COVID-19 entry requirements may change at short notice, and all travellers to the UAE are strongly encouraged to check the specifics before departure with their airline before they travel. Further details are available on British Airways, Emirates and Etihad websites. Further information is also available on the IATA Travel Centre website.
All passengers travelling to the UAE are no longer required to present a COVID‑19 vaccination certificate or perform PCR tests.
Passengers travelling from or through the UAE are only required to comply with the transit requirements and travel requirements of their final destination and will only need to have proof of COVID-19 vaccination and/or a negative COVID-19 PCR test if required at their final destination.
Further information about COVID-19 updates is available on the UAE Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates webpage and on the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority website. Further information about testing facilities in the UAE is available on the UAE Government Portal. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.
A small number of cruise operators have restarted calls into some ports in the UAE. You should talk to your cruise operator about arranging COVID-19 PCR testing if necessary.
If you are planning to travel on an international cruise that is due to call at any port in the UAE, contact your travel company for the latest information.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
You should consider checking with your airline or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into the UAE. If you hold a residence permit, your passport must be valid for at least 3 months in order to travel to the UAE.
If you’re transiting the UAE (and not passing through Immigration) your passport only needs to have a minimum of 3 months validity from the date of transit.
Holders of full British passports will be granted a free of charge visitor/tourist visa upon arrival in the UAE. 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 passport holders is valid for up to 40 days.
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) has a visa hotline: +971 (0)9 208 3344.
If you have any questions on the validity or expiry of your visa, contact UAE Immigration directly. You can find out further information about visas on the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs website for Dubai or the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship website for the rest of the UAE.
If you’re living outside the UAE, contact the nearest UAE Embassy for advice.
All individuals who wish to remain in the UAE beyond the validity of their visa must contact the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs website for Dubai or the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship website for the rest of the UAE well in advance or they may be subject to fines for overstaying.
Living and working in the UAE
If you have entered Dubai on a visit visa and you wish to work then you should get a probationary work permit, valid for up to 3 months, from the Ministry of Labour. If you don’t get this permit and are caught working while on a visit visa, then you risk being jailed or fined and deported.
For further information, including on how to stay in the UAE for longer than 60 days, visit the websites of the [https://www.mofaic.gov.ae/en/missions/london), the Naturalisation and Residency Department – Dubai or the UAE Federal E-Government Portal.
If you apply for a residence visa, you will have to take a blood test. Those testing positive for HIV or hepatitis are detained and then deported. There is no appeal process.
UAE employers may ask foreign employees to deposit their passports with the company as part of the terms and conditions of employment. While this is not an unusual practice, it is illegal under UAE labour law.
You should cancel your work visa before leaving the UAE permanently. If you don’t do this, you risk being reported for leaving the UAE without permission and could be arrested if you return to the UAE, even if you are in transit to another country. Failure to repay debts or resolve any outstanding cases against you may also result in your arrest on return or transit through the UAE.
If you have any doubt about your status before returning to the UAE seek advice from a local lawyer.
If you’re planning to travel with any 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.
If you’re entering the country with medication that the UAE classes as narcotic, psychotropic, controlled or semi-controlled, approval is needed from the UAE authorities.
Approval should be requested in advance. To gain approval prior to travelling, you can apply for a permit online using the electronic application form on the UAE Ministry of Health website. The UAE authorities advise that applications are normally processed within 5 working days.
If you arrive in the UAE without prior approval or the required documentation, the medication will not be allowed into the UAE and you may be prosecuted under UAE law. If you need more information on controlled medicines or the process for obtaining permission, you should contact the UAE Ministry of Health by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +971 800 11111.
If you’re travelling in transit through a UAE airport and do not intend entering the UAE, or are entering the UAE with other types of medicine, you’re not required to go through this approval process.
In all cases, there are limits on the amount of medication that can be brought into the UAE legally. The Ministry of Health advise that you can bring up to 3 months’ supply of medication as a visitor, reduced to one month’s supply if the medication is included in the list requiring approval.
Previous travel to Israel
UAE immigration authorities have advised that British nationals with valid or expired Israeli visas or stamps in their passports should not face any difficulties entering the UAE as long as they don’t intend to work. If you do intend to work, further checks may be required and there is a risk that entry may be refused.
If you are a British-Israeli dual national and have any concerns about entering the UAE, contact the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in London.
Regular exit requirements
Visitors must have legal status in the UAE when they depart. If you are subject to a travel ban, involved in legal proceedings, have unpaid debt or are a child subject to a custody dispute, you may be prevented from leaving the country.
Thermal scanning is in operation at airports. Departing passengers may be subject to testing, quarantine and medical treatment in the UAE.