Shipping Goods from USA to United Arab Emirates


Unless the shipment passes diplomatic protocols, all household goods and vehicles, whether new or old, are dutiable and taxed when imported from USA (or any other country for that matter) to the United Arab Emirates. There are also prohibited items which must not be found on your shipment unless you would want to risk confiscation and penalties.

These include banned products from Israel, articles which defy the Islam faith, pornographic materials, narcotics, alcohol, pork, wireless devices, counterfeit money, erotic statues or figurines, any articles made from endangered species, and more. For the complete list of prohibited items, consignees are advised to contact the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates before shipping these items.

Vehicles with tinted glasses are also not banned from importation. The information below should guide shippers about what documents to prepare for shipment.

Household goods and personal effects

While all items are dutiable, shippers are still advised to pack used, new, and electronic household goods separately. Used household goods must come with a detailed itemized inventory, with the quantities and depreciated values of each item indicated on the list. Two clear copies of this inventory must accompany the shipment. They should be in English.

New items must also be listed in detail with attached original commercial invoices to confirm their age and value. For items to be considered new, they should be newer than six months old. Electronic items should be listed and packed in a different container and must comply with UAE electronic safety standards before they can be imported into the country.

Aside from the inventories, the shipment must be accompanied by the original airway bill or the original bill of lading. Books, videos, electronic data media, and other informative materials must be packed separately because they will be inspected and assessed by the Ministry of Information. It is likely that they will be censored or destroyed if found unsuitable. Electronics and appliances should be packed and listed separately too for easy assessment of duties and taxes. Flammable or corrosive items may be confiscated by the Customs Agency.

To clear these items, the consignee must present his/her passports in two copies, his/her resident permit, a certificate of his/her employment, and an insurance certificate. Consignee presence is needed during clearance if the items are being shipped to Dubai. Personal appearance is not necessary anywhere else in the country.

Motor vehicles

There is no prohibition, aside from tinted glasses, when it comes to motor vehicles for import into the United Arab Emirates. However, all vehicles are dutiable and taxed. Only diplomatic vehicles are allowed entry (if permit is given by the government), and these diplomatic vehicles are usually only allowed into the country temporarily.

To import a vehicle into the United Arab Emirates, the consignee must provide the Customs Agency with USA Registrations for the vehicle, the title or deed to prove the ownership of the vehicle, a copy of the vehicle’s commercial invoice, a certificate of the vehicle’s origin, insurance papers, other pertinent documents proving the ownership of the vehicle, and the consignee’s residence permit. As long as all the documents are complete, it is fairly easy to import vehicles for personal use into the United Arab Emirates. Vehicles for personal use include boats and motorcycles. Special permits are necessary for aircrafts and other special vehicles which may have commercial or industrial use.

The information above is only a general guideline. For more specific and updated shipping instructions, consignees should contact the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in the USA.

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