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Which Countries Restrict Travel to People With HIV?
It was only in 2010 that the United States finally lifted its 22-year ban on travelers with HIV , a law that prohibited all infected persons from obtaining tourist visas or permanent residence status in the U.S.. The order, initiated by George H.W. Bush in 2008, was made official by Barack Obama on January 4, 2010.
While efforts are being made to end similar laws throughout the world, the Global Database on HIV-Specific Travel & Residence Restrictions (a joint European initiative published by the International AIDS Society) reports that as of 2023, 56 out of 200 countries are known to have entry regulations for people living with HIV, and seven of these countries will categorically refuse entry without exception. In some of these countries, entry may be allowed, but there are restrictions depending on the length of stay. For example, 54 countries have restrictions on stays over 90 days (student and work visas); whereas less than 10 countries have laws that can affect travelers visiting for less than 90 days (tourists). Furthermore, 18 of these countries will deport visitors discovered to have HIV.
HIV Travel Restrictions in Practice
It is important to note, however, that there is often a lack of clarity about these laws, with some either not addressing HIV directly (describing only "infectious disease" concerns) or not enforcing the laws all that stringently, if at all. As such, the assessments provided below are couched in terms that best reflect whether an action "will," "can" or "may" take place.
Similarly, there is a lack of clarity about the import of antiretroviral drugs —whether the drugs are allowed for personal use; how much can be brought in if they are permitted; or if possession of such constitutes the right to deny entry.
For these reasons, it is advised that you always speak with the consulate or embassy of any of the listed destinations if you plan to visit.
Countries With Restrictions for People Living with HIV
Algeria (>90 days)
Aruba (>90 days)
Australia (>90 days)
Azerbaidjan (>90 days)
Bahrain (>90 days)
Belize (>90 days)
Bhutan (>2 weeks)
Bosnia Herzegovina (>90 days)
Brunei (no entry, will deport)
Cayman Islands (>90 days)
China (>90 days, will deport)
Cuba (>90 days)
Cyprus (>90 days)
Dominican Republic (>90 days)
Egypt (>90 days, will deport)
Equatorial Guinea (no entry, will deport)
Honduras (>90 days)
Iran (>90 days)
Iraq (>10 days, possible deportation)
Israel (>90 days)
Jordan (no entry, will deport)
Kazakhstan (>90 days)
Kuwait (>90 days, will deport)
Kyrgyzstan (>60 days)
Lebanon (>90 days, will deport)
Malaysia (>90 days, will deport)
Marshall Islands (>30 days)
Mauritius (>90 days)
Montserrat (>90 days)
Nicaragua (>90 days)
North Korea (will deport)
Oman (>90 days, will deport)
Papua New Guinea (>6 months)
Paraguay (>90 days)
Qatar (>1 month, will deport)
Russia (>90 days, will deport)
Samoa (>90 days)
Saudi Arabia (>90 days, will deport)
Seychelles (>90 days)
Singapore (>90 days)
Slovakia (>90 days)
Solomon Islands (no entry, will deport)
St. Kitts and Nevis (>90 days)
St. Vincent and Grenadines (>90 days)
Sudan (>90 days)
Suriname (entry restrictions)
Syria (>90 days, will deport)
Tonga (>90 days)
Tunisia (>30 days)
Turks and Caicos Islands (>90 days)
United Arab Emirates (UAE) (no entry, will deport)
Uzbekistan (>90 days)
Virgin Islands (>90 days)
Yemen (no entry, will deport)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Medical examination of aliens—Removal of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection from definition of communicable disease of public health significance. Final rule . Fed Regist. 2009;74:56547–56562.
The Global Database on HIV-Specific Travel & Residence Restrictions. Regulations on entry, stay and residence for PLHIV .
By James Myhre & Dennis Sifris, MD Dennis Sifris, MD, is an HIV specialist and Medical Director of LifeSense Disease Management. James Myhre is an American journalist and HIV educator.
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The Impact Of Hiv Travel Restrictions In Dubai: Addressing Discrimination And Promoting Inclusion
- Last updated Sep 09, 2023
- Difficulty Beginner
- Category United States
Dubai, known for its luxurious hotels, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, is a popular travel destination for people from all around the world. However, for individuals living with HIV, traveling to Dubai can be a complex and challenging experience due to the strict HIV travel restrictions imposed by the Emirati government. These restrictions not only raise questions about human rights and discrimination, but they also highlight the continued stigmatization and misconceptions surrounding HIV and AIDS. In this article, we will explore these travel restrictions, their impact on those living with HIV, and the ongoing debate surrounding this issue.
What You'll Learn
What are the current travel restrictions for individuals living with hiv in dubai, are there any specific visa requirements for individuals with hiv who want to travel to dubai, how does dubai's travel restrictions for individuals with hiv compare to other countries, are there any exceptions or waivers to the travel restrictions for individuals with hiv in dubai, what is the rationale behind dubai's travel restrictions for individuals with hiv.
As of the time of writing, there are no specific travel restrictions for individuals living with HIV in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Dubai is a popular tourist destination that welcomes visitors from all around the world, including those living with HIV.
Dubai has a reputation for being a progressive and inclusive city, and it is committed to providing equal rights and opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their health status. This includes people living with HIV.
It is important to note that while there are no travel restrictions for individuals living with HIV, there may still be some general travel requirements and precautions that need to be taken into consideration. These requirements may include obtaining the appropriate visa, submitting a negative COVID-19 test result before traveling, and adhering to any health and safety protocols put in place by the authorities.
It is always recommended to check the latest travel advisories and guidelines issued by the local authorities and the respective airline before planning a trip to Dubai or any other destination. These guidelines may be subject to change depending on the current situation and any updates from health authorities.
In addition to checking the travel advisories, individuals living with HIV should also ensure that they have an adequate supply of their medication for the duration of their trip. It is advisable to carry a copy of the prescription and any necessary medical documents in case they are required at immigration or during the trip.
Overall, Dubai is a welcoming destination for individuals living with HIV and provides equal opportunities for all visitors. By following the necessary travel requirements and taking the appropriate precautions, individuals living with HIV can enjoy their trip to Dubai without any specific travel restrictions.
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If you have HIV and are planning a trip to Dubai, it's important to be aware of the specific visa requirements and regulations in place for individuals with this condition. While Dubai generally welcomes tourists from around the world, it has strict regulations regarding the entry of persons with HIV.
Previously, Dubai had a policy that banned individuals with HIV from entering the country, but this has since changed. As of 2010, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), of which Dubai is a part, lifted the travel restrictions for people with HIV. This decision was based on the increasing understanding of HIV, advancements in treatment, and evolving attitudes towards the condition.
Now, individuals with HIV are allowed to enter Dubai as tourists or for business purposes. However, there are certain conditions and requirements that you must meet in order to obtain a visa and gain entry into the country:
- Medical Examination: You may be required to undergo a medical examination, including an HIV test, as part of the visa application process. This may be done in your home country or upon arrival in Dubai. It is essential to ensure that you have up-to-date medical documentation and can provide evidence of your HIV status if required.
- Medication: If you are taking antiretroviral medication, it is crucial to carry an adequate supply for the duration of your trip. It is also recommended to have a letter from your doctor or healthcare provider stating the necessity and dosage of your medication.
- Privacy and Confidentiality: Dubai has strict laws protecting the privacy and confidentiality of individuals with HIV. You should feel assured that your medical information and HIV status will be kept confidential during the visa application process and throughout your stay in the country.
- General Travel Information: In addition to the specific visa requirements for individuals with HIV, it is important to research and comply with the general travel requirements for Dubai. This includes having a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining, proof of accommodation, and a return or onward ticket.
It is worth noting that while the UAE has lifted the travel restrictions for individuals with HIV, other countries within the region may still have restrictions in place. So if you plan to travel to other destinations in the Middle East, it is essential to check the specific visa regulations of each country you intend to visit.
In conclusion, Dubai now allows individuals with HIV to enter the country as tourists or for business purposes. However, there are certain visa requirements, including medical examinations and documentation, that must be met. It is crucial to comply with these requirements and ensure you have all the necessary documents and prescriptions in order to have a hassle-free journey to Dubai.
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Dubai is a popular travel destination known for its luxurious resorts, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. However, it's important to be aware of the travel restrictions in place, especially for individuals with HIV.
Dubai's stance on traveling for individuals with HIV has been a topic of concern for many. The country has been known to enforce strict regulations when it comes to allowing entry for those who are HIV positive. However, it's worth noting that Dubai is not alone in implementing such restrictions, as there are several countries around the world that also have similar policies in place.
One of the main reasons behind these restrictions is the fear of spreading the disease within the country's population. Many countries view HIV as a public health concern and have implemented policies to prevent the transmission of the virus. While these policies may seem discriminatory, they are often seen as necessary to protect the population.
In Dubai, individuals with HIV are required to obtain a special visa in order to enter the country. This process can be lengthy and requires a medical examination to determine the HIV status of the individual. Those who test positive for HIV may be denied entry, and even if they are granted a visa, they may face further restrictions during their stay.
Other countries that also have restrictions for individuals with HIV include Russia, China, Singapore, and several Middle Eastern countries. These countries often require HIV testing as part of the visa application process and may deny entry to those who test positive. Some countries even require proof of recent negative test results before granting a visa.
In contrast, there are several countries that have lifted travel restrictions for individuals with HIV. The United States, Canada, and many European countries have removed such restrictions, allowing individuals with HIV to freely enter and travel within their borders. These countries view HIV as a manageable condition and have taken steps to eliminate discriminatory practices.
It's important for individuals with HIV to research and understand the travel restrictions of their desired destination before planning a trip. This will help them avoid any unpleasant surprises at the airport or border control. Consulting with a travel agent or doing thorough online research can provide valuable information regarding a country's policies towards individuals with HIV.
In conclusion, Dubai's travel restrictions for individuals with HIV are not unique, as several other countries also enforce similar policies. While these restrictions may seem discriminatory, they are based on the fear of spreading the virus within the population. It's crucial for individuals with HIV to stay informed about a country's policies before traveling to avoid any complications or denial of entry.
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Travel restrictions for individuals with HIV have long been a controversial issue around the world. Many countries have implemented bans or restrictions on the entry or stay of people living with HIV, citing concerns about public health and the transmission of the virus. One such country is the United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai as one of its major cities.
In Dubai, the entry and residence regulations for individuals with HIV are strict. According to the Dubai Health Authority, individuals with HIV are not allowed to work or reside in the country. Moreover, they are also prohibited from entering the country for tourism or any other purpose. The UAE's Ministry of Health has stated that these measures are in place to protect public health and prevent the transmission of the virus.
However, there may be some exceptions or waivers to these travel restrictions for individuals with HIV in specific cases. It is recommended that individuals with HIV who are planning to visit or reside in Dubai contact the UAE embassy or consulate in their home country for more information on the specific requirements and processes.
In some cases, individuals with HIV may be able to obtain a medical waiver or special permit to enter or reside in Dubai. This may involve providing detailed medical records, test results, and other supporting documents to demonstrate that the individual poses a negligible risk of transmitting the virus.
It is important to note that even if a waiver or exception is granted, individuals with HIV may still be subject to stringent monitoring and regulations during their stay in Dubai. They may be required to undergo regular medical check-ups, follow certain restrictions, and adhere to specific guidelines aimed at minimizing the risk of transmission.
Furthermore, even with a waiver or exception, individuals with HIV may face social stigma and discrimination while in Dubai. It is crucial for individuals to be aware of their rights and seek support from relevant organizations or advocacy groups if they encounter any form of discrimination or mistreatment.
