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Dubai residence visa holders travelling to Dubai

Before you book

Depending on your UAE visa, you need to apply to either the GDRFA or ICA for approval to return.

New rules for travel from South Africa

You will not be able to enter Dubai if you have been in South Africa within 10 days of departure to Dubai. This includes transiting in other countries within 10 days before travelling to Dubai.

Dubai residence visa holders

  • If you hold a valid Dubai residence visa and you are flying back to Dubai, you must have return approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). This only applies to Dubai visas.
  • Apply when you book your flight with us online or through our call centre or on the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) website.
  • During the GDRFA application process, you will be asked to enter your Resident File Number. This number is on your visa under File. 
  • Check the GDRFA website to see the status of your application. If your application is approved, you will receive an email with a GDRFA reference number. If the application can’t be processed at the time of the request, you can try again after four days. There is no need to follow up on your status with our call centre or GDRFA.
  • GDRFA approval is only for Dubai residence visa holders.

All other UAE visa holders

If you hold a valid visa from any other emirate outside of Dubai, you must obtain entry permission from the Federal Authority through uaeentry.ica.gov.ae


Before you travel

There may be specific departure requirements in your country before you leave. Check the information on our Travel Requirements page.

The COVID-19 PCR test requirements for Dubai have changed.

The following entry rules apply to UAE residents travelling from these countries and territories:

Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives Islands, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Republic of North Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

  • UAE residents have the option to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 96 hours before departure or take the COVID‑19 PCR test on arrival in Dubai.
  • The certificate must be for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Other test certificates including antibody tests and home testing kits are not accepted in Dubai.
  • If you are taking a test before you depart, you must bring an official, printed certificate in English or Arabic to check in – SMS and digital certificates are not accepted.

The following entry rules apply to UAE residents travelling from these countries and territories:

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Cote d’lvoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Somaliland, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

  • Residents must take two COVID-19 PCR tests: one 96 hours prior to departure, and a second test upon arrival in Dubai.
  • The certificate must be for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Other test certificates including antibody tests and home testing kits are not accepted in Dubai.
  • You must bring an official, printed certificate in English or Arabic to check in – SMS and digital certificates are not accepted.

If you are transiting in Dubai, you are not required to present a COVID-19 PCR test certificate unless it is mandated by your country of origin or final destination.


Test exemptions:

  • Children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability are exempt from this test. There may be specific test exemptions in your country of origin and final destination. Please check the requirements before you travel.
  • UAE nationals are exempt from doing the COVID-19 PCR test prior to departing from the origin station to Dubai. They will be tested on arrival in Dubai.

COVID-19 testing laboratories:

  • The UAE government has specified designated laboratories. You can either use the recommended laboratories in the list or any trusted and certified laboratories in your country of origin to get your COVID-19 PCR test.
  • If you are flying from India, Pakistan, Nigeria or Bangladesh, you must get your certificate from one of the labs listed in the designated laboratories document to be accepted on the flight.

When you arrive

  • You may need to take another COVID-19 PCR test on arrival. If you take a test at the airport, you must 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 must also download the COVID19 – DXB Smart App iOS-Android
Dubai residence visa holders departing from Dubai

Passengers will need to do PCR tests only if it is mandated by the country they are travelling to.

  • If you travel out of Dubai and return, the process above will apply to your return journey.
  • Dubai residents do not need Dubai government approval to leave Dubai. But you must have approval to return.
  • Please check the requirements of the country you are travelling to. The travel regulations change frequently. You may need to take a COVID-19 PCR test before you depart or another particular type of COVID-19 test specified by your destination.
  • This is a list of authorised COVID-19 test laboratories in Dubai where you can get tested before you travel to your destination.
  • We offer free, automatic cover for your COVID-19 health and quarantine costs while you’re away from home. Find out more.

