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United Arab Emirates
Preface Last Updated: 8/12/2003 6:36 AM

The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) lies between Qatar and Oman on the southeastern shore of the Arabian Gulf. Until the exploitation of large oil reserves, the small population engaged in pearling, trading, nomadic herding and oasis agriculture. Britain held a degree of political control over the sheikhdoms of the region from early in the 19th century until the emirates joined to form an independent federation in 1971. Before independence the British called the region the Trucial Coast or Trucial Oman, and Arabs called it the Oman Coast.

The seven emirates that comprise the U.A.E. differ markedly in size, population, and natural resources. Their rulers, though united under one national flag, maintain a large degree of autonomy and have imprinted their individual characters on the development of their emirates. This diversity has given the social and political scene in the country a unique dynamic and flavor. The U.A.E.'s efforts to reach an effective balance between Federal and emirate authorities is reminiscent of the political development of the United States, where to this day individual states and the Federal Government continue to find new ways to make "one out of many."

Because Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate in size and population, and possesses the most oil and gas resources, it plays a dominant role in the federation's political and economic affairs. A small fishing and pearling settlement before the discovery of oil, Abu Dhabi City has grown into a modern capital with broad, tree-lined streets and rows of skyscrapers lining the Corniche. The sedate character of the city is shaped by the dominant presence of central government institutions, financial institutions and oil companies. In contrast, Dubai is more socially vibrant, economically dynamic and cosmopolitan. Bustling markets, an active shipping trade, and a lively sporting and entertainment calendar put Dubai in the region's economic and social fast-lane.

Americans coming to the U.A.E. will find a small country in the midst of rapid social and economic transformation, ranging from the poorer, smaller emirates of the north to the dynamic commercial center of Dubai and the staid, oil-rich Abu Dhabi. These last two cities are pockets of wealth where five-star hotels feature cuisines from around the world, and shops sell expensive fashions from Europe and electronics from Japan. Despite outward appearances, however, the U.A.E. is still a developing country in important respects. For example, while the telephone system has the latest technologies, public hospitals are for the most part below standard in many areas. And while U.A.E. citizens control the country, it is foreign nationals from places like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iran and Egypt who actually sit behind cash registers, build skyscrapers and repair the plumbing. In this sense, since the majority (roughly 80%) of the country's residents are foreigners, it is easy for foreigners to feel at home.

This is the official post report prepared by the post. The information contained herein is directed to official U.S. Government employees and their families. Any other information concerning the facts set forth herein is to be regarded as unofficial information.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 6/27/2005 6:29 AM

On December 2, 1971, six of the seven small Arabian emirates formerly known because of their commercial and security alliances with Great Britain as the "Trucial States"- Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Um Al Qaiwain, and Ajman - joined to form the sovereign independent country of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). The seventh emirate, Ras al Khaimah, joined the federation in February 1972.

Geography: The UAE is located in the Middle East at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula between 22° 50 and 26° north latitude and between 51° and 56° 25 east longitude (24 00 N, 54 00 E). It is one of the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council states) and has borders with Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar. On the north and northwestern boarders of the UAE, is the Arabian Gulf and Oman. Oman is also to the south of the UAE accompanied with Saudi Arabia and, bordering on the west is Qatar and Saudi Arabia. About the size of Maine, the U.A.E. has an area of about 34,000 square miles, with a 386-mile coastline on the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. All the main towns, with the exception of the oasis of Al Ain, are on the coast. Apart from a mountain range in the north and scattered oases, much of the U.A.E.'s territory is sandy desert and salt marshes. A few offshore islands belong to or are claimed by the U.A.E.

Climate: Rainfall is low; but humidity is uncomfortably high. May to October is extremely hot, with shade temperatures of 29 °C (85 °F) to 50 °C (122 °F) and frequent 100% humidity. During the cool season (December-February) the weather is damp and seems colder than the 10 °C (50 °F) the thermometer sometimes indicates. During the rest of the year, the climate is pleasant, except for occasional sandstorms and hot, dry winds, which blow off the Empty Quarter of Arabia.

Yearly Average Temperature Forecast

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec 75°F 77°F 82.5°F 89.5°F 98.5°F 102°F 104°F 106°F 102°F 95°F 88°F 79°F 24°C 25°C 28°C 32°C 37°C 39°C 40°C 41°C 39°C 35°C 31°C 26°C

Population Last Updated: 8/12/2003 6:38 AM

The population of the country is approximately 3.7 million (2002 est.). This figure includes expatriates who are not U.A.E. citizens. Generally called "Emiratis," U.A.E. nationals make up roughly 20% of the population. The remaining 80% of the population are resident expatriates from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.

There are a significant number of expatriate men from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Iran and Afghanistan who have left their families for employment as unskilled or semi-skilled laborers in the U.A.E. North American and European expatriate communities are found throughout the Emirates. Presently, there are about 16,000 Americans living in the UAE, 6,000 of whom living in Abu Dhabi and 10,000 in Dubai.

Islam is the predominant and official religion throughout the country, but with such a large foreign population, Hinduism and Christianity are also evident. The U.A.E. authorities are tolerant of other beliefs and in some cases have provided land and money to religious denominations to create their own places of worship. Churches (which include the Roman Catholic, Anglican/ Episcopalian, and other denominations) conduct freely their services in English and several other languages.

Arabic is the official language, but English, Persian, Hindi, Tagalog, and Urdu are also widely spoken.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 6/26/2005 3:01 AM

A Supreme Council composed of the rulers of the seven emirates governs the U.A.E. There is an executive Council of Ministers and a consultative Federal National Council consisting of 40 nominated members. The U.A.E. Constitution guarantees basic personal, legal, and social rights. It also defines the role of the Federal Government and its relationship to individual emirate governments. The Federal Government has responsibility, inter alia, for foreign affairs, armed forces and defense, internal security, law and government affairs in the capital, affairs of Federal employees and the judiciary, Federal finance, taxes, fees, and royalties, postal and telegraphic services, road construction and maintenance of main highways, air traffic control and licensing, education, public health and medical services, currency, information; and passport, immigration, and nationality matters.

In the past, the individual emirates performed many services. Now, however, the Federal Government, headquartered in Abu Dhabi and organized into functional ministries, is active throughout the country. Ministers are drawn from ruling families and leading citizens of the seven emirates. The individual emirates, nonetheless, retain a remarkable measure of control over their own internal and economic affairs, including petroleum and natural gas resources, industrial development, public works and utilities, security, customs, civil aviation, immigration and town planning. Civil and criminal legal systems have been codified.

There is a dual system of Sharia (religious) and secular courts, each of which deals with criminal and civil law. Sharia law only applies to Muslims. Secular courts fuse Sharia law with legal principles found in Jordanian, Egyptian, Sudanese, and English legal systems. No political parties or organizations exist. Rapid modernization, enormous strides in education, and the influx of a large foreign population have changed the face of the society but have not fundamentally altered its underlying traditional political system.

