You’ll now only be able to submit DPI tests if you have a negative PCR test obtained within six days…

Abu Dhabi Media Office has shared news from the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee, who in cooperation with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health, have updated the entry requirements for the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Since June 30, individuals have been permitted to access the emirate by road only after showing a negative PCR Covid-19 test (obtained within 48 hours of attempted entry). Then from mid-July, the policy was updated to allow the rapid laser DPI tests.

As of Thursday, August 27, 2020…

From tomorrow, residents, citizens and tourists will only be able to enter Abu Dhabi with two types of Covid certification.

Either a negative ‘nose swab’ PCR test obtained within 48 hours of entry time, or a negative DPI laser test received within 48 hours of entry time AND within six days of a negative PCR test.

That means DPI tests will only be admissible if you have also had a negative PCR test within the last week (which primarily makes it useful for those that might need to enter Abu Dhabi multiple times within a given week).

Another important update is that you can only repeat each type of test a maximum of two times in succession within a six-day period.

Daily commuters

So if you’re commuting between Duabi and Abu Dhabi every day over a week-long period you could follow the below example:

Day One – Negative PCR test certificate obtained within 48 hours

Day Two – Initial test still valid

Day Three – Negative DPI test certificate obtained within 48 hours

Day Four – Negative DPI test still valid

Day Five – New Negative DPI test certificate (if original DPI result is still within 48 hours, you can still use that certification)

Day Six – New Negative PCR test certificate (if original PCR result is still within six days, you can take a second DPI test instead)

This is not the only format, but is arguably the most cost-effective.


Children under 12 and those with chronic health conditions have always been exempt from the requirement. The updated policy makes no mention of a change to this.

Volunteers in the Covid-19 vaccine trials are exempt from these entry measures and are authorised to use emergency vehicle lanes for a smooth journey.

Exiting the emirates

There are currently no restrictions on exiting the emirate/entering Dubai or moving between regions within Abu Dhabi.

Flying in?

There’s been no change the rules regarding entry into Abu Dhabi by air.

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What’s the difference between PCR and DPI testing?

The short answer is that DPI is a really quick way at getting reasonably accurate results. PCR testing is slower, but more accurate.

DPI lasers, or ‘diffractive phase interferometry’ lasers are capable of measuring minute discrepancies in size. They’re being used in this application to scan for inflammation of blood cells, which is a tell-tale sign of viral infection. The test cannot however discriminate between viruses accurately.

The results are almost immediate. Check out our guide for how and where to book them for more info.

PCR or ‘polymerase chain reaction’ testing, is essentially a DNA test (although more accurately an ‘RNA test’) specific for this form of Coronavirus. Given sterile lab condition for specimen collection, it is highly accurate.

Results typically come between 24 to 72 hours. You can book these tests at many healthcare providers, check SEHA approval lists online and via their app.

Images: Getty