The United Arab Emirates has been added to the RED list of countries late this afternoon. Any foreign national without UK residency rights is prohibited from entering the United Kingdom when travelling from a country the FCO has added to red list. In addition, direct flights from red list countries to the United Kingdom are prohibited. The restrictions on the United Arab Emirates will come in to force from 1300 GMT on Friday 29th January 2021.
The announcement will have severe repercussions for British Nationals currently in the UAE. Under the current measures, UK nationals and residents can return home, but they must do so via a third country. With the number of countries currently restricting transit or entry for British nationals, this might prove to be difficult for many travellers. Upon their return from the United Arab Emirates, travellers must self-isolate for 10 days. However, from 8th February, any traveller returning from a red list country will be quarantined in a hotel facility at their own cost. Any traveller from the UAE to the UK will not be able to take advantage of the fast release option which allows travellers to take a covid test after 5 days and end their quarantine if the test comes back negative. This has led to a last-minute scramble with weary travellers eager to secure flights home tonight before the ban on direct flights comes into effect tomorrow.
The UK now requires passengers to present a negative PCR test upon arrival and, as these generally take a minimum of 24 hours to process, most travellers will not be able to travel back tonight even if they can secure a seat on one of the last flights. Those booked on Emirates will be pleased to learn that the airline is rebooking British travellers on flights to Dublin and then onward connections to various points within the UK. Those that have travelled on other airlines are yet to learn what arrangements have been made for them.
Qatar Airways has announced that they will not permit British nationals in the UAE to board any Qatar Airways operated flight from the UAE if their final destination is within the United Kingdom.
#QatarAirways has temporarily suspended acceptance of new bookings from UAE for the next 7 days due to UK government concerns. South Africa & Rwanda are also temporarily suspended – exceptions include GCC nationals & Resident Permit Holders returning to other GCC countries. pic.twitter.com/UQFhcPK1xs
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) January 29, 2021
The UAE immigration authorities have confirmed that as a result of the announcement by the British government, any traveller that has entered on a tourist visa may be entitled to extend their visa without charge. Further information can be obtained from the UAE immigration authorities.
The new ban on direct flights from the UAE to the UK will have a number of other consequences. Emirates is one of the most popular airlines for passengers flying to destinations across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The new rules will result in the cancellation of 78 flights which many travellers who are currently overseas would be relying on to get back home.
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