have been suspended by the UAE until 7 August, with Emirates and Etihad suspending all passenger flights from India until the given date.

Only the following categories of passengers will be allowed entry to the UAE: members of diplomatic missions, holders of UAE golden visa, UAE nationals, passengers exempted and/or granted permission to enter the UAE by the appropriate authorities as well as passengers travelling on a business flight who have a valid COVID‑19 PCR test certificate. Travellers from India who have valid residence visas and have received two doses of a UAE-approved vaccine will also be allowed in.

Indonesia

Responding to the surge of cases in Indonesia, the UAE government has banned entry for passengers from Indonesia indefinitely, except for transit flights for both countries. Travellers who have been in Indonesia for the last 14 days are also banned from entering the UAE. Exceptions apply for UAE nationals and their first degree relatives, members of diplomatic missions, holders of UAE Golden and Silver Visas and for emergency medical treatment cases

Liberia

As per the UAE government’s directive all flights to and from Liberia are suspended at least until further notice.The restrictions would also include transit passengers, with the exception of transit flights travelling to the UAE and bound for Liberia. Cargo flights between Liberia and the UAE will continue.

Exemptions to this travel ban include: UAE nationals, their first-degree relatives, diplomatic missions, official delegations, business jets – after getting prior approvals – and golden and silver residency permit holders, in addition to those who work essential jobs.

Namibia

The suspension of flights originating from Namibia will remain in place until further notice. The restrictions would also include transit passengers, with the exception of transit flights travelling to the UAE and bound for Namibia. Cargo flights between Namibia and the UAE will continue.

Exemptions to this travel ban include: UAE nationals, their first-degree relatives, diplomatic missions, official delegations, business jets – after getting prior approvals – and golden and silver residency permit holders, in addition to those who work essential jobs.

Nigeria

According to the Emirate Airlines website, indefinite suspension of passenger flights is also currently in effect for Nigeria. The suspension has been in effect since March and passengers travelling to and from Lagos and Abuja will not be accepted for travel.

Passengers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days are not permitted to board from any other point to the UAE. This is not applicable for UAE nationals who are returning to the UAE and members of diplomatic missions. Members of diplomatic missions travelling from Nigeria must present a negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate from one of the authorised laboratories in Nigeria.

Nepal

According to an update by Etihad, passengers from Nepal won’t be allowed to enter the UAE at least until 21 July. Those who have visited these countries over the past 14 days won’t be granted entry either.

The only exemptions to this are diplomats, UAE nationals and holders of UAE Golden Visa.

Pakistan

As per the UAE government’s directive, all flights to and from Pakistan are suspended until further notice. Furthermore, passengers who have travelled through Pakistan in the last 14 days will not be accepted to travel from any other point to the UAE. The ban extends to transit flights coming from Pakistan. Transit flights to Pakistan may continue.

Members of diplomatic missions, holders of UAE golden visa, UAE nationals, passengers exempted and/or granted permission to enter the UAE by the appropriate authorities as well as passengers travelling on a business flight who have a valid COVID‑19 PCR test certificate will be exempt for travel.

Sierra Leone

As per the UAE government’s directive, all flights to and from Sierra Leone are suspended until further notice.The restrictions would also include transit passengers, with the exception of transit flights travelling to the UAE and bound for Sierra Leone. Cargo flights between Sierra Leone and the UAE will continue.

Exemptions to this travel ban include: UAE nationals, their first-degree relatives, diplomatic missions, official delegations, business jets – after getting prior approvals – and golden and silver residency permit holders, in addition to those who work essential jobs.

South Africa

The suspension of flights originating from South Africa will remain in place until further notice. The suspension has been in effect since January as part of the UAE’s efforts to combat the coronavirus disease and its new variants. 

Under the current ban, travellers who have been in or transited South Africa within 14 days of departure to Dubai will not be granted entry. This is not applicable for UAE nationals who are returning to the UAE and members of diplomatic missions.

Sri Lanka

As per the UAE government’s directive, all flights to and from Sri Lanka are suspended. Furthermore, passengers who have travelled through Sri Lanka in the last 14 days will not be accepted to travel from any other point to the UAE. 

Only the following categories of passengers will be allowed entry to the UAE: members of diplomatic missions, holders of UAE golden visa, UAE nationals, passengers exempted and/or granted permission to enter the UAE by the appropriate authorities as well as passengers travelling on a business flight who have a valid COVID‑19 PCR test certificate.

Uganda

The UAE has implemented a ban for travellers departing from Uganda starting from 11 June. The suspension will also affect passengers who have transited through the country in the last 14 days before their arrival into the UAE. 

