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security and customs in the emirates

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Security and Customs are something that has prevailed for a very long time in every country of the world. While travelling to a foreign country, the passenger must never overlook the requirements, rules and regulations of the country’s Customs. For the security of the Emirates, the immigration authorities make it compulsory for all the foreigners who wish to enter and exit the country to follow the norms of the customs.

The Emirates consists of seven states. Each of these states has its own monarch and together these rules form the supreme governing council body, alongside the ruler of Abu Dhabi is the president of the country and also the supreme commander of the army. Each of the state in the Emirates has its own set of laws and regulations which govern the country’s internal affairs.

Considering the Emirates and its famous cities like – Dubai and Abu Dhabi always flooded with passengers, tourists, job seekers, etc., the Crime and scam rates have increased to the next level. Hence, it is mandatory for everyone who enters and exits the country to follow the security and customs in the Emirates.

This blog will help the readers by informing them about the norms about the security and customs in the Emirates. It will urge the readers to follow all the necessary processes for them have to have a memorable stay and a pleasant return. We at Emirates Visa Online portal, prioritize our customers and aim at their wellbeing.


  • Emirates Customs
  • Items that are Banned to carry the Emirates
  • Items that are Restricted to carry in the Emirates
  • Dubai Airport Customs
  1. Self-Declaration
  2. Luggage and Items that are permitted in the Dubai Airport
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Emirates Customs

The process and need for customs have existed in the Emirates for more than a century ago (as per the gov website). After going through a lot of forms, the customs of the Emirates were moulded in the reign of the late Sheikhs, H. H. Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and H. H. Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

Initially, in the year 2002, the Emirates Cabinet permitted 2 decrees 617/7 of 2001G and 157/12 of 2002G respectively, which further assigned the then Ministry of Finance and Industry and insisted on hiring an international consulting office, which can offer recommendations to create a federal customs authority. This would authorize the ministry to follow the execution of the required measures and processes.

The Federal Customs Authority (FCA) is authorized to draw the customs policies, to supervise the process and onset of customs-related laws and legislations and it represents the Emirates at their base and in foreign countries as well.

The Emirates is considered as the most efficient in terms of Customs Procedures as per the Global Competitiveness Yearbook 2017 which was published by the IMD World Competitiveness Center.

Read Also: Emirates Visa Online Services

Items that are banned to carry in the Emirates

For those who are all set to visit the Emirates, but are not sure as to what to carry and what not to carry.

Here is the list of things that are banned to carry in the Emirates:

  • Recreational drugs and narcotics substances
  • Piracy related content
  • counterfeit currency or imitation currency
  • Any kind of item used in wrong and illegal practices like black magic, witchcraft, etc.
  • Any piece of creativity like publications or artwork that challenge or contradict the values and teachings of Islam.
  • Exotic, protected and endangered animals and vicious dog breeds,
  • Gambling tools, machinery, and devices.
  • Fishing nets of Nylon material
  • Betal Leaves or Paan Leaves
  • Any other substance include toxic or nuclear elements

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Items that are restricted to carry in the Emirates

The immigration authorities of the Emirates are extremely particular in inspecting whether the passenger is carrying a banned or restricted item into the country. The difference between a banned item and a restricted item is – a banned item will not be permitted in any manner to be brought into the country, whereas for a restricted item, you will require permits from the necessary authorities. Some of the good which is restricted to brought are

  • Those who are wanting to carry their pets and domestic animals along will have to take a permit prior to the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. You will be able to import your pet only after the permit. The applicant will have to provide the pet’s vaccination card, health certificate, passport, etc. some pets may even be needed to get a Rabies test before entering the Emirates.
  • Agricultural products like seeds, tubers, outdoor seedlings, and honeybees can be imported into the Emirates only after they receive a permit from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
  • As per the Ministerial Resolution No. 14 of 2016 which intends to control the import of food for non-commercial purposes.

One can bring food in the following quantities:

  1. Yoghurt – 20 kgs
  2. Oil - 50 litres 
  3. Vegetables and Fruits -10 kg
  4. Dates – 100kgs
  5. Sweets and Bread – 10kgs
  6. Red meat, grains and cereals – 30 kgs
  7. Fish and Seafood – 10 kg
  8. Caviar – 500gms
  9. Eggs – 11kgs
  10. Honey and sugar products – 20 kgs
  11. Herbs and spices – 5kg
  12. Saffron – 500gms
  13. Food for a special purpose, like children’s food – 10kg
  14. Drinks, Syrup, and water – 20 litres
  15. Juice concentrates – 5kg
  16. Canned Food – 25Kg
  17. The importation of cooked duck eggs, famously known as “balut” without any permission of the Customs Authorities is prohibited. In case you wish to import, it will be required for you to present a health certificate that indicates the manufacturing and expiry dates and should also show that the eggs have been produced on the farm and are free from diseases like salmonella and bird flu.
  • Medicines and drugs are something every passenger must carefully carry. Some of the ingredients present in the medicines may be banned in the Emirates, and if in negligence one carries it along, may face terrible circumstances like getting arrested. It is always advisable for the passengers to carry not only their doctor’s prescription but also they need to get a certificate for the same from their respective country embassy.

Read Also: Emirates Visa Application Form

Dubai Airport Customs

The Customs officers present at the Dubai International Airport have the right to inspect any passenger’s whom they find suspicious, check them, and their luggage for security purposes, who are travelling through the Dubai airport.