In conclusion, while there are strict travel restrictions for individuals with HIV in Dubai, there may be exceptions or waivers available in certain cases. It is advisable for individuals with HIV to seek guidance from the UAE embassy or consulate in their home country and be prepared to provide comprehensive medical records and documentation to support their case. It is also important to be aware of the potential social challenges and seek support if needed.
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Dubai, a popular travel destination in the United Arab Emirates, has faced criticism for its travel restrictions for individuals with HIV/AIDS. These restrictions have been a subject of debate and controversy, raising questions about discrimination and human rights issues. However, understanding the rationale behind these restrictions requires a closer look at Dubai's cultural, religious, and legal perspectives.
One of the primary reasons behind Dubai's travel restrictions for individuals with HIV is rooted in religious and cultural beliefs. Islam, which is the official religion of the United Arab Emirates, places significant emphasis on preserving public health and safety. The government considers protecting its citizens from infectious diseases as a crucial responsibility. Therefore, they have implemented policies to prevent the entry of individuals who may potentially pose a risk to public health.
Another factor that influences Dubai's travel restrictions is the legal framework within the country. In the United Arab Emirates, there are laws and regulations that restrict the entry of individuals with certain medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS. These laws are based on the rationale of safeguarding public health and maintaining a healthy population. From a legal perspective, the government has the right to impose travel restrictions to protect its citizens from potential health risks.
However, it is essential to note that Dubai's travel restrictions for individuals with HIV have also sparked criticism from human rights organizations and advocates. They argue that these restrictions contribute to the stigmatization and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS. They claim that such policies are based on outdated and scientifically disproven assumptions about the transmission of the virus. Furthermore, these restrictions can perpetuate social exclusion and hinder efforts to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
In recent years, there have been calls for Dubai to revisit and revise its travel restrictions for individuals with HIV/AIDS. Medical advancements, such as effective antiretroviral therapy, have significantly reduced the risk of HIV transmission. Advocates argue that lifting these restrictions would not only promote inclusivity but also help educate the public about the realities of living with HIV/AIDS.
It is worth mentioning that changes regarding travel restrictions for individuals with HIV/AIDS are dependent on evolving scientific knowledge, societal attitudes, and government policies. As the understanding of HIV/AIDS continues to advance and more countries adopt progressive approaches, Dubai might reconsider its position on travel restrictions. Nevertheless, finding a balance between protecting public health and ensuring equal rights for individuals with HIV/AIDS remains a complex task.
Navigating the Current Global Travel Restrictions: What You Need to Know
Frequently asked questions.
No, there are currently no travel restrictions for people living with HIV in Dubai. The Dubai government has abolished the requirement for HIV testing as part of the visa application process. It is important to note, however, that while there are no specific travel restrictions, individuals living with HIV should still consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to ensure they have the necessary medications and any required documentation for their trip.
No, you are not required to declare your HIV status when entering Dubai. The Dubai government no longer requires HIV testing as part of the visa application process, and there is no specific requirement to disclose your HIV status at the border. It is important to note, however, that individuals should always comply with the laws and regulations of the country they are visiting, and it may be advisable to carry documentation of any necessary medications or medical conditions when traveling.
Yes, individuals living with HIV are allowed to bring their medication with them to Dubai. It is important to carry your medication in its original packaging and have a letter from your healthcare provider that states the medications you are carrying are for your personal use. This documentation can be useful in case customs officials have any questions or concerns about the medications. It is also recommended to check with the airline you are flying with and the Dubai immigration authorities for any specific requirements or restrictions on bringing medication into the country.
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Follow Up On Travel To UAE When HIV Positive
April 12, 2013 by George Forgan-Smith Leave a Comment
Hey there Guys. In response to my recent post on travel to UAE when HIV positive I received an email from one of my regular readers.
He has kindly allowed his email to be shared, offering his own experience of travel in UAE from a HIV positive person’s perspective.
I’ve travelled extensively with ARV’s since being diagnosed as HIV+ nine years ago now. This has included to the US (thrice, with the travel ban in force before Obama got rid of it – I was amused by your correspondent from Chicago talking about his constitutional right). I’ve also transited Abu Dhabi numerous times as part of my hithering and thithering between Melbourne and London. I’ve never had an issue in any of these places. I know a few guys who have had stopovers and business trips in the UAE without incident, including one HIV+ man who basically lives and works in Abu Dhabi – I’ve never asked how he got/keeps his visa, and I know he divides his time between there and Frankfurt probably partly for that reason). Anyway, the advice has always been – go, take your meds (but plan with layers of redundancy – some on your person, some in your hand baggage, some in the hold), bring the usual letter saying they’re for a medical condition (without specificity), if asked (and nobody I know has ever heard of that actually happening), say it’s something to do with your blood and your doctor told you to take these pills. Of late I’ve never bothered to carry the letter/script – never been asked for it or heard of anyone being asked for it, although theoretically I should have it with me. I think the only real concern is in the event of becoming seriously unwell while in a country like the UAE. Should that ever happen to me, I suspect I’d be getting my medical advice from already-established links like my HIV specialists in London or Melbourne. Most companies that have a lot of staff scattered around the world also have their own resources and processes to deal with staff who become ill (ie. cabin crew who falls ill in Dubai would probably contact Qantas Medical in the first instance. I’d hazard a guess they already know of HIV-friendly medical services in Dubai). So it’s unlikely you’d ever be in a situation of having to disclose status to a random Dr or hospital. Unless the illness or injury is so sudden and serious that it’s a full-on live-saving emergency, in which case getting deported is the least of one’s worries (and the subject of HIV is less likely to come up anyway – more likely to be accidents or heart attacks etc).
As noted in the letter from the spokes person from Qantas if HIV medications are held discretely and letters to explain their presence do not mention HIV there is a good chance all will be ok.
This said I am a fairly risk adverse traveller. Ultimately it’s up to each individual to review the facts and to make a decision on their own situation.
Perhaps a parallel situation would have been people living with HIV travelling to the USA before the ban was lifted. I have had many friends travel with their medications. Some would replace the pills into vitamin bottles to reduce questions, some would just pack them as they were willing to take the risk.
Ultimately the decision is up to the individual.
Yours in good health.
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Caution November 9, 2023
Worldwide caution, update november 9, 2023, information for u.s. citizens in the middle east.
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United Arab Emirates
Travel Advisory July 13, 2023
United arab emirates - level 2: exercise increased caution.
Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.
Exercise increased caution in the United Arab Emirates due to the threat of missile or drone attacks and terrorism.
Country Summary: The possibility of attacks affecting U.S. citizens and interests in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula remains an ongoing, serious concern. Militant groups operating in Yemen have stated an intent to attack neighboring countries, including the UAE, using missiles and drones. Missile and drone attacks in early 2022 targeted populated areas and civilian infrastructure.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman region, including the United Arab Emirates, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an advisory Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices .
While residents and visitors generally find a safe and secure environment in the UAE, the country continues to face the threat of terrorism. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, and local government facilities.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to the United Arab Emirates.
If you decide to travel to the United Arab Emirates:
- Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter .
- Review the Country Security Report for the United Arab Emirates.
- Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
- Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist .
View Alerts and Messages Archive
6 months validity after date of arrival. 12-page U.S. emergency passport often not accepted for entry in Dubai.
One page required for entry stamp
Not required for tourist stays under 30 days
Embassies and Consulates
U.s. embassy abu dhabi.
Embassies District, Plot 38, Sector W59-02, Street No. 4. Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Telephone: +(971) (2) 414-2200 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(971) (0) 2-414-2200 Fax: +(971) (2) 414-2241 Email: [email protected]
U.S. Consulate General Dubai Corner of Al Seef Rd. and Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Rd Dubai, U.A.E. Telephone: +(971) (4) 309-4000 Emergency Telephone: +(971) (4) 309-4000 Fax: +(971) (4) 311-6213 Email: [email protected] The normal work week in the UAE is Monday through Friday.
Learn about the U.S. relationship to countries around the world.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
COVID-19 Requirements: There are no COVID-related entry requirements for U.S. citizens.
U.S. citizens are subject to all UAE immigration laws.
- Passport Validity: A passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry is required to enter the UAE. Emergency passports are not accepted for tourists visiting the UAE. There have been multiple reports of U.S. citizens denied entry to the UAE using 12-page U.S. emergency passports. Neither the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi nor the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai can facilitate entry to the UAE. We strongly recommend U.S. citizens arrive in the UAE on a full-validity passport that is valid for more than six months beyond the date of entry.
- Personal travel of 30 days or less: A U.S. citizen with a regular passport may obtain a no fee visitor visa upon arrival.
- Stays longer than 30 days: Visitors on a 30-day visa may request a visa extension, which is at the discretion of immigration officials. Anyone planning to work or study in the UAE must obtain the appropriate visa.
- Medical Exam: A full medical exam is required for work or residence permits. The exam and tests for HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis B, tuberculosis, leprosy, and pregnancy must be performed after arrival. U.S. citizens have been detained and deported for testing positive for HIV, active tuberculosis, or hepatitis. Medical exams performed outside of the UAE will not be accepted.
- Travel on Diplomatic or Official Passports: U.S. citizens traveling to or through the UAE on diplomatic or official passports are required to obtain a visa before travel (transit passengers only require a visa if exiting the airport). This requirement is strictly enforced by UAE officials and those not meeting the requirement will be denied entry. U.S. military travelers should not assume military ID cards will be accepted, but should consult the Foreign Clearance Guide.
Land Exit Departure Fee: All travelers who depart the UAE by land and who are not citizens of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country must pay a departure fee. The fee is 35 UAE dirhams and is payable only in the local currency.
Please verify this information with the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates before you travel.
Exit Controls: The UAE maintains tight exit controls. All travelers must exit the country with the passport on which they entered. Travelers should visit a UAE immigration office prior to departure to obtain an exit pass if they plan to leave the UAE without the passport on which they entered.
Travelers both departing the UAE and transiting will be barred from exiting the UAE if there are any criminal or civil legal cases against them. Travelers have been arrested at the airport and have had their passports seized due to outstanding financial cases, unsettled legal disputes, and late credit card payments, including for cases that were previously unknown to the traveler. In such cases, some individuals have been arrested and detained for long periods of time. Individuals will be barred from leaving the UAE until legal cases are settled in full. This affects all persons whether they are in the UAE as residents, tourists, or transit passengers with no intention of exiting the airport. UAE residents can verify with UAE authorities whether they have an exit ban due to outstanding cases in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. More information on this process can be found on the UAE Government Portal .
The Government of the UAE requires that all persons residing in the country have a national identification card. U.S. citizens who are working or living in the UAE should visit the Emirates Identity Authority website for more information on card registration procedures and requirements.
Cancellation of Visas: All UAE visas must be formally cancelled through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) before a new visa can be issued. This includes visas that have already expired or have never been used. Travelers may be denied entry to, or not permitted to depart, the UAE if previous visas have not been properly cancelled. More information on the process is available on the UAE Government portal .
Dual Nationality: The UAE does not recognize dual nationality. The UAE recognizes only the citizenship of the passport on which a person enters the UAE. The embassy may be prohibited from providing certain consular services to those who did not enter the UAE on a U.S. passport.
The UAE has imposed HIV/AIDS travel restrictions on all foreigners seeking residency. Travelers for tourism are not tested or requested to provide information about HIV/AIDS status. Please verify this information with the Embassy of the UAE before you travel. Information about dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction can be found on the embassy website. For further information about customs regulations, please read the embassy’s Customs Information page .
