Am I allowed to visit, are hotels and restaurants open and what rules are in place?

The towering Burj Al Arab hotel, overlooking Dubai marina: istock
The towering Burj Al Arab hotel, overlooking Dubai marina: istock

With year-round sunshine and just a few days of annual rainfall, it’s no wonder Dubai is such a hit with British holidaymakers – 1.2 million Brits visited in 2019. But can you visit this summer – and will you be welcome?

Here’s all the information you need to know.

Am I allowed to travel to Dubai from the UK?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a blanket warning against all non-essential international travel in March, but this has now been lifted for 67 destinations as of 4 July.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was not included on this list, but Dubai is accepting international tourists from 7 July.

The FCO advice doesn’t make travelling there “illegal” as such, but it does invalidate your travel insurance and may mean it’s trickier to obtain help from the British Consulate or Embassy if you run into trouble.

How could I get there?

The carriers currently flying between the UK and Dubai include Emirates, British Airways, KLM and Air France.

In August, the most economical direct flights from the UK The Independent found started at £326 for a single fare with British Airways.

If you’re determined to get a cheaper flight, there’s a single fare from London Luton to Dubai on 20 August for £175. The catch? It goes via Moscow and Istanbul, meaning two changes and a total journey time of almost 20 hours.

Alternatively, package deals are available. Virgin Atlantic is offering a package holiday departing London Heathrow on 4 August flying direct to Dubai and staying at the Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City for seven nights, from £830pp including transfers.

Will they let me in when I arrive?

Visitors to Dubai will be required to complete a Health Declaration Form and a Quarantine Form, which must be printed, completed and handed to Dubai Health Authority staff upon arrival. Visitors will also have to download and register their details on the COVID-19 DXB App.

Visitors must have international health insurance before travelling and must show that they have had a negative PCR Covid-19 test a maximum of four days before their departure date. If they do not have a test result or are showing symptoms of Covid-19, they will be tested at Dubai airport.

All visitors to Dubai must adhere to public health measures issued by the Dubai authorities, including any requirements to quarantine.

Your passport should also be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into the UAE.

Travellers arriving from 7 July can also look forward to a passport sticker reading “A warm welcome to your second home” – it’s a new initiative being introduced for all visitors to the country.

Will I have to quarantine when I arrive?

If you test positive for Covid-19, yes. Guidance from the Dubai government states that it is mandatory for tourists who test positive to register their details on the COVID-19 DXB app and isolate themselves “at an institutional facility provided by the government for 14 days at their own expense”.

Can I travel within the United Arab Emirates?

Yes, visitors can travel freely around the UAE.

Are hotels open?

Dubai skyline by night (istock)
Dubai skyline by night (istock)

Yes, hotels opened in Dubai in May with social distancing regulations in place, such as socially distanced sunbeds.

Are restaurants, shops and attractions open?

Most shops, restaurants and attractions have now reopened. Major shopping malls, such as the Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Outlet Mall reopened in April.

Public and private hotel beaches, major parks, cinemas, museums and top attractions such as Atlantic Aquaventure and The Green Planet are all open.

What rules are in place?

Face masks are mandatory, even on the beach. Failure to wear a face mask carries a AED3,000 (£650) fine, with the same amount applicable for anyone not adhering to social distancing guidelines of two metres. Non-compliance runs the risk of being “named and shamed” with mug shots posted in local media.

Will I have to quarantine when I come home?

Yes. The UAE was not included on the Department for Transport’s list of 59 countries from where travellers can enter England, Wales and Northern Ireland without self-isolating, nor on Scotland’s separate list of 57 countries.

Those returning from Dubai will need to quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival back into the UK.

Read more

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