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Updated 12 January 2022

The United Kingdom remains among the favourite destinations for world travellers, either for tourism or business. Emiratis love to visit the island nation of the United Kingdom, famous for its dreamy beaches, heavenly chapels and vast green countrysides. 

Understandably, the pandemic has changed the travel dynamics between the two countries. Here, we break down the rules you’ll have to adhere to while flying from the UAE to the UK. 

Travelling from the UAE to the UK

Can I travel to the UK?

Yes. The UK government has not included UAE in its red list. Any UAE travellers with a UK tourist visa or other kinds of travel purposes can visit the UK. However, fearing the further spread of Omicron, the country has tightened travel restrictions and introduced more stringent testing and quarantine procedures.

Required documents

All arriving and transiting passengers in the UK must fill the passenger locator form online any time in the 48 hours before scheduled arrival. The form is free to submit.

To complete the form you’ll need:

  • your passport details or the travel document you’ll use when you arrive at the UK border
  • your travel details, including times and dates
  • the address where you will stay in the UK (if applicable)
  • booking reference numbers for any COVID-19 tests you must take after arriving in the UK
  • the invoice number for your quarantine hotel booking if you need one
  • to say whether you are vaccinated and where you were vaccinated

Vaccination criteria

To qualify under the fully vaccinated rules for travel to England, you must have been fully vaccinated with a full course of an approved vaccine in the UK. You must have had a complete course of one of the following vaccines at least 14 days before you arrive in England:

You must have had a complete course of one of the following vaccines at least 14 days before you arrive in England:

  • Oxford/AstraZeneca/Covishield/Vaxzevria
  • Pfizer BioNTech
  • Moderna/Takeda
  • Janssen (single-dose vaccine)
  • Sinovac-CoronaVac
  • Sinopharm Beijing
  • Covaxin

Even if you are not fully vaccinated, the fully vaccinated rules apply if you are:

  • under 18
  • taking part in an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial in the UK or the USA (US residents only for USA trials), or a phase 2 or 3 vaccine trial that is regulated by the EMA or SRA
  • unable to have a COVID-19 vaccination for a medical reason which has been approved by a clinician under the medical exemptions process, and you are resident in England

Vaccine certificate specification:

Vaccine certificates issued by the UAE government has been approved by the UK. If you live in England, you can prove your vaccination status using the NHSCOVID Pass. Otherwise, the vaccine certificate must be issued by a national or state-level public health authority, be in English, French or Spanish, and include as a minimum:

  • your forename and surname(s)
  • your date of birth
  • vaccine brand and manufacturer
  • date of vaccination for every dose
  • country or territory of vaccination and/or certificate issuer

You can verify your vaccination status in the passenger locator form prove your vaccination status if you have:

If you choose to do this, you’ll need to provide a scan or screenshot of the QR code from your valid vaccination certificate. You may still be asked to show your vaccination certificate to prove your vaccination status when you travel.

Testing requirements

Vaccinated travellers

Before you travel to England you must:

  1. take a COVID-19 test – to be taken in the 2 days before you travel to England
  2. book and pay for a COVID-19 PCR test – to be taken after you arrive in England (You can book either a lateral flow test or a PCR test)

If you’re in England for less than 2 days, you still need to book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test. You must quarantine until you receive a negative test result, or until you leave England, whichever is sooner.

Unvaccinated travellers

Before travelling to England you must:

  1. take a COVID-19 test – to be taken in the 2 days before you travel to England
  2. book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 PCR tests – to be taken after arrival in England

Quarantine regulations

Vaccinated travellers

Fully vaccinated travellers form the UAE, eligible as fully vaccinated individuals as mentioned above must quarantine until they receive a negative test result on day 2 of their arrival to England.

Now, after taking the test:

  • If your test result is negative, you need not quarantine further.
  • If your test result is positive, you must self-isolate.
  • If your lateral flow test result is positive, you must also take a PCR test.

Unvaccinated travellers

After you arrive in England you must:

If the test result is positive

  • If your day 2 test is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 full days.
  • You do not need to take the day 8 test if your day 2 test is positive. If your day 2 test is negative, you must take your day 8 test.
  • If your day 8 test is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 full days.

If the test result is negative

  • If your day 2 test is negative, you must continue to quarantine.
  • You must take your day 8 test on or after day 8.

If your day 8 test is negative, you can stop quarantine on whichever is later:

  • day 10 – day 0 is the day you arrived in England
  • when you receive the day 8 test result

If the test result is unclear

  • If the result of your day 2 or day 8 is unclear, you must self-isolate for 10 full days.

You can choose to take another private test. If that test result is a negative result, you can stop self-isolating on whichever is later:

  • day 10 – day 0 is the day you arrive in England
  • the day you received the negative replacement test result from the additional test

If you are in England for less than 10 days, you need to quarantine for the time you are here. You need to book day 2 and day 8 PCR tests. You only need to take the tests if you are still in England on those days.

Visa requirement

Since the UAE does not fall under countries eligible for visa-free services upon arrival in the UK, travellers from the UAE to UK must have a valid visa document for entry to the UK. The type of visa you need will vary according to the purpose of your entry.

If you are a tourist, you must either apply for:

Click here to check the documents and visa you would need to visit the UK, depending upon your purpose of entry.

UAE regulations for outbound passengers

The UAE, in a stringent move to curb COVID-19 has banned international travel for all unvaccinated Emiratis, effective 10 January 2022. Fully vaccinated citizens should receive booster shots to be eligible for travelling abroad. This ban does not apply to those medically exempt from getting vaccinated, humanitarian and medical cases of travel.

This would mean that only fully vaccinated citizens, who have received booster shots unless exempt, can travel to the UK from the UAE.

 

Flights from UAE to the UK

From Dubai to the UK

Emirates offers direct flights to 6 destinations in the UK, from Dubai. The time duration for direct flights is about 8 hours. 

  • Dubai to Birmingham: two daily flights available 7 days a week
  • Dubai to Glasgow: six weekly flights available 
  • Dubai to London Gatwick: one daily flight available 7 days a week
  • Dubai to London Heathrow: six daily flights available 7 days a week
  • Dubai to Manchester: two daily flights available 7 days a week
  • Dubai to Newcastle: four weekly flights available 

Other connecting flights are also available with Pegasus Air, Turkish Airlines, KLM, WizzAir, Blue Air, Royal Jordanian, Virgin Atlantic and Air France.

Book cheap flights from Dubai to the UK here Book cheap flights from Dubai to the UK here

 

From Abu Dhabi to the UK

Etihad has several flights from Abu Dhabi to the UK. However, many of them are connecting flights operated by other airlines, but mind the tediously long layovers. Direct flights take upto 7 hours 40 minutes, whereas connecting flights may even take more than a day. 

  • Abu Dhabi to London: upto three direct flights, available 7 days a week
  • Abu Dhabi to Manchester: one direct fight and multiple connecting flights, available 7 days a week
  • Abu Dhabi to Glasgow: five weekly connecting flights 
  • Abu Dhabi to Edinburgh: six weekly connecting flights 

Other connecting flights are also available with Gulf Air, Royal Jordanian, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Iberia and Swiss Airlines

Book cheap flights from Abu Dhabi to the UK here Book cheap flights from Abu Dhabi to the UK here