Weapons and Law Enforcement Equipment: The transportation of arms or items that may be considered law enforcement or military equipment is strictly prohibited without written approval from the UAE government. Do not transport any arms or items that may be considered law enforcement or military equipment. Such items include, but are not limited to:
- Weapon parts and tools
- Functional, inert, or decorative ammunition, even one bullet
- Empty or spent shell casings
- Any other military or police equipment
U.S. citizens, military personnel, and U.S. government/military contractors found to be carrying such items, even in the smallest quantities, will be arrested and face strict criminal penalties, including imprisonment, large monetary fines, forfeiture of the items, and deportation , even though airlines and U.S. authorities allowed shipment on a U.S.-originating flight.
Other prohibited items: Importation of the following items is also prohibited under UAE law: pornographic material, non-Islamic religious pamphlets for missionary activities, e-cigarettes, fireworks, ivory, chemical and organic fertilizers, laser pointers, radar jammers/other unauthorized communication devices, products and medications containing cannabidiol (CBD), endangered animal species, and any objects, sculptures, paintings, books or magazines which do not adhere to the religious and moral values of the UAE. Possession of any of these items can lead to detention and lengthy jail sentences.
Safety and Security
Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:
- High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
- Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
- Places of worship
- Shopping malls and markets
- Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)
U.S. citizens in the United Arab Emirates should exercise a high level of security awareness. The possibility of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula remains a serious concern. The UAE’s normalization of relations with Israel in September 2020 has increased the potential for attacks in the UAE, including by Iran-backed entities. Separately, rebel groups operating in Yemen have stated an intent to attack neighboring countries, including the UAE, using missiles and unmanned aerial systems (drones). Yemen-based Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for missile and drone attacks against the UAE on January 17 and January 24, 2022, targeting populated areas and civilian infrastructure. The January 17 attack resulted in multiple impact sites in Abu Dhabi and three fatalities. The Houthi rebels have publicly stated their intent to continue such attacks. In the event of a missile and/or drone strike, follow the guidance found here .
Both historical and current information suggest that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al-Qaida, and affiliated organizations continue to plan attacks against Western targets; these attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, including suicide operations, assassination, kidnapping, hijacking, and bombing.
For more information, see our Terrorism page.
Boating: The UAE and Iran have had a long-standing dispute concerning jurisdiction of Abu Musa, approximately 20 miles from Dubai. Fishing or sailing in these waters may result in seizure of vessels and detention of passengers and crew in Iran. Obtaining consular assistance in Iran for U.S. citizens is difficult and can only be done through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran , which acts as a Protecting Power, providing limited U.S. consular services.
Crime: Violent crimes and crimes against property are rare. U.S. citizens should take the same security precautions in the UAE that one would practice in the United States or any large city abroad.
Harassment and Assault: U.S. citizens, especially women, should take precautions against the possibility of verbal and physical harassment or sexual assault when walking alone, consuming alcohol, or riding in a taxi cab. Taxi passengers should avoid sitting in the front seat of a taxicab and should be sensitive that "small talk" can be misinterpreted as over-friendliness or even a form of propositioning by some taxi drivers. Taxis driven by women for the exclusive use of female passengers are available in some airports and by dispatch. Female travelers can identify these dedicated vehicles by their pink roofs.
Some victims of sexual assault have been prosecuted for violating laws against sexual relations outside of marriage. The law puts a high burden of proof on the victim to demonstrate that sex was not consensual. In cases where the victim has failed to demonstrate so, both parties have been prosecuted, and sometimes sentenced to jail time, followed by deportation.
International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.
Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in the UAE. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:
- Romance/Online dating
- Money transfers
- Lucrative sales
- Gold purchase
- Inheritance notices
- Work permits/job offers
- Bank overpayments
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 999 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +971 2 414 2200. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .
- Help you find appropriate medical care
- Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
- Provide a list of local attorneys
- Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy or Consulate General for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules with regard to best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage .
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
As each emirate has its own independent judicial system, legal procedures and penalties vary throughout the country.
Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest Notification: UAE authorities do not routinely notify the U.S. Embassy or consulate of a U.S. citizen’s arrest. If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or consulate immediately. If you are not allowed to do so, ask a friend or family member to contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate. See our webpage for further information.
Alcohol: Alcohol is sold only in very limited areas including certain restaurants and hotels. Public drunkenness and driving under the influence, regardless of one’s blood alcohol content level, are considered very serious offenses. Persons arrested on alcohol-related offenses are regularly detained for many days as they await a court hearing. Penalties may include hefty jail sentences, substantial fines and, for Muslims (even those holding U.S. citizenship), lashings. Note: The possession and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in the emirate of Sharjah.
Drugs: UAE law imposes the death sentence for convicted drug traffickers. Possession of even trace amounts of illegal drugs (including in the bloodstream) can result in lengthy prison sentences of up to 15 years. Bail generally is not granted to those accused of drug crimes.
Possession or consumption of marijuana in any form, including detections of trace amounts in the bloodstream, is illegal in the UAE, even if a doctor’s medical card is presented. Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are illegal in the UAE. Possession or importation of CBD products, including those found in prescription and over the counter medications in the United States and other countries, are prosecuted in the same manner as marijuana possession. The UAE's anti-narcotics program also includes poppy seeds on its list of controlled substances. The importation and possession of poppy seeds in any and all forms, including as dried decorative plants, are strictly prohibited.
Persons may be charged and convicted even if the controlled substances were ingested outside of the UAE as long as traces are still present in the bloodstream upon arrival in the UAE. If suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, individuals may be required to submit to blood and/or urine tests and may be subject to prosecution.
Travelers with questions regarding the items on the list of controlled substances should contact the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi or the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai .
Codes of Behavior and Dress: Public decency and morality laws throughout the UAE are much stricter than in the United States. Penalties for public displays of affection or immodesty may be imposed. Sexual relations outside marriage are illegal in the UAE and convicted individuals have been punished by lengthy jail sentences. Pregnancy outside of marriage can result in arrest and detention. Doctors may ask for proof of marriage during pre-natal visits, and those giving birth in the UAE must present a marriage certificate to receive medical care and register the child’s birth. Failure to do so has resulted in the arrests of both unmarried mothers and fathers, as well as deportation.
Individuals may be arrested, fined, and/or deported for committing any of the following acts: making rude gestures, swearing, touching another person without his/her permission, and making derogatory statements about the UAE, the royal families, the local governments or other people. Travelers should keep in mind the cultural differences among the many people who coexist in the UAE and should be cognizant that unwitting actions, including clothing choices, may invite unwanted attention.
Debt and Financial Crime: Crimes of financial fraud, including passing bad checks and non-payment or late payment of bills (including hotel bills, hospital bills, traffic or parking fines, and late payment of credit cards, utility bills, etc.), are regarded seriously in the UAE and often result in imprisonment and/or fines. A personal check written as a guarantee for the payment of a personal or business debt may be submitted to a local bank for collection at any time for the full amount of the check. If the account holder does not have sufficient funds, he/she may be charged with passing a bad check. Bail generally is not available to non-residents of the UAE who are arrested for crimes involving fraud. Debtors can be held in prison until their debts are paid or until an agreement is reached between the parties. Passports may be seized by the UAE government to guarantee that debtors settle their cases. Financial cases may be further complicated by debtors being unable to work in the UAE without passports while still being held responsible for their debts.
Photography: Taking photographs of UAE military facilities, sensitive civilian sites, airports, some beaches, or foreign diplomatic missions – including the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General – may result in arrest, detention, and/or prosecution by local authorities. Travelers should be aware of signs which indicate where photography is prohibited. Note that it is illegal to take photographs of other people without their consent. In addition, engaging in mapping activities, especially mapping that includes the use of GPS equipment, without coordination with UAE authorities, may have the same consequences. (This does not apply to use of publicly available online maps.)
Drone Operation: The flying of drones is prohibited in certain areas and may result in arrest and imprisonment. Individuals should not operate drones without prior approval from local authorities.
Social Media: The UAE has strict laws regarding use of the internet and social media. Individuals have been arrested and criminally convicted for posting information on social media sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) that local authorities determined was disturbing to the order of the UAE. Users of social media should be cautious about online posting of information that might be deemed to insult or challenge the local or national government. Individuals should avoid posting insults or derogatory information about governments, institutions, or individuals.
Charity and fundraising activities are closely regulated by the UAE government, and it is against the law to conduct any private fundraising activity online (including those conducted on popular fundraising websites for personal causes).
The UAE National Media Council implemented new rules in 2018 for conducting business as a social media influencer in the UAE. Influencers must apply for trade and e-media licenses in order to promote brands on social media in the UAE. For more information please review the website of the National Media Council .
Terrorist Organizations List: On November 15, 2014, the UAE government announced a list of 85 groups it considers to be terrorist organizations. Individuals who are associated with groups on the UAE list could be detained at UAE borders, have their assets frozen, and/or be prosecuted for membership in a terrorist organization.
Religious Proselytizing: While individuals are free to worship as they choose, and facilities are available for that purpose, religious proselytizing is not permitted in the UAE. Persons violating this law, even unknowingly, may be imprisoned or deported.
Employment in the UAE: Although it is common for a local sponsor to hold an employee's passport, it is illegal to do so under UAE law. Many contractual or labor disputes can be avoided by clearly establishing all terms and conditions of employment or sponsorship in the labor contract at the beginning of any employment. Should a dispute arise, the UAE Ministry of Labor has established a special department to review and arbitrate labor claims. If an employee leaves his/her job without properly canceling the employment visa, the employer can file charges that can lead to imprisonment, fines, and/or deportation. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General do not intercede in employment disputes.
U.S. citizens have become involved in commercial or financial disputes that have prompted local firms or courts to take possession of the U.S. citizen's passport, effectively preventing the individual from leaving the UAE. In addition, local firms have been known to file criminal complaints, which may lead not only to travel restrictions but possible criminal penalties, including jail time. A list of local attorneys is available from the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai.
Document Authentications: U.S. citizens intending to reside and work in the UAE are generally required by the UAE government to present authenticated personal documents for themselves and accompanying family members such as marriage and birth certificates, adoption and custody decrees, certificates of good behavior from police, and educational documents to include diplomas and certificates. The authentication of U.S. documents is done completely in the United States. For information, contact the State Department’s Office of Authentications or see the U.S. Embassy website . Determining the exact requirements with one’s prospective employer is strongly recommended before arrival in the UAE.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in the UAE. Penalties may include fines and imprisonment. Under interpretations of sharia, the punishment could include the death penalty. Although the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulate General are not aware of any recent arrests or prosecutions for such activities, they remain illegal. Cross-dressing is also a punishable offense and there have been reports that the government took action against cross-dressing individuals. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers with Disabilities: While in the UAE, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodations somewhat different from what they find in the United States. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, or the provision of other state services, and the law is enforced. The UAE government refers to persons with disabilities as “people of determination.” Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is as prevalent as in the United States. The most common types of accessibility may include accessible facilities, information, and communication/access to services/ease of movement or access.
The UAE has several modern cities with good services and accessibility of lodging, public transportation, sidewalks, and buildings. Outside of newly constructed areas, accessibility is not comparable to the United States and navigating with a visual impairment or using a wheelchair is difficult due to sidewalks in disrepair or without curb cuts, poor road crossings, and inaccessible buildings and public transport. Public transportation in Dubai is wheelchair accessible. However, the buses that connect Dubai with the other emirates in the UAE are not wheelchair accessible. See the UAE government information on accessible transport and parking facilities. See our Traveling with Disabilities page.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers .
Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.
COVID-19 Testing: COVID-19 testing is available throughout the UAE at private facilities and official government health centers. Testing is generally paid for by the U.S. citizen. Test results are usually sent via text message or email. Additional information on COVID-19 testing can be found on the SEHA website .
