Last updated: 20 Sep 2021

Dubai (UAE)

About

From the timeless tranquillity of the desert to the lively bustle of the souk, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) offers a kaleidoscope of attractions for visitors. In recent years, the country has rocketed to the forefront of the international tourism stakes.
Go haggling in Dubai's famous souks, magnets for those in search of gold and jewellery bargains, and also for photographers or those who just want to experience the sights, smells and hubbub. Experience off-road driving in the desert - vehicles are for hire either with or without guides. Numerous operators offer desert driving trips.

Take your golf bag - Dubai is one of the world's top golfing destinations. Venues like the Emirates Golf Club regularly host top international competitions, and others are dotted around the UAE. You can even try your hand at sand golf. Sun yourself on Dubai's superb white sandy beaches. Much of the long expanse of Jumeirah Beach in Dubai is dominated by luxury hotels and their facilities but there is a good stretch of public beach available.

If you're travelling with kids, take them to the Magic Planet children's centre in the Deira City shopping mall, or to Dubai's Wonderland family fun park, which offers a wide range of watery attractions for the youngsters.
Capital:  Dubai (DXB)
Currency:  UAE Dirham (AED)
Language:  Arabic. English is widely understood. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 971
Time Zones: UTC/GMT +4 hours (2 hours ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays:

See UAE

Side of the Road: Right
Best Time to go: November – April
Best For: Shopping
Plugs: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs are widespread.
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink, but is provided due to desalination therefore visitors may preferred bottled water. 
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended.
Customs: United Arab Emirates is a liberal Islamic country and foreign women can dress as they like, but should dress more conservatively when out in public areas (shoulders and knees covered).  Swimwear should be reserved for the beach. Public displays of affection should be avoided. Respect to religious customs should also be shown during the month of Ramadan. [Note: in Sharjah, women are not allowed to wear bathing suits in public]
Local Offences / Laws: Homosexuality and adultery are illegal. Non-married couples are not allowed to share hotel rooms, although this is rarely enforced. Eating, drinking and smoking in public during Ramadan is prohibited during daylight hours (visitors are excluded from this but should do so in private). Drug trafficking carries severe penalties (certain medications are banned; please check before travelling with over-the-counter or prescription medication).
Travel Tips / Warnings: If you are travelling with medication, it should be noted that certain medications are not allowed in the country even with a prescription.  Avoid photographing Muslim women and do not photograph airports, docks, telecommunications equipment, government buildings, military and industrial installations.
Duty Free: The following items may be imported into the United Arab Emirates without incurring customs duty:
• 400 cigarettes and 50 cigars and 500g of tobacco.
• 4L of wine or spirits or 24 cans of beer.
• Goods to the value of AED3,000.
Prohibited Imports: Narcotics, goods from boycotted countries (eg Israel), ivory, rhino horn, gambling devices, original engravings, prints or sculptures, any immoral publications or media contradicting Islamic teachings, counterfeit currency, and cooked or homemade food. If you are planning to carry medication into the country, check with your embassy in advance, as some common, over-the-counter medicines that are freely available elsewhere in the world are prohibited in the UAE. Penalties are severe - you could go to prison if you’re caught.

Travel Alerts

Last updated: 15/09/2021

Entry restrictions vary between the Emirates. Entry is permitted from most countries.

Flight restrictions

  • Flights from Afghanistan, India, Indonesia to the United Arab Emirates are suspended.
    • This does not apply to passengers in transit through India.
  • Passengers aged 7 years or older need to wear a surgical face mask during their entire trip.

Form requirements

  • Passengers must complete a Covid-19 Screening Registration here prior to travelling to the United Arab Emirates.
  • Passengers must hold a special form of their itinerary and have downloaded and activated the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention's ALHOSN app on their mobile phones.

