Wow: UAE Bans Nationals From Leaving Country

Filed Under: Emirates

Update: The UAE has now also banned all passenger flights for 14 days starting March 25, 2020. Emirates plans to resume operations on April 6, 2020.

The UAE has announced some drastic measures to battle COVID-19, including being one of the first countries to ban people from leaving (rather than just banning entry of certain people).

So, what all are the new UAE policies?

UAE banning nationals from leaving the UAE

As of March 19, 2020, the United Arab Emirates is banning nationals from leaving the country. That’s right, locals can’t even travel outside the country, even if they have no plans to return in the coming weeks or months.

The UAE is banning nationals from leaving

UAE banning entry of visa holding residents

As of March 19, 2020, the United Arab Emirates is banning the entry of valid visa holding residents arriving. Those who are outside the UAE are advised to contact the UAE diplomatic missions in their respective host countries for all necessary support to facilitate their return.

“Visa holding residents” presumably refers to the foreigners who largely make the country function, since the UAE has a massive foreign population working in just about all industries.

UAE nationals continue to be able to return home.

UAE suspends all visas

Also as of March 19, 2020, the United Arab Emirates has temporarily suspended the issuance of all entry visas, including those for countries eligible for visa issuance on arrival. The only exception is diplomatic passports.

The UAE is suspending all visas

Suspension of flights from some destinations

The UAE has also banned all scheduled passenger flights to and from the following countries until further notice:

  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Iraq
  • Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Italy, except for Rome
  • Jordan
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • People’s Republic of China, except for Beijing
  • Syria
  • Turkey

The UAE is banning flights from Turkey

Health screening on arrival

On arrival in the UAE, all passengers have to go through a thermal scanning process as they pass through customs. On top of that, those arriving from Rome, Beijing, and Thailand, have to undergo thermal screening and a nasal swab.

What does this mean for Emirates?

Update: In the meantime, Emirates has announced that all flights will be suspended indefinitely as of March 25, 2020.

Emirates will continue to operate as before, though with a reduced schedule. As you can see above, the airline is banned from flying to certain countries, and on top of that I’d expect reduced frequencies in other major markets.

However, Emirates has long been primarily serving connecting passengers, and it seems like that will continue. They’re very much welcoming connecting passengers, while for the time being not serving those with the UAE as their origin or final destination.

Emirates will continue operating

Bottom line

The UAE is taking among the strongest measures I’ve seen of any country when it comes to restricting movement into & out of the country. In addition to closing off to visitors, all visa holding residents aren’t allowed to return, and UAE nationals aren’t allowed to leave.

Dubai is supposed to host Expo 2020, intended to kick off in October. I’m sure they’re very motivated to get this under control before then…

  1. Australia went to level 4 ‘do not travel’ for the whole world and not letting non respondents in. It’s not just the UAE it’s everywhere. The government expects this to be the case for 6 months.

  2. Wow: some challenging economic trends for the UAE right now: Low oil prices, fewer expats due to lower opportunities, way too many property developpers

    1) Any of you planning to visit the much advertised Expo 2020 of Dubai?

    2) Do you think Dubai target of 20 Millions visitors for 2020 will be reached?

  3. Malaysia has also gone into total lock down. No one can leave or come in. 300,000 low income earners who travel to Singapore each day are now staying at hotels in Singapore – whilst not the Four Seasons they are decent hotels. Hotels in Malaysia such as “The Datai” have completely shut down.

  4. The Philippines implemented a similar travel ban 3 days ago along with suspending all domestic flights. Filipinos have been allowed to enter the country and foreigners leave for the past three days, but all international flights are scheduled to be suspended in a few hours. However, this may be delayed if there are still people trying to leave or enter the country.

  5. However, this may be delayed if there are still people trying to leave or enter the country.

  6. Also: everyone who arrives will be mandatory quarantained for 14 days. I guess that’s only applicable to citizens, since no-one else can enter the country anymore. Regardless, Emirates flights to Europe are packed these days!

  7. @Ed – yes, no non-citizens or permanent residents (except immediate family) into Australia after 9pm Friday.

    However, the Level 4 “do not travel” is an advisory. You can leave the country… Finding a flight might be the bigger problem.

  8. Many of those flight bans had already existed or are moot anyway since some of those airports have closed.

  9. @Stanley

    What on earth makes you think that the Expo will even happen, this shit is not going to be over for a long time.

  10. I flew Emirates on Monday from Dubai to Paris (an A-380 that departs at 03:20) and Business Class was quite empty. I was surprised, because the airport was very crowded. Life in Dubai seemed normal to me, but obviously things are changing rapidly.

  11. I normally don’t wish bad for any one at all. One reason I made a business in Dubai is that I felt is a very safe country. But God forbidden if you happen to have a court case. You will never see a justice it’s all about how much influence you have. Otherwise you are not safe at all. You can’t win Arabs and localls specifically if your dealing with Arabic lady for sure you are the looser no matter. And the discrimination you face in this country is like no where else. Therefore I wholeheartedly wish a biggest stroke and bankrupt for Dubai and never expo 2020 succeed.

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