COVID-19 Vaccines: The COVID-19 vaccine is available for U.S. citizens to receive in the UAE. According to the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, residents and visitors may receive COVID-19 vaccines at any SEHA vaccination center, but only residents may receive vaccines free of charge. For additional information, please see the Ministry of Health and Prevention website .
Visit the FDA's website to learn more about FDA-approved vaccines in the United States.
Adequate health facilities are available, but health care in rural areas may be below U.S. standards. While most common conditions can be appropriately treated in the UAE, complex medical conditions may be better treated in the United States. Providers may recommend a large number of procedures and tests, some of which may be unnecessary.
- Hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient, except in emergencies.
- Travelers should make efforts to obtain complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures before agreeing to any medical care.
- Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.
For emergency services in the UAE, dial 999 .
Ambulance services are widely available.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. You may be denied care, even in an emergency, if you are unable to provide a cash deposit up-front. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Medication: Many prescription and over-the-counter medications are prohibited in the UAE, and possession of such substances without the appropriate approval is generally treated the same as possession of illegal narcotics. All tourists and residents of the UAE should seek prior approval, via an online form, before carrying certain types of medications, narcotics, or chemical substances to or through the UAE. The service can be accessed directly on the Ministry of Health and Prevention’s website . Travelers can also find updated lists of prohibited medications requiring prior approval on the same website.
Travelers with prescription medication must have their prescriptions issued by licensed doctors and authenticated by the appropriate authorities. In order for a U.S. prescription to be fully authenticated, it must be authenticated by the Secretary of State of the U.S. state in which the prescribing doctor is licensed, then by the U.S. Department of State, and finally by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC. Additional information on authentication of documents can be found on the State Department’s website and on the Embassy and Consulate General website . Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
Further queries may be directed to the UAE Ministry of Health’s Drug Control Department in Abu Dhabi.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For further health information, go to:
- World Health Organization
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
- Air pollution is a significant problem in UAE. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you, and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.
- People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include:
- Infants, children, and teens
- People over 65 years of age
- People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema;
- People with heart disease or diabetes
- People who work or are active outdoors
The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General maintain a list of doctors and hospitals . We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Traffic accidents are a leading cause of death in the UAE. Drivers often drive at high speeds. Unsafe driving practices are common, especially on inter-city highways. On highways, unmarked speed bumps and drifting sand create additional hazards. Pedestrians should also use great care on the roads of the UAE – over 25 percent of road fatalities are pedestrians.
The police emergency number and ambulance number is 999 . Response time by emergency services is adequate; however, medical personnel emphasize transport of the injured to the hospital rather than treatment on site.
Traffic Laws: Country-wide traffic laws impose stringent penalties for certain violations, particularly driving under the influence of alcohol. In the UAE, there is zero tolerance for driving after consuming alcohol.
Persons involved in an accident in which another party is injured automatically go to jail until the injured person is released from the hospital. Should a person die in a traffic accident, the driver of the other vehicle is liable for payment of compensation for the death (known as "dhiyya"), usually the equivalent of 55,000 U.S. dollars. Even relatively minor accidents may result in lengthy proceedings, during which both drivers may be prohibited from leaving the country.
In order to drive, UAE residents must obtain a UAE driver's license. Foreign driver’s licenses are not recognized for residents of the UAE; however, U.S. citizen visitors who are not UAE residents can drive using a valid driver’s license issued by his or her state. An international driver’s license may be required in some emirates. The UAE recognizes driver's licenses issued by other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states only if the bearer is driving a vehicle registered to the same GCC state. Under no circumstances should anyone drive without a valid license.
If you are in an accident, UAE law mandates that you remain at the scene until authorities arrive. The use of front seat belts is mandatory in the UAE. Driving is on the right side of the road. Speed limits are posted. Making a right turn on a red light is not permitted unless there is a special lane to do so with a yield sign. Parking is not allowed where the curb is painted black and yellow. Digital cameras are used extensively on Emirati roads for registering traffic violations, including speeding. Fines can be substantial and must be paid prior to departure from the UAE. Individuals with outstanding traffic fines may be detained at airport immigration.
Please see our Road Safety page for more information .
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of the United Arab Emirates’ Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of the United Arab Emirates’ air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to the UAE should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts . Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard Homeport and the NGA Broadcast Warnings website.
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- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories .
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook .
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
United Arab Emirates was cited in the State Department’s 2023 Annual Report to Congress on International Child Abduction for demonstrating a pattern of non-compliance with respect to international parental child abduction. Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in United Arab Emirates . For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA ) report.
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General information for hiv-positive travellers, tourists and prep users.
The following are some tips to consider when travelling as a tourist or on a business trips with antiretroviral medication for treatment or prevention.
- Always carry your medication in your hand luggage. Checked luggage might get lost or delayed.
- Always take some days of extra medication with you. You might not return as planned, for unforeseeable reasons. It is cumbersome to run after expensive prescription medication in a different country, and you might not even receive the drugs you are taking if in need.
- You may have to check specific customs regulation for importing your prescription medication. In almost all cases, importing medicines for personal use would not pose a problem. To be on the safe side, carry a doctor’s prescription in English with you. The prescription should make no mention of HIV. Note that these recommendations are not specific to antiretroviral drugs. The customs rules apply to all prescription medication. Some countries are very strict in enforcing customs rules for prescription medication, such as Chile and the U.S.A.
- Carry your medication in original packaging, labelled with your name.
- Do not disclose your HIV status unnecessarily. Not to other travellers, not to customs or immigration officials – it is not their business. Be aware that people with HIV are stigmatised in many countries.
- If you stay in a country for a longer period, or if your health is frail, make sure you know where the next HIV clinic is, or get the address of a clinician specialised in HIV. It might be a good idea to get in touch with a local HIV organisation.
- People taking substitution treatment: check about specific regulations in this respect before travelling. Some countries consider substitution treatment as illicit drug use.
Most important: be aware that perceptions around HIV infection change from country to country. If disclosure is safe in the country and community you normally live in, this might not be the case in the country you are visiting.
Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Qatar
- Transit passengers Airline passengers going through transit (i. e. changing planes) in these cities don't need to worry. Transit passengers don't go through immigration or customs. People staying overnight in a hotel should take precautions as listed below.
- Business visitors and tourists Despite entry ban policies, short term visits are generally possible. Make sure you have a doctors’ prescription for your medication with you. Carry your medication in your hand luggage. Read the general information above.
Relocating for work, study or retirement – access to treatment and care
You got your visa, study, residence or work permit and now you wonder how you get access to the health system to ensure your medication and monitoring.
- Finalise your employment contract or your admission by your place of study.
- Accessing the local health system is generally not a problem, but it can be tricky in practice. Local organisations are used to resolve this kind of problems.
- Also check the country information here on this site. In some countries, we identified the organisations that could support people, or we even have collected the information about accessing the system. Note that this was not possible everywhere, as this is not the purpose of this site.
Apart from access to medicines, people with HIV also need access to monitoring, at least twice per year. Relying on supplies and monitoring from your home country is not a good idea in the long run. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, sudden lockdowns have exposed the fragility of such arrangements.
Importing your own medication
Depending on local customs regulations, only limited amounts of prescription drugs are allowed to be imported for personal use. General allowances usually cover the needs for short holidays or visa of up to 90 days. Larger quantities are problematic in most systems – there is however no general rule. Relying on privately imported supplies is not recommended if you stay in a country for 6 months or longer .
In the case of a country with entry bar, can I legally enter if I have HIV?
The short answer is “no”. However, an entry bar is close to impossible to strictly enforce at any port of entry.
What are people doing to enter such countries anyway? As long a visitor has no visible symptoms of illness and/or no antiretrovirals to take, this is not very difficult. For people on treatment however, the question may become tricky. As we have seen in the case of the United States former entry restrictions, people on ARVs use certain ‘crafty’ strategies to circumvent entry bar regulations. We do not legally recommend any of those. We try to describe a country’s policies and how they might apply in various circumstances, and then let the reader make their own decisions about what to do. It might well be that some of the bypassing strategies below constitute a violation of applicable immigration laws or other local laws. We do not know what the consequences of such violations might be. It could be that they result in a permanent ban on entering the respective country. However, that might not make a significant difference to an HIV positive traveller, since once they are found out, they are found out and barred from re-entry anyway. 1. The safest strategy
- Rebottle medications with non-prescription packaging
- Carry a letter from a clinician
Rebottle the medication in neutral packaging and make sure it is properly labelled by your pharmacy (this means without mentioning the nature or brand name of the drugs). To comply with laws in many countries, you are recommended to carry a letter from a clinician which states that your drugs are prescribed for a personal medical condition. This letter should not mention HIV. Be ready to answer questions about why you need these drugs without hesitation (blood pressure, coronary problems, etc.). Risk: Small, especially with today’s therapies (reduced number of pills). Plan well ahead to have everything ready. Advice: You should carry the drugs in your hand luggage. Checked luggage is sometimes late or can get lost completely. However, be aware that the drugs can be detected more easily that way.
2. Carry your drugs on you, or in your luggage
- This is what most people do.
Risk: There is a certain risk of being detected by immigration officials or by customs. If this happens, you may face deportation on the next available flight. As a consequence, there is likely no chance of being readmitted to enter the respective country at a later occasion. Advice:
- HIV-positives are advised to take enough medication to cover delays.
- To comply with the law in many countries, you need to carry a letter from a clinician which states that your drugs are prescribed for a personal medical condition. This letter should not mention HIV. Be ready to answer questions about why you need these meds without hesitation (blood pressure, coronary problems, etc.).
- You should carry the drugs in your hand luggage. Checked luggage is sometimes late or can get lost completely. However, be aware that the drugs can be detected more easily that way.
- Leaving a country with remaining ARVs in the hand luggage is also not free of risk.
- Take a last dose to be safe during travel. Before checking in, eliminate remaining medication and ensure to have drugs available when needed after arrival. However, there is a small risk in case of delayed departure.
3. Buy your antiretroviral drugs locally
This looks simple, but also needs some planning.
- Contact your health insurance to find out if drugs you purchase locally are reimbursed (medication, including antiretrovirals, can be more expensive locally than in your home country).
- Check with local contacts if your regimen is available in the pharmacies of your destination country.
- Get a prescription for the medication you are taking from your doctor.
- Take a last dose of your meds before leaving the plane.
- Get an appointment with an HIV specialist on arrival to get a prescription.
- Buy your drugs through a local pharmacy.
4. Considerations before stopping medication
As the Brighton study  has demonstrated, some people decided to interrupt treatment before travelling to the US (note: this refers to the past, when the U.S. entry ban was still in place). THIS CAN BE VERY RISKY.
If you are thinking of stopping your medications when travelling to a country with an entry bar, it is imperative that you consult with either your HIV clinician or pharmacist well ahead before doing so, otherwise you run the risk of acquiring new or further resistance that could have significant future health risks. Remember also that if you do stop HAART that you may feel ill during your trip, and that you may also be more infectious.
IMPORTANT: Never discuss your HIV status with local officials!
The country that people with HIV had the most problems with in the past were the United States. However, we also had reports from people being sent back from China, another country that has recently changed its entry policies.
There are more things you can do in order to avoid running into problems.
- Do not disclose your status to fellow passengers.
- Be careful of outing yourself by wearing a red ribbon.
- Avoid disclosing your status to customs or immigration officers. It is not their business.
- If you are asked why you are carrying medications, have a good excuse ready.
Updated: June 18, 2021
 HIV-Infected Travellers to the USA, www.medscape.com/viewarticle/529439_3
Traveling with HIV
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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
United Arab Emirates travel advice
Latest updates: The Need help? section was updated.