Insurance requirements

  • Passengers travelling from the following countries must hold health insurance: Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, or Zimbabwe.
  • This does not apply to the following passengers:
    • Nationals and residents of the United Arab Emirates,
    • Passengers entering the United Arab Emirates through Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH),
    • Passengers in transit.

Test and quarantine restrictions

  • Passengers arriving from the following restricted countries must hold a negative PCR test result tested within 48 hours prior to departure (with a QR code), and a Rapid PCR test result tested within 6 hours prior to departure: Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Liberia, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia. Passengers must also ensure they meet the following requirements:
    • Passengers who are returning residents of the UAE are also required to hold an official vaccine certificate confirming they were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 14 days prior to arrival;
    • For passengers departing from a restricted country via another restricted country before arriving in Dubai:
      • they are required to take a Rapid PCR test within 6 hours before departure of the inbound flight to Dubai, if the passenger has exited the transit airport;
      • they are required to take a Rapid PCR test within 6 hours before departure of the inbound flight to Dubai, if the passenger does not hold a valid Rapid PCR test report obtained from their place of first departure;
    • For passenger departing from a restricted country via a non-restricted country before arriving in Dubai:
      • they are required to take a Rapid PCR test within 6 hours before departure of the inbound flight to Dubai, if the passenger does not hold a valid Rapid PCR test report obtained from their place of first departure; or
      • they shall complete a stay for 14 days in the non-restricted country;
    • For passenger departing from a non-restricted country via a restricted country before arriving in Dubai:
      • they are required to take a Rapid PCR test within 6 hours before departure of the inbound flight to Dubai, if the passenger has exited the transit airport;
    • Passengers will be subject to a PCR test upon arrival in Dubai.
    • The requirement to hold two test results does not apply to the following passengers:
      • Nationals of the UAE, including their first degree family members;
      • Domestic workers escorting their sponsors who are nationals of the UAE during travel; 
      • Children aged younger than 12 years;
      • Passengers with disabilities.
  • Passengers may be required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in the United Arab Emirates if arriving into airports other than Dubai International Airport (DXB),  Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) or Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).
    • This does not apply to passengers in transit.

Exit restrictions

  • Nationals of the United Arab Emirates are required to register with the 'Twajudi' service here prior to departure from the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, they must hold a negative Covid-19 test result and medical insurance that covers travel in their destination country.
  • Nationals of the United Arab Emirates departing from the United Arab Emirates are not permitted to travel to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Liberia, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Uganda, Vietnam, or Zambia.
  • This does not apply to:
    • Passengers travelling for a diplomatic mission, official economic and scientific mission, or other official mission;
    • Passengers travelling for urgent medical treatment.

Passengers entering the United Arab Emirates through Dubai International Airport (DXB) or Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC)

Entry requirements

  • Passengers are not permitted to enter Dubai if they transit other countries on their journey from Nigeria.
  • Passengers are not permitted to enter Dubai if they have been to India in the past 14 days.
  • The entry restrictions from India does not apply to the following passengers:
    • Nationals of the United Arab Emirates;
    • Holders of UAE golden visas;
    • Air crew;
    • Diplomatic missions and official delegations;
    • Businessmen on special flights; or
    • Passengers travelling to Dubai who are holding a visa or an entry permission issued by the United Arab Emirates.
  • Passengers travelling from India are not permitted to transit in Dubai.
  • A visa may be obtained on arrival at Dubai International Airport (DXB) for passengers holding a valid visa issued by the United States or a Schengen Area member state.
  • Returning residents must obtain permission to enter from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) website.
  • This does not apply to passengers holding a visa sponsored by 'Dubai EXPO 2020'.
    • For passengers arriving from India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, or Uganda; permission granted on the 4th August 2021 or earlier is not accepted for entry.
  • National ID cards issued by Gulf Cooperation Council member states are not accepted for entry into Dubai.

