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COVID-19 Travel Frequently Asked Questions

This is information is current as of February 24, 2021

For all queries, we ask that you consult our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and you contact us using our Contact Us form

 

Ireland

What requirements are in place for those travelling to Ireland?

From 16 January, all passengers arriving in Ireland from all countries will be required to show a negative result of a pre-departure PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival in the State. Children aged six and under will be exempt from this requirement. 

Information on PCR testing locations in the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait is available here. 

All passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are legally obliged to complete a Public Health Passenger Locator Form in advance of arrival. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. You will have to fill out a portion of the form if you are travelling on to Northern Ireland.

From 4 February, all passengers arriving into Ireland are legally required to quarantine for 14-days at the address specified on the Passenger Locator Form. This includes:

  • Irish citizens coming home
  • people with no symptoms
  • people who have tested negative for the virus in a red or grey region prior to arrival
  • people who have received a COVID-19 vaccinations
  • persons who travel from another country to Ireland and arrive via Northern Ireland

Failure to comply with mandatory quarantine is an offence and individuals who fail to comply can be fined up to €2,500 or receive a prison sentence of up to 6 months, or both.

Arriving from or transiting through the UAE

The UAE is considered a high risk ‘category 2’ country, and therefore, the following requirements apply to anyone travelling from the UAE to Ireland, including passengers who transit through the UAE, even if they remain airside:

  • 14-day quarantine period must be undertaken at the address specified on the Passenger Locator Form
  • you must complete the full 14 days of quarantine - regardless of whether you have a negative test result

If you do not fulfil the legal requirement for mandatory quarantine you are committing an offence, and can be fined up to €2,500 or get a prison sentence of up to 6 months, or both.

You may only leave your place of residence during the quarantine period for unavoidable reasons of an emergency nature to protect a person’s health or welfare, to leave the State, or to avail of a test when requested to do so in writing by the HSE.

You should phone any GP or GP out of hours service to arrange a free COVID-19 test – the test should be done 5 days after you arrived in Ireland or as soon as possible after those 5 days, this test will be provided by the HSE. You may leave your quarantine to take this test. Whatever the result of the test, you must complete the 14 day period of quarantine.

Details on limited exemptions to travellers are available on the Gov.ie website

Arriving from Kuwait or Qatar

You may leave to take a RT-PCR test no less than 5 days after your arrival – if you receive written confirmation that the result of this test is negative/ ‘not detected’ your period of quarantine can end.

 

There are limited number of exemptions from the mandatory quarantine.

Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements. Further advice for people who have recently returned from abroad is available from the HSE.

General public health advice on travel to Ireland, including a link to Ireland’s COVID tracker app, is available here

Ireland will be at Level 5 of the National Framework for Living with COVID-19 from midnight on 24 December to 5 March, subject to review. People are asked to stay at home with certain exceptions, further information is available on the Government of Ireland website.

 

Do you have any information on vaccines?

Irish citizens resident in the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait or Afghanistan are advised to monitor information from the local health authorities about the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination programmes in the country where they reside.

We advise those considering vaccination to carefully review information published by the national and international health authorities, such as the WHO, and to seek medical advice where necessary.

The European Medicines Agency regulates vaccines for use in Ireland. At present, the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines have been approved by the European Medicines Agency. Further information is available on the website of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Currently, there are no exemptions from measures in place for travelling to Ireland for those who have had a COVID-19 vaccine. The latest information on requirements for travelling to Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic is available on the gov.ie website.

 

Can I apply for a new Irish passport?

The processing of passport applications will be paused from 24 December to 5 April while Ireland is at Level 5 of the National Framework for Living with COVID-19. Passport renewal applications can still be submitted online and processing will resume at Level 4 restrictions or below. Processing of paper applications will resume at Level 3. 

The Embassy of Ireland, Abu Dhabi is accepting first-time passport applications for newborns and citizens requiring urgent renewals for visa purposes, please contact the Embassy for assistance. 

Further information is available here

 

I want to submit an application for an Irish visa. Can I still apply?

As part of the Irish Government's COVID-19 Measures, the Embassy are not accepting any visa applications, except for cases that fall under the Emergency/Priority criteria. Please refer to notice dated 29 January 2021 on the Immigration Service Delivery website http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/visas-updates

Ireland visa queries may be sent by submitted via the Contact Us form at the end of the page. 

