Dubai travel restrictions South Africa
(Getty Images)
  • Dubai’s new travel restrictions deny entry to anybody who has travelled from or through South Africa in the past ten days.
  • Only travellers holding valid Dubai residence visas will be permitted to enter but must first get permission from the UAE government.
  • This coincides with Emirates Airlines’ decision to halt flights to and from South Africa until 28 January.
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Travellers from South Africa will not be allowed entry into Dubai, after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) introduced a raft of new flight restrictions as a means of combatting the spread of Covid-19. Only UAE residents will be permitted to return from South Africa, but with major airlines recently suspending their flight plans, repatriation to Dubai is improbable.

In addition to the flight cancellations, travellers holding valid Dubai residence visas will still need government approval before being allowed to depart from South Africa. This return application needs to be submitted via the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs’ (GDRFA) website.

Dubai is the latest city to ban travel from South Africa and joins a dozen other regions which have enforced strict flight restrictions following the discovery of a more infectious Covid-19 variant, 501.V2.

READ | Denmark and Vietnam latest countries to ban SA travellers, fearing new Covid variant

The travel ban coincides with the suspension of flights operated by the UAE’s main airlines. Etihad Airways, based in Abu Dhabi, announced the cancellation of all flights to and from South Africa until 28 March 2021. More recently, Emirates Airlines, which offered weekly flights between South Africa and Dubai into the new year, confirmed that it suspended operations between the two countries due to “operational reasons”.

Emirates’ suspension is expected to last until at least 28 January 2021.  

“You will not be able to enter Dubai if you have been in South Africa within ten days of departure to Dubai,” the GDRFA stated as part of its revised travel restrictions promulgated on 20 January.

“This includes transiting in other countries within 10 days before travelling to Dubai.”

Although limited flights operated by Egypt Air and Qatar offer access to the UAE from South Africa, returning residents, who have received approval from the GDRFA or Federal Authority, must also produce two negative Covid-19 PCR tests results.

These tests must be completed within 96 hours of departure and then upon arrival in Dubai. Rapid antigen test certificates will not be accepted.

South Africans will still be allowed to transit through Dubai International Airport on route to their final destinations to other countries which still allow for entry. South Africans in transit will still need to produce a negative Covid-19 test and will be confined to the airport precinct.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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