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Good To Know - UAE

Entry Requirements

In order to enter UAE you will need to have a valid passport (at least 6 months). Children need to have their own passport and can only enter when accompanied by an adult. The kind of visa needed to enter the UAE depends on several different factors such as your nationality, the purpose of your planned visit and its planned duration. Citizens of GCC countires plus nationals of listed countries – do not require visas prior to arrival. Citizens of the following countries do not require pre-entry visas to enter the UAE:

Andorra Hong Kong Poland
Australia Hungary Portugal
Austria Iceland Romania
Belgium Ireland San Marino
Brunei Italy Singapore
Bulgaria Japan Slovakia
Canada Latvia Slovenia
Croatia Liechtenstein South Korea
Cyprus Lithuania Spain
Czech Republic Luxembourg Sweden
Denmark Malaysia Switzerland


Malta United Kingdom
Finland Jackson Smith
Eve Monaco United States of America
France Netherlands The Vatican
Germany New Zealand  
Greece Norway  

For more information on Passport, Visa & Health travel document requirements please check: http://www.iatatravelcentre.com/passport-visa-health-travel-document-requirements.htm

Note: If your country is not listed above, please check with your nearest UAE Embassy / Consulate for any updates or go to Visa to apply for a tourist visa.

Documents required for a visa:

  • Passport copies (colored)
  • Copy of confirmed flight booking/hotel stay
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Visa fee

Please note that visa, transit and entry requirements vary from country to country, and can change with little or no notice. The resources listed on this page are intended as a guide, but please refer to the relevant embassy or consulate of all the countries on your itinerary as well as your destination country for the most up-to-date information.

Essential Information

Despite being governed by Islamic laws, alcohol is available to tourists in licensed bars and restaurants (these are almost always located inside four and five star hotels), and in airport duty free shops. Drinking in public places (such as beaches) is not permitted, and being drunk and disorderly in public can result in stiff penalties. ‘Dry’ hotels do not serve any alcohol; the same applies for all Sharjah hotels.

Business Hours
Usually government offices open from 7.30 to 14.30 (from Sunday to Thursday). Most offices in the public sector open from 08.00 to 13.00 and 16.00 to 20.30. Many shops and the big Shopping Malls open from 10.00 to 22.00 without a break. The weekend is Friday and Saturday.

UAE has a sub tropical and arid climate with temperatures between 10°C and 48°C, with an average temperature of 24°C in winter and 41°C in summer. In winter there are infrequent and irregular rainfalls and sandstorms, whereas in summer the humidity can rise up to 100%. The most pleasant time to visit Dubai is between November and April. Summer is the least comfortable time of year to visit in terms of climate. However, Dubai is well geared up for high temperatures, and public transport, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions are all air conditioned.

The UAE is an Islamic country, therefore visitors should adapt to a certain level of cultural and religious sensitivity for the duration of their stay. While dress codes are fairly liberal in most of the Emirates (Shajrah & Abu Dhabi are very traditional), swim wear should only be worn on beaches or in swimming pools. When visiting shopping malls and other attractions tourists should wear clothing that is not too tight or revealing. Certain attractions, such as mosques or religious sites, usually have stricter dress codes, requiring both men and women to cover up bare shoulders, arms and legs, and women to wear headscarves.Summer clothing is appropriate most of the year. Light jacket/sweaters are useful during the winter season and in general due to strong air conditioning in all hotels and shopping centres.

Credit Cards
American Express, Diners Club, Visa and Master Card are generally accepted in all major restaurants, hotels and shops.

The local currency is the UAE Dirham, which has the fixed exchange rate of 3.65 to the USD. The best exchange rates you will get in banks or in private exchanges, that you will find in all main Shopping Malls. Hotels provide, exchange service as well with a poor exchange rate though. There are notes of 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 AED and coins: 1 AED, 50 and 25 fils.

Most of the Hotels in UAE require a deposit upon check in for all extras during your stay (minibar, drinks during the meals etc.). The best way is to use for this purpose a credit card. In case of paying a deposit in a foreign currency hotel will return only Dirhams upon check out as per the law.

Drinking water
Tap water is officially drinkable. But it is desalinated sea water; therefore it is advisable to purchase bottled water. Most of the hotels are providing complimentary bottles of water every day in the rooms.

Dry Hotel
“Dry hotels” do not serve alcohol at all. Please refer to hotel descriptions. Sharjah hotels, for example, are all dry.