The Head of state is H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President, Ruler of Abu Dhabi and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Each of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates has its own ruler who also holds a post within the federal government on the Supreme Council. They are:

President, Ruler of Abu Dhabi: Sh. Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan Vice President and Prime Minister, Ruler of Dubai: Sh. Maktoum bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Ruler of Sharjah: Sh. Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qassimi Ruler of Ajman: Sh. Humaid Al-Nu’aymi Ruler of Umm Al-Qawain: Sh. Rashid Al-Mu’alla Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah: Sh. Saqr bin Muhammed Al-Qassimi Ruler of Fujairah: Sh. Hamad bin Muhammad Al-Sharqi

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 6/26/2005 3:06 AM

The rapid introduction of large amounts of wealth, technology and foreign workers into the U.A.E. has resulted in the wholesale transformation of social and cultural life. Before this transformation, the Trucial Oman Coast's urban culture was influenced by Oman, Iran, and India. Since most settlements were on the coast and relied on the products of the local waters for a livelihood, traditional U.A.E. culture - including its oral traditions, i.e., poetry, singing, and story telling - revolved around pearling, fishing, and seamanship.

In addition, Bedouin influences are also strong, and the ruling family's Bedouin origins ensure that the culture and sports of the desert (camel racing, falconry, and Bedouin song and dance, for example) are closely intertwined with the national image and an integral part of national celebrations.

The government supports a number of organizations dedicated to preserving U.A.E. traditional handicrafts and folkloric practices. Among these organizations are the Heritage Village Foundation and the General Women Association. The General Women's Association operates a handicraft center in Abu Dhabi where basketry and weaving are carried out. Sharjah, which was the region's most important city in the 19th century, has made a special effort to rebuild its traditional urban quarters. Visitors can get an idea of the way of life before the coming of oil by walking through the city's renovated Old Souq and the Ethnographic Museum, the former house of a wealthy pearling family. Archeologists continue to find evidence of early inhabitation of the region, and museums in Al Ain and Sharjah, for example, have displays of many artifacts. And as evidence as to how far they have come since the advent of oil, the U.A.E. has produced artists in the fields of painting, theater, music and literature who contribute to the cultural development of their country and the enrichment of Arab culture in general.

Western-style cultural and shopping malls outlets include English-language movie theaters, touring singers, and theater troupes whose performances are sponsored by diplomatic missions, major hotels, or cultural institutions in Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi.

As in other parts of the Islamic world, for many years mosques served as centers for teaching-principally reading, writing and recitation of the Quran, Islam's holy book. In the early part of the 20th century, leading pearl merchants established schools staffed by foreign teachers in the main coastal towns.

The first school offering a comprehensive curriculum was built by the British, in 1953. For a period in the 1950s and 1960s, Kuwait and other Arab states contributed extensively to the educational system. The founding of the U.A.E. saw a tremendous expansion of education, with spending for this area second only to defense in the first national budgets. But only recently have U.A.E. nationals begun replacing other Arabs as schoolteachers at all levels.

Education through the secondary level is compulsory and free through college for U.A.E. nationals. United Arab Emirates University opened in 1977 in Al Ain for UAE national men and women and has faculties in arts, science, education, political science, business administration, Islamic jurisprudence, agriculture, medicine and engineering. Many U.A.E. nationals pursue higher degrees overseas, most going to the U.S. Technical and managerial training is provided at the Higher Colleges of Technology, which have branches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Al Ain. Opportunities in higher education have increased steadily for UAE national women during the past decade. As a result, women now constitute the definite majority at the UAE institutions of higher education. Another example is Zayed University, the UAE's first all-women national university, which opened campuses in 1998 in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and offers a wide range of degrees to 2500 national female students. There are also many private schools such as Ajman and Abu Dhabi Universities, the American University of Dubai, and the American University of Sharjah, which cater to the UAE national and various expatriate communities.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 8/12/2003 6:41 AM

The U.A.E.'s economy depends largely on oil, investment income and foreign trade, giving its citizens one of the world's highest per capita income figures. The major centers of economic activity are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah.

Abu Dhabi produces the vast majority of the country's oil and imports building materials, machinery, food, electrical appliances and cars. Dubai, which produces a small amount of oil compared to Abu Dhabi, has a sizable re-export trade in textiles, consumer electronics, cameras, watches, gold, motor-scooters, and perfumes to Iran, India, Pakistan, Central Asia, East Africa, and other Gulf states. Most re-export trade is carried by motorized dhows (locally built triangular-rigged sailing vessels). Dubai has been called the Hong Kong of the Gulf because of its mercantile and entrepot activity and the atmosphere of free enterprise that prevails there. UAE law requires 51% ownership by UAE nationals of all business establishments, except in "free zones". Dubai has established free zones at Dubai Airport and Jebel Ali, and the latter has become one of the largest and most successful in the world. More than one-third of the top 100 U.S. companies have established offices in Dubai, making it the American business center of the Middle East. Sharjah has become agas producer and is the manufacturing center of the U.A.E. The U.A.E.'s primary exports to the U.S. are textile items, most manufactured in Sharjah and Dubai. The Abu Dhabi port, Mina Zayid, is being expanded and will have 29 berths. Sharjah and Fujairah have developed ports on the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, respectively, which feature facilities for containerized cargo. In addition to Dubai's large central port of Mina Rashid, the Dubai Government built a huge 180-berth port in the Jebel Ali Free Zone. The typical Abu Dhabi investor prefers the more immediate returns of commerce or housing construction projects than long-term industrial investments. Most industrial development in the U.A.E. is still concentrated in hydrocarbon-related projects. Dubai has constructed an aluminum plant and a dry-dock capable of handling the largest supertankers. In recent years, the U.A.E. has expanded its agricultural production significantly through the extensive application of large, government subsidies. As the U.A.E. has virtually no arable land, most food items are imported - many from the U.S. and are significantly higher in price than if purchased in the U.S.

Transportation Last Updated: 6/27/2005 7:45 AM

Abu Dhabi emirate covers 30,000 square miles, or almost 90% of the U.A.E. land area, with the remaining emirates making up only 4,000 square miles. The bulk of the population is concentrated in eight main towns—the seven emirate capitals and the oasis of Al Ain in Abu Dhabi emirate. A network of good hard-surfaced roads connects these cities. Abu Dhabi is linked with Al Ain and the other emirates by four-lane divided highways. Other highways link the U.A.E. with neighboring Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

The U.A.E. also has six international airports located in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah.

Automobiles Last Updated: 6/28/2005 8:13 AM

Local Purchase:

Vehicles of all types, new and used, are available for purchase locally. Prices on cars are similar to or slightly higher than prices in the US. Cooling systems for cars sold here are generally upgraded. Standard options and safety equipment are different from the US standards and do not meet US import requirements US models, particularly larger models, are popular. There are local dealers for Chrysler, GM, Ford, Jeep, and most major European and Asian automobile brands. There is no problem registering or using cars bought in the US except those with tinted window above 30 percent, as mentioned above. A list of car dealers can be found at

Things to know before you bring your car:

- Manufactory installed tinted windows of 30 percent (visual) or less is allowed and subject to inspection before vehicle registration.

