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Check your medication

Codeine based medicines and some opiates, which might be legal in your country, are banned. Check online and get a doctor’s note to verify that they are prescribed if in any doubt. Unwitting travelers have been jailed. There is a list of medication banned in the UAE on this website.

Currency exchange

Actually this is one thing to leave until you get here. Rates at money exchanges are very competitive and the head cashier often has some leeway so ask for ‘your best rate’ if you are converting a reasonable amount. Al Ansari and UAE Exchange are major chains but there are many exchanges in most shopping malls and throughout the city.

There are no currency regulations and foreign currency of almost any denomination is readily exchanged in the UAE. The dirham (pronounced dir-ham) is the official currency of the UAE. The prefix is written as AED or Dh.
The dirham is index linked to the dollar and the official exchange rate is  

Dh 3.671 = US$ 1.00.

Custom duties

Getting your personal belongings confiscated at Dubai Airport isn’t a pleasant experience. To avoid such a situation, you need to know what you are allowed and what you are not allowed to bring in with you. Below, you’ll find a comprehensive list of rules regarding customs in Dubai. If you need more information or would like to contact the Dubai customs authority, visit www.dxbcustoms.gov.ae

Permitted Items

Passengers are permitted to bring the following items into Dubai International Airport without paying customs duty:

·         Gifts whose value does not exceed AED 3,000

·         The Number of cigarettes shall not exceed 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 500 grams of tobacco (minced or pressed for pipes),

·         minced or pressed tobacco for smoking, tobacco or mild-tasting tobacco

·         The amount of alcoholic beverage and beer shall not exceed 4 litres for alcohol beverages; or 2 cartons of beer (each consisting of 24 cans, not exceeding 355 ml for each can or its equivalent),

·         Still and moving image video cameras with their appropriate tapes, films and

·         Accessories, Projectors for displaying slides and films including accessories and agreeable quantities of slides and films, Telescopes, Portable music equipment, Radio systems, combined broadcasting apparatus, CD and DVD players with agreeable quantities, Mobile telephone Portable TV sets, Portable typing sets, Computers including laptops, Portable calculators, Baby cars, Disabled wheelchairs and cars, Sports equipment, Cash money, currencies and travelers cheques less than AED 40,000; and the passenger’s age shall not be less than 18 years old

Exemption Conditions

Exemption shall be subject to the following conditions and controls: The baggage and gifts must be of a personal nature and not in commercial quantities,

·         The passenger must not enter the country with goods on a regular basis, be a trader in what he possesses or a member of the respective conveyance crew,

·         Passengers below 18 years of age may not bring cigarettes or alcoholic beverages into the country,

·         Prohibition and restriction procedures shall be applicable to items or belongings accompanying passengers.

Duty Free Allowances

Same as above items that must be declared, Narcotics of all kinds , Weapons, ammunition and military equipment, Radios, striking appliances, self-defense equipment and cold steel , Domestic and endangered animals subject to CITES Convention (hides, ivory & stuffed animals), Currencies (more than USD 10,000 or AED 40,000 or the equivalent in other currencies), Goods of commercial value(exceeding AED 3,000 in value), Trees, plants & soil, Films, Books, Visual & Compact discs, Fireworks & explosives, Medicines of all kinds

Make travel easy

Public transport in the city is pretty good and taxis are reasonably priced. Buses, the metro and water ferries require the purchase of a Nol card which you can top up with cash (available at Metro stations and some bus stations).  Taxis can be ordered on 04 2080808 or hailed from the street but at peak times the RTA Smart Taxi app is useful as it picks up your location. Other geo-located apps are Uber and Careem. Download SmartTaxi, Uber or Careem before you leave.

Telephone and internet

The landline network, operated by the main national telecommunication organizations ETISALAT and Du, is superb: local calls are free and direct dialing is available to over 150 countries. The international dial code for UAE is +971.

The UAE also has an excellent and extensive mobile phone network. Pay-as-you-go cards are available for visitors who do not wish to use their home services. You can also recharge your mobile with a minimum of 10 AED on the main machines available on the streets.

ETISALAT and du provide internet services in the UAE.

Most hotels offer guests internet access and Wifi hotspots are provided at many cafes.

Opening hours and holidays

Normal shopping hours are from 9.00 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 4.00 - 9.00 p.m. however many shops, particularly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi stay open all day. Most shopping centers open from 10 a.m to 10 p.m - frequently later. Some supermarkets are open for 24 hours. Although shops and shopping centers are fully air conditioned, the cool of the evening is a favorite time for shopping. Shopping centers and most shops are open on Friday, the Islamic day of rest, but they all close for Juma (Friday) prayers from 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. All shops are required to close at prayer times in Raï's al-Khaimah.

Offices

Government offices open at 7.30 a.m. and close at 3.00 p.m. but you would be wise to visit in the morning. Private offices tend to keep longer hours, coming back to work in the evening after an extended mid-day break. Some private businesses open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All government offices close for the weekend at mid-day on Thursday and do not open again until Saturday morning. Some offices outside the public sector are open on Thursday and close on Friday and Saturday.

Public holidays

Since Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of phases of the moon, the dates outlined below for Islamic religious holidays are approximate. The precise dates are not announced until a day or so before they occur. If a public holiday falls on a weekend, the holiday is usually taken at the beginning of the next working week.

A three-day mourning period is usually announced when a member of the ruling families or a government minister or the head of a neighboring state dies. Government offices and some private companies will close for the period.

1 Jan New Year's Day.

2 Dec National Day.

Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year).

Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet).

Leilat al-Meiraj (Ascension of the Prophet).

Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan).

Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice).

 

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