From Mexico, these restrictions seemed quite reasonable and “doable”. Upon further investigation into the coronavirus testing though… we found it would be nearly impossible to actually make it to Dubai from Mexico and get the tests in Mexico within a reasonable amount of time. So we hatched a plan to go through Germany on our way to Dubai so that we could get our PCR test for travel there.
Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to board our flight to Germany. Even in Mexico, where we would fly to San Francisco first before going onward to Germany, we were told we needed to come up with a new plan, since Germany wouldn’t let us enter the country, even if it was only for 24 hours and we were going to be tested then and there. We decided to instead try to head to Turkey, where we were successful in entering the country and getting our rapid PCR tests.
From Turkey, we took Middle Eastern Air from Istanbul to Beirut, and then Emirates from Beirut to Dubai. In Istanbul, when we checked our bags, we were asked to present our (negative) PCR test results and proof of health insurance, as well as proof that we were able to enter the United Arab Emirates visa free. The check-in process took longer than normal, but all things considered, it went just fine for us.
There were no issues getting through Beirut. Again, it took us a while to get through the line, and we were asked for our PCR test results, but generally people were friendly and things went smoothly. From what I saw, it looked like perhaps the guards had some new computer systems or rules they were working with, and so things felt more chaotic than they actually were. It took a while for everyone to get through the transfer line, not just us.
When we arrived in Dubai, it was about 1am, so the airport was very quiet. But, our flight from Beirut to Dubai had been almost completely full (and the flight before from Istanbul to Beirut had been pretty full too). We had to take a PCR test on arrival and then self-quarantine at home until we received our test results (which were, again, negative… we received them back within less than 48 hours). No one checked in on us and we didn’t even have to use the Dubai health app. We went through the test area, got the test, went through immigration, got our bags, and off we went to our Airbnb. We had to provide a special form filled out (which they give you on the plane or at the testing area), and a copy of our recent PCR test from Istanbul, but the people who collected these forms didn’t even take a close look at them before they waved us on through toward immigration.
Below are some photos of the process entering Dubai:
NOTE: As of August 29, 2020, entry by air into Abu Dhabi and other airports in the UAE is prohibited. Entry is only allowed into Dubai. However, entry by land into Abu Dhabi and other parts of the country is permitted so long as you have a recent PCR test that you can show along the way (we have not done this yet, but I would believe that it’s true).