UAE Removes Entry Restrictions for 12 African Countries

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced that it is lifting COVID-19 travel restrictions from 12 countries in Africa.

This will be effective from Saturday, January 29, 2022.

International travelers who have recently visited these countries will now be able to enter and transit through the Emirates, providing they have their UAE online visa. These include several prominent African nations, such as South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria.

Travel had previously been banned due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Flights to the UAE from the 12 countries have now resumed — both for national and international carriers.

This comes as welcome news for passengers in these 12 countries hoping to travel to destinations such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The rules for travel to the UAE from 3 other African nations have also been updated.

Which Countries Can Now Travel to the UAE?

Flights have now restarted and entry is now permitted to passengers arriving in the United Arab Emirates from the following 12 African countries:

  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Republic of Congo
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Zimbabwe

In addition, the regulations for entry have been updated for those arriving from the following 3 nations in Africa:

  • Ghana
  • Rwanda
  • Uganda

New COVID-19 testing regulations for travelers from African countries

Travelers arriving from any of the 12 aforementioned countries, as well as from Ghana, Rwanda, and Uganda, must take a total of 3 COVID-19 tests.

The first test must be performed at an approved laboratory within 48 hours before departure. They must bring the negative test result to be permitted to travel to the UAE.

They must also take a rapid PCR test at the airport before departure.

Finally, upon arrival in the UAE, they will be tested a third time (PCR).

Changing Restrictions for Travelers from African Countries to the UAE

The United Arab Emirates’ National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) had previously banned all travel from the 12 aforementioned African states.

Individuals who had spent time in these countries within the past 14 days were not permitted to enter the UAE.

This directive led the UAE’s national airlines, including Emirates, to suspend flights between the country and these destinations. From December 28, 2021, all flights from the following destinations were cancelled:

  • Republic of Kenya
  • Abuja
  • Casablanca
  • Harare
  • Lagos
  • Lusaka

All passengers originating from Ethiopia or Tanzania were also banned from using the airlines to travel to Dubai (including transiting through the city).

On Wednesday, January 26, 2022, the NCEMA announced that the travel ban to the 12 African countries would be lifted. Officials also confirmed that flights would resume to the UAE from all of these destinations.

Various coronavirus travel restrictions remain in place for the UAE. The regulations vary depending on the emirate in question.

For example, Abu Dhabi has mandatory quarantine measures for all arrivals except those arriving from green list countries.

This green list is updated regularly to reflect the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in other states.

In January 2022, several African countries were moved to this “safe” list, including Algeria, Morocco, Seychelles and Tunisia. Meanwhile, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Russia, Turkey, and the UK were removed.

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