More special COVID-19 PCR test rates for Emirates passengers

Emirates has expanded its medical partnerships to offer all passengers exclusive home or office COVID-19 PCR testing rates at the following centres:

Al Tadawi Medical Centre

  • Located at Al Masood building, Airport Road, Port Saeed area, Deira.
  • The test costs AED 130 per person. Home or office testing within Dubai costs AED 240 per person. Test results will be available within 24 hours.

Prime Medical Centres

Locations in Dubai:

  • Al Qusais Branch, Damascus Street
  • Premier Diagnostic and Medical Center, Salah Al Din Street 
  • Prime Corp Medical Center, Salah Al Din Street, Deira
  • Sheikh Zayed Branch, Sheikh Zayed Street, near Noor Islamic Bank
  • Prime Specialist Medical Center Sharjah Branch, King Faisal St, Al Majaz
  • Ajman Branch, Grand Mall, Sheikh Khalifa St

The test costs AED 150 per person. Home or office testing within Dubai for a minimum of two passengers is also available at AED 240 per person. Test results will be available within 24 hours.

American Hospitals Dubai

  • Locations at Media City Clinic, Al Barsha Clinic and Al Khawanij Clinic (opening soon) at a rate of AED 150 per person.
  • Home or office testing within Dubai for a minimum of two passengers is also available at AED 250 per person. Test results will be available within 48 hours.
  • Present a valid ticket or boarding pass (with a departure date within one month of the test date) and ID to take the COVID 19 PCR test at these rates.
  • You must take the test within the period required by your destination and Emirates will not be responsible if the test results are not released in time for travel. Check our Travel Requirements page for the latest information about the test requirements for your destination. And find out everything you need to know about travelling during COVID 19 on our COVID 19 information hub.

Travel from Dubai to China

  • There are specific COVID-19 testing requirements and documents you need to complete if you are travelling from Dubai to China. Check the process and travel requirements for China before you travel.
Travelling from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

There are strict rules for travelling into Abu Dhabi by road. All passengers entering Abu Dhabi must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued within 48 hours. You may have to quarantine depending on how long you have been in the UAE.

Arriving passengers

If you have just arrived in Dubai and travel straight to Abu Dhabi, you must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued within 48 hours and take a COVID-19 PCR test at the border. Travellers from green countries must self-isolate until they receive a negative result from the COVID-19 PCR test taken on landing. The quarantine period for travellers coming from other countries is 10 days. Your quarantine may be at home, in a hotel, or in accommodation provided by the health authorities. Travellers intending to stay in Abu Dhabi for longer than 4 consecutive days must undergo a COVID-19 PCR test on day 4, and on day 8 if they remain in the emirate for 8 or more consecutive days.

If you have been in the UAE for up to 10 days

Your quarantine time will be reduced by the number of days you have already been in another emirate of the UAE. For example, if you have been in Dubai for 6 days before entering Abu Dhabi, you must quarantine for 4 days after entering Abu Dhabi.

Entering Abu Dhabi from other emirates

You must present at the Abu Dhabi border your negative COVID-19 PCR test results or negative laser DPI blood test results issued within 48 hours.

Effective 17 January 2021, all UAE citizens and expats, including returning Abu Dhabi residents, must present a negative result for a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or diffractive phase interferometry (DPI) laser test taken 48 hours before entry to Abu Dhabi.

Residents and visitors will need to undergo additional tests in the emirate based on their period of stay. If they stay on for more than four days, they must take a COVID-19 PCR test on the fourth day, and on the eighth day. The day of arrival is counted as the first day.

Exemption: Volunteers of the COVID-19 vaccine trials and those taking the vaccine under the national vaccination programmes with active icons on the Alhosn app are exempted from these measures and are authorised to use emergency vehicle lanes for a smooth journey.

These tests are a legal requirement. Find out where to get tested in Dubai before you enter Abu Dhabi.

Resumption of flights

COVID-19 flight and travel restrictions remain in place across many countries around the world. We are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves, and we hope to resume services as soon as conditions allow. This includes receiving government approvals, the easing of travel restrictions, and commercial demand. We will announce any service resumption when we can. Find out which destinations we’re flying to and from.

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