Practical information United Arab Emirates

  • United Arab Emirates
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  • United Arab Emirates
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Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates : the key figures

Area : 32278 km2

Population : 8,264,070 inhabitants

Jet Lag : Dubai is four hours ahead of London (GMT +4).

United Arab Emirates : Travel Information before you go!


7 hrs. Abu Dhabi is 3, 398 mi from London.


The main airports in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. They are respectively 20, 12, and 9 miles from the town centres. To get into the centre of Dubai, a taxi will cost around 40 AED which is roughly £7.

Abu Dhabi airport phone number: +971 (2) 505 5555

Dubai airport phone number: +971 (4) 224 5555

Sharjah airport phone number: +971 (6) 558 1111

Customs: pornographic films and magazines are strictly forbidden, therefore any books, CDs, DVDs and photographs must be declared at customs. Travellers have the right to take back 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 500g of tobacco and 4 litres of alcohol for non-Muslims. The exception is in Sharjah, where it is prohibited to bring any alcohol into the emirate at all.


Delinquency is extremely rare because of the severe prison sentences or immediate expulsion from the country for any foreigner disobeying the law. During the hottest months (June, July and August), you should avoid exposing yourself to the sun from 11:00am to 3:00pm.


Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken in the tourist areas and in the business world.

Required travel documents for

British citizens need not apply for a Dubai visa before arrival. For tourist and business trips, the visa is free and will be delivered upon arrival in the country (for a maximum stay of 60 days). It can later be renewed for an additional 30 days for around 500 Dhs (£95).


The official state religion of the UAE is Islam, with roughly 75% of the population belonging to the religion. There are also relatively large communities of Christian and Hindu minorities.


The currency is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED), which consists of 100 Fils. International credit cards are accepted everywhere and you will have no trouble finding an ATM machine. In general, banks are open from 8am to 1pm, Saturdays to Wednesdays. On Thursdays, opening hours are usually 8am to noon, and banks (like other businesses) are closed on Fridays. Some banks re-open in the afternoon from 4.30 to 6.30pm

Local transportation

Dubai has a metro system with one line running from Bur Dubai all the way down to the Jumeirah Beach area. There are also air-conditioned buses which tend to be relatively frequent.

The Emirates has an overall extensive taxi system, by far the most frequently used means of public transport. Look out for 'pink taxis' which have female drivers and are for the exclusive use of women and families.

An international driving licence is valid and driving is on the right. Be warned that in the UAE, all cars are equipped with sound alarms that prevent speeding. Car rental costs vary depending on how old the driver is and what sort of car you want. For a compact car, prices start from around £15 and from £40 for a 4x4, which is essential for desert hikes. The average price of a litre of petrol is about 30p.

There are daily flights on the country's national airline, Emirates, and on Etihad, Gulf Air and RAK Airways.


No vaccines required, though it is recommended that travelers be up-to-date on all vaccinations. In town, tap water is drinkable but does not taste good because it is a mix of desalted sea water and fresh water. It is thus recommended to drink water outside of hotels.


220 V (not compatible with the US and Canada, but compatible with Europe, including the UK), 50 Hz frequency.

Tourist numbers

The UAE as a whole welcomed about 8.13 million tourists in 2011, with Dubai as the most visited emirate.

Taxes and tips

Service is included in the bill in most bars and restaurants. If not, tips of 10% are recommended. There is no tax on most goods, though alcohol carries a 30% sales tax, and hotels and entertainment (rooms, food, etc.) carry a 5% municipality tax.


To call the United Arab Emirates from the UK, dial 00 + 971 (country code) + 2 (Abu Dhabi), 3 (Al-Ain), 4 (Dubai), 5 (Umm al-Quwain), 6 (Sharjah), 7 (Ras-al-Khaimah), 9 (Fujairah) + correspondent's number.
From the United Arab Emirates to the UK: dial 00 44 + correspondent's number without the initial 0.

United Arab Emirates : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

United Arab Emirates Embassy, 30 Prince's Gate, London, SW7 1PT. Tel: 020 7581 1281. Website:

At the destination

British Embassy in Abu Dhabi, 22 Khalid bin Al Waleed Street, PO Box 248, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (+971)(2) 610 1100.

British Embassy in Dubai, Al Seef Street PO Box 65 Dubai. Tel: (+971)(4) 309 4444

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