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June 17, 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 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.
The UAE government is testing all airline passengers on arrival and all arrivals must complete a 14-day quarantine, regardless of test result. Passengers will be directed to either self-quarantine at home or sent to a quarantine facility, at their own expense.
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.
The Abu Dhabi Emergency and Crisis Committee for the COVID-19 pandemic announced a ban on the movement entering and exiting the emirate and between its regions (Abu Dhabi, Al Ain & Al Dhafra) starting Tuesday June 2. On June 15, they announced the ban would continue for a third week, with the possibility of an extension. Abu Dhabi’s curfew from 10 pm-6 am is still in effect. On June 17, they announced citizens and residents may leave Abu Dhabi without a permit, but a permit must be obtained to re-enter. Individuals may apply for a moving permit to leave during curfew hours or to re-enter Abu Dhabi.
There are media reports that beginning May 27 there will be no restrictions on movement between 6 am and 11 pm in Dubai. Additionally, the Dubai government announced business activities will continue to gradually reopen, with social distancing guidelines and mandatory use of masks, including while outdoors, still in effect. For more information on movement restrictions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, please click here. During non-sterilization hours, residents may visit grocery stores, pharmacies, and shopping centers. Residents must wear masks and adhere to social distancing rules or face fines.
The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced that beginning April 27, the movement restrictions in al Ras and Naif will be eased. Nation-wide curfews in both neighborhoods will continue between 11 pm and 6 am, as the rest of Dubai. Per the Dubai sterilization program, anyone leaving home must wear a mask and gloves and ensure they keep a safe distance from others.
Dubai Road and Transportation Authority announced that Dubai’s metro, public buses, and taxi services will resume starting Sunday April 26.
Many transportation options throughout the UAE are subject to closure or sterilization, though some are re-opening after sterilization. Visit official UAE sources for the latest info.
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.
Starting June 15, Emirates Airline will recommence passenger flights to an additional 16 cities. In addition to the existing flight between Dubai and Chicago, new destinations will be between Dubai (DXB) and New York (JFK), Bahrain, Manchester, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Perth and Brisbane. Please visit the Emirates Airline website for more information or to book tickets.
Additionally, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways continue to operate a limited number of flights, including to Europe, Asia, and other destinations. Travelers will need to buy an Emirates or Etihad flight to Europe or Asia and book a separate ticket on another airline from their European or Asian transit location to the United States. Passengers traveling to the U.S. via a transit stop must show their onward ticket to the U.S. in order to board the aircraft in the UAE.
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.
There are media reports that Lufthansa Airlines will begin flights from Frankfurt to Dubai beginning June 7. Flights can be booked on Lufthansa’s website. Travellers wishing to return to Dubai need permission from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship before flights can be booked.
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
UAE residents can now return to the UAE. UAE carriers are scheduled to operate 36 flights in June 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.
The media is reporting the UAE will waive all fines for residency visas, entry permits, and Emirates IDs which expired before March 1, 2020. UAE residents and visitors have a three-month grace period to depart the UAE starting May 18. The UAE government provided additional information on this process. The UAE government also recommends those currently living in the UAE whose residency visas have expired renew their residency permits, especially if they plan to travel abroad temporarily and return to the UAE. Individuals may visit the Federal Authority for Identity & Citizenship’s website or call 800 453 for more information.
The UAE confirmed that residency visa, entry permits and Emirates IDs expiring after March 1, 2020 will automatically be extended with no fees until the end of 2020. The extension applies to residency visa holders that are both in the UAE and outside of the UAE. Individuals can check the status of their visas at the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship’s File Validity site.
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.
Visit this link for additional information.
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 ourCOVID-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 onstate.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.