Electrical current in the UAE is 220 and 240 volts,
50Hz. The most frequently used plugs are the square three-pin
Arabic is the official language of the Emirates, but
English is widely used.
Tipping practices are similar to most parts of the world. Where
no service charge is included, 10% is adequate and many hotels and
restaurants add a service charge, so it is best to check the
Most visits to the UAE are trouble free. Crime is not a problem,
but there is deemed to be a threat of terrorism against Western
interests and gathering points, particularly entertainment venues.
It is therefore wise to be vigilant when frequenting these. It is
also wise to avoid political gatherings and demonstrations. Al
Qaeda continues to issue statements threatening to carry out
attacks in the Gulf region, including references to attack Western
interests, such as residential compounds, military, oil, transport
and aviation interests.
The Emirates states are all Muslim, therefore alcohol is not
served except in hotels. It is an offence to drink or be drunk in
public and penalties are severe. Some prescribed and over the
counter medicines from outside the country may be considered to be
a controlled substance within the UAE and will not be allowed into
the UAE without prior permission from the UAE Ministry of Health
Drug Control Department (DCD). A passenger arriving with such
medication without permission may be subject to prosecution. Dress
and behaviour should be modest, particularly during the month of
Ramadan when it is disrespectful to smoke, drink or eat in public
between sunrise and sunset. Women's clothes should cover the tops
of the arms and legs. Cohabiting, adultery and homosexual behaviour
are illegal in the UAE, and it is an offence to swear or make rude
gestures, or show a public display of affection. In general, the
country has a tolerant approach to Western visitors, but local laws
and sensitivities should be respected.
The International code for the United Arab Emirates is +971. The
outgoing international code is 00. City/area codes are in use, e.g.
(0)2 for Abu Dhabi and (0)4 for Dubai. The Etisalat mobile phone
network provides wide GSM 900 coverage throughout the country.
Guest starters packs including a SIM card and credit can be bought
on arrival at the airport, providing 3 months' of cellular access.
Internet cafes are widely available, and most hotels have high
speed internet access. The internet is censored to filter out any
material and websites deemed undesirable by the authorities.
Visitors to the UAE do not need to pay customs duty on 400
cigarettes, cigars to a maximum value of 3,000 dirhams and 2kg
tobacco; and perfume for personal use to the value of 3,000
dirhams. Alcohol allowances vary. Dubai: 24 cans of beer or 4
litres of any other alcohol; Abu Dhabi and Fujairah: 4 litres of
alcohol provided traveller is not Muslim; Sharjah: 2 litres of
alcohol and 1 case beer. Fruit and vegetables from cholera infected
areas are strictly prohibited.