Explainer: UK Covid travel restrictions on MENA countries

Explainer: UK and MENA Covid-19 travel requirements
2 min read
06 August, 2021
The UK has announced travel changes to the UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain, but what are the current restrictions within the rest of the MENA region.
Israel is the only country in the region that is on the UK’s green list [Getty]

As the UK eases its travel restrictions, the government announced on Wednesday that it will place the UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain on the amber list from the red list

Previously it meant that people arriving from these countries while on the red list were only allowed entry if they were a British or Irish National or legally obtained residence in the UK. 

From 8 August, travellers won’t need to quarantine in or pay for designated hotels and can instead isolate in their place of residence. They will still need to isolate for 10 days on arrival to the UK, but can leave isolation after day five with a negative test result.

British passport holders will be given a travel visa upon arrival in the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar, and must show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours. 

Entry requirements into the UK and from other countries in the MENA region are as follows: 

Red 

Countries currently on the UK red list are Egypt, Oman, and Tunisia - Tunisia having one of the worlds highest death rates. 

Travellers going to Tunisia must provide a 72-hour PCR test and isolate for seven days, even those who have been fully vaccinated. 

Egypt has recently permitted international flights into the country although the UK strongly advises against travel to the country. 

There are currently no flights between the UK and Oman and if non-Omani citizens have been in transit through the UK within 14 days they will no be able to enter Oman. 

Amber 

Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen, are all on the UK's amber list and the same entry rules for UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar apply. 

Green 

Israel is the only country in the region that is on the UK’s green list which means arrivals will need to take a Covid-19 test on or before two days after arrival and will not need to quarantine unless the test is positive. 

On 30 July, Israel added the UK to a list of countries with the highest risk of Covid-19 meaning that travel to and from the UK is prohibited.

However, Israel is on the green "watchlist" where there is risk of moving the country to amber.