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Alerts and Updates

Pandemic Travel Restrictions for the Middle East: Know Before You Go

July 19, 2021

Pandemic Travel Restrictions for the Middle East: Know Before You Go

July 19, 2021

Read below

The U.S. government currently requires all air passengers entering the United States to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure​. 

Traveling abroad for work, school or pleasure is fraught with complexities due to COVID-19 restrictions and regulations. Before employees plan international travel, it is important to be aware of travel restrictions, quarantine requirements and any travel prohibitions.


Entering Israel from the United States

U.S. citizens who are not Israeli citizens/residents must apply in advance to the Israeli government for a permit to enter or transit Israel. Applications must be submitted to the Office of the Population Authority or the Israeli Embassy. There are several factors that the government of Israel will consider when determining the issuance of a permit.

All passengers arriving in Israel whose itinerary is 72 hours or longer must present a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result to airline staff. The test must be taken within 72 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure for Israel. This requirement applies to people with a vaccination certificate or a certificate of recovery. Entry to Israel depends on complying with this requirement.

Passengers arriving in Israel who cannot take a PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure because of humanitarian grounds or special personal needs, or if it is physically impossible to gain access to a PCR test in the location they are flying from, may apply to the Exceptions Committee.

All passengers (Israeli citizens and foreign nationals), including vaccinated and recovered passengers, who arrive in Israel must submit an entry statement. In the statement form, passengers are required to fill out their personal information, the address of the accommodation where they will isolate and a health declaration. The statement form should be filled out within 24 hours prior to the scheduled departure time to Israel, preferably as close as possible to departure time. We recommend arriving in the airport with the clearance and the form already filled out, which can be a digital file or a printout. Passengers who must go into isolation must use this form to report their isolation address. Those who have a valid Israel Ministry of Health vaccination or recovery certificate are not required to go into isolation upon arrival if they arrive from the United States.

If you are not vaccinated or recovered, you will have to go into isolation and comply with isolation requirements and guidance. Those who are vaccinated or recovered must also isolate unless they apply for an exemption involving a serologic test taken in a Ministry of Health accredited laboratory. Check the Israeli government website for up-to-date details regarding the exemption and procedures (which change often).

Passengers must present the PCR test results to airline staff, to officials of the Immigration and Population Authority and to officials of the Ministry of Health at the airport. Note that boarding will be denied for COVID-19-confirmed cases.

Entering the United States from Israel

Israeli citizens or residents are permitted to enter the United States, so long as they comply with all COVID-19-related procedures, complete a DS-160 online application and receive a nonimmigrant visa from a scheduled appointment. The U.S. government currently requires all air passengers entering the United States to present a negative COVID-19 test (a viral detection test for SARS-CoV-2 approved or authorized by the relevant national authority) taken within 72 hours of departure​. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before boarding. Airlines must deny boarding of passengers if they do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery. This requirement is separate from the visa application process.

United Arab Emirates

Entering the UAE from the United States

Passengers from the United States may now fly to the UAE without needing to self-isolate or quarantine.

All passengers travelling to Dubai (Gulf Cooperation Council countries included) must hold a negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. The certificate must be a PCR test. Other test certificates including antibody tests and home testing kits are not accepted in Dubai.

Starting July 1, the Emirate will end mandatory quarantine protocols for travelers from other countries, including the United States.

Currently, travelers entering Abu Dhabi are required to get tested before departure, get tested upon arrival and self-isolate for 10 days unless they arrive from a "green" countryaccording to the government. The new protocols will put Abu Dhabi more in line with Dubai, which requires international tourists to test negative for coronavirus, but does not have a mandatory quarantine period.

Entering the United States from the UAE

All airline passengers to the United States age 2 years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test (the PCR test commonly administered in the UAE is acceptable) taken within three calendar days of travel. Alternatively, travelers to the United States may provide documentation from a licensed healthcare provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. All passengers age 2 and above traveling to the United States will be required to sign an attestation prior to departure (parent or other authorized individual may attest on behalf of passengers aged 2 to 17) confirming they meet the requirements and thus cleared to travel. Passengers who do not attest will not be permitted to travel. 

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help employers plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For More Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact Sharon L. Caffrey, Lisa Spiegel, any of the attorneys in our Immigration Law Group, any member of our COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.