Last updated: October 16, 2023 07:53 ET
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Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, united arab emirates - exercise a high degree of caution.
Exercise a high degree of caution in the United Arab Emirates due to the threat of terrorism.
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There’s an ongoing threat of terrorism. Terrorist groups have indicated their intention to target the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Enhanced security measures are in place, and Emirati authorities may reinforce them on short notice.
Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, military installations and schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant during sporting events, religious holidays and other public celebrations. Terrorists may use such occasions to mount attacks.
Missile strikes and drones
Conflicts in the Middle East and the Gulf region can affect the UAE. Regional tensions can flare up at any time, resulting in an unpredictable and volatile security situation.
Armed groups in the region have publicly stated their intention to target neighbouring countries, including the UAE, with drones and missiles. Drone attacks continue to either reach UAE territory or be intercepted over the country.
Missiles and drones have reached:
- urban areas
- military installations
- oil industry infrastructure
- public facilities, such as airports
Their interception may cause scattered debris or fragments.
During missile and drone strikes:
- seek shelter
- stay away from doors and windows
- follow the instructions of local authorities
If you encounter debris or fragments:
- don’t get close to or touch them
- move away from them immediately
- contact local authorities
The crime rate is low. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and theft from cars may occur.
During your stay:
- make sure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- don’t leave personal items and documents in plain sight in a vehicle
- keep your car doors locked and windows closed at all times
Violent crime is rare.
Credit card and ATM fraud
Credit card and ATM fraud occur. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Cybercrime, malware attacks and online extortion are common in the UAE. Perpetrators may compromise public Wi-Fi networks to steal credit card or personal information.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks
- Avoid making purchases on unencrypted websites
- Be cautious when posting information on social media
- Be particularly vigilant when contacting or meeting individuals known over the Internet
Foreigners have received calls from scammers claiming to be local authorities or financial institutions. The caller may try to collect personal information or request a fund transfer to resolve administrative or customs issues.
Don’t send any money or personal information in this type of situation.
Romance scams are common. Victims of these types of scams have lost thousands of dollars. Before travelling to the UAE to visit someone you met online:
- keep in mind that you may be the victim of a scam
- inform yourself about the country’s customs and laws on conjugal relations and marriage
- be sure to retain possession of your return plane ticket, money, and passport
- Overseas fraud
- Cyber security while travelling
Although rare, women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment, verbal abuse, or physical assaults.
Local authorities may not respond adequately to reports of sexual violence and harassment. Emirati authorities have detained women reporting sexual assault. The victim must prove that the sex was not consensual to avoid being charged. The notion of sexual consent may differ substantially from the Canadian context.
If you are the victim of a sexual assault, you should report it immediately to the nearest Government of Canada office.
- Avoid travelling alone, especially at night
- Remain particularly vigilant in less populous areas
Be careful when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances
Advice for women travellers
Spiked food and drinks
Snacks, beverages, gum and cigarettes may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
- Be wary of accepting these items from new acquaintances
- Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers
Coastal waters can be dangerous. Rip currents occur at beaches and can sweep swimmers out to sea.
Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards. Some beaches don’t have lifeguards or warning flags.
- Only participate in scuba diving and other water activities with a well-established company
- Don’t swim alone, after hours or outside marked areas
- Consult residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
- Monitor weather warnings
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
Water safety abroad
Desert expeditions or trekking can be dangerous, especially if they are not well organized. Trails are not always marked, and weather conditions can change rapidly.
If you undertake desert expeditions:
- never do so alone
- always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- travel in a 4 x 4 vehicle
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- avoid venturing off marked trails
- ensure that you’re properly equipped and carry sufficient water supply
- know the symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke, both of which can be fatal
- ensure that you’re well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back
- Obtain detailed information on each activity before setting out
Road safety varies across the UAE.
Accidents causing fatalities are common.
Pedestrians should be particularly careful and should always use designated crossings, pedestrian bridges or underpasses.
Road conditions are excellent throughout the UAE. Driving conditions may be hazardous during sandstorms or foggy conditions due to limited visibility.
- Avoid off-road driving unless you’re in a convoy of 4 x 4 vehicles
- Leave your travel itinerary with a third party
- Ensure that you’re well prepared with a cell phone and a sufficient supply of gasoline, water and food
Drivers can be reckless. They often tailgate and drive at excessive speeds.
If you choose to drive in the UAE:
- always drive defensively
- maintain distance from other vehicles on the road
- familiarize yourself with your itinerary before leaving
- always carry a cell phone and charger
- keep a list of emergency numbers with you
The emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, have reliable and modern public transportation systems. Public transportation options are more limited in the other emirates.
Public buses in the UAE are generally modern, safe and efficient. Most emirates have public buses and inter-emirates buses operating on their own schedule.
Taxis are convenient to travel within cities and between the emirates.
Street taxis use meters while private taxis have flat rates.
Pink taxis (in Dubai) and purple taxis (in Abu Dhabi) are reserved for and driven by women.
Special taxis for people with special needs or disabilities are also available.
- Use only officially marked taxis or trusted ride-sharing app
- Avoid sharing a taxi with strangers
If using a private taxi, negotiate the fare in advance
Pink taxis - UAE Government
There are territorial disputes between the UAE and Iran in the Gulf over the islands of:
- Greater Tunb
- Lesser Tunb
Be cautious if you travel by sea in the Strait of Hormuz due to tense encounters that could lead to vessel and passenger detention.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Information about foreign domestic airlines
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the authorities of the United Arab Emirates. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada .
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your date of entry into the United Arab Emirates.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
- Foreign Representatives in Canada
- Canadian passports
Other entry requirements
The authorities of the United Arab Emirates only accept Canadian temporary passports for exit and transit. Travellers cannot enter the UAE when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document.
Tourist visa: not required Business visa: required Student visa: required
If you’re entering the UAE as a tourist, you must obtain an entry stamp at the port of entry. This entry stamp is free and valid for 30 days. Ahead of the expiry of the initial 30-day period, you may request a validity extension for an additional 30 days.
- Foreign Representatives in Canada
- Visa/Entry Permit Information – UAE Government
- Smart services - Federal authority for identity and citizenship of the UAE
Health entry requirements
Medical tests, including tests for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tuberculosis infections, are required to obtain or renew a work or residency permit. Emirati authorities don’t recognize foreign-issued HIV test results.
If you test positive for HIV or another communicable disease such as hepatitis or tuberculosis, you may be subject to:
- mandatory treatment
It’s also forbidden to enter the UAE with HIV/AIDS antiretroviral medication for personal use. If you do so, you may be subject to:
You must exit the UAE with the passport you used for entry.
If you obtained a new passport during your stay in the UAE, you should consult the immigration authorities before travelling to ensure your visa was properly transferred to the new document.
Previous or expired visas must be formally cancelled by the organization or the individuals sponsoring your work or residency visa. If your previous visa has not been cancelled, you may be prevented from leaving the UAE or face difficulties returning in the future.
UAE authorities may place an exit ban on certain individuals to prevent them from leaving the country.
An exit ban can relate to investigations into:
- an individual, their family or an employer
- criminal and civil matters, including business disputes
- employment without a valid work permit
- unpaid financial debts
An exit ban can be requested by people involved in any of these circumstances. You may not be aware that authorities have placed an exit ban on you until you try to leave the country.
Your passport may be seized until the case is fully investigated and settled.
If you face an exit ban, you should seek legal advice.
Children and travel
Children born to a father who holds Emirati citizenship acquire UAE citizenship at birth, regardless of where they were born.
They must enter and leave the country on a UAE passport.
- Travelling with children
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Relevant Travel Health Notices
- Global Measles Notice - 31 August, 2023
- COVID-19 and International Travel - 31 August, 2023
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Be sure that your routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada * It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus. Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
In this destination, rabies may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional.
Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.
Cases of locally-acquired Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) have been reported in this country.
MERS is a viral respiratory disease caused by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Some people infected with MERS-CoV experience no symptoms, while others may experience mild flu-like or more severe pneumonia-like symptoms. About one-third of reported cases have result ed in death.
Eat and drink safely , and avoid close contact with animals, especially camels. If you must visit a farm or market, make sure you practise good hygiene and wash your hands before and after contact with animals.
There is currently no licensed vaccine to protect against MERS.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.
Medical services and facilities
Good health care is available throughout the emirates. However, it may vary significantly from facility to facility, particularly outside of large cities.
Private clinics and hospitals are well equipped. Services may be expensive, but they usually have sufficient qualified medical personnel speaking English well.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Some prescription medications may not be available in the UAE.
If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining its legality in the country.
- Bring enough of your medication with you
- Always keep your medication in the original container
- Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage
- Carry a paper and an electronic copy of your prescriptions
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad .
Penalties for breaking the law in the UAE can be more severe than in Canada, even for similar offences. No transfer of offender's treaty exists between Canada and the UAE. If you’re convicted of a serious crime, you must serve your jail sentence in the UAE.
UAE authorities routinely notify the Embassy of Canada or Consulate following the arrest of a Canadian citizen.
If you are arrested, request that the arresting authorities immediately notify the nearest Canadian government office of your arrest . If you are not allowed to do so, ask a friend or family member to contact the Embassy or Consulate of Canada.
The UAE and Canadian criminal law systems are significantly different. Laws, penalties and legal procedures vary according to the emirate.
Detention during the investigative period is common and can be lengthy. You may be held without access to legal counsel or consular assistance. You may also have to remain in the UAE for a parole period after your release.
If you’re involved in legal proceedings, local authorities can prevent you from leaving the UAE by withholding your passport or enforcing an exit ban. Familiarize yourself with the rules and laws of each emirate to which you intend to travel.
Overview of the criminal law system in the United Arab Emirates
Although rarely carried out, the death penalty can be applied in the UAE.
If you are convicted of a crime, you can face:
- corporal punishment
- the death penalty
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe.
Convicted offenders can expect:
- heavy fines
- jail sentences
- the death penalty for severe offences, including trafficking
The UAE has a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs, even for travellers in transit. Detection of drugs (including cannabis) in blood or urine tests can also lead to a conviction.
Although it’s legal to consume alcohol in private homes and licensed venues, it’s a punishable offence to drink or be under the influence of alcohol in public. Even passengers in transit through the UAE can be arrested if they’re under the influence of alcohol.
Don’t drink alcohol outside private homes or licensed venues
- Alcohol, drugs and travel
- Cannabis and international travel
Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications legally available in Canada, such as codeine and psychiatric medications, are classified as controlled substances in the UAE. It’s illegal to bring them into the country, even in small quantities, without prior permission from the UAE Ministry of Health.
If you attempt to bring banned medication into the UAE without prior approval and required documentation, you may be subject to:
- confiscation of medication
Medical tests are mandatory to obtain or renew your residency permit. You could face prosecution if traces of prohibited substances are detected in your urine or blood sample, even if you haven’t imported the medication into the UAE.
Consult the Ministry of Health and Prevention’s list of controlled medicines to determine if you must obtain a permission to import any required medication. You can obtain a permission by creating a profile online and completing an electronic form.
- List of controlled medicines – UAE government
- Issuing permission to import medicines for personal use – UAE government
UAE law criminalizes sexual acts and relationships between persons of the same sex.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers could be detained based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics. They could also be detained and face other charges such as:
- cross dressing
- gross indecency
- offence to public morals
2SLGBTQI+ travellers could face:
They should carefully consider the risks of travelling to the UAE.
Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics
Dress and behaviour
UAE customs, laws and regulations adhere closely to Islamic practices and beliefs. Public displays of affection, including holding hands and kissing, may attract the attention of local authorities. Verbal insults and obscene gestures may be considered criminal acts.
