Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.
Last Published: 4/23/2018
The consignee/agent should obtain a delivery order from the Shipping Agent and submit original standard trade documentation as per the following:
Commercial Invoice from the exporter addressed to the importer with details about quantity, goods description and total value of each imported item
Certificate of Origin, stating the country of origin and approved by the Chamber of Commerce in the country of origin
Detailed Packing List including weight, method of packing, and HS code for each item
Import Permit from the competent agencies in case of importing restricted goods or duty exempted goods
Bill of Entry or Airway Bill

For all food products, the following certificates are required in addition to the above:
Original health certificate issued by the appropriate government agency in the exporting country, attesting to the product’s fitness for human consumption
Original Halal slaughter certificate for meat and poultry products

With the exception of food, all shipments of goods to the U.A.E. require “legalization” of documents. This is a two-step process:
Documents must be verified by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, the UAE Embassy’s exclusive Verification Agent. 
Upon completion of the verification process, documents must be legalized by the UAE Embassy for a fee. 

For more information, please visit the UAE Embassy’s webpage

As noted above, effective January 1, 2003, the U.A.E. acceded to the GCC Customs Union that equalizes the duties paid upon entry of an item to any member state, regardless of the country of destination within the GCC.  An item imported into the U.A.E. destined for any GCC country is subject to the 5 percent duty once it enters the U.A.E.  In theory, the trader does not need to pay customs duties again to take the item across the border into another GCC country.

The customs duty for most items is calculated on CIF value at the rate of 5 percent.  Imports of liquor are subject to a 70 percent customs duty on their CIF value while imports of tobacco products are subject to 100 percent on their CIF value.  Many essential items including staple foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals are allowed duty free status.  CIF value will normally be calculated by reference to the commercial invoices covering the relative shipment, but customs is not bound to accept the figures shown therein and may set an estimated value on the goods, which shall be final, as far as duty is concerned.

The U.S. Embassy Office of Agricultural Affairs (OAA) annually publishes the Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) report for doing business in the GCC-4 (Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and U.A.E.).  The full report is available on their website. The report covers topics, such as food laws, labeling requirements, shelf-life, food additives regulations, packaging and import procedures.

Restricted Imports:   Alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, pork products

Prohibited Imports:   Irradiated food products

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

United Arab Emirates Import Regulations Trade Development and Promotion