From: Saudi Arabia
To: Anywhere
From: Saudi Arabia
To: United Arab Emirates (UAE)
From: Anywhere
To: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Important: Be sure to check both general and product-based categories for relevant information. Product-based categories include parts and accessories unless otherwise specified. See disclaimer below and use independent care before relying on this information.

United Arab Emirates (UAE): Import (general)

General import regulations and requirements

Each emirate operates its own customs authority. An agreement has been reached by the various local customs departments for the creation of UAE Customs Council. The Customs Council's main priority is to create a customs union within the UAE to unify Customs rules and regulations, procedures and documentation.

The Common Customs Law (enacted Jan. 1, 2002) requires for goods arriving by ocean, that customs documents be submitted within 63 hours of the vessel's arrival in port; for goods arriving overland or by air, documents must be submitted immediately upon arrival. The law permits goods to be cleared without documentation subject to provision of a bond or a guarantee that satisfies Customs Authorities in the country of import.

The term "Arabian Gulf" should be used on all documentation rather than the term "Persian Gulf."

UAE is lessening restrictions on the Arab boycott of Israel, and no longer stipulates that no vessel or aircraft used for shipments to the UAE may call on any port in Israel.

(Last updated on 2015-03-19)

Samples, low value and non-commercial importations

Samples that are not suitable for sale may enter duty-free. Samples suitable for sale will be charged the normal duty rate.

Samples may be imported for exhibition use for up to six months if a bond or bank guarantee is posted. The exhibition must be approved by the appropriate authorities.

(Last updated on 2013-01-01)

Import customs tariff

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are all member-countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a Customs union that has established a common external tariff rate of 5% for most goods imported from member countries.

Certain items, e.g., basic foodstuffs and medical items, are exempt from the Common External Customs Tariff (CXT) and enter the member-countries free of duty. Currently, each member-country has created an individual "exempt/duty-free" list.

Note: Kuwait prohibits the importation of pork, pork products, alcoholic beverages, products containing alcoholic beverages, gambling machines, and pornographic materials.

(Last updated on 2014-11-13)

Customs valuation basis

There are no specific duties. Ad valorem duties are typically calculated on the CIF value.

For items subject to ad valorem duties, the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement applies. According to this agreement, there are six acceptable methods of determining customs value. Typically the first method is used (unless the buyer and seller are related parties). When the value cannot be obtained this way, or is rejected by customs, one of the other methods is to be used, in descending order:

  1. Transaction value (the price actually paid or payable by the importer, plus certain costs and expenses)
  2. Transaction value of identical goods
  3. Transaction value of similar goods
  4. Deductive value (the sale or resale value, reduced by certain costs such as customs duties, taxes, and commissions)
  5. Computed value (calculated by adding together certain costs/values for production, materials, profit and other expenses)
  6. Fall-back method

See additional information on the WTO website under WTO Customs Valuation.

(Last updated on 2013-04-24)

General import license/permit requirements

Import licenses are not required for the goods being imported. The importers themselves, however, must be licensed to import, and may only import the commodities specified on the license.

(Last updated on 2013-01-01)

Prohibited or highly restricted imports

Prohibited items include: certain products for health and security reasons.

Restricted items include: pork, pork products, firearms, alcohol, and tobacco.

This country prohibits imports of hazardous waste as per the Basel Convention. For additional information see: Basel Convention (select country for details).

Note: Imports from Israel are prohibited.

(Last updated on 2014-07-22)

Official customs/import information

Rules of origin are important in implementing such trade policy instruments as anti-dumping and countervailing duties, origin marking, and safeguard measures. Follow rules issued by WTO.

Check Member and Observer countries of World Trade Organization, Centre William Rappard, Rue de Lausanne, 154, CH-1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland; phone: +41 22 739 5111; fax: +41 22 731 4206; email:

(Last updated on 2015-04-02)

Foreign exchange controls and letters of credit

There are no controls over payments made for imports. Foreign currency exchange is available from authorized banks.

The central bank is the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE), POB 854, Abu Dhabi; phone: :+97 12 665 2220; fax: +97 12 665 2504; email:

The unit of currency is the AED = United Arab Emirates Dirham [Arabic: درهم] (subdivided into: 100 Fils [فلس]), pegged to the US Dollar (USD), at USD 1.00 = AED 3.6725.

