The world is opening up again with citizens and residents of the UAE who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 now allowed to travel to 19 countries without needing to quarantine when they get there.
Travelers from the UAE now have the option of flying to more than 30 cities in Europe, the US, the Middle East and Africa.
From June 9, no quarantine will be required of UAE nationals and residents traveling to Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Turkey, France and Spain. From July 2, the Maldives, Seychelles and Phuket in Thailand will be added to the no-quarantine list. Emirates airlines will also resume flights to Mexico City from the same date.
The United States joins the list on July 21, with Emirates adding Miami as a new destination.
Closer to home, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon are all open to UAE travelers along with Kenya, Morocco and Tanzania in Africa.
Spain is the latest country to reopen its doors to tourists. Any Europeans who have not yet been vaccinated can still enter Spain if they have a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old but from Monday, they will be able to take a cheaper antigen test instead.
Etihad Airways has also launched a new route to Malaga, on the south coast of Spain, and to two of the most popular Greek islands — Mykonos and Santorini. Flights to Mykonos begin on July 8 and will operate twice weekly until September 11, while flights to Santorini will run twice a week from July 9 to September 12.
A safe travel corridor between the UAE and Greece opened for fully vaccinated travellers in May. Under the agreement, passengers holding vaccination certificates issued by health authorities can now travel to Greece without having to quarantine on arrival or upon returning to the UAE.
The UAE is among the world leaders in vaccine roll-out, with more than three-quarters of the population having had at least one vaccine jab, and booster jabs also being offered six months after first vaccination to bump up immunity.
Sadly for many, travel to the UK remains problematic as the UAE is still on the ‘Red List,’ meaning anyone arriving in Britain from the UAE must quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel, at their own expense, and must have two negative PCR test results (taken on day 2 and day 8) before they’re allowed to leave. The rules apply whether you have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or not.
However, from June 8 it is possible to fly direct from the UAE to one of two UK airports – London Heathrow and Birmingham, where there are dedicated terminals for passengers from Red List countries. But those flights are only available to British or Irish nationals or those with residence rights in the UK.
As well as those already mentioned, the following countries are also quarantine-free for UAE residents but with some test requirements.
Albania: Arriving passengers do not need a negative COVID test to enter Albania.
Andorra: No quarantine required, but if you’re planning to stay three nights or more you will need a negative test issued less than 72 hours before you arrive.
Armenia: A PCR test no older than 72 hours or take a test on arrival at the airport.
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Requires a negative test result taken within 48 hours of arrival.
Bulgaria: No quarantine if you can produce a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours old.
Malta: A negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours.
North Macedonia: No negative PCR test needed.
Serbia: Requires a negative PCR test issued no more than 48 hours before arrival and a test taken on arrival.
Anna Pukas has reported from all over the world as a foreign correspondent for British media. She is now an editor based in Abu Dhabi.