Much to the delight of Abu Dhabi residents and tourists, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) announced that an easing of mask-wearing rules indoors would apply from 28 September 2022, a massive step forward for the UAE in the battle against containing COVID.
A further update to rules abolished the need to present a “Green Pass” on Al Hosn to enter public spaces from 7 November 2022.
Whilst it was made quite clear in their announcement what happens when you’re physically in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, what happens when you’re flying to the UAE was less than clear at first as it was left to “airlines discretion”.
From public announcements made since, we have pulled together this information for residents and tourists:
Are masks still required on Etihad-operated flights?
Etihad Airways has announced that masks can now be removed on most routes.
It’s nice to see your smile.— Etihad Airways (@etihad) September 28, 2022
We’ve relaxed our rules around masks on board. You’ll only need to wear a mask if you’re flying to China, India and other select destinations.
For more info visit https://t.co/JUk4uE1Ghd
Etihad Airways has announced that masks will only be required for passengers flying to China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Maldives, Philippines, South Korea, Seychelles or Canada. (Information current as of October 2022).
Flying inbound to Abu Dhabi, you are no longer required to wear your face mask on Etihad-operated flights.
Face Masks at Abu Dhabi Airport
Abu Dhabi International Airport has also announced that mask-wearing is optional for all passengers travelling through AUH airport. The airport will continue adhering to Covid-19 precautionary measures, including social distancing, sterilisation and preventive guidelines.
The wearing of masks on flights operated by other airlines inbound to Abu Dhabi is at the discretion of the individual airline. You’ll need to check your requirements with that airline before flying.
What about mask-wearing at Dubai Airports & Airlines?
Similarly, immediately following the NCEMA announcement on 28 September 2022, Dubai Airports covering both Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC), announced that mark-wearing for passengers would be optional.
Emirates and flydubai had also clarified that for passengers travelling from or transiting through the Dubai airports, the Covid safety rules of their destination would apply throughout their journey.
This means that if the final destination requires masks to be worn, the airline will ask passengers to wear a face covering.
Current COVID rules in Abu Dhabi
The great news for international travellers to Abu Dhabi and the UAE is that there are now few COVID rules to be aware of, though one extremely important point that visitors must be aware of is the continuing need for a “Green Pass” on the Al Hosn App to enter public places.
UPDATE November 2022: Green Pass no longer required for public spaces in Abu Dhabi
Activating your Al Hosn (or having a friend/relative you are visiting with activating this on their mobile device for you) is still a necessary step for all visitors, expect those arriving by cruise ship.
You do not need a compulsory PCR test when landing at AUH, but if you stay in the city and enter public buildings and spaces, we’d strongly recommend you get your PCR done at the airport testing facility, just 40 AED per person.
Travelling directly to Dubai, it is NOT required (but note, in a taxi or bus to Dubai, face masks must still be worn).
More International Arrivals information for AUH
Arriving in the UAE with Etihad or at AUH, you may also want to read more about:
- The easiest way to get from Abu Dhabi Airport to Dubai
- Understand all your Abu Dhabi Transport options
- Get these cultural landmarks of Abu Dhabi on your list
Before you go… Important things to consider planning a trip to Abu Dhabi
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Abu Dhabi, a handy guide on what to pack as well as top tips for first-timers on the dos and don’ts, laws, and customs in the UAE.
- Check the most up-to-date COVID entry rules for Abu Dhabi.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!
- Discover the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our hotel or tour recommendation links.Abu Dhabi Travel Planner