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Moving to United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

Capital: Abu Dhabi
Population: 9,205,651 (2013)
Area: 32,278 sq. mi
Top 5 Largest Cities: 1. Dubai 2. Abu Dhabi 3. Sharjah 4. Al Ain 5.Ajman
Lanuage: Arabic
Climate: Subtropical-arid
Motto: “Allah, al-Watan, al-Ra’is” / “God, Nation, President”

Moving to the United Arab Emirates can be easier using Nationwide Van Lines. Our top of the line service along with our highly experienced staff can make your move a great venture. We want to help prepare you for what’s to come so allow us to take charge of your move!

Required Documents for Import

To assist clearing your household goods (HHGS), certain documentation is required to assist Customs. Please take a look below to learn more about what’s to come in regards of needed documents.

Import Declaration – A document stating the household goods being shipped.

Customs Value Declaration – A document used to calculate duties and taxes that states the value of the entire household shipment.

Import Requirements and Documentation

Having the proper documents will help Customs clear your goods expediently. Please take a look below at some of the documents Customs will need of you.

  • 2 copies of your Passport
  • Your detailed Inventory List with one original and two copies
  • Insurance Certificate
  • A Copy of your Diplomatic Card if you are a Diplomat
  • A copy of your Residence Permit
  • Your Original Bill of Lading
  • A copy of your United Arab Emirates Visa
  • Your detailed Packing List
  • Your Letter of Employment
  • If you are a Diplomat, you will need a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be exempted from Customs duties
  • A copy of your Diplomatic Card for Diplomats

Additional detailed document requirements

  • You must be present for Customs clearance.
  • Every shipment will be subjected to inspection.
  • New HHGS can be charged duties, but used HHGS are not subjected to duties.
  • All shipments will be inspected thoroughly by the Customs authorities.
  • If shipping any goods that are consumable like food items, clothing, and beverages, they will be subjected to duties and Value-added Tax (VAT).
  • Documents that show the real value of your goods should not be included to avoid very high duties.
  • Personal goods and household goods are not charged Customs duties.
  • Your import charge is accumulated by the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of your shipment.

The Examination of Household Goods and Entry Documents

Once your household goods have arrived in the United Arab Emirates along with your documents, both are subjected to examination by Customs. A CBP officer will examine your household goods to determine the value, correct markings, proper invoicing, existence of prohibited items, damages, deterioration and illegal narcotics. It’s important to assure all items are properly described and accounted for to avoid any delays or seizure of items. Once your items are approved for release, they are safeguarded by the proper officers.

Duty and Taxes

When your items arrive at the port of entry, duties are determines and applied for clearance. If any of your HHGS are dutiable, the charges usually range from 4 to 5%.

Duty-free Items

There are some items that can be imported duty-free with a certain degree of restrictions. Please take a look below to learn about your duty-free items.

  • 400 cigarettes
  • 500 grams of tobacco
  • 50 cigars
  • 4 liters of wine or 4 liters of spirits or 24 cans of beer 355 ml or less per

Labeling and Marking Requirements

The correct labeling and markings are very important for Customs. Each mark and label should be in the English language. Please take a look below to discover the marking and labeling requirements.

  • The name and address of the importer
  • The country of Origin
  • Clearly numbered in reflection of the inventory list
  • The quantity

Prohibited Items

Customs pay close attention of prohibited items within your import. To avoid any issues, please take a look at some of the prohibited items below.

  • Alcohol
  • Poppy seeds
  • Military uniforms
  • Weapons
  • Radioactive materials
  • Foods of pork
  • Ammunition
  • Drugs
  • Gambling machines
  • Nude carvings or statues of the human body
  • Toxic materials
  • Narcotics
  • Counterfeit items
  • Original sculptures, prints or engravings
  • Radio transmitters
  • Fireworks
  • Some common medications (check with local embassy)
  • Cooked or homemade food
  • Israeli originating goods
  • Knives other than kitchen knives
  • Obscene articles, publications, videos and/or software’s
  • Banned substances
  • Flammable items
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Goods from boycotted countries
  • Wireless transmitters
  • Any controversial materials against the Islamic principles
  • Endangered animals and articles of
  • Corrosive items
  • Rhino horn
  • Ivory

Restricted Items

Not every item can be imported into United Arab Emirates. There are certain items with restrictions one must adhere to prior to exporting HHGS. Please take a look below at some of the restricted items.

  • Antennas and GPS equipment must be cleared within 30 days of arrival to avoid return and additional expenses.
  • All films will have to be approved by the Ministry of Information before cleared.
  • Herbal medicine must be produced by a registered pharmaceutical company, show the ingredients, has a proper label and must be approved by the Ministry of Health.
  • Tobacco can be imported into Dubai with approval by the Dubai Customs and Municipality.
  • Intercompany Data on a CD-ROM or disk must have the invoice of the CD-ROM or disk value included.
  • All prints, books, records, pictures, tapes, films, videos, computer software, slides, movies, compact disk, etc. must be packed separately and marked clearly for easy access for censorship.
  • High valued stamps and coin collections will be charged duties.
  • Plants will require a Health Certificate,
  • Jewelry, precious metals and precious stones must have the original receipt with the company’s letterhead accompanying them. The invoice must have the weight, carats and value included. The consignee must have a copy of your passport with the Visa page.
  • Religious books are not allowed. If the value of books is more than $270.00 USD, duties will apply. If the books are of an educational subject, exemption may occur.
  • Aircraft and balloon parts may be in need of special clearance.
  • Pork products must be approved by the municipality.
  • All medicine has to be inspected by a Ministry of Health doctor. If your medication is a controlled medication, the consignee has to provide the doctor’s prescription.
  • Cosmetics need to be cleared by the local municipality authorities in the United Arab Emirates within 30 days of your arrival to avoid return and additional expenses.
  • USB sticks must have an invoice showing the character of the USB stick and its value.
  • Telecommunication equipment must have approval by the local TRA.
  • Any food needs to be approved by the Dubai Municipality prior to release. You will need to provide the Customs documents, samples of the food and any invoices that’s relevant to documents.
  • Chemical must have its approval by the Dubai Municipality done online prior to export and must be cleared within 30 days of arrival to avoid return and additional expenses.
  • Vitamins must be inspected by the Ministry of Health.
  • Magazines will need to be approved by the Ministry of Information.
  • Medical items will need approval by the Department of Health.
  • Telephones and its equipment requires an Import Permit from the local Telecommunications Authority.
  • Tapes are subject to approval by the Ministry of Information
  • Any parts will require an invoice and full description.

Contact Information

For more information regarding moving to United Arab Emirates, please take a look below.

P.O. Box 35000 Abu Dhabi & P.O. Box 111333 Dubai

+971 (2) 6979700 (Abu Dhabi) & +971 (4) 3119900 (Dubai)


All information featured above is for viewing purposes only. To obtain up-to-date information about overseas shipment, please notify your nearest Consulate.