- Vehicles 10 years old or older often do not pass the required vehicle testing. For this reason, we recommend against importing vehicle of such age into the UAE.

- The UAE considers pick-up trucks to be commercial vehicles (for use on farms or for construction or transport companies), not family vehicles. For this reason, the traffic department will not register pick-up trucks to employees of the embassy. If you choose to bring a pick-up truck in the UAE, you will not be able to drive it.

- Vehicle registrations are valid one year. Personally owned vehicles (POV) must be inspected and registered by local authorities. POV's must pass a safety inspection by the Traffic Department. This consists of a check of safety features, e.g. ensuring that headlights, brakes, brake lights and turn signals are in operating order. Careful attention is also given to the appearance of the body of the vehicle, which will be scrutinized for rust, dents, and scratches. We advise all personnel shipping a POV to post to complete all painting and repairs prior to shipping. Although these repairs can be made at post, the employee will be required to obtain a a permit from the Abu Dhabi traffic police headquarters to enable a local repair shop to accept a vehicle for body work or painting.

- Local third-party liability insurance is required for all vehicles before they can be registered. This coverage can be purchased inexpensively locally. Many employees also purchase comprehensive coverage locally, though recent price rises and difficulty with local companies make policies offered by US firms an attractive option. If purchasing insurance through a US firm, make sure that the coverage extends to neighboring nations as well. Otherwise, separate riders must be purchased locally to provide coverage outside the UAE.

Driver's Licenses:

- All residents wishing to drive in the UAE must obtain a UAE driver's license. US citizens holding US driver's licenses can obtain a UAE license without taking a road test. Eye tests, and blood tests, to determined blood type, are required. Obtaining a UAE driver's license will take about two weeks from the date of issuance of the residency card.

- Post recommends that you obtain an international driver's license (from the US, not another country) before your arrival at post. This will allow you to drive immediately on arrival in country. You could for example rent a car from the embassy motorpool or on the economy. The UAE discontinued the issuance of temporary licenses and now accepts international driver's licenses instead.

Unleaded gasoline is available in cities throughout the Emirates. However, there is no local requirement for use of a catalytic converter, and unleaded gas may not be available in neighboring countries.

Also please note the following:

- Summer temperatures are extremely hot. Make sure your AC is in perfect working condition! Light-colored vehicles (and interiors) absorb less heat than dark ones.

- "Wadi-bashing," or driving off-road into the area's deserts and mountains, is a popular past time in the cooler months. If you are interested in such outings, you may wish to purchase a four-wheel-drive sports/utility vehicle. It is also possible to rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle for weekend outings.

- Because off-roaders may encounter salt water and salty sand, they would be well advised to have vehicles rust-proofed.

- There are several car rental firms in the UAE Rates vary considerably, from DH 123 to 350 per day depending on the make of car. Cars may also be rented on a weekly or monthly basis.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 6/26/2005 6:21 AM

The UAE has one of the best highways network in the Middle East, and the network is continually expanding. Parking is limited and people are often forming spaces. The alternative to driving in the city is taking a taxicab. Taxis are cheap, abundant and safe, and most of the drivers speak rudiments of English. Rates are established by a meter. Taxi fare to nearly any place within Abu Dhabi is about five to ten dirhams (1.5 to 2.8 USD). Note that rates double after midnight. Taxi drivers are not usually tipped. Taxis are more expensive in Dubai.

Difficulties can arise if your driver does not speak English or you do not know the precise location of your destination. Some streets are not named and some have more than one name. The municipality has numbered and established zones for buildings and streets. To obviate any problems, call for exact directions to your destination, or use a landmark then direct the driver where to go from there. You can hail a taxi anywhere in the street. To hail a taxi, simply extend your arm. This will indicate to the driver your intention and he will stop if he is free.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 6/26/2005 5:23 AM

Travel between Emirates is most convenient by car, although.air travel, between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and other public transportation means - buses and taxis - are available. There is no train or metro system. Taxis will take you within an emirate or from emirate to emirate. In the UAE taxis are only allowed to take you from the emirate their vehicle is registered in, to any destination you wish to go but by law they cannot bring you back.

Communications Last Updated: 8/12/2003 6:45 AM

The U.A.E. has an excellent telecommunications infrastructure, with direct-dial international links and services such as pagers, mobile phones, faxes, and connection to the Internet. There are locally based operators for AT&T, MCI, and Sprint. Home DSL service is also available from Etisalat, the national telecommunications provider.

Telephones and Telecommunications

Wireless Service Last Updated: 6/26/2005 5:41 AM The telecommunication company in UAE is Etisalat. Etisalat is 60% government owned and 40% owned by Emirati citizens. A federal decree (Law No. 1 of 1991 aka The Etisalat Law) was issued which granted Etisalat independent authority and gave Etisalat the monopoly/exclusivity for telecommunication (phone lines, GSM services, internet connections, etc.) in the United Arab Emirates.

The international code for the United Arab Emirates is 971. Area codes are 2 digits and telephone numbers are 7 digits. The area code for Abu Dhabi is 02, Al Ain is 03, Dubai is 04, Sharjah and Ajman is 06. Mobile numbers in the UAE begin with 050 followed by a 7-digit number. In order to dial a number in the UAE from abroad, the additional 0 at the beginning of the area code should be excluded (example 971-4-2342427), while dialing it locally the 0 should be kept (04-2342427). The same principle applies to calling a mobile number from abroad (971-50-2342427) and calling it locally (04-2342427), while calling from a mobile to mobile, you only need to enter in the mobile's 7 digits (2342427). In order to dial an international number from within the UAE, additional 0s should be added to the number (example for US 001-123-1234567).

You can use your telephones from the States with the use of a small adapter. The same is true for answering machines.All homes are equipped with telephones. However, each agency handles phone bills differently. For the most part everyone is responsible for his or her own long distance phone bill. State Department employees must pay personal phone bills to the cashier by the 25th of the month to avoid service disconnection. Please note: The employee is responsible for having the service reinstated.

To be used in the UAE your US portable phones must be tri-band. A mobile phone is usually provided to employees. If you want additional mobile phone lines for personal use, the cost of obtaining a mobile phone number is Dhs. 320 and you will obtain your SIM card on the spot when you apply.

Internet Last Updated: 6/26/2005 5:31 AM

Etisalat has setup a division spefically to handle all internet issues and it is known as the Emirates Internet & Multimedia (EIM) and is the United Arab Emirates' only ISP. It has Internet acess services for Dialup, ISDN, ADSL, and Cable. Internet webpages viewed in the UAE are routed through the Emirates Proxy ( which blocks sites that contain pornography, religious offensive material and criticism of the rulers. A overview of the various Internet services provided by EIM is provided below.