 

I hold a passport from a visa exempt country, can I travel to Ireland?

The Irish Governments advises against all non-essential foreign travel.

From 28 January, nationals of the following countries will require either a visa or a transit visa with immediate effect:

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Suriname, Uruguay.

Please contact the Visa Team for further assistance via the Contact Us form at the end of the page.

 

United Arab Emirates

What international travel measures have been announced by the UAE?

The UAE Government and the Government of Dubai have announced new international travel protocols that apply to citizens, residents, visitors and transit passengers.

We advise those planning to travel to consult official published guidelines, and to clarify requirements with your airline or travel provider. 

Information on travel to, from and through the UAE is available on Etihad Travel Updates and Emirates Travel Updates

It is mandatory to wear facemasks in public and to adhere to social distancing measures. 

You should monitor local media and comply with the directions of local authorities.

 

Can I visit the UAE?

The Irish Government is advising all Irish citizens against non-essential foreign travel.  Anyone returning to Ireland, except from Northern Ireland, will be legally required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

All UAE international airports are open to UAE citizens, residents and tourists. Irish passport holders can get a 30-day visit visa waiver on arrival in the UAE. The Covid-19 testing and quarantine requirements vary in each emirate. Please see further advice below.

 

Abu Dhabi   

What are the requirements for international travel to Abu Dhabi?

The Irish Government is advising all Irish citizens against non-essential foreign travel.  Anyone returning to Ireland, except from Northern Ireland, will be required to restrict their movements for 14 days upon arrival.

New guidelines for international travel to Abu Dhabi were published on 22 December. From 24 December, international passengers arriving in Abu Dhabi are required to: 

  1. Present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result received within 96 hours of the scheduled departure at check in. Children under 12 and people with severe and moderate disabilities are exempt from COVID-19 PCR testing before departure.

  2. Download the UAE’s ALHOSN Covid-19 tracking app. 

  3. Take a second PCR test on arrival in Abu Dhabi.

  4. A Green List for travel to Abu Dhabi was published on 22 December and will be reviewed regularly. Ireland is not currently on the UAE’s Green List.  

  5. Passengers from UAE Green List countries should self-isolate at home or in their hotel room until receiving a negative result from the PCR test taken on arrival. Further PCR tests should be taken on day 6 and day 12.

  6. Passengers arriving from countries not on the Green List will be required to self-isolate at home or in their hotel room for 10 days and wear a medically-approved tracking wristband. There are exemptions for those under 18, over 69 or suffering from a chronic disease. A further PCR test should be taken on day 8. The wristband will be removed on day 10 if the day 8 result is negative.

  7. Passengers travelling directly to another emirate after arriving in Abu Dhabi should adhere to the requirements of the destination emirate. Quarantine guidelines for travellers to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah are available on the UAE Government Information website. There are alternative quarantine guidelines for passengers travelling to Ras Al Khaimah.

You should follow the directions of the UAE authorities on arrival. If you are travelling from a country considered to be high-risk or the authorities deem your accommodation to be unsuitable, you may be required to quarantine in a government facility.

It was announced on 25 November that UAE citizens and residents taking part in Phase 3 of the vaccine trials or the National Vaccination Programme are exempt from quarantine on arrival to Abu Dhabi.

Please see the Visit Abu Dhabi website and Etihad guidelines for further information.

 

Can I transit through Abu Dhabi?

Passenger transfer services through the UAE are operating. All passengers transiting through Abu Dhabi will be required to display a negative result from a Covid-19 test conducted in the 96 hours prior to their original departure time. Please see the Etihad website or contact your travel provider for further information.

 

Do residents require approval to travel to Abu Dhabi?

The UAE authorities announced on 12 August 2020 that UAE residency visa holders abroad no longer require prior approval by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) to return to the UAE.

The ICA advises residents abroad to enter their details on the ICA portal to confirm their eligibility to return to the UAE, in accordance with their UAE residence visa validity.

Residents abroad with expired visas should contact their UAE sponsor to liaise with the immigration authorities.

Queries on approval to return to the UAE should be directed to the airline or travel provider, or the ICA.

