Export to the United Arab Emirates

The UAE is the world’s eighth largest oil exporter and offers a diverse, liberal trade environment.

It is the easiest country for doing business in the Middle East according to the World Bank; English is widely used as a business language and Free Trade Zones make the UAE an attractive destination and regional hub for international companies. More than 5,000 British companies are already operating in the UAE and the country is home to 120,000 British expatriates.

Sources: BBC, GOV.UK, World Bank

For more detailed information when trading with United Arab Emirates, download our United Arab Emirates Fact Sheet.



United Arab Emirates Fact Sheet (2 MB)

Read more detailed
information about United Arab Emirates

DHL Facts

Locations: 27

Gateways into the Country: 4

Number of Service Centres: 25

DHL Delivery Zone: 8

Vehicle Fleet: 224

United Arab Emirates: Country Profile
Population: 5.6 million Exports from
United Arab Emirates:
US$ 368.9 billion (2013 est.)
Area: 83,600 sq km Export Commodities: Crude oil, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates
Currency: Emirati Dirham (AED) Top Export Destinations: Japan, India, Iran, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea
GDP: US$ 269.8 billion (2013 est.) IMPORTS INTO UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Time Zones: UTC + 4 Imports into
United Arab Emirates:
US$ 249.6 billion (2013 est.)
Languages: Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu Import Commodities: Machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food
Ethnic Groups: Emirati 19%, other Arab and Iranian 23%, South Asian 50%, other expatriates (includes Westerners and East Asians) 8% Top Import Origins: India, China, US, Germany, Japan
Transit Times
The times provided for
dutiable shipments
are based on the time
expected for Customs
in United Arab Emirates to clear
the shipment. This is
contingent upon the
value of the shipment.
Destination Non-Dutiable Shipment Dutiable Shipment
Abu Dhabi 3 days 3 days
Dubai 3 days 3 days
Al Ain 3 days 3 days
Ras Al-Khaimah 3 days 3 days
Sharjah 3 days 3 days
  • Further Information

    DHL can assist you with trading with United Arab Emirates. Contact the DHL team on 0844 248 0675

    DHL Customer Services is also available on 0844 248 0844

    Calls to DHL UK phone numbers beginning ‘084’ cost 7 pence per minute, plus your phone company’s

  • Duty Free Allowance

    All shipments are subject to duty and taxes as UAE Customs do not offer a duty free allowance.

Essential Customs Information

For an estimate of landed costs (duties, taxes and other import fees) for shipments going to United Arab Emirates use the free and interactive DHL Express Trade Automation Services (TAS) tool, TAS also provides information on regulations compliance and trade documentation.

Medical supplies requiring temperature maintenance of less than 8°C degrees cannot be shipped into the UAE through courier mode as there is no cold storage facility.

Shipments going to a Free Zone in the Emirate of Dubai: provide original invoice.

Shipments valued above US$ 270: 5% duty and clearance delays will apply. Receiver to provide import code (include on Waybill).

Shipments going to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (AUH) ONLY should have the following documents compliance for clearance of shipments: Shipments valued above AED 50,000 (US$ 13,587): provide original invoice with stamp and signature of shipper (company) (no legalisation required for invoice) and original Certificate of Origin stamped by a Chamber of Commerce.

Shipments valued between AED 1,000 (US$ 270) and AED 50,000 (US$13,587): provide all original invoices. The items’ country of origin must be mentioned / imprinted on the invoice.

Shipments valued at AED 1,000 (US$ 270) and below are exempt from these requirements. No low value threshold applies for the UAE.

Prohibited items specific to United Arab Emirates:

The list below is in addition to DHL’s standard list of prohibited items.

  • All items offensive to the Muslim culture or sensitive to the Middle East security situation, including religious  publications/figures, imitation firearms/paraphernalia and military uniforms
  • Antiques
  • Asbestos
  • Firearms, or parts of
  • Furs
  • Gambling devices
  • Ivory
  • Jewellery
  • Plant products
  • Plants
  • Precious metals & stones

Restricted items specific to United Arab Emirates:

Alcoholic beverages
Must travel OFFNET as D-to-A shipments, under separate Master Waybill for receiver to clear (also provide Waybill, invoice and packing list). Send shipments to receiver C/O DHL. Receiver to provide licence for clearance.

Cashier cheques (NI)
Only acceptable if cancelled or 'for deposit only'.

Coal & firewood, isopropanol, medical samples, military equipment, mobile phones, accessories & component, non-hazardous liquids, perishables, radios, radio equipment or parts
Master Waybill to be consigned to actual receiver, C/O DHL. Provide commercial invoice, packing list and Waybill. Samples for human consumption: ship OFFNET, D-to-A. Equipment can travel on-net but then the receiver must clear it. Medical shipments: send directly to receiver as OFFNET, C/O DHL when requiring DHL to clear.

Communications & telecommunications equipment, phones / modems and radar equipment including transmitters & receivers
Receiver must have approval from UAE Ministry of Communication before import. All shipments must be D to A accompanied by Master Waybill, Waybill, invoice and packing list.

Compact discs, diskettes, entertainment & promotional / training films
Under 10 pieces: shipment can clear Customs within 4 hours of arrival. Over 10 pieces: shipment requires formal clearance from UAE Ministry of Information.

Computer tapes, films: 8mm, 16mm & 35 mm, laser discs, magazines, periodicals & journals and video cassettes
Subject to censorship.

Cotton, seeds including cotton seed and tobacco
Max 1 kg allowed as samples. Receiver must provide Certificate of Agriculture. Shipment to be addressed to receiver’s name only.

Over 26 kg (20kg for shipments sent to Abu Dhabi) receiver to provide approval from UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Drugs: non-prescription
Provide approval from UAE Ministry of Health. May not be sent to private individuals – only to commercial companies with licence to import. If DHL is to clear shipment: send to receiver as OFFNET, C/O DHL.

Drugs: prescription
Provide approval from UAE Ministry of Health. Ship directly to receiver as OFFNET, C/O DHL if DHL is required to clear shpt. Prescription medicine for personal use under a 3 month course is acceptable.

Receiver requires valid license to import foodstuffs. Non-perishable samples up to 1 kg: send as goods. Import permit may be required by Customs on a case by case basis. Other items: send under Master Waybill directly to receiver C/O DHL. Include Commodity Code and Goods Country of Manufacture Heath certificate on commercial invoice. Date of expiry must be clearly mentioned,

Can be shipped as documents but are subject to Customs inspection.

For blank stock airline tickets (NI), dangerous goods and x-ray machines please contact DHL Customs Services before shipping.