Foreign travel advice

United Arab Emirates

Important COVID-19 Travel

Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays or leisure purposes. Check the rules in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Do not travel unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. In England, from 8 March you must complete a declaration form for international travel (except for travel to Ireland).

Check our advice for all the countries you will visit or transit through. Some countries have closed borders, and any country may further restrict travel or bring in new rules with little warning.

To enter or return to the UK from abroad (except from Ireland), you must follow all the rules for entering the UK. These include providing your journey and contact details, and evidence of a negative COVID-19 test before you travel. When you arrive, you must quarantine and take additional COVID-19 tests. This will take place in a managed quarantine hotel if you enter England from a red list travel ban country, or enter Scotland.

Summary

The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:

  • the whole of the United Arab Emirates based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

From 30 January, visitors arriving into England who have been in or transited through the UAE in the previous 10 days will not be permitted entry. British and Irish nationals, and third country nationals with residence rights in the UK arriving in England from the UAE will be required to quarantine in a hotel. Different rules apply for arrivals into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

From 1 January onwards people with residence rights in the UK include: holders of Indefinite Leave to Remain; holders of existing leave to enter or remain (i.e. those with biometric Residence permits) or an entry clearance/visa that grants such leave e.g. students, workers, etc (excluding visit visas); holders of EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”) leave; those who have rights of entry under the Withdrawal Agreements (including returning residents with a right of residence under the EEA Regulations and EEA frontier workers); family members of EEA nationals with rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Travel to the United Arab Emirates is subject to entry restrictions

  • Residents returning to Dubai still need to get approval before travelling. Those returning to other parts of the UAE no longer need to get approval
  • The Dubai authorities have issued visit and tourist visas since 6 July 2020. The Abu Dhabi authorities have issued visit and tourist visas since 24 December 2020
  • All tourists, visitors and residents travelling from or through the UK and arriving in Dubai or Abu Dhabi must have a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test which was taken no more than 72 hours before departure and present the certificate at check in. Travellers arriving in Abu Dhabi will also be required to undertake a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival. Travellers arriving in Dubai may be required to undertake a further COVID-19 PCR test on arrival and will have to isolate pending the result of the COVID-19 PCR test

  • Travellers entering Abu Dhabi are also required to wear a government-provided wristband, complete a minimum 10-day period of self-isolation or quarantine and, depending on the length of their stay, have up to two further COVID-19 PCR tests on day 6 and 12 after their arrival

  • If you’re travelling from the UAE to other countries that require a negative COVID-19 PCR test before arrival, you must have a negative test result within 96 hours of your departure from the UAE
  • You should check specific requirements with your airline before you travel
  • Travellers who test positive for COVID-19 on arrival in the UAE will be required to quarantine for at least 10 days even if they had a negative COVID-19 PCR test before travelling

See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel.

Preparing for your return journey to the UK

If you’re returning to the UK from overseas, you will need to:

If your return journey to the UK transits another country, you should check whether it is subject to a travel ban or any other additional requirements. If so, contact your travel provider.

Check our advice on foreign travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sign up for email alerts for this travel advice.

If you’re planning travel to the United Arab Emirates, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

For information about COVID-19 vaccines, see the Coronavirus page.

Around 1.5 million British nationals visit the UAE every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

There is a possibility of an increased threat against Western interests, including against UK citizens. You should remain vigilant and keep up to date with the latest developments, including via the media and this travel advice.

All air and sea points of entry between the UAE and Qatar reopened on 9 January 2021. See Qatar

Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in the UAE. See Terrorism

If you’re planning to travel with prescribed or over the counter medicines for personal use, you’ll need to meet the UAE’s specific requirements for your medicine to be allowed into the country. See Medication

The UAE is a Muslim country. Laws and customs are very different to those in the UK. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times. There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK. See Local laws and customs

You can contact the emergency services by calling 999 (police), 997 (fire) or 998 (ambulance).

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.