Dialup Signing up for a Dial-up account costs 100 Dhs. and you need to have a telephone line. Per month you are billed Dhs. 20 for the service and charged Dhs. 1.80 per hour at peak times (between 6am and 1am) or Dhs. 1.00 per hour at off-peak times (between 1am and 6am). You can signup for a dialup account from your home by getting ahold of one of Etisalat's free dialup installation CD.

ADSL Signup for a ADSL account costs Dhs. 200 and also requires that you have a telephone line. You will need to purchase an ADSL modem which costs Dhs. 375 and per month you will be charged a flat rate of Dhs. 250. This type of ADSL account is for home users.

ISDN Signup for an ISDN account costs Dhs. 200 and similar to the Dialup requires a telephone line. Every three months, you will be billed Dhs. 100 as a service charge and you have the option of surfing at 128k or 64k. Surfing at 128k, you will be charged 3.6 for peak times or Dhs. 1.80 at off-peak times for each hour. At 64k, you are charged similar to the Dialup.

Dial 'N' Surf For this type of internet service you dont need to signup for an account or anything. Simply configure your computer and jump online. It costs 15 fils per minute, or Dhs. 9 per hour, and the cost is directly added to the telephone bill.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 6/26/2005 6:40 AM

Unclassified diplomatic pouches are sent from post twice a week, one of these via express mail offering two-day delivery time to the U.S. Incoming mail is dispatched from the U.S. twice a week and takes 2 to 6 weeks to reach post. The pouch room in the Department of State and the IPC/Mailroom at post keep a list of all items prohibited in the diplomatic-pouch mail. A limited selection of U.S. stamps is now available for sale in the AEEA Video Club and Gift Store.


- International mail address: P.O. Box 4009 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates Local Postage stamps can be purchased through the Mailroom.

- Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) Address Your Name Unit 6010 Box XXXX * APO AE 09825-XXXX

*Note: Your XXXX embassy box number can be requested before your arrival at post. Contact IMO, Bruce Chaplin at

- Diplomatic Pouch address

Incoming Mail: We usually receive pouch mail once a week, but this varies. A letter from Washington, DC takes approximately 10 - 14 days to reach Post. Address for all mail (letters, packages and magazines) is:

For official mail: 6010 Abu Dhabi Place, Washington, D.C. 20521-6010

For personal mail: 6010 Abu Dhabi Place, Dulles, VA 20189-6010

Letter mail and packages, up to one pound, will be sent from the U.S. by air. Prescription medicines and other items needed on an emergency basis, regardless of weight, will also be sent by air, if the package is properly identified. There is a weight restriction of 40 pounds on incoming packages. A package must not exceed 24 inches in length and 62 inches in length and girth combined. Mail and packages CANNOT be insured, registered or certified.

Outgoing Mail: Mail goes out at least once a week (letter mail). Occasionally, a visiting navy vessel offers us a mailing service - for outgoing letter mail and packages. Letter mail, tapes, exposed film and items needed for health and welfare, which must be repaired or replaced in the U.S., may be sent by air to the Department for transmission through U.S. Postal Service. Clothing manufactured and purchased in the United States, may be returned or exchanged through the pouch. Return items must have been received at Post during the employee’s current tour of duty and must not be items originally contained in shipment of household effects.

Prohibited Items Articles prohibited by U.S. Postal regulations may not be sent in the diplomatic pouch. The pouch room in Washington D.C. now x-rays all parcels prior to dispatch. Any parcel found containing any prohibited items will either be returned to sender, or addressee notified to make arrangements for delivery from the pouch facility. Any items not claimed will be destroyed after 2 weeks. Also, any mail sent to the Department registered will not be accepted; Department cannot accept insured liability. The following list of items is expressly prohibited for pouch transmission. A list of prohibited items is provided below:

Prohibited items list: Alcoholic Beverages, Ammunition, Animals or animal products, i.e., animal skills, Any item for resale, Bulk supplies of any nature, Controlled substances, currency, Explosives, Firearms, Flammable type films, Glass containers, Incendiary materials, Liquids, Magnetic materials, Material destined for a third party, Narcotics Negotiable instruments, Plants, Poisons Religious materials for other than personal use, Radio-active substance.

See Department of State Diplomatic Mail and Pouch Facilities Instructions and Information for additional information. This publication is on file in the Administrative Section of the Embassy.


International Mail:

U.S. Consulate General, World Trade Center P.O. Box 9343 Dubai United Arab Emirates

Pouch Mail:

For Official Mail American Consulate General Dubai, Department of State Washington, D.C. 20521-6020

For Personal Mail Your name 6020 Dubai Place Dulles, VA 20521-6020

Radio and TV Last Updated: 8/13/2003 2:25 AM

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Umm Al Qawain all have radio stations. The FM English-language stations of all the emirates are very similar to pop FM stations in the U.S. with fewer commercials. They play top 40 hits, have theme shows (e.g., oldies, soul, etc.) and provide regular news and weather updates.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, and Ajman host Arabic and English TV channels. The UAE is the home to three of the most popular Arabic language satellite TV stations in the Arab world - Abu Dhabi TV, Al Arabiya and Dubai TV. Dubai TV is the largest broadcast from the UAE. Dubai TV's Channel 33 and the Middle East Broadcasting Corporation's (parent company of Al Arabiya) Channel 2 provide English language programming and are offered by most cable and satellite providers.

There are several wireless cable TV systems available in the U.A.E. Showtime, E-vision, and Orbit are the most popular and provide a wide array of American, European, Middle Eastern, South Asian and other programming. Subscription is fairly expensive though and comes on top of the requirement to purchase or lease a receiver and decoder. Satellite transmission is now common in most apartment buildings and is available for private residences at a cost of about Dhs 2,500 ($685) a dish. Monthly subscription rates run in the $60 to $80 per month range but must be paid in a minimum of three-month blocks.

Armed Forces Network (AFN) television is available to those authorized through the Embassy. A decoder may be purchased for $585 and the antenna and LNB can run between $100 and $200. Agreement with landlord to place any antenna on the property should be made prior to installation.

The agreement of the U.A.E. to abide by intellectual property agreements has meant that the number of pirated audio and videocassettes in the market has significantly dropped. However, prices of licensed tapes and CDs and DVDs are high and selection is limited, especially for videos, but improving. Some shops offer videos rental in the PAL format and DVD in Region 2 (Middle East). The American Embassy Employee's Association (AEEA) operates a video rental service with a small but growing selection of titles (roughly 800 tapes and 100 DVDs) all in NTSC (U.S.) format for VHS and Region 1 (US) for DVDs.

