COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Abu Dhabi Changed

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis, and Disasters Committee on September 4th has updated procedures for entering the Abu Dhabi emirate.

In line with efforts to expand testing for the early detection of COVID-19 infections, starting Saturday, September 5th, residents and visitors can enter the emirate of Abu Dhabi within 48 hours of receiving a negative PCR or DPI test result. DPI test results no longer require a prior PCR test.

Residents and visitors who stay for six consecutive days or more within Abu Dhabi emirate must now take a PCR test on the sixth day of each visit, in order to protect the health and safety of the community.



This replaces the previous guidelines introduced on August 27 by the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis, and Disasters Committee that required all those traveling to the emirate to present a PCR negative certificate.

Children under 12 and those with chronic health conditions have always been exempt from the requirement. The updated policy makes no mention of a change to this.

Volunteers in the Covid-19 vaccine trials are exempt from these entry measures and are authorized to use emergency vehicle lanes for a smooth journey.

abudhabi covid update sept4

Arriving Abu Dhabi by Air

Abu Dhabi International Airport announced that as of August 12th, UAE Residents arriving to the UAE are automatically granted the Federal Authority for Identity and and Citizenship (ICA) permit pre-approval without the need to submit an application. However, all passengers need to obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test result before traveling, issued no more than 96 hours prior to arriving in the UAE. 

Upon arrival, all inbound passengers will have to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 PCR test at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

While in Abu Dhabi International Airport, you will need to wear a face-mask and disposable hand gloves. You will also need to adhere to social distancing measures at all times.

Abu Dhabi hotels have been instructed to collect signed copies of a Health Declaration form from international travelers upon check-in. The declaration includes information on self-quarantine protocols.

abudhabi covid update sept4 faq

PCR vs. DPI test

PCR tests are used to directly detect the presence of an antigen, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies. By detecting viral RNA, which will be present in the body before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present, the tests can tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on.

The DPI technology is based on laser technology using blood samples for examining the virus. It allows the health authorities to carry out large-scale screening within a few seconds. It serves as a first step to detect suspected cases of infections before they undergo a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab tests. Laser-based DPI is based on optical-phase modulation which is able to give a signature of infection within a few seconds. It is user-friendly, non-invasive and low-cost.

There are two locations for DPI testing in Dubai (in Mina Rashed and Al Khawaneej), five in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi, and a further four in the Northern Emirates.


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