UK Bans Dubai (UAE) Arrivals + Written Proof For Foreign Travel Required


The UK has added the United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Rwanda, and Burundi to the “naughty” red countries from which arrivals to the UK are banned. Returning residents and citizens must quarantine for ten nights without possible early release.

The ban starts on January 29, 2021, at 1 PM GMT. The rule also presents direct passenger flights between these destinations that primarily affect Dubai, a popular playground for Brits “working remotely.”

You can access UK GOvernment’s announcement here.

British Nationals and residents will also require a written proof to leave the country for professional purposes.

Here are the red countries as of today:

  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ecuador
  • Eswatini
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
  • Seychelles
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Here’s the announcement from the UK Government:

  • entry to the UK is banned for visitors arriving from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Burundi and Rwanda from 29 January 2021 at 1pm – British, Irish and third-country nationals with residence rights in the UK will be allowed to enter
  • from 4am on Friday morning all arrivals who have, in the 10 days before their arrival in the UK, been in these destinations, and their households, will have to self-isolate immediately, and will not be eligible to use Test to Release
  • move is in response to new evidence showing the likely spread of a coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa

The government has taken the urgent decision to ban travel to the UK from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Burundi and Rwanda to prevent the spread of the new variant originally identified in South Africa into the UK.

From 1pm on Friday 29 January, passengers who have been in or transited through the United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda in the last 10 days will no longer be granted access to the UK.

This does not include British and Irish nationals, or third-country nationals with residence rights in the UK, who will be able to enter the UK but are required to self-isolate for 10 days at home, along with their household. Passengers returning from these countries cannot be released from self-isolation through Test to Release.

There will also be a flight ban on direct passenger flights from the UAE.

The decision to ban travel from these destinations follows the discovery of a new coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa, that may have spread to other countries, including the UAE, Burundi and Rwanda.

Any exemptions usually in place will not apply, including for business travel.

British nationals currently in the UAE should make use of the commercial options available if they wish to return to the UK. Indirect commercial routes that will enable British and Irish nationals and residents to return to the UK continue to operate.

British nationals should check Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice and follow local guidance. The FCDO will continue to offer tailored consular assistance to British nationals in country in need of advice on a 24/7 basis.

Today’s (28 January 2021) action follows new measures announced by the government yesterday to minimise travel across international borders and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, including managed isolation in hotels and the need to declare a reason for travel. More details on these measures will be set out next week.


Many Brits have been “vacationing” (doing remote work officially if asked) in the UAE when a non-essential travel ban has been in place.

Not sure how much these bans will reduce the spread of the virus mutations, and what level of written proof is enough for Brits to be allowed to leave their island?