Exceptions apply for UAE nationals and their first degree relatives arriving from Entebbe – EBB (Uganda), members of diplomatic missions, holders of UAE Golden and Silver Visas, officials and those passengers exempted and/or granted permission to enter UAE by the appropriate authorities.

Vietnam

Vietnam has been added to the list of UAE flight suspensions. The discovery of an alleged new variant of COVID-19 in Vietnam has prompted UAE officials to suspend flight operations from the country. 

All passengers coming from Vietnam on all flights as well as transit passengers coming from Vietnam will be suspended starting from 5 June. However, transit flights coming to the country and heading to Vietnam will still be allowed. Only the following categories of passengers will be allowed entry to the UAE:

  • UAE nationals and their first degree relatives arriving from Vietnam
  • Members of diplomatic missions from both countries
  • Holders of UAE Golden and Silver Visas
  • Officials and passengers exempted and/or granted permission to enter the UAE by the appropriate authorities

Zambia

The UAE has implemented a ban for travellers departing from Zambia starting from 11 June. The suspension will also affect passengers who have transited through the country in the last 14 days before their arrival into the UAE. 

Exceptions apply for UAE nationals and their first degree relatives arriving from Lusaka – LUN (Zambia), members of diplomatic missions, holders of UAE Golden and Silver Visas, officials and those passengers exempted and/or granted permission to enter UAE by the appropriate authorities.

 

Quarantine and testing requirements for arrivals to UAE

As for the country’s quarantine measures for arrivals, they differ depending on which emirates travellers are looking to visit. Here is a complete guide of the latest quarantine guidelines being implemented for international visitors and returning residents alike.

Dubai

Travellers from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Only the following categories of passengers will be allowed entry to Dubai: members of diplomatic missions, holders of UAE golden visa, UAE nationals, passengers exempted and/or granted permission to enter the UAE by the appropriate authorities as well as passengers travelling on a business flight who have a valid COVID 19 PCR test certificate.

Passengers exempted from the travel restriction must comply with the following:

  • Passengers must have a valid COVID‑19 test certificate issued within 48 hours of the time of sample collection and scheduled flight departure.
  • Only COVID‑19 PCR test reports from certified labs that issue a QR code linked to the original report will be accepted.
  • Passengers must undergo COVID‑19 PCR testing on arrival in Dubai, followed by two other PCR tests on the 4th day and 8th day of their quarantine period.
  • Passengers must sign an indemnity document for a 10‑day home or hotel quarantine, starting from the day of arrival.
  • Passengers must download the DXB COVID‑19 app on your iOS or Android device upon arrival at Dubai airports and provide all the required information.

All passengers who have travelled from or transited through India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the last 14 days will not be accepted for travel to or transfer through Dubai from any other point except for returning UAE nationals.

Travellers from Afghanistan and Indonesia 

Passengers who have been in or transited through Afghanistan and Indonesia in the last 14 days before travelling to Dubai will not be allowed entry. This does not apply to passengers connecting through Dubai, provided they do not leave the transfer area.

Only the following categories of passengers will be accepted for travel to Dubai from Afghanistan and Indonesia:

  • UAE nationals and their first degree relatives
  • Members of diplomatic missions
  • Holders of UAE Golden and Silver Visas
  • Officials and passengers exempted and/or granted permission to enter the UAE by the appropriate authorities

Exempted passengers must have a COVID‑19 PCR test conducted within 48 hours of the date of departure. Effective 18 July 2021, passengers from Indonesia must perform a COVID‑19 Rapid Antigen test at the airport prior to departure.

The test certificate must be issued by an accredited laboratory and must contain a QR code. Additionally, passengers will be required to undergo COVID‑19 PCR testing on arrival in Dubai as well as self‑quarantine for a period of 10 days from the date of arrival.

 

Travellers from South Africa and Nigeria

You will not be able to enter Dubai if you have been in or transited through South Africa or Nigeria in the last 14 days before travelling to Dubai. This is not applicable for UAE nationals who are returning to the UAE and members of diplomatic missions. Members of diplomatic missions travelling from Nigeria must present a negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate from one of the authorized laboratories in Nigeria.

 

Travellers from certain African countries

Emirates has suspended the carriage of passengers from the following countries. Passengers who have been in Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter or transit in Dubai until further notice.

Only the following categories of passengers will be accepted for travel to Dubai:

  • UAE nationals and their first‑degree relatives arriving from Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Uganda (Entebbe – EBB), Vietnam, Zambia (Lusaka – LUN)
  • Members of diplomatic missions from above countries
  • Holders of UAE Golden and Silver Visas
  • Officials and passengers exempted and/or granted permission to enter the UAE by the appropriate authorities

Exempted passengers must have a COVID‑19 PCR test conducted 48 hours from the date of departure. The test certificate must be issued by an accredited laboratory and must contain a QR code. Additionally, passengers will be required to undergo COVID‑19 PCR testing on arrival in Dubai.