(Last updated on 2013-01-01)

Commercial invoice

A commercial invoice is required for every commercial shipment. At least three (3) original, signed copies should be included in the shipping documents sent to the consignee or his agent. Check with importer for required number of invoice copies.

The commercial invoice should conform to the information required for Consular legalization. It should be including the following information:

The invoice must be on the letterhead stationery of the seller. Either English or Arabic is acceptable. It should also contain the following statement:

Also include statement that all products are of ___________ origin and manufacture, and list name and address of manufacturer; or, if there are components of different countries of origin, list countries and percentage of foreign parts in the products.

The commercial invoice must be signed, notarized, and certified by a recognized Chamber of Commerce and receive consular legalization.

Shipments bound for Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) must include the original invoice containing all of the above listed information, or goods will not be cleared through customs.

Note: If the shipped goods contain any any foreign components, include their country of origin and their percentage of the cargo.

For more information on preparing and distributing commercial invoices, see comments on: Commercial Invoice and Shipping Document Distribution Based on Specific Functional Needs.

Airfreight shipments, in most cases, require the shipping documents to accompany the cargo.

Non-commercial shipments require a pro-forma invoice.

(Last updated on 2014-12-27)

Packing list

A packing list is recommended to facilitate customs clearance.

In general, even when it is not required regulation, it is recommended that a packing list be used with all shipments containing more than one shipping unit of packaged cargo. Most countries require a packing list be provided together with the commercial invoice. The required information must be consistent with all information shown on the commercial invoice.

At least three (3) copies of the packing list should be included as part of the shipping documents sent to the consignee or the agent thereof. The exact contents of each package should be clearly identified. This should include each item's gross weight and net weight and each package's marks and numbers.

(Last updated on 2015-05-19)

Transport document

A properly prepared transport document is required for transportation purposes and as a source document for Customs clearance.

For ocean cargo, an ocean bill of lading is typically used. It may take several forms (a traditional negotiable bill of lading, a straight bill of lading, and express bill of lading, or an electronic bill of lading (EBL)).

An ocean bill of lading issued to order may be negotiated by endorsement to a buyer/consignee, however the designated port of discharge cannot be amended.

In general, ocean freight charges must be Freight Prepaid.

The importer or letter of credit terms may request consular legalization, which itself requires prior certification by a recognized Chamber of Commerce as well as signed and notarized documents.

Important: A steamship certificate is also required with ocean bills of lading.

Note: The same country of origin statement that is required on commercial invoice must also be included on bill of lading: We hereby certify that the goods originated and were wholly produced and manufactured in _______________________________________.

If there are foreign components, there must be a statement indicating each country of origin and percentage of value content involved.

This declaration should also be included: We hereby certify that the aforementioned shipment is manufactured by (indicate name and address of manufacturer).

All information should match that on the invoice, packing list, and certificate of origin.

Alert: Marks and numbers on bill of lading must match those on packages. Dubai Customs is particularly strict on this issue and will not release shipment unless numbers match.

Note: For detailed information on completing a bill of lading see interactive bill of lading exhibit. (Scroll down to see the form, and click on any field for details on the information that goes in that box.)

For air cargo, an airwaybill (AWB) replaces the bill of lading used for ocean freight. Nine (9) copies on a standard IATA AWB form are required.

Alert: The term Arabian Gulf is required on all shipping documents; the term Persian Gulf is NOT be used.

(Last updated on 2015-04-08)

Certificate of Origin (general)

Required for all merchandise, using the generally available certificate of origin form.

The certificate of origin should include the final destination and the following statements:

If the products contain any foreign components, the country of origin and percentage must be indicated.

The certificate of origin must be signed, notarized, certified by a recognized Chamber of Commerce and receive consular legalization.

(Last updated on 2014-11-11)

Official cargo insurance requirements

An insurance certificate is required for all shipments insured by the exporter.

A shipper, wishing to protect his interests in the cargo in the event of loss or damage prior to delivery to ultimate consignee should cover cargo with either an FOB/FAS clause or contingency insurance clause coverage.