Testing and quarantine requirements

  • Passengers are not permitted to travel to Dubai if not holding a printed copy of a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate obtained from an approved laboratory in the original place of departure and with the examination no more than 72 hours before departure to Dubai. The negative test certificate must have a QR code, be in English or Arabic, be authentic and unaltered, and may not be handwritten. It is also mandatory that the test certificate includes a QR code which is linked to the original test report for verification purposes. Passengers can obtain this by either registering online here or using a state government approved laboratory. A list of approved laboratories can be found here.
  • This does not apply to:
    • Nationals of United Arab Emirates,
    • Minors aged under 12 years old;
    • Passengers with moderate or severe disabilities;
    • Crew members,
    • Passengers in transit,
    • Passengers escorting relations of nationals of United Arab Emirates, or
    • Domestic workers, provided travelling with their sponsor who is a national of United Arab Emirates.
  • Passengers travelling from Pakistan are not permitted to enter or transit Dubai if not holding a printed copy of a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate obtained from an approved laboratory and with the examination no more than 72 hours before departure to Dubai. The test certificate must be authentic and unaltered, and it may not be handwritten. The test certificate must be issued in English or Arabic. The report must include a QR code which is linked to the original report, for verification purposes.
  • This does not apply to:
    • Passengers escorting relatives of nationals of United Arab Emirates, or
    • Domestic workers, provided travelling with their sponsor who is national of United Arab Emirates.
  • Passengers travelling from Nigeria to Dubai must also hold a negative Covid-19 rapid test on departure at the originating airport in Nigeria.
  • This does not apply to:
    • Crew members operating from an airline operator based in the United Arab Emirates,
    • Passengers escorting relatives of nationals of United Arab Emirates, or
    • Domestic workers, provided travelling with their sponsor who is a national of United Arab Emirates.
  • Passengers travelling from the following countries are subject to additional PCR test upon arrival in Dubai: Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, or Zimbabwe.
  • This does not apply to:
    • Nationals of United Arab Emirates,
    • Crew members,
    • Passengers in transit,
    • Passengers escorting relatives of nationals of United Arab Emirates, or
    • Domestic workers, provided travelling with their sponsor who is a national of United Arab Emirates.
  • Passengers travelling from Gulf Cooperation Council member states will be subject to a Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival in Dubai.
  • Passengers travelling from India will be subject to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, and PCR testing on arrival, day 4 and day 8.
  • Passengers travelling from Vietnam must hold a negative PCR test certificate from an approved laboratory obtained within 48 hours prior to departure. Passengers may obtain a test by registering at PreFlightTest or using a state government approved laboratory list of government approved laboratories. These passengers may be required to quarantine for 10 days on arrival.
    • This does not apply to crew members operating from an airline operator based in the United Arab Emirates,
    • Passengers escorting relatives of nationals of United Arab Emirates, or
    • Domestic workers, provided travelling with their sponsor who is a national of United Arab Emirates.

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of U.A.E
992 Arcadia Street, Arcadia
PO Box 57090, Arcadia, 0007
Tel: (012) 342-7736
Fax: (012) 342-7738
E-mail: pretoriaemb@mofaic.gov.ae

Consular Section : 
Tel: (012) 342 9567
Email: pretoriaemb.visa@mofaic.gov.ae

The Embassy does not issue tourist visas.

Visa Requirements

See United Arab Emirates Country Guide. 

Visa Cost

UAE Customs and Immigration will be charging 100 AED for any visa cancellations.

All Dubai Stopover packages cancelled prior to 72 hours of arrival will be refunded the entire amount excluding the Visa processing fee and the additional 100 AED cancellation fee.

Packages cancelled within 72 hours of arrival are 100% non-refundable and subject to a 100 AED visa cancellation fee.

It is imperative to ensure all visas are cancelled by the customer or Travel Agent if the passenger has cancelled their DSO package. Failure to do this could potentially deny the passenger entry into the UAE on a future trip.

This cancellation fee is applicable to any visitor to the UAE, irrespective of who they book/process their visa through.

Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Tetanus, Polio