Tuesday, September 21, 2021

United Arab Emirates finally reopens doors to South Africans

Things seem to be looking up for South Africans, with a number of countries allowing entry to fully vaccinated visitors. The United Arab Emirates joins France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Austria in allowing vaccinated South Africans to pass through their borders.

The UAE’s extended entry ban which has continued for over seven months has finally come to an end. South Africans who have just recently (since 5 August) been allowed to transit the UAE on flights operated by Emirates Airlines from points in South Africa are now permitted to apply for entry visas that allow entry to the United Arab Emirates.

OPENING UP TO VACCINATED VISITORS

On Saturday 28 August the UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) announced the news that the UAE would be opening up tourist visa applications for all nationalities, provided such individuals have been fully vaccinated with vaccines listed on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) list of approved vaccines.

REOPENING TO PREVIOUSLY BANNED COUNTRIES

Authorities in the UAE imposed flight and entry bans on South Africa in mid-January this year. This was as a result of the Beta variant of the Coronavirus, having been discovered in South Africa in December 2020.  

A report from the Emirates News Agency said that the decision applies to citizens of all countries, including those arriving from the previously banned countries. This update will come into effect from Monday 30 August.

APPROVED VACCINES

The vaccines listed on the World Health Organisation’s list of approved Covid-19 vaccines include :

  • Oxford–AstraZeneca (including Covishield),
  • Pfizer-BioNTech,
  • Sinopharm-BBIBP,
  • Moderna,
  • Sinovac,
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).

RAPID PCR TESTING

Visitors arriving from some previously restricted destinations will be required to perform a rapid PCR test at the airport on arrival.

REGISTERING VACCINATION CERTIFICATES

Vaccine certificates are essential for travellers wishing to enter the United Arab Emirates under the updated rules.

Before leaving for the UAE, visitors must download the ICA app and fill in the form under the Register Arrival section. Here you can upload vaccination certificates and once completed, you’ll be sent an SMS with a link to download the Alhosn app.

CHILDREN

Although specific instructions on the minimum age requirement for vaccine proof have yet to be stipulated, if the UAE follows the global average, visitors under 16 years of age would be exempt from having to demonstrate vaccination status.

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