A multi-system and multi-voltage television, VCR, and DVD player are recommended if you wish to take full advantage of the viewing options in the country. These appliances are available locally at reasonable costs through all major outlets such as Carrefour and Jumbo Electronics.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 8/12/2003 6:50 AM

The country has four major Arabic daily papers, two in Abu Dhabi, Al Ittihad and Akhbar Al Arab, one in Dubai, Al Bayan, and one in Sharjah, Al Khaleej. Dubai's two English-language newspapers, Gulf News (most widely read) and Khaleej Times, as well as Sharjah's Gulf Today are available throughout the U.A.E. All papers feature stories from the Western wire services, such as Reuters, AP, and UPI. News is fairly current, but some may be censored. The International Herald Tribune, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal can be purchased locally 1–3 days after publication. The major British dailies can also be purchased. Distribution of Time, Newsweek, and the Economist is timely, although sometimes articles offending local moral or political sensitivities are censored. Some bookstores carry a wide selection of English-language magazines, but at about twice the normal price.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 7/10/2005 2:17 AM

The Embassy employs two part-time registered nurses and a part-time nurse practitioner. The nurses provide care to Embassy employees during normal duty hours and are can be reached 24 hours a day by mobile phone for emergencies or consultations. The Embassy also has a local doctor that acts as a medical advisor for local providers and care.

The Embassy nurses are knowledgeable about local facilities, medical practitioners and the quality of care available. They screen patients for referrals to facilities and physicians if treatment is needed. There is a Regional Medical Officer, based in Yemen, who visits the UAE for a few days about three times per year.

The Consulate in Dubai also staffs a part-time registered nurse who provides the same care for the Embassy employees as listed above.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai have several government and private hospitals and both cities have a hospital with approved North American Standards. American Hospital in Dubai is a private hospital that has U.S. Joint Commission approval. Shaikh Khalifa Medical Center (SKMC) in Abu Dhabi is Canadian accredited, but is for Emirati citizens only. However, SKMC emergency room physicians will see Americans on an emergency basis. There are also several private clinics and laboratories available for Embassy personnel.

The Embassy has had a few hospitalizations in other hospitals in the UAE and has been pleased with the care. However, paramedical personnel at the hospitals are often not up to U.S. standards so post-surgery nursing care for more seriously ill patients can present a problem.

Dental clinics staffed by dentists from the U.S., Sweden, U.K., and France are frequently used by Embassy staff members and considered very good.

Although OB/GYN care is available in most clinics and hospitals, the Embassy Health Unit recommends that DOS employees go to CONUS for their deliveries.

Local pharmacies are well stocked with over-the-counter and prescription medications mostly from Europe. Some American drugs are also available. Drugs in certain cases have different dosages than American brands; it's therefore recommended that you bring your own supply of prescription medications, and that you organize an account with Merck Medco or another Mail Order Pharmacy for subsequent shipments. Some prescription drugs are not availalbe in the UAE and you will not be able to aquire them locally.

Community Health Last Updated: 7/10/2005 2:17 AM

The government is working to improve the water and sewage systems, but generally these systems are adequate. Residential areas are fumigated regularly.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 7/10/2005 2:18 AM

There has been no cases of local transmission of malaria since 1998, but there is always the threat of this disease being imported to the UAE. The UAE government has taken many safeguards to prevent the spread of malaria.

Tap water in Abu Dhabi and Dubai is safe to drink, at its source- the desalination plant. Sometimes the water may be transported through pipes or stored in tanks that may be rusty or contaminated. Therefore, most people prefer to drink bottled water. Note: Embassy housing has a water filter on a separate line in the kitchen and on the washer.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 6/26/2005 7:25 AM

Job opportunities exist for those with secretarial, teaching, nursing, banking, and accounting experience although opportunities for dependents in Abu Dhabi are limited. Note that a few firms still operate on a split workday, requiring one to return to work after a 2- or 3-hour lunch-break and stay as late as 7 p.m. Salaries for local hire positions are low relative to the high cost of living. For those who speak Arabic, career opportunities are greater. Abu Dhabi has several employment agencies. Most jobs are found by word-of-mouth and pavement pounding, just as in the U.S.

To inquire about job openings at the Embassy, visit the embassy intranet site at, or contact the CLO. You can also check the Abu Dhabi Family Member Employment Report (FAMER) at

Currently, spouses fill several positions in the Mission. They are CLOs, Purchasing Agents, Administrative Assistants, Financial Specialists, Computer Specialists, Escorts, Consular Assistants, Trade Helpers, etc. The American Community School (ACS) as well as other schools often seek qualified teachers and staff support among the American community. Jobs teaching English as a foreign or second language can be found in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

American Embassy - Abu Dhabi

Post City Last Updated: 6/26/2005 7:26 AM

The striking feature of Abu Dhabi is its large tree-lined boulevards and the amount of greenery that can be seen throughout the city, which is quite unexpected for this part of the world. The capital of the U.A.E is sleek and modern, and its ultra contemporary skyscrapers coexist in perfect harmony with its more traditional buildings. Abu Dhabi is the home of the Federal Government Institutions (Parliament, Central Bank, etc.), and President, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed al Nahyan.

The city is mainly alive in the evening and until late in the night, particularly during the summer. Taking advantage of the relative freshness, you'll be able to take a walk or a bike ride along the Corniche (waterfront) where most top class hotels and restaurants are located.

Security Last Updated: 6/26/2005 7:28 AM

Abu Dhabi's Crime rate is generally low, however criminal activity is on the rise and post recommends travelers to take common sense precautions while in the UAE.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 6/26/2005 8:23 AM

The Abu Dhabi New Embassy Compound is the most advanced building that OBO has constructed, including environmental-friendly building systems such as air-cooled chillers, under-floor systems, and constructed wetlands to use recycled water from the building itself to irrigate the grounds. The new embassy building is called "The Dunes". The building, in keeping with the architecture in the United Arab Emirates, is ultra-modern, in the shape of a shifting sand dune with a burnished champagne finish. One of the walls of the building has a perceptible slope, designed to diminish the direct glare of sunlight. A feature that is immediately striking upon entering the building is the abundance of natural light. The embassy features numerous large windows, and an interior atrium with a two story modernistic waterfall, a restaurant quality cafeteria, and on site fitness center.

The Ambassador, assisted by the Deputy Chief of Mission in Abu Dhabi and the Consul General in Dubai, leads the U.S. Mission to the U.A.E. Embassy Abu Dhabi Staff currently counts 119 Americans and 88 Foreign Service National (FSN) employees.

In addition to the State Department sections represented at post - Political, Economic, Consular, Public Diplomacy, Regional Security, Management, which include CLO, General Services, Financial Management, Human Resources, Information Management and Health Unit - the Embassy hosts other agencies such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Criminal and Criminal Enforcement, the Office of Treasury, and the US Geological Survey.

Public Diplomacy has an English and Arabic Wireless file service. It arranges for American speakers, counsels U.A.E. students going to U.S. schools and universities, maintains the Mission's Internet web site, and distributes publications. It has a small videotape collection for official use and a reference library.