The official language of the country is Arabic, although English is widely spoken. All restaurant menus, road signs and other information are usually presented in both English and Arabic, therefore visitors who speak English will have no trouble making their way around. Due to the large number of Expats also Urdu and Hindi are often spoken and mostly understood. Further languages are spoken by tourism staff.

Local Time
The UAE is four hours ahead of UTC (Universal Time Co-ordinate). There is no summer time saving when clocks are altered.

Dubai’s Metro is a perfect and economical way to discover the city. For more information visit, http://dubaimetro.eu. Tickets can be purchased at machines or at counters if you need the information’s regarding the route. 1 way-, return- and daily tickets are available. For multiuse choose the daily option (approx. 16 AED cost).

Besides regional Arab newspapers, international newspapers and magazines are available in shops and supermarkets. Mostly in big shopping centres.

Below some telephone numbers that might be useful for you:

Police 999 American Hospital 3367777
Ambulance 998 Dubai Airport 2245555
Fire Dept. 997 Flight Inquiry 2166666
Operator 181 Metro Taxi 2673222

Public Holiday
The Islamic calendar goes along with the moon. The Islamic year is called Hijri, which has 354 or 355 days and 12 Lunar months. Therefore, a large number of Public Holidays are not fixed and are confirmed only 24 hours in advance.

New Years Day 1st Jan
Lailat Al Mi’Raj moon
Eid Al Adha moon
Ramadan moon
Islamic New Year moon
Eid Al Fitr moon
Prophet Mohamed Birthday moon
UAE Nat’l Day 2nd Dec
Accession of Shiek Zayed 6th Aug

Taking photographs of government buildings, palaces and police stations are forbidden. Ask local people before taking a photograph of them. It is forbidden to take pictures of local women.

Stamps are available in post offices, supermarkets and usually in all places where postcards are being sold. The postage for a letter is between 4 and 5 AED - for a postcard 3 – 5 AED. The postcards can be handed over to the hotel reception.

Ramadan is the name of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, it follows Shaban (the eighth month), and is followed by the month of Shawwal.It is an important period of religious significance for Muslims who observe the period with daytime fasting, worship and spiritual contemplation.Ramadan is regarded as the holiest month in the Islamic calendar because Muslims believe that the Qur'an (Koran) was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) during the month of Ramadan on the night of Laylat al Qadr. During the holy month of Ramadan it is strictly prohibited to eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours. Also chewing gum is not allowed. Not obeying thes rules can lead to fines up to 2500 AED or up to 1 or 2 months jail - according to the law. The Tourist will experience some limitations in daily life and in the hotels. Hotels will have only limited options for dining, but alcohol won't be served until after Iftar. Supermarkets and service stations are open with food and drink available for purchase but consuming in public is not allowed. Food courts will be closed during the day, except in some of the Dubai free zones and at Dubai International Airport. Ramadan in 2015 is dated for: start on 6 Mai, ending 4 June.

Islam is the official religion of the UAE, but other religions are respected.

From modern shopping malls to traditional souks, it's all here. In the souks and small shops you can bargain the prices and there are discounts of between 15 - 25% paid on some goods. This does not apply for shopping centres. The most famous shopping malls are: Dubai Mall with its famous aquarium and Mall of the Emirates with its Ski slides.

For more information, visit: www.dubaishoppingmalls.com

Shuttle buses
Most hotels are offering free shuttle services to shopping centres and public beaches. Departure times are available at the hotel reception.

In general taxis have a meter (the step in charges is around 3.5 AED and 1.5 AED per each kilometre). All public taxis have a minimum turnover of AED 10. We recommend using taxis with a taxi sign and not private ones or limousines since the cost can doubled in such cases.

Phone cards with a credit of 30 AED can be purchased in supermarkets. From 21.00 till 7.00 and also on Fridays phone calls are cheaper. For country code please go to http://countrycode.org/

Tourism Dirham
Tourism Dirham is a charge of between 7 AED and 20 AED per night per room for staying at a hotel, apartment, guesthouse or holiday home In Dubai. The extra fee will be placed on the payment that is due on arrival. Hotels will collect the fee and then pass it onto the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. The fee range from 20 AED for five-star hotels, 15 AED for four-star hotels, 10 AED by two and three-star venues and 7 AED for one-star hotels and budget accommodation options.

Useful links