 

What are the requirements for departing from Abu Dhabi?

Since 1 August 2020, all travellers departing from Abu Dhabi need to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within 96 hours of departure. Children under the age of 12 and those with severe and moderate disabilities are exempt from the test requirement. From 16 January, all passengers travelling to Ireland are required to show a negative result of a pre-departure PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in the State. Children aged six and under are exempt from this requirement.

There are different requirements when travelling from Dubai - please see Dubai section below for further information.

Additional information is available on Etihad Travel Updates 

Testing requirements change frequently and we strongly urge all passengers to double-check the requirements for COVID testing with their airline prior to travel.

You should be aware of the possibility of flight changes or cancellations with limited notice, particularly for transit flights, and should contact the airline to confirm travel details and transit rules.

Flights from the UAE to the UK were suspended on 29 January. Please contact your airline or travel provider regarding cancelled or rescheduled flights. Irish citizens travelling to the UK who have been in or transited through the UAE in the preceding 14 days must complete a UK passenger locator form and self-isolate for 10 days on arrival along with members of their household.

Special requirements may be in place if you are transiting through certain countries, such as the Netherlands or France. Transit options through Germany are limited at present. You should confirm transit rules with your airline prior to travel.

 

Can I enter the emirate of Abu Dhabi by road?

Residents

Restrictions on entry by road to the emirate of Abu Dhabi have been in place since 2 June. The Abu Dhabi government announced that from 1 February, entry to the emirate will be granted to those able to demonstrate receipt of a negative PCR Covid-19 test result taken within the previous 48 hours OR a negative DPI laser test result taken within the previous 24 hours. Those who enter Abu Dhabi and stay in the emirate for four or more consecutive days are required to take a PCR test on day 4 and if staying for 8 or more consecutive days are required to take a PCR test on day 8.

Residents who enter Abu Dhabi with a negative DPI test result must take a PCR test on day 3, if staying in the emirate for 48 hours or more, and an additional PCR test on day 7, if staying in the emirate for 7 days or more.

Failure to take PCR tests on the appointed days can result in fines and penalties.

If you are entering Abu Dhabi to get a flight from Abu Dhabi International Airport it is recommended that you allow sufficient time for delays at the border.  

UAE citizens and residents participating in Phase Three of the vaccine trials or the National Vaccination Programme are exempt from testing requirements to enter Abu Dhabi.

Tourists

International passengers arriving in Dubai and travelling to the emirate of Abu Dhabi should adhere to the updated guidelines for international arrivals to Abu Dhabi published on 22 December. Visitors entering Abu Dhabi from non-green list countries will be required to quarantine if they have been in the UAE for less than 10 days. Entry to the emirate will be granted to travellers able to demonstrate receipt of a negative PCR test taken within the previous 48 hours. International visitors entering the emirate of Abu Dhabi by road should take PCR tests on day 6 and day 12.

Permission to enter the emirate of Abu Dhabi is at the discretion of UAE authorities. 

 

Dubai

How can Dubai residents abroad return to the UAE?

Dubai residents should refer to the guidelines published by the Government of Dubai on 23 June.

Dubai residency visa holders must apply to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs for permission to return to the UAE. Any queries on permission to return to Dubai should be directed to the airline or the GDRFA.

 

Can I transit through Dubai?

Passenger transfer services through the UAE are operating. Please see Emirates and Etihad websites or contact your travel provider for further information. If you are transiting in Dubai, a Covid-19 test is only mandatory for those arriving from specified countries and/or if the destination country requires it. The list of countries is available from Emirates website.

 

Can I visit Dubai?

The Irish Government is advising all Irish citizens against non-essential foreign travel.  Anyone returning to Ireland, except from Northern Ireland, will be legally required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

The Government of Dubai has announced that visitors can travel to Dubai from 7 July. Information as to what visitors need to do before they travel and what will happen on arrival in Dubai is available on the Visit Dubai website.

 

What are the Dubai requirements for COVID-19 testing prior to travel?

Arriving

From 31 January, UAE Residents and visitors flying to Dubai required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate that is valid for 72hrs from the date of the test before departure, regardless of the country they are coming from. Arrivals from some countries may be required to undergo an additional PCR test on landing in the Dubai.