The Department of Defense includes the Defense Attaché Office (DAO), the U.S. Liaison Office (USLO), Port Liaison Element (PLE), the Defense Reutilization Marketing Service (DRMS), Apache Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT), the Marine Security Guard Battalion Company B, and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) Field Office.

DAO and PLE support military-to-military intelligence exchanges and process over-flight clearances and facilitate ship visits to U.A.E. ports. USLO is the lead agent for Security Assistance matters in U.A.E. and represents United States Central Command (CENTCOM) in all bi-lateral military issues. This includes a robust Foreign Military Sales program in excess of $3B; assistance with Direct Commercial Sales of defense-related items and services in excess of $10B; extensive bi-lateral and multi-lateral training initiatives and exercises; and liaison for host nation support of U.S. military activities in U.A.E. The USLO Chief is also the United States Defense Representative for all force protection issues in U.A.E. Additionally, USLO oversees the activities of the AMCOM Field Office and Apache TAFT The Foreign

Commercial Services (FCS) is currently located in a downtown high-rise building until the move to the new embassy compound. FCS fills one essential Embassy function that is to facilitating commerce and financial transactions between the U.S. and the U.A.E.

The Embassy and FCS are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday through Wednesday. A duty officer and duty communicator are on call after working hours, on weekends and holidays. When communicating with the U.A.E. by phone, note that local time is eight to nine hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, depending on Daylight Savings Time. The country code for the U.A.E. is 971, and the city code for Abu Dhabi is 2. Following are some contact numbers at post:

OFFICE TELEPHONE FAX Ambassador Office 414-2431 414-2567 Air Warfare Center 414-2633 AmCom 407-7235 449-0452 or 441-5033 Company B 414-2406 Consulate 414-2550/2662 414-2241 DAO 414-2347 414-2259 DCM Office 414-2460 DRMS 414-2693 414-2232 Economic Office 414-2444 414-2639 ESC 414-2548 414-2264 Foreign Commercial Service 414-2304 414-2228 Health Unit 414-2282 414-2290 Human Resources Office 414-2224 414-2215 ICE 414-2352 414-2388 LEGATT 414-2688 414-2624 Management Section 414-2334 414-2575 Marine Security Guard 414-2335 414-2370 MEPI 414-2540 OBO 414-2535 Political Office 414-2444 414-2639 Public affairs Office 414-2522 414-2603 Justice 414-2538 Regional Security Office 414-2520 414-2353 Treasury 414-2537/2221 USLO 414-2504 414-2532 USGS 03-762-4700 03-762-4783


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:03 AM

Most arriving personnel are able to move into permanent quarters almost immediately. If necessary, they are housed temporarily in available quarters or hotels.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 6/26/2005 8:29 AM

The Department has authorized a housing profile for Abu Dhabi with larger units than is typically allowed because of the shortage of 1 or 2 bedroom units in areas with appropriate security. Most units of the Embassy's housing pool are 3- or 4-bedroom villas or apartments in buildings with secure parking on the premises. Most villas do not have large yards or gardens, as land is at a premium on the island of Abu Dhabi. As a result, there is very little difference between apartments and villas. Most apartment owners also allow residents to have pets.

The Ambassador's residence, built to the Embassy's specifications in the early 1970's, is the only house in the UAE owned by the U.S. Government. The house has a modest representational living and dining area, four upstairs bedrooms (two with private baths), a study, a small breakfast room off the kitchen, a laundry room, and a large kitchen. The house has a swimming pool surrounded by attractive terraces and garden areas. A shower room and dressing room are available for pool guests. The roof deck provides a view of downtown Abu Dhabi. A double carport and servants quarters complete the facility. China, silver, glassware, basic kitchen equipment, bed linen (guestroom only) and table linen are provided. Furnishings are contemporary.

The DCM's residence is a large, pleasant villa with a lovely walled-in garden and courtyard. The unit has four bedrooms and three baths upstairs. The ground floor has a large living room, dining room, den or TV room, a guest bathroom, and kitchen. A small laundry room is located on the middle floor. Servants' quarters for only one member of the household staff are located on the top floor of the house and must be accessed via the regular living quarters. The servant's kitchen may be accessed from the outside only. The house is centrally air-conditioned and furnished with silver, china, glassware, and basic kitchen equipment; linen is provided for guest areas only.

Furnishings Last Updated: 6/26/2005 8:33 AM

Government housing for most employees is equipped a basic set of furniture. Most furniture is from the Life Style collection, 18th Century design. It consists of dark wood furniture pieces and usually light green sofas and chairs. Master bedrooms are equipped with a queen-sized bed, and other occupied bedrooms have twin beds. Check with your agency's administrative staff to confirm whether and what furniture and furnishings will be available in your residence.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 6/26/2005 8:35 AM

Government housing for most employees is equipped with major appliances. Each residence is provided with a stove, a refrigerator, a washer and dryer, a microwave, vacuum cleaners and transformers. Local current is 240v, 50 cycles. Power is provided to the city by gas turbine generators. Blackouts are rare. Adapters, to conform to three-prong (British-style) plugs, are available locally. Because you are likely to move directly into permanent quarters, ship basic household effects (HHE) such as sheets, towels, and kitchen utensils in your airfreight (UAB). The Embassy will issue a Welcome Kit, equipped with basics, to employees of agencies who have subscribed to the appropriate ICASS service, to be returned when airfreight arrives. Check with your agency's administrative staff to confirm whether and what utilities and equipment will be available in your residence.

Draperies and curtains are provided, as are rugs for the living and dining rooms areas and the bedrooms. There is a good selection of inexpensive, machine-made rugs available in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other cities in the U.A.E. Hand-made rugs can also be purchased throughout the U.A.E., but quality and prices vary greatly.

The post has no children's furniture, so families with infants should bring cribs, or plan to purchase them locally.

Food Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:05 AM

Abu Dhabi has several modern American and European-style supermarkets that stock most items. The major chains are Carrefour, Spinneys, Abela, the Abu Dhabi Co-op, and Choithram. They all offer a wide variety of American, French, Mexican, Asian, and Arab foods.

Spinneys and Abela both have well furnished pork sections where you can purchase anything from bacon to European sausage and salami.

Fresh foods are available year round. They include meat, seafood (lobster, shrimp, squid, crab, etc.), a large variety of local fish such as hammour (grouper), dairy products, and fruits and vegetables. Fresh meat is flown in from Australia and Europe; you can usually find American cuts, e.g., T-bone, sirloin, flank-steak, rib-eye, tenderloin and a number of roasts. If you can't find a certain cut, a talk with the butcher will help. Frozen meats and vegetables are also available as well as a large array of packaged and canned foods.

It is possible to find many specialty foods and ethnic food items, e.g., smoked salmon, taco makings, ingredients for Japanese and Thai cooking, as well as an enormous selection of Indian and Arabic ingredients and spices.

