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Customs Advice for Dubai and Abu Dhabi

02 Dec 2013

Customs Advice for Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Moving to Dubai or Abu Dhabi in the UAE? To ensure a hassle-free customs experience you need to be aware that there are strict rules as to what can be imported in your personal possessions. All sea and air shipments are thoroughly checked by customs at the port or airport before being released for delivery. Many items which may seem suitable to most Westerners are often prohibited from importation into the Emirates, so we suggest that you double check what you’re planning to send well in advance of packing - if the item you take is interpreted incorrectly it could lead to awkward questioning and lengthy delays.

If you are moving with a removal company associated with FIDI, like ourselves, they should give you a list of prohibited items. However, even the most innocent of items can cause problems:

Children's toys can sometimes be mistaken for prohibited fire arms.

1. Children's toys 
Play swords, guns, handcuffs can all show up on an x-ray and lead to extra examinations and even a meeting with the Police to explain yourselves, and your child. (The importation of firearms and dangerous weapons is restricted.)



CD &; DVD content can contravine the UAE's strict laws

2. CDs & DVDs
Check your CDs & DVDs for any sexual situations and / or religious content, including audio or print, in contradiction to the Islamic religion. It has been known for James Bond movies to cause problems.


Art such as the Birth of Venus would not be allowed through customs in the UAE

3. Art
Works of art including sculptures and paintings of nudes will also be checked for impropriety. Anything showing bare flesh may cause an issue.



Perscription Medicine

4. Medicine
The UAE has a zero-tolerance drug policy so make sure you take all your medicines with you in your luggage and ask your doctor before you fly for a copy of all your prescriptions. keep with you in case of questions when you land.


You must declare your currency when entering the UAE

5. Money
You are required to declare cash (no limit) or any financial instrument exceeding AED 10,000 on arrival in the UAE. This is simply for monitoring and statistical purposes as the UAE are combatting money laundering or other suspicious financial activities.

We recommend arranging your foreign currency with experts, such as FC Exchange.

All these items will be checked by the Ministry of Information in the UAE. If nothing abnormal is found, they will be released - however this procedure can take 10-15 days.

If you have any of the things mentioned above, check them out with your moving surveyor when they come to quote or ask your relocation company. To avoid any unexpected delays with customs into Dubai or Abu Dhabi it is generally best to leave them in the UK instead of shipping - you could always ask your removals company for a quote to store them.