Facts of United Arab Emirates [UAE]
About the Country
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was formed as a federation of seven emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain), which came together as one state on the 2nd of December 1971. The federal capital of UAE is Abu Dhabi and it is ruled by the president of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan. The vice-president is Sheikh Maktoom bin Rashid al Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) occupies an area of 83,000 sq km along the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Qatar lies to the west, Saudi Arabia to the south and west, and Oman to the north and east. The capital and the largest city of the federation, Abu Dhabi, is located in the emirate of the same name.
Four-fifths of the UAE is desert, yet it is a country of contrasting landscapes, from awe-inspiring dunes to rich oases, precipitous rocky mountains to fertile plains.
The United Arab Emirates, one of the world's fastest growing tourist destinations, has all the right ingredients for an unforgettable holiday, sun, sand, sea, sports, unbeatable shopping, top-class hotels and restaurants, an intriguing traditional culture, and a safe and welcoming environment.
The U.A.E. has approximately 2.95 million people from all over the Arab world, Asia, Europe, Africa and America live. Approximately 80% of the population is non-UAE nationals. The religion that the majority of the population have is Islam but Christianity, Hinduism, etc. are also found. The official language of the UAE is Arabic though other languages like English, Hindi and Farsi are also spoken.
The United Arab Emirates has come a long way since its British presence left, and the seven emirates united to become one country in 1971. Since that time, the desert sand has been replaced with greenery and architecturally magnificant buildings and mosques (masjids). Unfortunately, many people still have misconceptions about the UAE and think that life here is how it was 20 or 30 years ago. So we have collected a series of articles to help clarify these misconceptions and help those individuals looking into visit or relocate to the United Arab Emirates.
Where Is It Located
It is located in the Middle East at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula between 22° 50 and 26° north latitude and between 51° and 56° 25 east longitude (24 00 N, 54 00 E). It is one of the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council states) and has borders with Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar. It occupies a total of about 83,600 sq. km (32,400 sq. miles).
The currency used in the UAE is called the Dirham and is abbreviated as Dhs or AED. The sub unit of a Dirham is a Fil and 100 Fils equal 1 Dirham. (Display pictures of the 1 Dirham coin as well as the bills for 5, 10, 20, 50, 100). One US Dollar has an approximate exchange to 3.685 UAE Dirhams
Weather / Climate
In the summer (April to September), temperatures in the UAE will very between 38-48°C (100-118°F) in the daytime while at night it will very between 26-30°C (79-86°F) with high humidity levels. In the winter (October to March), the days are sunny and pleasant with an average of 26°C (79°F), while nights are cool with an average of 15°C (59°F).
The UAE is a major player in the global oil industry (4th in the world) and its oil resources are the main basis of the country's growth. The emirate of Abu Dhabi alone contains 10% of the world's oil reserves (98 billion barrels). The trade industry is also booming as each emirate has established a Free Zone to encourage companies to setup there. The emirates of Ras Al Khaymah and Fujairah are the main agricultural centers as they are both substantially better watered than the other emirates. The emirate of Dubai has become a commercial center and has now consolidated its position as the key trading route between the East and the West. It has also been named the business capital of the Middle East and has become a large tourism attraction
Government offices are open from 7:30am to 2:30pm Saturday to Wednesday. Banks are opened from 8am to 1pm from Saturday to Wednesday and 8am to 12pm on Thursday. General businesses work between 8am to 1pm and again between 4pm to 8pm from Saturday to Thursday. Shopping malls are open throughout the day while some supermarkets are open around the clock.
Oil Reserves: 98.2 billion barrels
Gas Reserves: 5.8 billion cube meters (4.5% of world's proven gas reserves)
Gross Demotic Product (GDP): Dh 241 million (2001)
GDP Oil Sector contribution: 28%
Average Income Per Individual: Dh 63,500
Inflation Rate: 1.4%
Public / Gov. Holidays
The weekend is on Thursday and Friday
UAE National Day (2nd December)
Zayed's Accession (6th August, celebrated in Abu Dhabi)
Eid Al Adha and Eid Al Fitr (date varies each year)
Islamic New Year (date varies each year)
New Year's Day (1st January)
Christmas Day (25th December, for non-muslims)
International Dialing Code - 971
Time Zone - GMT + 4
Electricity - 220/240 volts at 50 Hz (US appliances will require a transformer)
Internet Country Code - .ae
Daily Newspapers (English) - Gulf News, Khaleej Times, Gulf Today
Radio Broadcast - AM 13, FM 7, shortwave 2
Radio Stations (English) - Dubai FM (92.0), Free FM (96.7), Emirates FM (99.3), Channel 4 FM (104.8)
ISPs - 1 [Etisalat]
Emirate Dialing Codes - Abu Dhabi (02), Dubai (04), Al Sharjah (06), Ajman (06), Umm Al Quwain (06), Ras Al Khaimah (07), Al Fujairah (09)
Type of Entry / Visas
The three entry requirements of obtaining a visa in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its seven emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah) are that you are not a citizen of Israel, that your passport doesn't contain Israeli stamps, and that your passport is valid for at least 6 months before your arrival. Information about the various UAE visa categories are explained in detail below.
