Abu Dhabi is re-opened to travelers
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How did a small sovereign state in the Arabian Desert become one of the world’s most aspirational vacation destinations? One way is by claiming over a hundred Guinness World Records. Among the records: One for the tallest building, the world’s largest indoor shopping mall, the biggest aquarium, the largest automated water fountain and the biggest indoor ski park.
Just for good measure, United Arab Emirates also boasts the world’s only seven-star hotel: The Burj Al Arab in Dubai. It’s also home to the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 and the Grand Mosque, amongst hundreds of other incredible sights. Oh, and two of the three opulent Middle East carriers call the country home.
The UAE is a land of record-setting experiences.
Each year, more than 21 million travelers visit the seven emirates comprising the UAE. Dubai, the most populous of the seven, singlehandedly accounts for more than 16 million of those visitors. In 2020, however, those numbers have dropped drastically after the UAE suspended most commercial passenger flights back in March in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dubai reopened to visitors back in July. Now, Abu Dhabi has opened its doors as of December 24. Here’s what you need to know.
Entering the UAE
The UAE reopened its borders to international visitors in early July, after a three-month hiatus. All visitors 12 and older must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours of departure time, and all test results must be presented either in English or Arabic in original, physical form. Digital copies will not be accepted. Travelers with severe and moderate disabilities may be exempted from the test requirement.
You won’t find a curfew in place in Dubai, unlike many other countries that currently allow U.S. travelers to visit. However, you’ll undergo multiple health screenings to pass through immigration, according to the U.S. embassy.
Is quarantine mandatory for incoming travelers? Here’s what we know:
The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority of the UAE (NCEMA), as well as the official website of the UAE, has stated that anyone entering the UAE from another country undergoes a self-quarantine of 14 days. Violating home quarantine is punishable by law.
However, visitors entering Dubai are not required to quarantine if they can show that they are in recent clean health, according to local media source Gulf News.
Abu Dhabi will maintain a list of countries that it deems “safe,” which will be updated every two weeks. Nationals from those nations will not be subject to any quarantine requirements, while those entering from countries designated as higher-risk will indeed be required to quarantine for 14 days.
The safe list as of Dec. 24 includes Australia, Brunei, China, Greece, Greenland, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, according to Business Traveller.
Arriving in Dubai
Travelers should also expect to:
- Pack a negative PCR test taken within 96 hours of departure time
- Undergo health screening procedures at airports and other ports of entry
- Download the COVID-19 DXB app onto their phones for monitoring
- Complete the acknowledgment form and submit to officials upon arrival in Dubai
Upon arrival, another PCR test can still be administered at the discretion of local officials, even if all of the criteria above are met. Tested travelers must quarantine until they receive results, and passengers who test positive must undergo mandatory quarantine for a minimum of 14 days at a hotel or self-isolated private address, with successful follow-up test results before quarantine is complete. All expenses associated with quarantine are the responsibility of the traveler.
After you complete your quarantine, you must continue to comply with all preventative measures from the UAE health authorities.
Masks and gloves are required in public spaces, and everyone must practice appropriate social distancing in public areas. People who violate preventative measures can be fined up to $27,000 for the most severe infractions.
Can you travel to Abu Dhabi?
Currently, according to the U.S. Embassy website, visitors who enter the UAE via Dubai can travel to Abu Dhabi by road if they present proof that they are COVID-free, dated within the past 48 hours of travel time. Non-Abu Dhabi residents who stay for six or more consecutive days must take an additional COVID-19 PCR test on the sixth day.
Abu Dhabi will maintain a list that it updates every two weeks of countries that are considered “safe” and those that present more of a risk to the local population. Nationals traveling from “safe” countries will not face quarantine restrictions, but anyone coming from a higher-risk country will be required to undergo a two-week quarantine.
Those entering Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) from safe countries will have to quarantine only until negative PCR test results can be provided, and those entering from countries not on the safe list must quarantine for ten days.
Featured photo by Shutterstock.
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