(Last updated on 2013-01-01)

Other general import document requirements

Steamship certificate: A steamship certificate is required with ocean bills of lading. This is a certificate issued by the steamship line indicating the following information: name, nationality, and owner of vessel, as well as a list of ports the vessel will call on en route to the final destination (including port of loading and port of discharge). The certificate should also indicate that the vessel will not anchor or call on any other ports other than those mentioned on the certificate, and that all information provided in the certificate is true and correct. Notarization is generally required.

Consular legalization:: The UAE generally requires consular legalization of shipping documents. The minimum requirement is that the commercial invoice and certificate of origin must be legalized. Certain importers or letters of credit may require legalization of the transport document.

(Last updated on 2013-01-01)

Wood packing materials

The International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM-15) has not yet been adopted by this country.

See information issued by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), Plant Protection Service, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, I-00100 Rome, Italy; fax: +39 6 570 56347; email:

Contact: Plant Protection and Agricultural Extension Directorate, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, POB 1509, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; phone: +971 4 228 161; fax: +971 4 232 781

General Information:

For a listing of countries that have adopted ISPM-15 requirements see:

For IPPC contact information by country see: International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and select "Countries".

(Last updated on 2015-04-30)

Product packaging/labeling requirements

Product-specific packaging and specific labeling requirements apply to food products, pet food, and cigarettes.

The framework for the UAE packaging and labeling requirements is set by the Gulf Standards Organization (GSO), Al Gadeer and Olaya Street, POB 85245 SA-11691 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; phone: +966 11 274 6655; fax: +966 11 210 5391; email:

GSO requires that all food products be labeled in Arabic either as part of the packaging or as an affixed label (Arabic stickers may be used if another language appears on the label, provided labeling requirements are met).

Labels must show this information:

Currently no other technical requirements are in place to regulate the UAE packaging industry. Exporters are encouraged to consider cultural norms and values when designing and developing product packaging. They should also consult with the importer/distributor for current information and labeling requirements.

Additional product packaging and/or labeling requirements may apply to particular types of products. Refer to the product-based information herein for the product you are considering to import or export. An exporter should also verify with its prospective importer in the destination country as to requirements for a specific product to be shipped.

(Last updated on 2013-12-10)


Product standards are regulated by authority of the UAE Authority for Standardization and Metrology (GCC), POB 2166, AE-Abu Dhabi; phone: +971 2403 2700; fax: +971 26715999; email:

(Last updated on 2014-06-29)

ATA carnets

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have ratified the Istanbul Convention on temporary admission of goods and the ATA Carnet System has been implemented per April 1, 2011.

The ATA Carnet is restricted to goods imported for display or use at approved exhibitions/fairs and similar events only. Consumables and goods meant for distribution or sale are excluded, as are imports by mail. However, it is accepted for in-transit and for non-accompanied shipments.

Note: Carnet ATA are only authorized for entry at the Customs points of Dubai-Jabel Ali Port, Dubai Int'l Airport, Al-Maktoum Int'l Airport, Abu Dhabi-Port Zayed, Abu Dhabi Int'l Airport.

An ATA Carnet is obtained in the country from which the goods are to be first exported (see list of participating countries). Initiating and governing authority for ATA Carnets is the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), 38, Cours Albert 1er, F-75008 Paris, France; phone: +33 149 532828; fax: +33 149 532859

Note: An ATA Carnet is typically accepted for Commercial Samples, Exhibitions and Fairs, and/or Professional Equipment. An ATA Carnet does not cover perishable or consumable items, nor goods for processing or repair. Some countries are more restrictive in the scope of allowances for temporary imports covered by ATA Carnet. It is recommended that prior verification be made with the issuing agency.

(Last updated on 2014-08-01)

Important: Exercise independent care before relying on information contained herein. Although we strive to ensure all information is correct and current, GISTnet assumes no liability for detrimental reliance on this information. Trade requirements may change with little or no prior notification, de-facto requirements in certain countries vary from official regulations, and particular shipments and/or importers may have special destination customs arrangements. We encourage you to check with the importer or its customs agent in the destination country for specific importation requirements for specific products and circumstances. We ask your help with feedback ( concerning information which may be outdated or incomplete.