United Arab Emirates flag United Arab Emirates: Buying and Selling

International convention and customs procedures of the United Arab Emirates

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
International Economic Cooperation
The United Arab Emirates is a member of the following international economic organisations: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), ICC, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (ABEDA), IMF, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), G-77, Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), WTO, Arab League, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates the United Arab Emirates click here. International organisation membership of the United Arab Emirates is also outlined here.
Non Tariff Barriers
It is prohibited to import irradiated food, and the import of alcohol, tobacco and pork is governed by a strict quota system. All beef or poultry-based products must be accompanied by a health certificate from the country of origin.
The UAE is part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In 1981, the GCC established an agreement (Unified Economic Agreement) according to which all farm, animal and industrial products as well as natural resources of the member states should be exempt from customs duties or any other tax when traded within the GCC. The GCC is presently in talks with the European Union, Japan and the USA regarding future free-trade agreements.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
With the adoption of a common tariff for the GCC countries, customs duties have been fixed to 5% of the CIF value of most products. However, alcoholic products are subject to 50% duty and tobacco products are assessed a 100% customs duty.
For more information, please click here.
Customs Classification
The system has been harmonised since the setting-up of the free trade area between the GCC countries in 2003.
Import Procedures
The importer submits the Import Declaration application for UAE Customs clearance online through dubaitrade.ae. In case of restricted goods or duty-exempted cargo, the importer arranges for the necessary permits from the designated permit issuing authority before filling out the Customs Import Declaration.
For import of goods from outside the country into UAE the following original documents are required:

  • Commercial invoice from the exporter addressed to a licensed importer in the country detailing total quantity, goods description and total value for each item (in triplicate);
  • Certificate of origin approved by the Chamber of Commerce in the country of origin detailing the origin of goods; 
  • Detailed packing list as per weight, method of packing and HS code for each individual article contained in the shipment;
  • Import permit from the competent agencies in the event of importing restricted goods or duty- exempted goods;
  • Original bill of loading;
  • A form or letter of exemption from customs duties in cases where exemption requirements are fulfilled, including a Local Purchase Order (LPO).

For more information on the UAE Customs, please visit the website of the Federal Customs Authority.

Importing Samples
The United Arab Emirates joined the ATA Carnet system on 1 April 2011, accepting goods for fairs and exhibitions. The United Arab Emirates typically limit the duration of carnets to six months, with the possibility of extension.  UAE customs may charge a regularisation fee* (up to 5,000 AED) under specific conditions.
For more information, click here.

To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls.

For Further Information
UAE Federal Customs Authority
Dubaï Trade Portal

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Latest Update: July 2024