How to Enter Dubai- September 2021

Dubai is one of the most destinations for countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. So it was with much disappointment when UAE had decided to ban the entry of people from these countries in May 2021. I remember I was booked to come in May and the day I was going to my agent to purchase my ticket, that was the day UAE announced this news.

However, as I am writing this, I am sitting in my hotel room in Dubai. I made it over today morning at 4am. The process was tedious, lengthy and slightly confusing, and that’s only because there are no clear guidelines and people were just following each other at the airports.

So here is the step by step process. Do keep in mind that these rules/ policies keep on changing so what I am sharing is relevant for today.

Step One

  • Decide what airline to fly on.
  • Due to the insane rush, you may not get the flight you need. Emirates were fully booked till mid October and I didn’t want to pay out 350,000PKR for business class.
  • So I opted for Executive Economy on Pakistan International Airlines for a more reasonable 127,000PKR.
  • From Lahore, we really only have Emirates and PIA taking flights to Dubai. We also have Etihad to Abu Dhabi and Air Blue to Sharjah.

Step Two

  • Get your PCR test done within 72 hours of your flight. I got mine done exactly 48 hours before my flight from Chughtai Lab.
  • Payment: 6,000PKR.
  • Results: In 12 hours, online.
  • Print two copies of result. If you don’t have access to a printer, pick up results from the testing center.
  • Fun fact: the swab goes up in both your nostrils!

Step Three

  • Go to the airport for the Rapid PCR Test. Get there several hours before your flight time. So my flight was 1240am, and I got there 8pm.
  • At Lahore airport, go to the far right end of the airport. You will see lots of booths, with PIA PK 203 Dubai written on each booth.
  • Show them your passport and your 48 hour test results that you took earlier.
  • They will give you a payment slip and a token. Keep this handy.
  • They will also give you a piece of paper which you need to fill in. This paper, I was told, is to be handed in to Dubai immigration.
  • Payment: 5000PKR.
  • Your test will take place at the PIA Sampling Center. It’s quick and easy.
  • Another fun fact: the swab goes up both your nostrils!
  • They tell you to come back after two and half hours, so I took McDonalds and went home and caught up on my series.

Step Four

  • Come back to the same place and collect your Rapid test results.
  • You will need to give them the token to collect your results. They will give you two copies.
  • First check: this is before luggage screening. They will check your passport and airline ticket only.
  • Second check: happens after luggage screening. They will check your passport only. I was exempted from luggage search and currency declaration.
  • Check in counter: hand in your passport, visa page, 48 hour test and Rapid test. They will keep a copy each of your 48 hour test result and the Rapid test results.
  • Immigration check: They will check only passport and boarding pass.
  • Last check: luggage screening, they will just boarding pass

Step Five

  • Arrival in Dubai: you will be walking towards the Covid-19 testing center. All signs are marked so it’s easy to follow. It will take about ten-fifteen minutes to walk to the testing center.
  • Test: just give them your passport and boarding pass, and they will fill out everything on the computer system. They will ask for a working mobile phone number in UAE.
  • If your number isn’t on roaming, consider giving a friend’s number. I didn’t have one so I gave my friend’s number.
  • It’s a quick one-second test and you are done.
  • Fun fact: the swab goes up only ONE of your nostrils!
  • Immigration: They just want your passport.
  • There is no need to give them anything, not even the paper I was given in Lahore to fill in. They didn’t even bother taking that.
  • Make sure they put a small round sticker on your passport. This has your QR code for covid test.

I had given the test at 4:21 at the airport.

At 8am, I got the test results on my friend’s phone. I am negative. So it wasn’t even like I had to wait for 24 hours. It was just under four hours that I got the results. This means I can go out and about now.

As always, please do stay safe. Keep masks on at all times.

People weren’t always wearing masks both in Lahore and in Dubai.

The testing center at Dubai is overcrowded, with no social distancing, so walk all the way down to the last testing booth as they are empty.

Keep a clear plastic folder to make things easy for you at each check point:

Visa Copy

48 Hour test results 2x copies

Rapid Test results 2x copies

Funnily enough, at no point did anyone in Lahore or in Dubai ask me for my vaccination certificate. So I don’t know why I even bothered printing that out.

This is the new normal. We will have to get used to it. Testings. Mask wearing. Social distancing. Longer wait times.

Safe travels everyone. If you have any questions, go ahead and ask me!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. maristravels says:

    I’ll think I’ll still hold off on the travelling until things are much easier. The experience sounds awful – and all that walking!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You are right. Personally speaking for me it was the stress of getting three pcr tests done.

    Liked by 1 person

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