DUBAI: Summer travel in the UAE is set to soar as federal restrictions are eased, students finish school, and tourists return to Dubai.
However, Dubai has its own crisis authority and immigration service, and different rules from the rest of the country.
Travel regulations were updated last Friday by the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
UAE residents and citizens can now travel to any destination as long as health and safety measures are met.
Before booking flights, Dubai residents traveling abroad this summer are being advised to apply to Dubai’s immigration service, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), for permission to leave, and also return to, the country.
Passengers flying with the Emirates airline will need to obtain a GDRFA number to book their outbound flight. Dubai visa-holders are not required by the emirate’s government or airlines to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) before flying.
This is the main difference between Dubai and federal rules, outlined by the NCEMA.
People living in Dubai but working on a visa from another emirate, must follow federal rules requiring them to gain travel approval via the Tawajudi system. UAE nationals, on the other hand, should register with the Tawajudi system to allow communication with them while traveling.
Residents returning to Dubai will be tested for COVID-19 at the airport and will need to stay at home until receiving their results, which could take up to three days. If results test positive, individuals must self-isolate for 14 days.
Tourists visiting Dubai must take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nasal swab test up to four days before flying at a hospital or private clinic in their home country and carry test-result documentation with them to the city.
Travelers with valid, recognized tests, and showing no COVID-19 symptoms, will not be tested in Dubai or quarantined. Those unable to be tested before traveling will be screened by medics on arrival at Dubai airport. Children will also need to be tested in order to enter Dubai.
Residents of Abu Dhabi and the northern emirates must apply to the federal government’s ICA/Tawajudi system for permission to travel abroad and test negative for COVID-19 before leaving Abu Dhabi or other UAE airports. Passengers who fail to present a valid negative COVID-19 test, taken within 72 hours of flying, will not be permitted to board their aircraft.
Once in their home country or destination, travelers will need to be tested before returning to the UAE, this requirement being the major difference from Dubai’s system which does not demand it.
When returning, passengers must show their negative test before boarding their plane back to the UAE and on arrival must quarantine for 14 days as a precaution, even if the test was negative.