This article is reviewed regularly (on a monthly basis) by Wego’s editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate. 

Reviewed 16 August 2021

The United Arab Emirates remains among the favorite destinations for world travelers, either for tourism or business. Around 1.5 million British nationals visit the UAE, the land of seven Emirates, every year. Likewise, 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 UK to UAE and vice versa.

Travelling from the UAE to the UK

Can I travel to the UK?

Yes. The UK government has announced that the UAE will be taken off the red list and moved to the amber list effective 8 August 2021.

As per the latest regulations, fully vaccinated travellers from amber list countries who have received both doses in the UK, US and most European countries are permitted to enter the UK without having to undergo quarantine. Travellers must ensure that 14 days have elapsed after their final dose before to be eligible for the quarantine exemption. The exemption also applies to travellers under the age of 18.

Testing requirements

Before travelling to England you must:

Upon arrival in England, you must take another COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8.

 

Quarantine regulations

On arrival, you need to quarantine for 10 days in a place of residence. You’ll be subject to a second COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and a third test on or after day 8 of quarantine. The day you arrive counts as day 0.

However, if you’ve been fully vaccinated in the UK, or if you are under the UK vaccine programme overseas or part of a UK-approved vaccine trial, you will not be required to undergo quarantine.

Fully vaccinated travellers who have received both doses in the UK, US and most European countries are also permitted to enter the UK without having to undergo quarantine. Travellers must ensure that 14 days have elapsed after their final dose before to be eligible for the quarantine exemption. The exemption also applies to travellers under the age of 18.

 

Passenger locator form

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.

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
  • booking reference numbers for any COVID-19 tests you must take after arriving in the UK
  • the invoice number for your quarantine hotel booking

UAE regulations for outbound passengers

UAE doesn’t have any specific rules for outbound travellers.

Passengers flying out of the city are required to get tested only if required by the destination country, which in this case, is. You can choose to take the test with Emirates.

 

Flights from UAE to the UK

From Dubai

Emirates offers direct flights from Dubai only to London and Manchester from 9 August onwards

  • Dubai to London: one daily flight available 7 days a week
  • Dubai to Manchester: one daily flight, available at least 7 days a week
  • Dubai to Glasgow: one daily flight, available 2-3 days a week

Etihad usually has a good number of flights connecting Dubai to the UK, but most, if not all, have layovers in Abu Dhabi. At the moment, Etihad doesn’t operate any of these flights.

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

Etihad has several flights from the UK to Dubai. However, many of them are connecting flights operated by other airlines, but mind the tediously long layovers.

  • Abu Dhabi to London: upto three flights, available 7 days a week
  • Abu Dhabi to Manchester: multiple flights, available 7 days a week
  • Abu Dhabi to Glasgow: upto five flights, available 7 days a week
  • Abu Dhabi to Edinburgh: upto three flights, available 7 days a week

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

 

Travelling from the UK to the UAE

Can I travel to Dubai?

Yes, you can. Dubai allows all categories of passengers. Leisure travellers and vacationers, too, can visit this modern-day paradise.

Prior to your arrival in Dubai, you’ll need to download the DXB Smart App on iOS or Android.

Note that you are no longer required to international travel declaration form to travel abroad from England.

Testing requirements

All UK travellers, arriving or transiting through Dubai, must hold a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.

You will have to take the test with a private provider in the UK. The NHS Test and Trace service does not provide the required documents.

The certificate must be of a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, as other test results such as antibody tests and home testing kits are not accepted in Dubai.

Carry the official, printed certificate, as SMS and digital formats are not acceptable. Certificates in languages other than English and Arabic are accepted only if they can be validated at the originating station. It need not have a QR code.

The following passengers have been exempted from the pre-departure testing:

  • UAE nationals (though, they will have to take a test on arrival in Dubai)
  • Children under the age of 12
  • Passengers who have a moderate or severe disability*

*moderate or severe disabilities includes neurological disorders and intellectual or developmental disabilities. All other passengers, including those who are visually impaired, hearing impaired or physically challenged must comply with the testing protocols.

