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Unlocking the World

Traveling to Dubai during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases are in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you're fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on December 2.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Dubai, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Dubai has been open again to visitors since August 2020, though all arrivals must have valid health insurance and a negative Covid test.
Dubai International Airport, which in 2019 was the world's busiest airport for international passengers, reopened its main Terminal One in June, after being closed for 15 months.

What's on offer

Sun, shopping and some of the world's best hotels -- people come to Dubai to get away from it all. From incredible modern architecture to glossy beaches and high-end restaurants and hotels, this is a stylish blend of a city and beach break.
Expo 2020 Dubai, a six-month, $7-billion extravaganza featuring pavilions from around the world showcasing architectural and technological innovation, got underway on October 1, 2021, having been delayed by Covid. It will run to March 31, 2022.
Emirates customers are being offered free entry to the expo as well as a free PCR test. Details are here.
However, on December 1 Emirates ended its policy of offering its passengers complimentary medical cover for Covid-19.

Who can go

In response to the Omicron variant, passengers traveling to Dubai who have been in or transited through Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe in the past 14 days are not permitted to enter Dubai.
For everyone else, anyone normally permitted entry to Dubai can visit, even on vacation.

What are the restrictions?

The United Arab Emirates has opened applications for tourist visas to vaccinated travelers from all countries, apart from the seven southern African countries named above.
Passengers arriving into Dubai from most countries must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival into the country and register their vaccination status on the government's health app (COVID-19 DXB app).
The exceptions are passengers arriving from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Sudan, for whom the test window is 48 hours. The must also provide a rapid PCR test report with a QR code for a test conducted at the departure airport within six hours of departure.
Passengers arriving from India, Pakistan, Nigeria or Bangladesh must get their certificates from designated laboratories to be allowed on the flight.
Visitors from certain countries -- more than 50 in total, including Brazil and Russia -- must take another test upon arrival in Dubai.
Indian nationals with a regular passport who are traveling to or from India via Dubai can obtain a visa on arrival in Dubai for a maximum stay of 14 days, provided they have a valid visitor visa or green card issued by the US or a residence visa issued by the UK or EU.
UK travelers should note that that NHS Covid Test certificates are not accepted for travel from the United Kingdom.
Until further notice, all passengers traveling to Dubai from France, Germany, Spain, or Switzerland will need to present a negative PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure, or a vaccination certificate for vaccination administered in France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland or the UAE.
Full details about the current restrictions can be found on the Emirates website.

What's the Covid situation?

The US has lowered its travel warning for the United Arab Emirates to Level 1 -- "Low" -- and advises its citizens to be fully vaccinated before traveling there.
As of December 2, the UAE has recorded 2,148 deaths related to Covid-19, with 466 new cases being recorded in the past week. Its vaccination roll-out has been swift and comprehensive. More than 90% of the population is now fully vaccinated, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

What can visitors expect

Mask-wearing is compulsory, as is keeping a two-meter social distance, except in restaurants, cafes, offices, workplaces, gyms, shopping centers, beaches and public and entertainment parks, where a one-meter rule applies.
Outside, you must wear a mask unless exercising, eating or drinking, at a barber shop or salon, in a car with people from the same household, or if you're alone.
Hotels are now allowed to be fully occupied and live entertainment and activities is permitted in restaurants, cafés and shopping malls.

Useful links

Our latest coverage

Catch up with all the news from the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East and the world's biggest in-person event this year, outside the Olympic Games.
You can also read our travel guide about what to do and where to go if you're visiting for the city for the Expo.
The UAE celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and CNN Travel has been taking a deep dive into Dubai's history.
Find out what Dubai looked like before the boom and then discover how it became known as the "City of Gold."
Joe Minihane, Julia Buckley, Maureen O'Hare, Mostafa Salem and Kareem Khadder contributed to this report
Read more
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