Over the years the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has flourished as a bridge between Europe and East Asia, especially for global trade. With several plans and a slew of developments, Dubai has emerged as one of the most successful and fastest-ingrowing Emirates in UAE. Dubai intends to compete as a trading hub with New York, London, Hong Kong, and Singapore and it might not be far off.
One of the major trade activities in the UAE includes export and import. As a business owner if you are importing in UAE a valid import license along with other required documents will allow you to get commodities inside the borders. The license allows a smooth movement from one of the free trade zones of the Emirates or into a free trade zone from a UAE mainland. Each emirate in UAE has its own customs authorities to help individuals and businesses with their import and export activities.
What is an import license?
An import license is a permit to import an indicated quantity of goods over a specified period of time. Such licenses limit the outflow of foreign currency, foresee entry of unsafe items and substances, and guard the domestic economy against foreign competition.
What documents do you need to import goods to Dubai?
As stated by the United Arab Emirates commercial guide, companies importing goods should have following documents:
- The correct trade license from the Department of Economic Development (DED) from the Emirate.
- Commercial invoice from the exporting company 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.
If the company is importing food products it will require following certificates as well:
- 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.
Prohibited and restricted imports
The UAE has a list of certain goods that cannot be imported, exported, transited, or require permits from the competent authority. The restrictions and prohibitions of goods are determined in accordance with GCC Customs Tariff Codes.
Here’s a list of banned goods:
- Any goods or items that are prohibited under the GCC Common Customs Law or any other law or regulations applicable in the UAE.
- Any item used in black magic, witchcraft, or sorcery.
- Controlled drugs and narcotic substances.
- Counterfeit currencies.
- E-cigarettes, electronic hookah (waterpipe tobacco or electrically heated cigarette plugs) that do not bear the ‘digital tax stamps’.
- Gambling tools and machineries and devices of all kinds.
- Goods manufactured in Israel.
- Items that contradict Islamic faith and public morals.
- Live swine.
- Betel (paan) leaves.
- Pirated content material.
- Pornographic literature and material.
- Protected and endangered animals and certain dog breeds (all varieties of Pit Bull, Japanese Tosa, Argentinian Fighting Dog, Argentinian Mastiff, Brazilian Fighting Dog, American Staffordshire terrier, and any dog mixed with a wolf)
- Nylon fishing nets.
- Radiation and nuclear fallout contaminated substances.
- Used and reconditioned tires.
Apart from the banned goods several items are restricted under the provisions of GCC Customs law. Restricted goods include those restricted under the provisions of the GCC Common Customs Law and are subjected to the approval of competent authorities.
Special permission is required for the import of:
- Cats and dogs.
- Live animals, birds and ornamental fish.
- Cooked duck eggs – Balut (Health certificate with production and expiry dates certifying that the eggs have been produced in farms that are free from salmonella and bird flu).
- Pharmaceutical products and medical/surgical instruments and machines.
- Weapons (ammunition, explosives, fireworks, body protection, etc., all require permission from the UAE Ministry of Interior before entering or transiting the UAE).
- New vehicle tires.
- Transmitters and Radio Equipment(satellite phones, listening or recording devices, radio transmitters, powerful cameras or binoculars require license from Telecommunications Regulatory Authority for importing in the UAE).
- Print materials, publications, and media products.
- Nuclear energy-related products.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Rough diamonds.