Quarantine regulations

Travellers coming straight from British turf are generally not required to take a second test on Emirati soil.

However, in certain cases such as UAE nationals not carrying negative test certificate, or those who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival, an airport test will be required.

If you do need to take a test, then you’ll be asked to quarantine in your hotel or residence until the results are delivered.

Can I travel to Abu Dhabi?

Only UAE nationals, residents with a valid residence visa, and those who are eligible for a visa on arrival can enter the UAE through Abu Dhabi’s airports. All other types of visas remain suspended.

If you’re an expat resident of the UAE, you may need to first obtain approval from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) via Smart Services to enter the UAE. You are recommended to visit uaeentry.ica.gov.ae and submit your passport number and Emirates ID number to receive instant verification of your entry status.

Testing requirement

If you are travelling to Abu Dhabi, you must follow these additional rules while departing from the UK

  • take the PCR test 72 hours before your flight
  • download the ALHOSN UAE app on your mobile phones before you travel to Abu Dhabi
  • undergo a thermal screening and another COVID-19 PCR testing on arrival at Abu Dhabi airport.

The rules apply to all travellers, except children under the age of 12.

Apart from the airport test on arrival, vaccinated UK passengers only have to take one more COVID-19 test on day 6 of their stay. Unvaccinated passengers, on the other hand, need to take two tests on day 6 and day 12, over and above the airport test.

Quarantine guidelines

Since the UK is not on Abu Dhabi’s green list of countries, you must quarantine yourself for 5 days upon arrival regardless of your vaccination status.

However, those who have been fully vaccinated may take their RT-PCR test on arrival and on day 4 from arrival, as opposed to day 8 for unvaccinated passengers.

Travellers from the non-green list countries will be provided with a medically approved tracker watch for monitoring, after you clear immigration.

All costs for quarantining and medical assistance, whether at home or in another designated facility will be at the cost of the individual primarily. In certain circumstances, employers of the returning individuals shall bear all costs related to the medical examination and quarantine.

 

UK regulations for outbound passengers

The UK government advises limiting travel to essential reasons only but doesn’t enforce any restrictions on leisure holidays. However, wearing masks on flights from England and Scotland is non-negotiable.

You are no longer required to international travel declaration form to travel abroad from England.

Flights from the UK to the UAE

To Dubai

Emirates operates limited direct flights on a daily basis from select locations in the UK to Dubai.

  • London to Dubai: two daily flights, available 7 days a week
  • Manchester to Dubai: one daily flights, available 5 days a week
  • Glasgow to Dubai: one daily flight, available 4 days a week

 

British Airways operates several flights from the UK to Dubai, some being direct journeys and others with connecting flights from London Heathrow Airport.

  • London to Dubai: three daily flights, available 7 days a week
  • Manchester to Dubai: several daily flights, available 7 days a week
  • Edinburgh to Dubai: several daily flights, available 7 days a week
  • Glasgow to Dubai: several daily flights, available 7 days a week
  • Belfast to Dubai: upto four daily flights, available 7 days a week

Other connecting flights are also available with Pegasus Air, Turkish Airlines, SkyUp Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, KLM, RyanAir, and Air France.

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

 

To Abu Dhabi

Etihad has a few direct flights from the UK to Abu Dhabi. Some of them are connecting flights operated by other airlines.

  • London to Abu Dhabi:  multiple daily flights, available 7 days a week
  • Manchester to Abu Dhabi: multiple daily flights, available 7 days a week
  • Edinburgh to Abu Dhabi: several daily flights, available 7 days a week
  • Glasgow to Abu Dhabi: several daily flights, available 7 days a week

British Airways has multiple flights operating from major cities in the UK, available 7 days a week. However most are connecting flights from London Heathrow Airport.

Other connecting flights are also available with Pegasus Air, Turkish Airlines, SkyUp Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, KLM, RyanAir, and Air France.

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