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Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi and U.S. Consulate General Dubai
April 10, 2020

Message for U.S. Citizens: Commercial Flight Options from the UAE to the United States

April 10, 2020

Commercial flight options for U.S. citizens and U.S. Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) to travel from the UAE to the United States via Europe and Asia are ending soon.  The U.S. government has no plans to organize repatriation flights from the UAE to the United States.

Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways are operating limited outbound-only passenger flights from Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports to London, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, and other destinations in Europe and Asia.  London Heathrow offers the greatest number of flight connection options to the United States and permits U.S. citizens to transit the airport without a visa.  Paris, Amsterdam Schiphol, and Frankfurt airports are also good options for American citizens to transit to the United States without a visa.

Emirates and Etihad airlines are not operating direct flights to the United States and none are currently planned for the immediate future.  Americans and LPRs intending to return to the United States, especially tourists and other non-UAE residents,are strongly encouraged to take advantage of current flight options available from Emirates or Etihad.  Travelers must also purchase onward flight tickets from their transit destination to the United States.  It is not possible to book a single ticket on Emirates or Etihad through to the United States.  Travelers will need to purchase a separate ticket on another airline from their European or Asian transit location to the United States.

On April 7, Emirates announced that some outbound flights will stop operating beginning April 12 while flights to London and Frankfurt will stop on April 19.

If you are a U.S. citizen residing in the UAE, you should carefully consider your situation, including whether you have the resources to sustain yourself (and your family) for an indefinite period of time in the UAE.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is the U.S. government organizing a charter flight from the United Arab Emirates to the United States?  No, presently the U.S. government has no plans to organize repatriation flights from the UAE to the United States.  Emirates and Etihad airlines flights are the best options for U.S. citizens and U.S. LPRs to return to the United States.  There are no direct flights scheduled from the UAE to the United States on any airlines, and none are planned for the immediate future.
  • How do I schedule a flight to the United States?
    • Flight Departing the UAE: Identify an outbound flight with Etihad or Emirates airlines to any available destination in Europe or Asia.  London Heathrow offers the greatest number of flight connection options to the United States and permits U.S. citizens to transit the airport without a visa.  Paris, Amsterdam Schiphol, and Frankfurt airports are also good options for American citizens to transit without a visa to the United States.  The most convenient option to purchase your outbound ticket from the UAE is at the Emirates or Etihad website or via their App.
    • Onward Flight: Before departing the UAE, purchase an onward flight ticket from your transit destination to the United States; this will not be on Emirates or Etihad.  Individuals traveling to the United States must present proof of the onward flight to Etihad and Emirates check-in agents to board the aircraft in the UAE.  Contact your connecting airline directly to purchase your ticket from your transit location to your U.S. destination.
    • IMPORTANT: Your onward ticket must be from the same airport in which you arrive (for example, if you land at London Heathrow, you must fly out of London Heathrow, not another airport in London).  Your onward ticket must depart within 24-hours of your arrivalat your transit location or you will not be allowed to board the aircraft in the UAE.
  • Are American Citizens, LPRs, and others arriving the United States from Europe (including the United Kingdom and Germany) allowed to enter at this time?  Restrictions on entry into the United States related to the March 11 and March 14 Presidential Proclamations do not apply to American Citizens, Legal Permanent Residents, and certain other travelers.  Further details regarding the Proclamation and exceptions for certain travelers can be found here.
  • Do I need a letter from the U.S. Consulate or Embassy to purchase a ticket or board the flight?  You do not need a letter from the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, U.S. Consulate General in Dubai, or a letter from authorities of the country you will transit to make your reservation. 
  • Can you book the flight for me?  The U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulate cannot assist with contacting airlines, arranging onward travel, or negotiating the use of funds from any pre-existing itineraries.  If booking tickets by telephone, you must clearly state that you are transiting through Europe or Asia, that your final destination is the United States, and that you will have a purchased ticket from your transit location to the United States at the time of boarding in the UAE.
  • Can I book my luggage or pets all the way through?  You must contact individual airlines to review rules and regulations regarding pets and luggage.  You should be mindful that airlines may not be able to transfer checked baggage between flights operated by different airlines or purchased separately.  Contact your connecting airline for details.
  • Will I be required to self-quarantine when I arrive in the United States?  The Center for Disease Control requires all travelers, including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents, who have been in the Schengen Area, or any CDC Level 3 country, 14 days prior to arrival in the United States to self-quarantine for 14 days.  Travelers can review CDC guidelines here.

The Department of State does not endorse any private company and assumes no responsibility or liability for services provided by private companies.

Actions to Take:

  • Enroll in the STEP program at https://step.state.gov/ to receive alerts and ensure you can be located in an emergency.
  • Encourage other U.S. citizens to enroll in the STEP program.
  • Confirm the validity of your travel documents, including passports and visas.
  •  Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information.
  •  For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
  •  Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
  •  Check with your airlines, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
  •  Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in the UAE.
  •  Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.


U.S. citizens looking for options to return to the United States can email American Citizen Services at abudhabiacs@state.gov (for Abu Dhabi) or dubaiacs@state.gov (for Dubai and other emirates) or call the U.S. Department of State Repatriation Task Force at 1-888-407-4747 from the U.S. and Canada or +1-202-501-4444 from overseas.