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Is Covid-19 test results mandatory for UAE residents return?

30 June 2020

There have been contradicting reports about whether or not airlines repatriating UAE residents from foreign countries require a COVID-19 negative test result.

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) on 28th June announced that all residents who are now abroad and wish to return to the UAE need to furnish a valid and negative COVID-19 test result to be permitted to book a flight ticket in any UAE airline. The test should be conducted at accredited laboratories in any of the 106 cities in 17 countries across the world.

However, according to some travellers, few airlines are not mandating the Covid-19 test result. A representative of Emirates airline pointed out to the guidelines posted on the airline’s website, which does not mention the Covid-negative certificate as a requirement. The guidelines updated on the website is as below:

Covid Testing

  • On arrival in Dubai, you are required to take a PCR test and remain in your residence until you receive the test result. If the test result is positive, you will be required to undergo isolation and follow the Dubai Health Authority guidelines.
  • You should download the COVID-19 – DXB Smart App.
  • Returning residents must declare that they either have travel insurance covering Covid-19 or will bear the costs for treatment and isolation if required.
  • The process described above also applies to Dubai residents leaving and returning to Dubai.

The online guideline advises all Dubai Residence Visa holders wishing to fly back to the emirate to procure necessary government approval through General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) website. It also states that all passengers flying to Dubai are required to submit a health declaration form completed, and a quarantine undertaking form.

A representative of Emirates customer care team who spoke to the media said “UAE residents don’t need to carry any COVID-negative certificates. You can travel as planned provided you have the approval from GDRFA or ICA. As of now, PCT test is mandatory for all customers on arrival at Dubai airport, and it’s free of charge.”

However, it is necessary to check and follow any requirements required by the resident’s country of departure, as there are certain countries that may require a certificate.

The online guidelines issued by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways also does not ask for a Covid-negative certificate. However, it says prior to travel you need to have the ICA approval form from the Abu Dhabi government, and you will have to present it at the check-in. You should hold a valid UAE resident visa to enter the UAE, and on arrival, you need to self-isolate for 14 days.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries.

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