The United Arab Emirates (UAE) said on Saturday that it would ban its own citizens from travelling abroad unless they are fully vaccinated. The travel ban will come into force on January 10, 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced via the official WAM news agency.
The ban will only apply to Emirati citizens who only account for around 11 per cent of the UAE’s total population. The country’s majority expat community will be still be allowed to freely travel abroad regardless of vaccination status
In a statement, the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority said the travel ban was the result of the current surge in COVID-19 infections globally but officials did not say whether the restrictions on unvaccinated citizens might be lifted in the future.
Eligible Emirati citizens will need to have received their booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated.
Foreign tourists do not need to be vaccinated to visit the UAE but must take a PCR test and have a negative certificate before departing for the country. Rules differ slightly between the emirates and unvaccinated travellers might be required to quarantine, although no such restriction applies in Dubai where most tourists visit.
In recent weeks, the UAE has applied travel bans on foreigners who have been in a number of African countries over Omicron fears. The UAE has not yet followed in the steps of the United States, the United Kingdom and much of Europe in easing restrictions on African countries despite the now global spread of the Omicron variant.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.