Foreign female travellers are not expected to wear head covers. However, revealing clothing is considered inappropriate.
To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions
- interact on social media with the same care as you would in person
- seek permission from locals before photographing them
In 2024, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around March 10.
In public, between sunrise and sunset, refrain from:
In Abu Dhabi and Dubai during Ramadan, restaurants remain open, serving food as normal. Most government and public sector businesses have reduced working hours.
Religious proselytism is illegal.
You should avoid engaging in religious activities that contradict or challenge Islamic teachings and values. This includes preaching, possessing or distributing religious literature or material.
It’s illegal to criticize or disrespect the UAE’s:
- ruling families
- political system
This includes comments made on social media.
Punishment can be severe, including lengthy jail terms.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in the UAE.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of the UAE, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
Emirati authorities determine your citizenship based on the passport you use to enter the country. Ensure you use the same passport to enter and exit the country. Using different passports may lead to detention and delays.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
UAE family law is different from Canadian family law. Decisions are based on Islamic law.
Children of an Emirati father automatically acquire Emirati citizenship at birth.
Although the courts will review each case individually, custody of boys under the age of 11 and girls under 13 is normally awarded to the mother. Custody is normally transferred to the father once boys reach 11 and once girls reach the age of 13.
Regardless of which parent is awarded custody, fathers are normally given guardianship responsibilities for the children by the courts, granting them significant legal rights. Guardians have the right to hold the child’s passport and can legally prevent the child from exiting the UAE.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in the United Arab Emirates by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in the United Arab Emirates to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
Cohabitation outside of marriage
Heterosexual sex and cohabitation outside of marriage for individuals over 18 years of age was recently decriminalised in all Emirates except Sharjah. This applies only to couples in which both partners are from countries that don’t follow Islamic Shariah marriage laws. While the practice is decriminalised, it may still be viewed negatively by parts of Emirati society.
Extramarital sex remains illegal in certain cases where a case is brought forth based on a complaint from the husband or guardian.
Laws related to online behaviour, which also apply to the use of social media, are strict. Comments or behaviours considered defamatory, antisocial, culturally insensitive, or contrary to morality may be punishable by:
The authorities also restrict the use of virtual private networks (VPNs). Social media influencers receiving compensation for advertisements and product placement require a UAE influencer licence. If you do so without a licence, you may be fined or detained.
Social media influencers licensing - UAE Government
There are restrictions on photographing and filming:
- military installations and military personnel
- government buildings
- individuals without their permission
If you are in or around these areas, always:
- verify if photography is allowed or if a special permit is required
- request permission in advance if people are featured in your photos
- refrain from photographing or filming if in doubt
- comply with all requests from local authorities
The following activities are illegal in the UAE and punishable by heavy fines or jail time:
- engaging in prostitution
- possessing pornographic material
- issuing bounced checks or failing to pay a debt
- possessing pork products in the emirate of Sharjah
- littering in public places and on roads from a vehicle
- spitting in public places, including on beaches
Imports and exports
There are strict import and export regulations on:
- firearms and ammunition
- body protection gear
Failure to comply may result in imprisonment or deportation.
- Prohibited items - UAE Government
- Customs clearance - UAE Government
Fundraising and charity activities are strictly regulated in the UAE.
It’s illegal to raise funds or organize a crowdfunding campaign without proper authorization. Make sure that you donate funds only to government-approved charities.
Government-approved charities - UAE Government
Working in the UAE on a tourist visa is forbidden. You must be sponsored by your employer to work legally.
Certain local sponsors may attempt to retain your passport, even if UAE law forbids this practice.
- Clearly establish the terms and conditions of employment in writing before your arrival
- Never leave your passport or any other identity document with anyone
You must carry an international driving permit to drive and rent a car in the UAE, except in Dubai where you can use your Canadian driver’s license. If you become a resident of the UAE, you can convert your Canadian driver’s license to the UAE driving license at the Traffic Department of each Emirate. For Abu Dhabi, you can do this via TAMM services .
The country has a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving. The legal blood alcohol limit is zero.
Penalties for drinking and driving are severe. If the police suspect you of drinking and driving, they could oblige you to provide a blood or urine sample. If alcohol or drugs are detected, you may be prosecuted.
If you’re convicted, you can expect:
- heavy fines and a lengthy jail sentence
- vehicle confiscation
- driver’s license suspension
If involved in an accident:
- don't leave the scene
- don't move your vehicle
- call the police
Failure to remain at the site may be considered an admission of guilt depending on the emirate in which the accident occurred.
The UAE government may prevent you from leaving the country until all injury claims have been settled, regardless of which party is at fault. If the accident has resulted in death, you may be legally required to provide financial compensation to the deceased’s family.
Local judicial resolution process may take several months, even for minor accidents.
International Driving Permit
The currency of the United Arab Emirates is the dirham (AED).
ATMs are available across the emirates.
Credit cards are widely accepted at main hotels, shops and restaurants. Smaller businesses may only accept cash.
If you are carrying AED 60 000 or more, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs when you enter of leave the country. The sum can be in:
- money orders
- traveller’s cheques
- other convertible assets
Humidity and heat may be most severe during the hot season, from June to September.
Know the symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke, which can both be fatal.
Sandstorms and dust storms may occur any time, particularly during the summer months.
Winds carrying sand can blow at high speeds for days, creating difficult driving conditions. Poor visibility can affect flights. These storms can also cause respiratory problems, which can be fatal for some individuals.
During a storm:
- stay indoors
- keep windows closed
- follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
Drought and flooding
The UAE has been facing a water crisis in recent years, leading to drought and desertification.
Although rare, heavy rain does occur in winter months from December to March. It can result in flash floods in dry riverbeds and canyons.
Flash floods and landslides can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.
- Monitor local news and weather reports
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
During winter, periods of severe fog can hinder transportation and visibility.
- Exercise caution, particularly while driving
- Expect travel delays
- Follow the advice of local authorities
Weather forecasts and warnings - National Center of Meteorology
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 999
- ambulance: 998
- fire department (civil defence): 997
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Abu Dhabi or the Consulate General of Canada in Dubai and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services .
take normal security precautions.
Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.
Exercise a high degree of caution
There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.
IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.
Avoid non-essential travel
Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.
Avoid all travel
You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.
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United Arab Emirates Traveler View
Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.
- Packing List
After Your Trip
There are no notices currently in effect for United Arab Emirates.
Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.
Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Flu (influenza)
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see Your COVID-19 Vaccination for more information.
Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to the United Arab Emirates.
Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.
Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.
Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.
Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book
Dosing info - Hep A
Recommended for unvaccinated travelers younger than 60 years old traveling to the United Arab Emirates. Unvaccinated travelers 60 years and older may get vaccinated before traveling to the United Arab Emirates.
Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book
Dosing info - Hep B
Infants 6 to 11 months old traveling internationally should get 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as part of the routine childhood vaccination series.
Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book
Rabid dogs are commonly found in the United Arab Emirates. However, if you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other mammal while in the United Arab Emirates, rabies treatment is often available.
Consider rabies vaccination before your trip if your activities mean you will be around dogs or wildlife.
Travelers more likely to encounter rabid animals include
- Campers, adventure travelers, or cave explorers (spelunkers)
- Veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers handling animal specimens
- Visitors to rural areas
Since children are more likely to be bitten or scratched by a dog or other animals, consider rabies vaccination for children traveling to the United Arab Emirates.
Rabies - CDC Yellow Book
Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.
Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book
Dosing info - Typhoid
Required for travelers ≥9 months old arriving from countries with risk for YF virus transmission; this includes >12-hour airport transits or layovers in countries with risk for YF virus transmission. 1
Yellow Fever - CDC Yellow Book
Avoid contaminated water
How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)
- Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
- Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
- Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
- Avoid contaminated water and soil
Avoid bug bites.
Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever
- Tick bite
- Touching the body fluids of a person or animal infected with CCHF
- Avoid Bug Bites
Airborne & droplet
- Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
- Bite from an infected rodent
- Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
- Avoid rodents and areas where they live
- Avoid sick people
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
- Scientists do not fully understand how the MERS virus spreads
- May spread from to others when an infected person coughs or sneezes
- May spread to people from camels.
Middle East Respiratory virus syndrome (MERS)
- Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.
Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in the United Arab Emirates, so your behaviors are important.
Eat and drink safely
Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.
- Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
- Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
- Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water
- Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel
You can also visit the Department of State Country Information Pages for additional information about food and water safety.
Prevent bug bites
Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in the United Arab Emirates. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.
What can I do to prevent bug bites?
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
- Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
- Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
- Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
What type of insect repellent should I use?
- FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
- Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
- Always use insect repellent as directed.
What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?
- Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
- Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.
What can I do to avoid bed bugs?
Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .
For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .
Stay safe outdoors
If your travel plans in the United Arab Emirates include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.
- Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
- Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
- Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
- If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
- Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
- Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
- Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.
Stay safe around water
- Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
- Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
- Do not dive into shallow water.
- Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
- Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
- To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.
Keep away from animals
Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.
Follow these tips to protect yourself:
- Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
- Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
- Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
- Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
- If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.
All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:
- Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
- Go to a doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.
Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.
Reduce your exposure to germs
Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:
- Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
- If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.
Avoid sharing body fluids
Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.
- Use latex condoms correctly.
- Do not inject drugs.
- Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
- Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
- If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.
Know how to get medical care while traveling
Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:
- Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
- Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
- Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
- Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call the United Arab Emirates’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
- Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.
Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( www.jointcommissioninternational.org ).
In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.
Select safe transportation
Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.
In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.
Be smart when you are traveling on foot.
- Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
- Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
- Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.
Choose a safe vehicle.
- Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
- Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
- Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
- Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
- Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
- Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.
Think about the driver.
- Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
- Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
- Arrange payment before departing.
Follow basic safety tips.
- Wear a seatbelt at all times.
- Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
- When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
- Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of the United Arab Emirates may be poor.
- Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
- Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
- If you choose to drive a vehicle in the United Arab Emirates, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
- Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
- Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
- Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
- If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
- Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.
Medical Evacuation Insurance
If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.
Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.
The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.
Maintain personal security
Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
Before you leave
- Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
- Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
- Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
- Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.
While at your destination(s)
- Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
- Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
- Follow all local laws and social customs.
- Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
- Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
- If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.
Healthy Travel Packing List
Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for United Arab Emirates for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.
Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?
It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.
If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.
For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .
Map Disclaimer - The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement are generally marked.
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- Passports, travel and living abroad
- Travel abroad
- Foreign travel advice
United Arab Emirates
Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for the UAE’s current entry restrictions and requirements. These may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.
If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
The COP28 Summit takes place in Dubai 30 November to 12 December. If you are attending COP28, check the COP28 website for attendance requirements, including information on accreditation and visas.
All visitors to Dubai during this time can expect to see an increased security presence and road closures. The high number of attendees may create a pressure on availability of accommodation and transport.
Pre-planned and authorised demonstrations are likely, including within the summit area. Spontaneous or unauthorised demonstrations are illegal in the UAE.
Posting material online that is critical of the UAE government, companies or individuals or that is culturally insensitive, is illegal. [See Photography/Media section of local laws and customs for more information.]
A number of missiles and unmanned aerial systems (drones) were launched into the UAE from Yemen in early 2022, targeting infrastructure and high profile locations, some of which were in populated areas. Most of these missiles and drones were intercepted and destroyed but there were a small number of casualties. On 17 January 2022, the UAE authorities confirmed a Houthi attack on civilian facilities in Abu Dhabi, which caused the death of three civilians. On 24 January 2022, the UAE authorities announced that their air defence forces had intercepted and destroyed two Houthi ballistic missiles targeting the UAE and that there were no casualties. On 31 January 2022, the UAE authorities announced their air defence forces had intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile targeting the UAE and that there were no casualties.