A visit visa applies to tourists who wish to spend more than 14 days in the UAE, whether it is to visit relatives or for business purposes. The categories given below identify whether an individual requires a visit visa before arrival or whether one can be issued at the airport or entry point.
Citizens of the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia) do not need a visa.
AGCC expatriate residents may obtain a non-renewable 30-day visa upon arrival.
Residents of the UK with the right to abide in the United Kingdom may obtain a free visa on arrival, which is valid for 60 days and can be renewed for an additional 30 days for Dhs. 500 (US$ 137).
33 Privileged Countries
There are 33 countries that are given the same on arrival free UAE visa on arrival similar to UK citizens. These countries include citizens of France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Finland, Malta, Spain, Monaco, Vatican City, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, United States (US), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. A new law was passed on March 31st 2003, where the citizens of these 33 countries can only obtain a one-month non-renewable visit visa on arrival, which costs Dhs. 100 (US$ 28). Though the government officially passed this law, it does not seem to be always implemented.
Other Nationalities (Tourist Visas)
Citizens of countries that are not mentioned above require the sponsorship of a UAE resident (relative or friend), hotel, travel agency, or company, in order to obtain a visit visa. This type of visit visa is also known as the tourist visa. For a relative or friend to sponsor a tourist visa, he or she must earn over Dhs. 4,000 per month and hold a valid residence visa. A hotel can sponsor a tourist visa, only if you are a staying at the hotel, and they will hold your passport until all hotel payments are cleared. Procedures involved in issuing a tourist visa require that you provide your sponsor with your arrival details and a photocopy of the first few pages of your passport. With these details, the sponsor can apply for a tourist visa, which will cost Dhs. 100 (US$ 28) and take around 7 days to issue. Your sponsor must deposit your tourist visa at the airport immigration at least one hour before your flight's arrival, which will cost Dhs. 10 (US$ 3) for processing.
This type of visa is a 4-day (96 hour) visa, which is issued by sponsorship of an airline operating in the UAE. A transit visa can only be issued if you have a valid ticket for an onward flight and the issuing of transit visas are free of cost.
Other Visit Visas
There are two other types of visit visas issued by the U.A.E. government. The first is a 14-day visa, also known as an Entry Service Permit. This visa must be sponsored by a UAE company or hotel and will take 2 weeks to issue. The second is a Multiple Entry Visa, which is useful for individuals who are continously visiting the UAE. This visa has special privileges for visitors from Germany and the United States. More information and requirements about these two visas can be found to your right.
For individuals planning to live in the United Arab Emirates, you have to obtain a residence visa. A residence visa will be issued by the Immigration department of the emirate you will be staying in and provided to you by your sponsor (the company or person you are working for). If you have entered the country on a visit visa, you can transfer to a residence visa by either re-enter the country or else make the transfer at the Immigration department.
If you are coming to the UAE with family members, you should obtain a family visa, which will allow you to sponsor your parents, spouse, daughters, and sons under the age of 18. Family visas are only possible if you earn more than Dhs. 4,000 (US$ 1,100) a month.
Residence visas are normally issued for 3-years and in order for it to be processed, you will need to take a medical test and obtain a health card. Individuals who test positive for AIDS will not be permitted to obtain a residence visa. A health card costs around Dhs. 300 (US$ 82) and should be renewed yearly. It can be issued by at Ministry of Health or else at a recognized private hospital.
A penalty charge of Dhs. 25 (US$ 7) - Dhs. 100 (US$ 28) per day is imposed on visitors who overstay. If the overstay extends to a significant amount of time, then a court hearing is issued and the judge will decide what penalties will occur.
The Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD) is the sole administrative authority of the Ministry of Interior that deals with issuing visas to foreigners visiting the country. Most visit visas issued in the UAE are issued through the Dubai International Airport and are sometime mistakenly reffered to as a Dubai visa. The most Dubai visas are issued during the various events sponsored by the Dubai government, including the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises, as the visa requirements are minimized and obtaining a visa is alot easier.
Note: We would recommend that after you finish reading this webpage, that you also contact the UAE embassy or consulate in your country, as visa issues may have changed. Links to online UAE embassies and contact details of many UAE consulates have been included under the top left navigation menu.