Occasionally, a store will run out of a certain brand item or stop carrying the item all together, so it is often necessary to shop at more than one store or alternate between two to three stores. There are also large, open-air markets that sell fresh produce, meat, and fish.

You will find almost any food item in Abu Dhabi stores. However, most American and European items are substantially more expensive than they are in the U.S.

Liquor can be purchased at authorized stores as well as at the Embassy Employees Association store. You must have a license (except for the AEEA store) for which the Embassy will apply when you arrive at post. Most clubs and hotels are permitted to sell alcohol, except during Ramadan.

Clothing Last Updated: 6/27/2005 1:14 AM

Abu Dhabi has several shopping malls that offer all major European and American clothing brands. European and American brands and styles are significantly more expensive though. Locally made clothes as well as clothes produced in other Arab countries, or in India can be quite nice and inexpensive, but quality varies. Note that larger sizes are more difficult to locate. The selection is limited for larger women 16 plus, and tall men 6'2" or taller.If you have trouble finding anything here, you can generally find it in Dubai (1-hour drive from here). Having clothes tailor made is inexpensive. There are many good tailors throughout the town and fabric stores are abundant.

In spite of the general availability, it never hurts to stock up on a sufficient supply of lightweight washable clothes and underwear. Cotton or cotton-blend clothes are strongly recommended for summer. Sweaters or shawls are useful for overly air-conditioned receptions. It is cool during winter (December–February), and houses hold dampness. You can bring light woolens and sweaters. If you've been in a cold climate it might be advisable to put fur and leather coats in storage. Bring your swimwear as the selection is more limited and good quality swimwear is expensive.

Good quality shoes are expensive, and the selection is not always customary to American style. It can be difficult for example to find American-style sandals. Also, shoes in very large or very small sizes are often difficult to find. A good supply of sandals and shoes is recommended.

Dry cleaning facilities are good, but can be expensive compared to the U.S.

Men Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:06 AM

You may have occasion, such as the annual Marine Ball, to wear black tie. Sometimes an invitation will specify Gulf or Red Sea rig as an option for dressy summer occasions. These options consist of an open-necked dress shirt and dress trousers with cummerbund. A business suit with tie is normally worn during working hours for personnel in contact with the public and is suitable for most evening functions.

Women Last Updated: 6/27/2005 1:16 AM

The U.A.E. is a Muslim country with conservative dress customs for the local population. However, because of the large expatriate population, many types of dress are seen and tolerated around Abu Dhabi, though not in all places or situations. Slacks and jeans are fine, and longer shorts can be worn to many places, except possibly the markets. The temperatures are high in the summer, and wearing sleeveless shirts or dresses is fine, although it is wise to wear a light-weight shirt over the sleeveless item.

In case you need to order clothing items the Community Liaison Office has a large selection of fashion catalogs.

Children Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:08 AM

Teenage girls in the American school are expected to wear knee-length clothes. Bring the same type of clothes that children would wear in Washington, D.C. in the summer.

In general, good quality children clothes are quite expensive in Abu Dhabi although many stores will occasionally have 50%-off sales. Osh Kosh and many British and French brands are available in the stores. Children's clothes up to 6x are easily found, but the selection for sizes 7 to 14 is limited. Cute baby clothes are everywhere although quality and price can vary.

You'll find a good range of shoes and sandals for children up to 7 years. They can be quite expensive though.

Office Attire Last Updated: 6/27/2005 1:17 AM

Just like anywhere else, the dress code in offices and generally at work is conservative. Wearing short, tight, revealing clothes is not advisable. Women just like men have the opportunity to go formal. Typical evening dresses (bare shoulders, low-cut, or with back or side slits) are worn at many private functions, depending on the guest list and location. Tailored dresses are always appropriate.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:09 AM

In general, almost everything you need is available in Abu Dhabi, including major American brands, but prices for most items are high compared to the US.

Basic Services Last Updated: 6/27/2005 1:58 AM

All basic services - tailoring and dressmaking, appliance and auto repair, shoe repair, beauty and barbershops - are availble in Abu Dhabi; prices are very reasonable and the quality is fine.

Beauty salons and spa are often, but not always, located in hotels are they are clean . The price of a hair cut is comparable to the US. Spas are cheaper than the US.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 6/27/2005 2:34 AM

Cooks, house-boys, nannies, and maids are available locally for full-time live-in or out household help. All domestic help are foreigners (third-world nationals), mostly from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, and India. U.A.E. law requires that any domestic servant be sponsored by the employer. When sponsoring a new household employee, diplomats are not required to pay the annual immigration fee (around $1,225) but they must pay for the visa fee, the employee's health card and, subsequently, $5 for each visit to the specific clinic allocated by the U.A.E. health services. The visa fee plus the health card fee total $190 to $300. Salaries vary depending on experience, skill and references.

Full-time maids or house-boys should be provided with a contract or work agreement, stipulating salary, time off, and severance pay and terms of sponsorship renewal. Guidelines for these contracts are available upon request. Live-in servants are often less expensive because room and board is provided. Many houses and apartments have servants' quarters.

If a servant does not live at the sponsor's residence, the sponsor is expected to pay round-trip taxi fare and a significantly higher salary that allows the servant to afford his or her own room and board. Payment for domestic help can range from $250 to $500 a month. Gratuities are frequently given at Eid al-Fitr (following Ramadan), or at Christmas, as appropriate. Most families with children appreciate having a full-time servant, since the full-time maid will normally baby-sit children in the evenings.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 6/27/2005 2:37 AM

The UAE is a Muslim country, with a majority of Sunni Moslems of the Hanbali and Maliiki Sects. Mosques can be found at every corner of Abu Dhabi, and Muslim foreigners are welcome to pray in local mosques. There are some Hindu temples in Dubai but no Buddhist temples or Jewish synagogues in the UAE.

Most major Christian denominations are represented in Abu Dhabi. Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, Methodist and Baptist services as well as Syrian, Greek, and Ethiopian Orthodox services are held in Abu Dhabi in English, French, Arabic, Amharic, and various Indian languages. The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM), a non-denominational American missionary group, also holds regular services. Following below are contact numbers for a majority of the churches in Abu Dhabi.

St. Andrew Church Protestant - Tel: (971-2) 446-1631

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Catholic - Tel: (971-2) 446-1169

Abu Dhabi Evangelical Church Multi-denominational - Tel: (971-2) 443-0684

St. George Denomination: Syrian Orthodox - Tel: (971-2) 446-4564 .


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 6/27/2005 3:27 AM SCHOOLS

Several schools exist in Abu Dhabi, some of which are listed below. Only ACS, AISA, and Chouifat are attended by Embassy children.

