Traveling Luck for United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates is located in Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia.

United Arab Emirates has borders with Oman for 410km and Saudi Arabia for 457km.

Land in United Arab Emirates is flat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert wasteland; mountains in east.

Emirati land covers an area of 82880 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than Maine

As for the Emirati climate; desert; cooler in eastern mountains.

Emirati(s) speak Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu.

Emirati National Map

Emirati Map

Regions of United Arab Emirates

The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the UK control of their defense and foreign affairs in 19th century treaties. In 1971, six of these states - Abu Zaby, 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn - merged to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They were joined in 1972 by Ra's al Khaymah. The UAE's per capita GDP is on par with those of leading West European nations. Its generosity with oil revenues and its moderate foreign policy stance have allowed the UAE to play a vital role in the affairs of the region.


United Arab Emirates Country Profile

The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Its wealth is based on oil and gas output (about 30% of GDP), and the fortunes of the economy fluctuate with the prices of those commodities. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. At present levels of production, oil and gas reserves should last for more than 100 years. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up its utilities to greater private sector involvement. Higher oil revenue, strong liquidity, and cheap credit in 2005 led to a surge in asset prices (shares and real estate) and consumer inflation. Any sharp correction to the UAE's equity markets could damage investor and consumer sentiment and affect bank asset quality. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US.

Emirati natural resources include petroleum, natural gas

strategic location along southern approaches to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil

Emirati religion is Muslim 96% (Shi'a 16%), Christian, Hindu, and other 4%.

Natural hazards in United Arab Emirates include frequent sand and dust storms.

Travel Advice on United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

The advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Summary, Road Safety, Local Laws & Customs, Entry Requirements section.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • You should be aware of the threat from terrorism.  Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region.  These include references to attacks on Western interests, including residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests.

  • You should review your security arrangements carefully.  You should remain vigilant, particularly in public places.  You should avoid any public demonstrations.

  • The main type of incidents for which British nationals require consular assistance in UAE are caused by failure to observe the zero tolerance policy towards drink driving and other drink-related incidents.

  • Since September 2006 the local weekend in UAE has changed from Thursday and Friday to Friday and Saturday.  Schools and local businesses have changed over to the new weekend.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime

Some one million British tourists visited the UAE in 2005 and more than 100,000 British nationals are resident there.  Most visits are trouble-free.  Incidents of street crime are rare.  Female visitors should take care when travelling alone at night and are advised to use one of the reputable taxi companies.

Political Situation

Developments in Iraq and on the Middle East Peace Process continue to have an impact on local public opinion in the region.  You should be aware of local sensitivities on these issues.  You should follow news reports and be alert to local and regional developments, which might trigger public disturbances.  You should take sensible precautions for your personal safety and avoid public gatherings and demonstrations.

Road Safety

In Abu Dhabi or Dubai you need an International Driving Licence to hire a car.  Other vehicles (and cars hired in other Emirates) can only be driven with a full UAE licence.  UAE licences can be obtained from the traffic department by expatriates with valid residency visas (and holders of such visas must obtain such a licence if they wish to drive).
Excursions to the desert can be dangerous unless undertaken in adequately equipped 4 x 4 vehicles.  You should always travel in convoy with other cars, take a supply of water and a mobile telephone if you have one and leave travel plans with friends or relatives.

If you have a motor accident you should ensure you follow the rules of the Emirate you are in.  In Abu Dhabi, you should not move your car until the police arrive at the scene, even if it is an obstruction to the traffic.  In Dubai, you should only move your vehicle if it is causing an obstruction to other motorists.  In the other Emirates, you may only move your car if it is a minor accident and both parties agree on the responsibility for the accident.   It is an offence to leave the scene of the accident before the police have arrived.   Even minor expressions of ‘road rage’, such as rude gestures, can attract significant penalties.   It is strongly in your own interests to display calm at all times.

It is an offence in the UAE to drink and drive.  There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving, and the penalties can be severe.  Insurance is likely to be invalidated, leaving the driver to pay claims by other parties involved.  If in the slightest doubt, take a taxi.

Sea Safety

Many areas of the Gulf are highly sensitive, including near maritime boundaries and the islands of Abu Musa and the Tunbs in the southern Gulf.  Vessels entering these areas have been detained and inspected; and there have been occasional arrests.  Mariners should make careful enquiries before entering these waters or considering visiting ports.

On 30 March 2006, a Dhow capsized in Bahrain.  There were 58 fatalities, including 12 British nationals.  You should exercise care when travelling by Dhow, as the safety of these vessels may not be up to UK standards.  You should also ensure that life jackets are available.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Local laws reflect the fact that the UAE is a Muslim country.  You should respect local customs and sensitivities at all times, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
Women should dress in a modest way, particularly in Sharjah and Ajman emirates where Islamic law is rigorously enforced.   Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs, and underwear should not be visible.   Public displays of affection are frowned upon, and there have been several arrests for kissing in public.   Sex outside of marriage is illegal, as is cohabitation, adultery and homosexual behaviour.  Swearing or making rude gestures is considered an obscene act and offenders can be prosecuted.
You should exercise the same caution as you would in the UK by not accepting lifts from strangers, and by only using licensed taxis or other recognised forms of public transport.

Liquor licences can be obtained by residents to consume alcohol in private homes, and alcoholic drinks are served in licensed hotels and clubs.  But it is a punishable offence to drink or to be drunk in public.

The importation of narcotics, pork products and pornographic books and material is forbidden.  Videos, books and magazines are subject to scrutiny and may be censored.

The penalties for drug trafficking, smuggling and possession are severe.  The presence of drugs in the body is counted as possession and carries a minimum sentence of four years imprisonment.

Some UK prescription/over the counter medicines are illegal in UAE.  If you have any concerns about taking medication with you in the UAE, you should contact UAE Representation in the UK for further information.
If you want to buy property in the UAE, you should, as in the UK, seek appropriate professional advice.  The Embassy can provide a list of local lawyers on request.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

British citizens do not require a visa for the UAE but if you plan to stay longer than 60 days, contact the UAE Immigration officials on arrival.  All other British passport holders must obtain a visa before travelling to the UAE.  Contact the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in London:  UAE Representation in the UK.
Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the end of your intended stay.
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  In the UAE this may be required when obtaining a residence visa.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in London:  UAE Representation in the UK.


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before arriving in the UAE.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance.  You should be aware that a new Health Insurance law has been implemented and affects all travellers to Abu Dhabi.  You should also be aware that if you require medical treatment you will have to cover the cost of any medical fees incurred.

Some UK prescription/over the counter medicines are illegal in UAE.  If you have any concerns about taking medication with you in the UAE, you should contact UAE Representation in the UK for further information.

You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at:  DoH: Health Advice To Travellers.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help
Potential job seekers should be aware that those testing HIV positive whilst applying for their residence visa are detained then deported.  There is no appeal process.  Taking a blood test shortly before travelling to the UAE would therefore be advisable.


OTHER

For Contact Details for the British Embassy in Dubai see: British Embassy, Dubai.
United Arab Emirates Country Profile