On arrival at the Dubai airport, the following items, if carried by the passenger are supposed to be declared to the Customs Officials.

Any kind of non – declaration may simply be treated as smuggling and can be understood as a punishable offence:

  • Sharp-edged Knives or swords, radios, and self-defence equipment
  • Pets or any kind of materials of the endangered animals, like skins, ivory, horns, or stuffed animals.
  • Cash which is above the amount of AED 100,000 or any other foreign currency belonging to other countries.
  • Gift items whose commercial value exceeds AED 3,000/-
  • Arms, ammunition, weaponry, and any kind of military equipment.
  • Medicines and Drugs
  • Natural elements like trees, plants, and soil.
  • Narcotics Substance of all kinds.

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Luggage and Items that are permitted in the Dubai Airport

Passengers arriving at the Dubai Airport, are permitted to carry the following items in the City, without paying customs duty:

  • Gifts items whose commercial value does not exceed AED 3,000.
  • For those who are carrying Narcotics substances, the passengers are only allowed to carry 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 500 gms of tobacco. Any levels that exceed this, will be dutiable.
  • For those who are carrying alcoholic beverages, must note that it should exceed 4 litres and 2 cartons of beer.

Read Also: Emirates Visa Requirements


Frequently Asked Questions

Passengers carrying weapons, explosives, and any type of fireworks should take special permission from the ministry of defense. Take permission from the ministry of health while carrying any prescribed medicines, drugs, medical devices, and equipment to UAE. For carrying alcoholic drinks take permission from the ministry of interior or Dubai police. You will also need to take permits for a tobacco-processed cigarettes, cosmetics, personal care products, wireless devices, and media publications. Take permission from Kimberley's office in UAE for taking raw diamonds.

Custom duties fee in the United Arab Emirates is around 5% of the total cost of the product or goods. In addition to this one may have to pay extra charges of VAT. Passengers carrying e-cigars, tobacco, and e-smoking products have to pay 100% custom duty charges. Passengers carrying alcohols and all kinds of carbonated drinks have to pay a 50% customs duty fee. 

Your personal belongings like clothes, shoes, and accessories can be carried without paying any customs fees. You can also take your camera, camera equipment, films, tapes, and moving video cameras in your luggage. You should carry cash which should not be more than DH 60,000. And for transferring more cash then you may have to pay relevant custom fees. Your mobile phone, telescope, iPad, laptop, sports equipment, portable TV sets, radio system, DVD, CD, calculator, food in limited quantity, liquids, etc. You can take two handbags which can be a purse, wallet, or laptop bag while traveling to Dubai through any airline.

At least one flat surface is required in all luggage brought into UAE airports terminals by the passengers. At check-in, round, deformed and irregularly shaped items of luggage must not be carried as it is prohibited. A long strap or lash should also be not accepted in the passenger's luggage. Passengers should carry proper luggage for easy and fast check-in at the UAE airport. The rectangular-shaped luggage, a flat-bottomed handbag, or any box or any container as long as it is safely fixed and packed. Travelers' or passengers' luggage will be refused at check-in at airport terminals if it does not have at least one flat surface or is oddly shaped and very large. The total weight of the luggage carried by one passenger must not be more than 32 Kg. Tourists traveling to Dubai can take two bags which should not exceed the weight limit.

Before items can be imported exported or transferred through the United Arab Emirates. Then foreign nationals have to take customs clearance which is an important requirement. If cargo is cleared, the shipper or an individual must provide all the relevant documents confirming the payment of customs duties before the package can be transferred further. After presenting a passport, visa, and other entry documents passengers have to pass through the customs control department. Passengers who need to declare any goods or products. If any traveler is carrying money more than or equivalent to AED 100,000 then it is mandatory to provide proper documents and declare at the customs department. The requirement of passing through the customs department depends on the goods, things, and products foreign nationals are carrying. 

If you want to take your pets to the United Arab Emirates then it is mandatory to transfer them through manifested cargo. You can not travel with your pets in cabins. According to the International Air Transport Association, pets can only be transferred if they meet all the travel conditions. At least the limited age of your pets should have to be 15 weeks old during the time of travel. You will also need a rabies vaccination certificate, microchip, and other additional vaccination if required. You have to take permission which is referred to as an import permit from the ministry of environment and water before traveling to the UAE. 

Yes, customs officers have the legal right to check the luggage or inspect any foreign national whom they find suspicious. They can ask them related questions, and they can check passenger's things like wallets. The security check is an important requirement needed to be maintained by UAE for security reasons. Customs officers are responsible for maintaining a safe environment and prohibiting illegal entries into the United Arab Emirates.

Foreign nationals visiting the United Arab Emirates can not take prohibited things in their luggage. Before packing your bags you must know what are the things which are completely prohibited in UAE. Do not carry any kind of chemicals and large metallic items in your luggage. All liquids should only be carried in clear transparent plastic bags. Do not carry car parts, compressed gas cylinders, liquids in large amounts, large volumes of expensive materials like gold, silver, diamond, pieces of jewelry, and cash. Carrying banned drugs and medications is strictly prohibited at the airport in the United Arab Emirates. You should not carry narcotics, heroine, betel leaves, and hallucinations pills. Doctors prescribed medicines, food, and milk for children can be carried. You can take a certain amount of food items but it should not be carried out for commercial purposes. 

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