Ask a COVID-19 Question
August 10, 2020
All consular services at the U.S. Embassy and Consulate continue to operate at reduced capacity. We will announce when we are able to provide additional consular services, but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Please see the information below for the latest information on American Citizen Services and Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visa operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Country Specific Information on COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for the UAE due to COVID-19. To learn more, read here.
The Government of the UAE has implemented measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, including enhanced screening and quarantine measures. Schools and universities are closed for the remainder of the academic year. Sporting events, festivals, and large gatherings have been banned. Religious services have also been suspended. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations remain open.
The UAE government is relaxing some restrictions at some malls, markets, and other businesses. Individuals should continue to practice vigilance and wear masks and gloves, while practicing appropriate social distancing.
UAE health authorities are urging all returned travelers to the UAE to practice self-quarantine for at least 14 days and are also urging all residents to stay home. The Ministry of Interior and National Emergency and the Crisis and Disasters Management Authority urged UAE citizens, residents, and visitors to limit trips outside the home except for essential movement. Visit the UAE Ministry of Health COVID-19 website for updated information.
There are media reports that the UAE has opened 14+ drive-thru COVID-19 testing centers in the UAE. Visit the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention for additional information.
On April 7, Dubai opened its first drive-through coronavirus testing center at Al Nasr Club. Tests are free of charge. To book a COVID-19 test in Dubai, call the Dubai Health Authority at 800 342 or visit Dubai’s Department of Health website for more information.
Abu Dhabi has also opened a COVID-19 testing center at Zayed Sports City. To make an appointment, call the SEHA hotline at 800 1717 or use the SEHA application.
Dubai residents may travel abroad beginning June 23. Returning residents will need to request permission from Dubai’s immigration service. Please contact the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs and your airline for additional information.
To enter Abu Dhabi, individuals must presentation a COVID test conducted in the last 48 hours from an approved facility or schedule an appointment for a laser blood test. These regulations may change. Additional info can be found here.
Currently, the UAE does not have any curfews.
Fines for Non-Compliance
On May 18, the UAE Attorney General announced that individuals failing to follow rules and regulations to curb the spread of COVID-19 will face additional fines varying from 1000-100,000 Emirati dirhams. Please see UAE Official sources for full details.
The UAE is allowing additional airlines besides Emirates Airline and and Etihad Airways to fly in/out of the country. Please check with your airline or local media for the latest information.
Etihad Airways announced non-stop flights to/from Abu Dhabi and select designations in the US, including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Additional destinations may be added in the future. Please visit the Etihad website for more information and to book tickets.
Emirates Airline announced non-stop flights to/from Abu Dhabi and select designations in the US, including Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Additional destinations may be added in the future. Please visit the Emirates Airline website for more information and to book tickets.
You do not need a letter from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the UAE or a letter from authorities of the country you will transit to make your reservation. To avoid miscommunication on documentation or letters needed, and for ease, book directly on the airlines’ website.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulate cannot assist with contacting airlines, arranging onward travel, or negotiating the use of funds from any pre-existing itineraries. If booking tickets by phone, state clearly that you are transiting and that your destination is the United States.
The U.S. government has no plans to organize repatriation flights from the UAE to the United States, as there are commercial options available.
Please see our flight information page for further guidance.
UAE Residency and Tourist Visas
The UAE government has reportedly relaxed its requirements for international travel from the UAE with the intent to return. Residents may now travel outside of the UAE for “general reasons” provided they adhere to the below requirements:
- Receive a negative COVID-19 test result within 96 hours of international travel
- Obtain international health insurance for the entire duration of travel
- Adhere to health regulations of the country they are traveling to
- Obtain a negative COVID-19 test result before their return to the UAE
- Quarantine upon return to the UAE
For more information, please contact the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA). Dubai residents may contact the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigner Affairs.
UAE residents can now return to the UAE. UAE carriers are scheduled to operate flights to allow stranded UAE residents to return to the country. For details of available flights and points of origins, please contact Etihad, Emirates, and flydubai airlines directly. Returning residents must request and be approved for return by the UAE Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship before arriving into the country. Please visit this website to request a permit. There may be different rules for return depending on which Emirate you are a resident of. Please consult local UAE authorities for the latest information.
If your travel has been disrupted, please contact your airline. Individuals affected by these suspensions may also contact the UAE Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship for further information:
– Mobile: +971501066099
– Landline: +97123128867 or +97123128865
– Fax: +97125543883
– Email: Operation@ica.gov.ae
Updated American Citizen Services Hours
Effective April 8, 2020, U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi and U.S. Consulate General Dubai will only process the following emergency services to U.S. citizens: applications for Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA), Consular Reports of Death Abroad (CRDA), and applications for passports that have expired or are expiring within two weeks where the applicant intends to immediately depart the UAE. All other operations, including routine notary services, are suspended until further notice.
Visit this link for more information.
Routine Non-Immigrant and Immigrant Visa Services Suspended
In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State has temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates have canceled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020, but will continue to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services as resources and local conditions allow. We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Please see these notices which contain detailed information about the current status of visa services worldwide and visa restrictions related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi and U.S. Consulate General in Dubai will publicize any announcement on the resumption of student visa interviews once information is available. The Embassy, Consulate, Secretary Pompeo, and our entire State Department team are taking this issue seriously and are seeking ways to ensure that U.S. destined aspiring and returning students will receive priority attention once routine visa operations can resume.
Failure to follow all laws, regulations, and procedures the Government of the UAE has put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 could result in fines and jail terms. Visit the UAE Ministry of Health COVID-19 website for updated information.
The Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory for COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Global COVID-19 Outbreak Notice.
Actions to Take:
- Register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
- View our COVID-19 FAQs for the UAE.
- Read the State Department’s Country Information for the UAE.
- Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
- Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on state.gov for the latest information.
- Review the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.
- Check with your airlines, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.