There is a possibility of an increased threat against Western interests, including against UK citizens. You should remain vigilant and keep up to date with the latest developments, including via the media and this travel advice .
It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ( FCDO )’s guidance on foreign travel insurance .
Around 1.5 million British nationals visit the UAE every year. Most visits are trouble-free.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the UAE. See Terrorism
If an incident does occur, you should monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities. See Safety and Security and Terrorism .
If you’re planning to travel with prescribed or over the counter medicines for personal use, you’ll need to meet the UAE’s specific requirements for your medicine to be allowed into the country. See Medication
The UAE is a Muslim country. Laws and customs are very different to those in the UK. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times. There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK. See Local laws and customs
You can contact the emergency services by calling 999 (police), 997 (fire) or 998 (ambulance).
If you’re in the UAE and need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi or the British Embassy in Dubai .
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HIV and travel
- Make sure you pack enough of your anti-HIV drugs to cover your trip.
- Some live vaccinations are not appropriate for people with HIV.
- Some countries refuse work or residency visas to people living with HIV.
Many people living with HIV travel regularly for work, business, study, and for pleasure. In most cases, HIV is not a barrier to travel and holidays. This page provides an introduction to some of the issues you may want to think about if you are planning to travel.
As for other long-term health conditions, it is sensible to consider your health and medication when you make your travel plans. At the most basic level, consider if you are well enough to undertake the trip you are planning.
People living with HIV are able to travel to most countries of the world. But some countries have restrictions on entry for people with HIV, most often for people applying for a work or resident’s visa. See Travel restrictions below.
Also, find out if you need any vaccinations or other preventive medicines, and if it is safe for you to have them. What vaccinations you might need depends on where you are travelling to. If you are accessing travel vaccinations through your GP, it is important that they know you have HIV so they can give you the most appropriate care. It’s also important your GP knows about all the drugs (including anti-HIV drugs) you are taking, in case there are any possible interactions with drugs you might be given for travelling, such as anti-malarials or antibiotics. People with HIV are recommended to avoid some live vaccinations.
Travelling with HIV treatment
Treatment breaks, timing your doses, accessing medical treatment away from home, travel restrictions.
It might be very difficult, or even impossible, to get supplies of your medication once you’ve left home – even if you are just taking a short trip in the UK or Europe. Therefore, make sure you take enough of all your medicines with you to last the full duration of your trip. It might be wise to count out your medicines before you travel and to take a few additional doses just in case you are delayed.
It’s safest to carry your medication in your hand luggage, as this is less likely to get lost. Or you may choose to put some in your hand luggage and some in your suitcase, in case either bag is lost. If you are travelling to another country it makes good sense to have a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor explaining that your medicines are for a chronic medical condition. Find out more on our page on travelling with HIV medication .
Treatment breaks are not recommended. If you are thinking of taking a break from your HIV treatment to travel, then you should discuss the possible risks of this with your doctor. These risks include developing resistance to your drugs, being more vulnerable to health problems in the future and – if you have a low CD4 cell count – of becoming ill while you are not taking treatment.
If you are travelling across time zones, this will have implications for the time you take your medication. Generally, it’s best to adapt to the time zone of your destination as quickly as possible – if you usually take medication with breakfast at home, you should take it with breakfast during your trip. Keeping the same routines around pill taking will probably help your adherence.
If you are stable on treatment with an undetectable viral load, then taking one dose of your drugs a few hours early or late, because of a change in time zones, will not usually cause problems. You can get more detailed advice on our page on travelling with HIV medications and time zone changes . You can also ask for help from your doctor or pharmacist.
undetectable viral load
A level of viral load that is too low to be picked up by the particular viral load test being used or below an agreed threshold (such as 50 copies/ml or 200 copies/ml). An undetectable viral load is the first goal of antiretroviral therapy.
Measurement of the amount of virus in a blood sample, reported as number of HIV RNA copies per milliliter of blood plasma. Viral load is an important indicator of HIV progression and of how well treatment is working.
A drug-resistant HIV strain is one which is less susceptible to the effects of one or more anti-HIV drugs because of an accumulation of HIV mutations in its genotype. Resistance can be the result of a poor adherence to treatment or of transmission of an already resistant virus.
When somebody has had an infection for at least six months. See also ‘acute infection’.
The act of taking a treatment exactly as prescribed. This involves not missing doses, taking doses at the right time, taking the correct amount, and following any instructions about food.
If your trip is in the UK you should contact the nearest accident and emergency department if you need emergency care. You can be seen by a GP away from home as a ‘temporary resident’ if your trip is for under two weeks. If you are entitled to free NHS care, you can get this anywhere in the UK.
The UK has agreements with a handful of countries allowing for free or reduced cost emergency medical care that a person may need. This includes Australia and New Zealand but details should be checked before you travel. The EHIC for travelling in Europe will not be valid for new trips from January 2021 onwards.
It may also be wise to consider taking out travel insurance. Most policies specifically exclude treatment for a pre-existing medical condition (this would include HIV), but will still provide cover if you have an accident or become ill with something unrelated to HIV. Some companies provide travel insurance cover that includes HIV. You can get more detailed information on our page on travel insurance.
A number of countries restrict entry for people with HIV. This means that foreigners with HIV may be refused entry, denied permission to work or settle, or even be deported.
A few countries ban all foreign HIV-positive individuals from entering a country; others have no entry restrictions for tourists but require individuals to be HIV negative in order to apply for a work or residence permit. There's more detailed information on our page on travel restrictions.
Are there HIV positive restrictions on travel to Dubai, Malaysia or Hong Kong?
2 May 2009. Related: All topics , Living with HIV long-term .
I’m visiting Dubai, Malaysia and Hong Kong and I am wondering if it is safe to take my HIV medication with me?
I’m worried about being refused entry into one of these countries, should they find the pills in my suitcase.
Answer: Simon Collins
You can get an official answer on entry restrictions to any country by contacting the appropriate embassy or consulate, or visiting their web site. If you are calling by phone, it is best not to give your name or say you are HIV-positive.
In practice, most people travel with their meds, sometimes in vitamin jars, and hope everything will be ok.
It can sometimes help to travel with a letter from your doctor, saying you are receiving medical care in the UK (not mentioning HIV), but that you are fit to travel. This might help if you are unlucky and get stopped by a customs officer.
I’m sorry this answer isn’t ideal but this is going to be a personal choice.
Some people decide on principle never to visit any country that has unfair entry criteria (including the US when those restrictions were still in place). Others decide they won’t let HIV stop them from doing everything they want in life, and decide that the relatively low risk of being questioned about meds is an acceptable risk to see other parts of the world (including the US).
This community site about HIV and travel lists statutory entry requirements for for most countries, but only includes the strict legal situation. Also check the information is up-to-date before relying on it.
Things can change over time. For example this site did not encourage visiting China when this question was first posted but this has now changed. This is because the Chinese policy changed to drop the entry bar to HIV positive people.
Even before this though, in practice, many thousands of HIV positive people probably visited these countries each year as tourists, travelling with their meds, without any problems.
Hi Alex, only entering the country for 1 week will not require HIV testing. Carrying ART is not allowed even for personal use. You can try switching the bottle but this is no guarantee as there is some risk they will enquire about this. If you are found to be carrying ART you will be subject to the same discrimination as when tested positive and can face detention and deportation. This information is further explained here: https://www.hivtravel.org/Default.aspx?PageId=143&CountryId=189
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Can You Travel to Dubai If You Are HIV Positive?
By Happy Sharer
Overview of HIV and HIV Travel Restrictions in Dubai
The word “HIV” stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus attacks and weakens the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight off infections and other illnesses. HIV can be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids such as blood, semen, and breast milk. People who are HIV positive must take medications in order to manage the virus and prevent it from progressing to AIDS.
When it comes to travel restrictions, many countries have policies that limit or prohibit travelers with HIV from entering their borders. While some countries have relaxed their policies over the years, others remain stricter. In the case of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has certain laws and regulations related to travelers with HIV.
Tips for HIV Positive Travelers Visiting Dubai
It is important for HIV positive travelers to understand the laws and regulations before traveling to Dubai. With this in mind, here are some tips for making the trip a success:
Understanding the Laws and Regulations
The UAE does not allow people with HIV to enter the country, even for short-term visits. However, there is an exception for travelers who need to visit for medical reasons. These travelers will need to apply for a special visa, which requires providing proof of HIV status and documentation from a doctor in the UAE.
Obtaining Necessary Documentation
Before applying for the special visa, HIV positive travelers should obtain the necessary documentation from their home country. This includes a medical certificate stating that they are HIV positive, as well as a letter from their doctor confirming that they are medically fit to travel. The documents must be translated into English and attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the traveler’s home country.
Travelers with HIV should research accommodations in advance to ensure that they will be comfortable during their stay. Many hotels and resorts offer special services for visitors with HIV, such as private rooms, separate bathrooms, and additional amenities. It is also important to check the hotel’s policies on HIV, as some might not allow HIV positive guests.
How to Access Medical Care in Dubai for HIV Positive Tourists
For travelers with HIV, it is important to know how to access medical care in the event of an emergency. Fortunately, Dubai has a number of hospitals and clinics that provide services for HIV positive patients. Here are some tips for accessing medical care in Dubai:
Finding HIV-Friendly Doctors
HIV positive travelers should research doctors in the area who are experienced in treating patients with HIV. Most major hospitals in Dubai have staff members who are knowledgeable and experienced in treating HIV. Additionally, there are several specialized clinics in the city that provide HIV care.
Knowing Your Rights
HIV positive travelers should familiarize themselves with their rights in Dubai. Under UAE law, all individuals have the right to access healthcare without discrimination. Additionally, the UAE prohibits any form of discrimination based on HIV status, including at work, school, and in public places.
Understanding Insurance Coverage
It is important for travelers to understand their insurance coverage before visiting Dubai. Depending on their policy, some insurance companies may cover medical expenses incurred while in Dubai. Travelers should contact their insurance provider to confirm coverage and find out what medical services are covered.
Experiences of HIV Positive People Who Have Traveled to Dubai
Although HIV positive travelers may face restrictions and challenges when traveling to Dubai, there are also many positive experiences to be had. Here are some personal accounts from people who have traveled to Dubai with HIV:
One person living with HIV shared her experience of traveling to Dubai. She noted that while she was initially apprehensive about the trip, she found that the people of Dubai were welcoming and accommodating. She was able to find a comfortable place to stay and access medical care when needed. Overall, she felt that her trip was a positive experience.
Advice on Preparing for the Trip
Another person living with HIV shared his advice for preparing for a trip to Dubai. He recommended researching laws and regulations beforehand, obtaining the necessary paperwork, and having a plan for accessing medical care in case of an emergency. He also suggested talking to people who have already visited Dubai with HIV for advice and support.
What HIV Positive Tourists Should Know Before Visiting Dubai
HIV positive tourists should take certain precautions before traveling to Dubai. Here are some tips for ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip:
Before traveling to Dubai, HIV positive tourists should make sure they have the necessary paperwork, such as a medical certificate and visa. They should also research accommodations in advance to ensure that they will be comfortable during their stay. Finally, they should contact their insurance provider to confirm coverage and find out what medical services are covered.
Understanding Local Customs
HIV positive travelers should also familiarize themselves with local customs in Dubai. This includes understanding the dress code, respecting religious beliefs, and being mindful of public displays of affection. Additionally, travelers should take precautions to avoid contracting infectious diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever.
HIV positive travelers should practice discretion when discussing their condition. Although discrimination based on HIV status is illegal in the UAE, there is still a stigma associated with the virus. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of how and when you discuss your HIV status in public.