 

Dubai residents 

For expatriate residents and tourists, a negative PCR test result presented at the airport of departure is required. The test result must be issued within 72 hours before departing to Dubai.

Please note that expatriate residents and tourists arriving from the following countries must take another COVID‑19 PCR test on arrival.

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Russia, Senegal, Slovakia, Somaliland, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe.

Those required to take the on-arrival test must then remain in quarantine until the results of the test have been  known. If the test is positive, travellers are required to serve further and comply with the instructions of the Dubai Health Authority. Travellers with negative test results will not be required to serve quarantine.

Citizens of the UAE are not required to obtain a pre-departure PCR test regardless of which country or city they’re travelling from. However, citizens will be tested upon arrival.

Transiting in Dubai

Passengers transiting through Dubai from the following countries are required to present a negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure, as well as to follow any requirements mandated by their final destination.

Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Poland, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Russia, Senegal, Slovakia, Somaliland, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe.

The certificate must be a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. Other test certificates including antibody tests and home testing kits are not accepted in Dubai. Travellers must bring an official, printed certificate in English or Arabic to check in – SMS and digital certificates are not accepted. PCR certificates in other languages as required by the final destination are acceptable if they can be validated at the originating station.

Passengers from all other countries do not need a COVID‑19 PCR test to transit in Dubai, unless it’s required by their final destination.

 

Abu Dhabi

© unsplash.com

Quarantine rules in Abu Dhabi differ for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers from green list countries and non-green list countries. The quarantine rules apply to all vaccinated UAE citizens and residents in the emirate of Abu Dhabi who received their second vaccine dose at least 28 days earlier as documented in the vaccine report on the Alhosn app. Abu Dhabi green list of countries is as follows:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • China
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong (SAR)
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jordan
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Moldova
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Romania
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan, Province of China
  • Turkmenistan
  • United States of America
  • Vatican City

Moreover, due to travel corridors, fully vaccinated travellers will not be required to quarantine when they travel between the UAE and:

    • Bahrain
    • Greece
    • Serbia
    • Seychelles

Guidelines for vaccinated passengers

  • If you are coming from green countries, you do not need to quarantine yourself. However, you will need to do an RT-PCR test on arrival and on day 6 from arrival.
  • If you are coming from other countries, you must quarantine yourself for 5 days. Additionally, you will need to do an RT-PCR test on arrival and on day 4 from arrival.

The above rules apply to those who received their second dose of the vaccine at least 28 days prior to the day of travel. Information about the vaccine must be documented on the Al Hosn app.

Guidelines for non-vaccinated passengers

  • If you are coming from green countries, you do not need to quarantine yourself. However, you will need to do an RT-PCR test on arrival and on days 6 and 12 from arrival.
  • If you are coming from other countries, you must quarantine yourself for 10 days. Additionally, you will need to do an RT-PCR test on arrival and on day 8 from arrival.

 

Sharjah

© tourlane.com

Expatriate residents and visitors to the UAE are required to present a negative PCR test result at the departure airport. As per the latest rules, the test results must have been issued within 72 hours before departing to Sharjah.

Upon arrival, residents and visitors must take another RT-PCR test at Sharjah’s airport and remain in quarantine until the results have been known. A positive result means 14-day isolation and compliance with the instructions provided by the Ministry of Health and Prevention. Please note that passengers departing from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka will not be granted entry.

 

Ras al Khaimah

© youtube.com

Travellers to Ras al Khaimah (RAK) must take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the flight departure time from approved medical facilities. UAE nationals and children below 12 years of age are exempt from the test.

Travellers arriving from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon and India must carry a negative COVID-19 PCR test containing a functioning QR code. The negative COVID-19 PCR test result must be printed and travellers will be required to present the physical copy of the report at the check-in counter.

Once travellers have arrived in RAK, they are required to download the Alhosn app, take another covid-19 PCR test and remain in quarantine until the test results have been known. A negative test result will mean the end of quarantine, while those testing positive will have to isolate themselves as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Prevention.  

 

Where can UAE residents travel now?

The UAE government has recently prohibited its residents from travelling to the 16 banned countries mentioned above. Exempt from this ban are the UAE diplomatic missions in the aforementioned countries, emergency treatment cases, official delegations, and previously authorised business and technical delegates.

However, there are still numerous international destinations that are open to UAE residents. For details on what these destinations and their entry rules and requirements are, please visit this article

 

Flight suspension from Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has indefinitely suspended UAE flights and banned citizens from travelling to the UAE unless they have received prior permission. The flight suspension has been in effect starting July 4, 11 PM.