Requirements can vary depending on the departure and arrival destination. You should confirm the latest requirements on the Emirates website or check with your travel provider for confirmation prior to travel.

  

Departing

On 2 October, the Dubai Media Office announced those travelling from Dubai are only required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test prior to departure if their destination country requires a pre-travel negative test certificate. From 16 January, all passengers travelling to Ireland are required to show a negative result of a pre-departure PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in the State. Children aged six and under are exempt from this requirement.

Additional information is available from Emirates Travel Updates

If you are travelling from Abu Dhabi Airport, additional information is available from Etihad Travel Updates

Testing requirements change frequently and we strongly urge all passengers to double-check the requirements for COVID testing with their airline prior to travel.

You should be aware of the possibility of flight changes or cancellations with limited notice, particularly for transit flights, and should consult travel advice for your transit country and contact the airline to confirm travel details and transit rules.

Flights from the UAE to the UK were suspended on 29 January. Please contact your airline or travel provider regarding cancelled or rescheduled flights. Irish citizens travelling to the UK who have been in or transited through the UAE in the preceding 14 days must complete a UK passenger locator form and self-isolate for 10 days on arrival along with members of their household. 

Special requirements may be in place if you are transiting through certain countries, such as the Netherlands or France. Transit options through Germany are limited at present. You should confirm transit rules with your airline prior to travel.

 

What quarantine measures are in place on arrival in Dubai?

Quarantine is not required for those who take a PCR test prior to travelling. If you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, you should quarantine immediately.

Any passenger flying into Dubai for onward travel to Abu Dhabi will need to comply with the Abu Dhabi guidelines.

Quarantine guidelines for traveller to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah are available for the UAE Government Information website. There are alternative quarantine guidelines for passengers arriving at Ras Al Khaimah.

 

UAE Visas

I am an Irish citizen and I need to update or change my UAE visa status. Can I do this?

Updates on UAE visas during Covid-19 can be found on the UAE Information and Services website.

UAE Authorities have confirmed that Visit Visas of passengers, who entered the UAE before 28 December, will automatically be extended to 31 March, without fees, due to temporary airport closures and entry restrictions around the world. If you have any queries on visa extensions you should contact UAE immigration (ICA for visas issued by Abu Dhabi and other emirates; and GDRFA for visas issued by Dubai). In Dubai you can also call also call AMER on 800 5111 or +97143139999 or visit one of the AMER centres located around Dubai.  

If your UAE residency visa has been cancelled, you will need to leave the UAE within 30 days or change the status of your visa to remain in the country legally and to avoid fines.

If you have questions on the validity or expiry of your visa, or on change of visa status (e.g. from a residency visa to a visit visa) please see information on UAE Information and Services website and/or contact UAE Immigration – see the ICA or GDRFA websites.

 

Qatar

I am an Irish citizen in Qatar – can I leave?

According to Qatar’s Travel and Return Policy during COVID-19, Qatar citizens and residents can travel abroad at any time, provided they adhere to the travel and return policy. The policy advises employees to consult with their employer/sponsor about their proposed dates of travel and return. 

 

I am a Qatar resident but currently abroad. Can I return to Qatar?

The Qatar authorities announced new procedures to facilitate the return of Qatar residents abroad from 1 August. Qatar ID holders must receive approval to travel to Qatar in advance of booking their travel. The application for permission to enter Qatar must be made by the employer or sponsor. The granting of approval to return to Qatar is at the discretion of Qatari authorities. Applications for approval must be submitted through the Qatar Portal.

From 29 November, any resident leaving Qatar will automatically receive their Exceptional Entry Permit, and there will no longer be a need to apply through the Qatar Portal website. This permit will be available to print from the Ministry of Interior website once the  departure has been registered.

Those travelling to Qatar from green list countries, including Ireland, are required to take a PCR test before travelling at one of the Ministry of Public Health approved test centres, or on arrival in Qatar if there is no approved test centre in the country of departure. It is mandatory to download the Ehteraz app and to sign a declaration to adhere to home quarantine of seven days. Guidelines on home quarantine can be found here. On the sixth day, the traveller must visit a dedicated health centre to get another PCR test. If the result is negative, the quarantine requirement will end after seven days. The status on the Ehteraz app will change to green at the end of the quarantine period. 