The Impact of HIV on the Lives of People Living in Dubai
People living with HIV in Dubai face a number of challenges due to stigma and discrimination surrounding the virus. Here are some of the issues they face:
Stigma and Discrimination
People living with HIV in Dubai often face stigma and discrimination due to their status. This can lead to difficulties finding employment and housing, as well as social isolation. Additionally, people living with HIV may be subject to negative attitudes from healthcare providers and the general public.
Access to Treatment
People living with HIV in Dubai may have difficulty accessing treatment due to lack of awareness about the virus and limited resources. Additionally, some medications may not be available in the UAE, making it difficult for people to manage their condition.
Education and Awareness
Education and awareness are key to reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV in Dubai. Organizations such as the Dubai Health Authority and the Red Cross are working to raise awareness and promote acceptance of people with HIV. Additionally, there are support groups and organizations that provide information and resources to people living with HIV.
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Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.
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What you need to know about hiv/aids in uae, top stories.
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Dubai - Misconceptions about modes of transmission continue to exist among university students in the UAE, and vary by gender, nationality, marital status and level of study, according to the study.
By asma ali zain.
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Published: Sun 4 Dec 2016, 4:58 PM
Despite the fact that young adults in the UAE are relatively well educated, with 80 per cent continuing to higher education, many of them still have insufficient information on HIV/Aids in general, a study has found. Though students demonstrated some knowledge on the correct modes of transmission of HIV/Aids, many still believed that the disease could be caught from using public toilets, mosquito bites or touching an infected person. On World Aids Day, which was marked globally on December 1, the World Health Organisation (WHO) called for "Dignity above all." Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said: "It is unacceptable that over 35 years into the epidemic, stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV are still widespread among healthcare workers of all disciplines." Where is it: 200,000 people died of HIV/AIDS in this country in 2016 "Contrary to medical ethics, people living with HIV often endure rejection and denial of healthcare for general conditions that are related or unrelated to their HIV infection. Such negative experiences deter those in need from seeking care and eventually their health deteriorates," he said. The UAE study suggested that special attention should be given to Emirati students, especially males, who demonstrated the lowest level of overall knowledge scores on HIV/Aids. Read about it: UAE amends law on communicable diseases Misconceptions about modes of transmission continue to exist among university students in the UAE, and vary by gender, nationality, marital status and level of study, according to the study. Results were similar to what was reported previously in other studies from the region. According to the study, 48 per cent of students have low knowledge on HIV which was 27 per cent lower than that reported in the UAE study that was carried out in 2007; which may indicate an increased level of awareness. Did you know about this: Talking about AIDS still taboo in Pakistan, says daily The study titled Assessing Knowledge of, and Attitudes to, HIV/Aids among University Students in the UAE was published earlier this year and has been supported by the Ministry of Health and Prevention and Unicef. A total of 2,294 students (406 male; 1,888 female) took part of which 1,359 (59 per cent) were Emiratis and 47 other nationalities were represented, the most common being Syrian, Jordanian, and Palestinian. Risk factors The Middle Eastern region is among the top two regions in the world with the fastest growing HIV epidemic. In this context, many young people from the UAE travel widely and this, together with the rapid changes in cultural and religious values, all contribute to a heightened risk of HIV. According to the UNAIDS Report 2014, more than 25,000 people got newly infected with HIV in 2013 marking a seven per cent increase between 2005 and 2013 and bringing the number of people living with HIV to 230,000. However, Aidscases remain low in the UAE. Shocking: Adolescent deaths from AIDS tripled since 2000: UNICEF In the UAE, the first known study to estimate knowledge of HIV/Aids among young people was conducted in 2007 in Al Ain. A more recent study conducted in Ajman in 2013 investigated dental students' knowledge about modes of transmission of HIV/Aids and their attitudes towards patients being treated. Terrible: Kerala online sex racket used HIV patient to trap women and clients Results also showed that students' overall knowledge score was only 67 per cent and that they had high levels of negative attitudes towards people with HIV. The survey included participants from four universities from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah and included both UAE nationals and non-nationals from both genders. The study concluded that knowledge of the physical signs, cure and treatment of HIV/Aids was low and should be addressed in order to improve the negative image of the disease. Find out: Is the end of AIDS in sight? Some facts about HIV/AIDS In a conservative society, HIV/Aids is associated with taboos and the belief that HIV can only be transmitted though forbidden sexual relationships which further contributes to the stigmatisation of people living with the disease, it suggested. It also recommended effective knowledge and education programmes mainstreamed across universities and schools in the UAE to prevent new HIV infections. Recently, the Unicef and health ministry have trained a group of 'Peer Health Educators' across a number of universities on raising awareness within their communities. The effectiveness in this programme is yet to be evaluated. Low prevalence According to the UAE Global Aids Response Progress Report 2014, the HIV situation in the UAE can be characterised as low prevalence. Till the end of 2012, a cumulative total of 780 HIV cases has been reported among UAE nationals: 591 males (75.8 per cent) and 189 females (24.2 per cent). The majority of HIV cases were found in the emirates of Dubai and Sharjah, reflecting the larger populations in those two emirates, as well as possibly higher levels of risk behaviours, as both cities may be more exposed to high-risk phenomena associated with HIV. In 2012, a total of 55 new HIV cases were reported among UAE nationals. HIV patients in region unaware of their status Globally, already 15 million people are accessing life-saving HIV treatment. New HIV infections have been reduced by 35 per cent since 2000 and Aids-related deaths have been reduced by 42 per cent since the peak in 2004. However, in the region, at the end of 2015, less than 20 per cent of people living with HIV knew their HIV status and only 14 per cent of them were receiving treatment. [email protected]
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Hiv testing options in dubai and the uae.
According to a report by UAE based newspaper, the Khaleej Times , the Middle East has one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics in the world. The article included figures from a 2013 UNAIDS study, which estimated that the total number of HIV positive people in the UAE alone was 230,000 at the time of the study.
Cultural changes, travelling, and altering religious values were listed as potential reasons for the heightened risk of HIV. Along with Sharjah, the majority of the UAE’s positive HIV cases were found in Dubai, reflecting the emirate’s large, multicultural population, “possibly higher levels of risk behaviours” and, potentially, “more exposure to the high-risk phenomena associated with HIV.”
Whatever is behind this developing trend there is reason to be cautious, and testing is the only way to be certain of your HIV status. If you have concerns about HIV, or are simply unsure, keep yourself and your partner safe by getting tested at your earliest convenience.
Better2Know is the Middle East’s largest private provider of sexual health testing services, with world class facilities across the region, including the emirate of Dubai. We have three main types of HIV test available in the UAE:
- The 10-day HIV test is available as part of the Early Detection Screen. It is the market’s most accurate test at that stage of incubation. It remains advisable to retest within 90 days if you receive a negative result.
- Better2Know’s 28-day HIV DUO test combines an antibody test for types 1 & 2 of the HIV virus, with an antigen test for the p24 antigen. The test is suitable for those who may have been exposed at least 28 days before their test. This is a highly reliable, 4 th Generation HIV test and is included in several of our bespoke screens.
- Better2Know also provides Instant HIV testing throughout the Middle East. Using a single blood sample, this popular testing option offers rapid HIV results in under 30 minutes. At your confidential appointment, a private nurse will collect your samples with the utmost discretion. You can also combine your HIV test with Instant tests for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
Should you require an HIV test certificate, Better2Know can provide you with what you need. Similarly, if you wish to speak to a doctor before or after your test, we can arrange a confidential telephone or face-to-face consultation. For more information on our STI tests, screens and services in Dubai , please contact our sexual health advisory team who will be able to help.
The regulations surrounding HIV in the Middle East can prove complex, so it is always Better2Know the relevant laws before you travel. Our discreet testing services are performed in line with local legislation and, as such, positive HIV test results may need to be reported to the appropriate authorities. Personal identification may also be required at your appointment.
To find out more, or to make a booking , call Better2Know today on the number displayed above. Our experienced Patient Services team will be happy to take your call and answer any questions you may have. You can also arrange an appointment online by selecting the Book Now button at the top of the page.
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Pope Francis to address COP28 Summit in Dubai
By Vatican News
A Holy See Press Office statement released on Thursday, 9 November, said Pope Francis is scheduled to deliver a speech at the COP28 Summit taking place in Dubai, as well as engage in several bilateral meetings and inaugurate the "Faith Pavilion" at Expo City.
According to the official programme for the Pope's visit to Dubai from 1 to 3 December, it takes place on the occasion of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28).
The Holy Father will depart from Rome/Fiumicino International Airport on the morning of Friday, 1 December, at 11.30 am, for Dubai. He is scheduled to land at Dubai’s World Central International Airport at around 8.25 pm. A welcome ceremony will take place.
Speech to COP28
The heart of the visit takes place on Saturday, 2 December, when Pope Francis will address participants at the COP28 Summit.
He is scheduled to arrive at Expo City where the Summit takes place at 10 a.m. to deliver his speech.
From 10.30 a.m. and then in the afternoon after 3.30 p.m., he will take part in a series of private bilateral meetings.
Inauguration of Faith Pavilion
On Sunday, 3 December, the Pope will inaugurate the “Faith Pavilion” at 9 a.m., and the Pope will offer words of greeting on this occasion.
The Faith Pavilion will be hosted by the Muslim Council of Elders in collaboration with the COP28 Presidency, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the Holy See, and a coalition of faith partners. It aims to convey a message of peace to the world.
At 10.15 a.m., Pope Francis will travel to Dubai/World Central International Airport for a farewell ceremony.
His departure for Rome is scheduled for 10.45 a.m., with arrival at Fiumicino Airport at 2.40 p.m. Rome time.
More upcoming events:
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Pope Francis to travel to Dubai during Cop28 conference
Posted: 2 November 2023 | Last updated: 2 November 2023
Pope Francis will travel to Dubai for three days during the Cop28 climate conference, he has told Italian television.
The pontiff said he would depart on December 1 and stay until December 3.
No further details of his trip were disclosed, nor any appearances at the conference.
Pope Francis made the announcement during an interview on channel RAI on Wednesday.
"We are still in time to stop it," Francis said, speaking of global warming. "Our future is at stake, the future of our children and our grandchildren. A bit of responsibility is needed."
The trip comes about two weeks before his 87th birthday.
When asked about his health – after setbacks that included abdominal surgery to repair a hernia and remove intestinal scarring a few months ago – he said: “I'm alive.”
The pope has made the need for urgent care for the environment a hallmark priority of his papacy.
Last month, Pope Francis urged participants in Cop28 talks to agree to binding policies to phase out fossil fuels.
The Pontiff said the world's transition to clean, renewable energy was not progressing fast enough.
But he said the key climate conference presented an opportunity for "a change of direction”, with real commitments to moving to clean energy sources such as wind and solar.
The Pope made the comments in an update to his influential 2015 encyclical – the highest form of papal writing – in which he spoke of the need to protect the environment, face the dangers and challenges of climate change and reduce the use of fossil fuels.
Cop28 President-designate Dr Sultan Al Jaber was received by Pope Francis at the Vatican in October.
They discussed the crucial role of faith leaders in advancing the climate agenda.
Dr Al Jaber thanked the Vatican for its climate action advocacy and invited Pope Francis to participate in the World Climate Action Summit at Cop28.
The international climate conference begins on November 30 and runs through to December 12.
The announcement of the Pope's attendance comes a day after King Charles III confirmed he would make an opening speech at the Cop28 climate summit.
The British monarch will address world leaders at the opening ceremony on December 1, and “take the opportunity to have meetings with regional leaders”, a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
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