United Arab Emirates
Customs Regulations

Includes customs regulations and contact information for this country's customs office.

Last published date: 2019-10-13
Depending on where goods are destined for, the U.A.E. can be classified as Mainland Customs Zones or Free Trade Zones with the distinguishing factors outlined below:

In general, goods destined for the U.A.E.'s Customs Zones are subject to duty under the GCC's Common Customs Law while goods destined for Free Trade Zones are exempt from duty. The U.A.E. is house to around thirty seven Free Trade Zones.

Goods being imported into Free Trade Zones are exempt from duties. Also, re-exports from U.A.E. Free Trade Zones to a third market destinations beyond the GCC Customs Zones are also exempted from any duty. However, such goods when imported with the intention of re-exporting them as a whole or partially to another country, a Deposit or Guarantee equivalent to the applicable tariff amount on the goods shall be secured in lieu of Customs Duty. For this procedure, the Declaration Type “Import for Re Export to Local from ROW” needs to be cleared. Currently this declaration is limited to those with a value higher than AED 20,000 except in case of vehicles.

For goods destined directly for Mainland Customs Zones or to a Free Trade Zone for sale in the U.A.E. and/or re-exports to GCC Countries are subject to customs import tariff as per GCC Common Customs Law that sets the framework for the UAE's Import Regulations. Accordingly, goods can be moved intra-GCC Customs Offices allowing passage of the foreign goods from one member state to another. However, a Statistical Export Declaration must have been cleared from the exporting GCC country for inward movements of such goods and a copy of the same must be submitted to the Customs Office of importing country carrying the “Makasa Stamp” (set-off mechanism) on the Declaration in order to avoid the repeated payment of Customs Duty at the destination Country. The Declaration type “Import to Local from GCC” needs to be cleared for such transaction.

Effective January 1, 2018, the U.A.E. will start applying the Value Added Tax (VAT).  The Ministry of Finance will start registering companies that are above the yearly threshold for VAT in the second half of 2017 as the country gears up for implementing the 5 per cent levy in January 2018. Companies that provide taxable goods or services, with annual revenue of more than $102,000 will be required to register. Businesses with taxable supplies below $102,000 but over $51,000 will have the option to register. Businesses not registered for VAT cannot charge VAT on their sales and cannot claim any VAT incurred on their inputs.