The Qatar authorities advise that quarantine requirements are determined by the country from which the flight departs. If you transit through another location on the way to Qatar, such as the UK, the Qatar authorities may determine that quarantine requirements for arrivals from the UK apply. To be considered as travelling from a low-risk country, you need to have been in that country for at least one week to qualify for home quarantine. From 22 December, all passengers travelling from the UK, South Africa, Netherlands or Denmark are required to undergo self-funded quarantine in a hotel for seven days. Please see further information here.

You should follow the directions of the Qatar authorities.  

 

Can I visit Qatar?

Entry to Qatar has been restricted to Qatari citizens and their family members since 16 March. Qatar residents abroad have been permitted to return to Qatar from 1 August. Transit passengers travelling on to another destination can still transfer through Qatar. 

 

What restrictions are in place in Qatar?

The Qatar authorities announced that new restrictions would come into effect from 4 February 2021, in response to a rise in the number of cases and hospitalisations. The new measures include restrictions on the numbers attending workplaces, educational institutions, events, commercial locations and using public transport, and the closure of some indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and amenities.

 

You should monitor local media and comply with the directions of local authorities.

 

Kuwait

The Kuwait authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities. This could include medical screening, with the potential for further follow-up health measures and restrictions. Facemasks must be worn in public.

Kuwait announced new restrictions on 3 February 2021, in response to a rise in the number of new cases and hospitalisations. Sports and social gatherings and events have been prohibited. Most commercial locations, with the exception of pharmacies, medical providers and supermarkets, will close between the hours of 8pm and 5am. Gyms and salons will close completely.  

The Kuwaiti authorities announced on 20 February 2021 that the ban on entry of non-Kuwaiti citizens, with the exception of immediate family members and domestic workers of Kuwaiti citizens, would continue until further notice.

It had previously been announced that from 21 February, passengers arriving from countries designated as high-risk by the Kuwaiti authorities, including Ireland, will have to undergo 14 days of quarantine in a designated facility at their own expense, which should be arranged through the Kuwait Mosafer app prior to travel. Passengers arriving from other countries will have to spend one week in quarantine in a facility and a second week in quarantine at home. Two further PCR tests should be taken during the quarantine period. 

Passengers should contact their airline or travel provider for information on cancelled or rescheduled flights. There are no direct flights between Ireland and Kuwait. If transiting through another location when travelling to or from Kuwait, you should be aware of the possibility of flight changes or cancellations, consult travel advice for your transit country and confirm travel details with the airline.

Information on requirements for travel to and from Kuwait is available on the Kuwait Civil Aviation and Kuwait International Airport websites. 

The Kuwait authorities advise those travelling to or from Kuwait to register their details on the Kuwait Mosafer app.  

Departing passengers should confirm travel requirements with their airline and/or on the Kuwait Civil Aviation website. From 16 January, all passengers travelling to Ireland are required to show a negative result of a pre-departure PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in the State. Children aged six and under are exempt from this requirement.

 

The Government of Kuwait automatically extended visit visas and residency visas that expired after 1 March 2020 until 30 November 2020. A small number were subsequently extended for a further three months. This only applies to visa holders already in Kuwait. If you hold valid Kuwaiti residency and are outside Kuwait, your residency is now valid until its expiry date, and does not automatically expire after 6 months outside Kuwait.

 

Emergencies

Who should I contact in an emergency situation?

For emergencies involving an Irish Citizen please call the Embassy in Abu Dhabi on +971(0)2 495 8200.

• You will be asked to leave a message on the answering machine.

• Remember to state:

o your name,

o the nature of the problem,

o where you are now, and

o the details of how the Duty Officer can contact you (e.g. leave your mobile phone number, or the phone number of the hotel/hostel where you are staying).

• If necessary, contact the police also.

• The answering machine is monitored regularly, and the Duty Officer at the Embassy will contact you as soon as possible.

• Please note that the Duty Officer will deal with emergencies only.

• Any non-emergency messages left will have to be deleted to preserve space.

 

We ask that you Register on our Citizens Registration portal https://citizensregistration.dfa.ie/

If you have a query or require an essential service, please complete our Contact Us form. 

If you wish to discuss your situation, we can arrange to call you back

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