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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.

Dubai residence visa holders

  • If you hold a 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 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:

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

  • UAE residents have the option to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate that is valid for 96 hours from the date of the test 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.
  • If you are transiting in Dubai from the countries listed above, you do not need to present a COVID-19 PCR test certificate unless it is mandated by your final destination.

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

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

  • Residents must take two COVID-19 PCR tests: one before departure with a validity of 96 hours from the date of the test, 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 from the countries listed directly above, you must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate that is valid for 96 hours from the date of the test, as well as any requirements for your final destination.

Test exemptions:

  • Children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability are exempt from this test.
  • 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 or Bangladesh, you must get your certificate from one of the labs listed in the designated laboratories document to be accepted on the flight.

At check-in

  • All travellers to Dubai, including passengers with a connecting flight, must complete this health declaration form and give it to the staff at check-in. You can download it now and bring it to the airport with you, or you can complete it at check-in.

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 & 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 costs AED 250 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 96 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 96 hours and take a DPI test at the border. You must also quarantine for 14 days and wear a tracking wristband. Your quarantine may be at home, in a hotel, or in accommodation provided by the health authorities. After 12 days you must take another COVID-19 PCR test. If you are negative, you can remove the wristband after 14 days. If you are positive, you must follow the Abu Dhabi health authority advice.

If you have been in the UAE for up to 14 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 10 days before entering Abu Dhabi, you must quarantine for 4 days after entering Abu Dhabi.

If you have spent more than 14 days in the UAE before entering Abu Dhabi

You must present at the Abu Dhabi border your negative COVID-19 PCR test results or negative laser DPI blood test results issued within 96 hours. If you are staying in Abu Dhabi for six or more consecutive days, you must take another COVID-19 PCR test by the sixth day. 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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