Holidays: Dubai FCDO travel advice update as covid test rules change – can Britons fly?

Grant Shapps says people ‘shouldn’t be travelling’

Holidays have endured endless upheaval this year with travellers facing countless restrictions as a result of covid. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of many countries that require travellers to provide proof of a negative covid test to enter. Yesterday, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) updated its travel advice for the country.

FCDO UAE update

The Foreign Office updated its advice after covid testing rules changed.

“COVID-19 PCR testing before departure to Abu Dhabi from the UK has now been decreased from 96 to 72 hours,” explained the authority.

UAE airline Etihad Airways duly updated its travel advice to passengers yesterday.

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“Following an announcement by the National Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, effective 24 December 2020, Etihad Airways requires all guests flying from the United Kingdom to present a negative PCR test within 72 hours validity of their flight departure time,” said the carrier in a statement.

It continued: “Etihad is the only airline in the world requiring 100 percent of its passengers to show a negative PCR test before travelling and again on arrival into Abu Dhabi, ensuring peace of mind for all on board.

“PCR tests must be conducted at a government accredited medical facility. Suggested facilities can be found at

“As many COVID-19 PCR test certificates do not currently show the date and time the test was taken, guests are required to show evidence of this at check-in, for example by presenting their appointment confirmation.

“Children under 12 and people with severe and moderate disabilities are exempt from COVID-19 PCR testing.”

Tourists are currently unable to travel to Abu Dhabi by air. “Visit and tourist visas are not currently being issued by the Abu Dhabi authorities at Abu Dhabi airport,” detailed the FCDO.

It added: “Visitors can travel to Abu Dhabi by road but must have had a COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours of travel.

“There is also a requirement for further testing if visitors and residents remain in Abu Dhabi for four days or longer.”

Tourists are allowed to fly to Dubai, however. “Holders of full British passports will once more be granted a free of charge visitor/tourist visa upon arrival in the UAE,” said the FCDO.

“No application in advance of travel is needed. Your passport will be stamped with the visa as you pass through Immigration. The visa issued at the airport for British passports holders is valid for 30 days.”

However, a covid test is required. “Individuals travelling from the UK to Dubai now have the option to undertake a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival at Dubai airport,” the Foreign Office explained.

“If you test positive for COVID-19 on arrival in Dubai, depending on your symptoms and your accommodation plans, you may be required to self-isolate in a government-led facility, a hospital, your hotel or privately arranged accommodation.”

It added: “In all circumstances, the test must be a COVID-19 PCR swab test. Other test results including antibody tests are not accepted.”

Britons must remember they cannot turn to the NHS for covid tests for travel. You should arrange to take a private test.

The UAE is on the travel corridor list so no quarantine is required, making it just one of ten countries British holidaymakers can go to without any self-isolation at either end.

The country has also not yet taken action following the news of the new virus strain and has not barred UK flights.

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