The American Comunity School (ACS)

ACS is the only school in Abu Dhabi that is supported by State Department. Most schoolchildren at post attend ACS, which offers pre-kindergarten through grade 12. All instruction is in English, and the American curriculum is followed. French is taught in the high school only, and the Arabic language and culture is taught from kindergarten through high school. As many classes are at or near maximum capacity and the Embassy does not have enrollment rights, please notify the school and post as far in advance as possible of your arrival so your child can be pre-enrolled. Post will need the child's name, age, and current grade.

The typical school year starts from the beginning of September to mid-June. Classes are held Saturday through Wednesday, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. As a college preparatory high school, ACS does not have programs for students with special needs. The school has two large and well-equipped science labs, a large art room, a photography lab, a music room with two adjacent practice rooms, and a cafeteria/all-purpose room, two computer labs, a gymnasium with stage, an athletic field, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. Accreditation: Both the lower school (pre-kindergarten through grade 6) and the upper school (grades 7 through 12) are accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The curriculum reflects that of small American private schools. The courses offered in the high school are college preparatory, and the academic load is demanding.

The American Community School has a web page with the most current and up-to-date information—the address is: You can download the registration forms and registration instructions from the website.Send school records to: The Registrar, American Community School, P.O. Box 4005 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Registrar's name is Nooreen Razi, and she can be contacted by email at

Annual Tuition Fees KG I $4,985; KG II through Grade 8–$8,720; grade 9 through 12 - $10,754, plus an annual capital fee of $885for all grades except KG I. A one-time fee for new students of $2,000 is also applied.

The American International School in Abu Dhabi (AISA) PO Box 5992, Abu Dhabi, Tel: (9712) 444-4333, Fax: (9712) 444-4005 Location: 2nd Street, Intersection with 29th Street Curriculum: American and International Baccalaureate Diploma Founded: 1995 Level: Pre-school to Grade 12 Co-Ed?: Yes, but separate after Grade 4 Staff Nationality: Mixed Student Nationality: 50% UAE, 50% International Uniform: Yes Bus Service: Yes Activities/Facilities: After school activity program, athletic department, gymnasium, playgrounds, library, science and computer labs. Entrance Requirements: Placement tests in English and math Registration Fee: Dhs 2,000 Tuition / Annual Fees: Pre-school to Grade 12 Dhs 13,350 to Dhs 34,100 Email: Website:

Abu Dhabi Grammar School (Canada) PO Box 27161, Abu Dhabi, Tel: (9712) 666-2900, Fax: (9712) 666-5998 Location: Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Block #30 Curriculum: Canadian (Nova Scotia) Founded: 1994 Level: KG 1 to Grade 12 Co-Ed: Yes Staff Nationality: Mixed Student Nationality: Mixed Uniform: Yes Bus Service: Yes Activities/Facilities: Air conditioned gym, swimming pool, playgrounds, football, basketball, volleyball, computer and science laboratories, library, etc. Entrance Requirements: Entrance exam for Grades 4 and above Registration Fee: Dhs 550 Fee: Tuition / Annual Fees: Dhs 12,900 to Dhs 26,900 Cost of textbooks and transportation are extra Email: Website:

Abu Dhabi International School PO Box 25898, Abu Dhabi, Tel: (9712) 443-4433, Fax: (9712) 443-6052 Location: Al Karama Street, next to Al Rowdha Clinic Curriculum: American and British Founded: 1981 Level: Primary to Secondary Co-Ed?: Yes Staff Nationality: Mixed Student Nationality: Mixed Uniform: Yes Bus Service: Yes Activities/Facilities: Entrance Requirements: Placement tests Registration Fee: Dhs 1,000, Placement Test Fee: Dhs 200 Tuition / Annual Fees: Dhs 9,500 to Dhs 21,000 Email: Website:

Al Rabeeh School PO Box 41807, Abu Dhabi, Tel: (9712) 448-2856, Fax: (9712) 448-2854 Location: Hadbat Al Zafran (Behind Pakistani School) Curriculum: British, UAE Founded: 1979 Level: Kindergarten and Primary Co-Ed?: Yes Staff Nationality: British and UAE Student Nationality: Mainly UAE Uniform: Yes Bus Service: Yes Activities/Facilities: Daily afternoon clubs Entrance Requirements: Entry assessment from KG 2 to Grade 6 Tuition / Annual Fees: Dhs 14,500 to Dhs 16,500 New purpose-built school building with full facilities: four playgrounds, two sports halls, conference hall, computer suite, libraries, etc.

The British School - Al Khubairat PO Box 4001, Abu Dhabi, Tel: (9712) 446-2280, Fax: (9712) 446-1915 Location: Old Airport Road, near St. Andrew’s Church Curriculum: British Founded: 1968 Level: Primary to Secondary Co-Ed?: Yes Staff Nationality: UK qualified. Arabic teachers are approved by the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Education. Student Nationality: Uniform: Yes Bus Service: No Activities/Facilities: Varied Entrance Requirements: Students must be fluent in English Entry Fee: Dhs 1,050 to Dhs 6,615 Tuition / Annual Fees: KG 1 to Grade 11 Dhs 15,900 to Dhs 34,650 Email: Website:

The Cambridge High School PO Box 27602, Abu Dhabi, Tel: (9712) 552-1621, Fax: (9712) 552-1622 Location: Mussafah Curriculum: British Founded: 1988 Level: KG to Grade 13 Co-Ed?: Yes, but separate after Grade 4 Staff Nationality: 40% Western, 30% Asian, 30% Arab Student Nationality: Mixed Uniform: Yes Bus Service: Yes (Dhs 2,100 per year) Activities/Facilities: See comments below Entrance Requirements: None to Grade 2, thereafter interview with Principal or Vice Principal Tuition / Annual Fees: KG 1 to Grade 13 Dhs 8,855 to Dhs 18,700 Comments: Indoor heated swimming pool, playing field, cricket nets, tennis court, basketball court, multi-purpose auditorium, three ICT labs, three science labs, one music studio, audio-visual rooms, two art studios, library with internet facilities, full range of sports and extra-curricular activities. Email: Website:

International Community School (Details to be Updated) PO Box 55022, Dubai, Tel: (9714) 448-9900, Fax: (9714) 448-9909 Location: Off of Muroor Road on 23rd Street Curriculum: British Founded: 1990 Level: Primary to Secondary Co-Ed?: Yes Staff Nationality: Mixed Student Nationality: Mixed Uniform: Yes Bus Service: Yes Activities/Facilities: Art and music Entrance Requirements: Entrance exams in English, math, Arabic and science Application Fee: Dhs 500, Advanced Term Fee: Dhs 5,500 Tuition / Annual Fees: Dhs 8,000 to Dhs 15,800 Email: Website:

The International School of Choueifat PO Box 7212, Abu Dhabi, Tel: (9712) 446-1444, Fax: (9712) 446-1048 Location: Old Airport Road Curriculum: SABIS Founded: 1978 Level: KG 1 to Grade 13 Co-Ed?: Yes Staff Nationality: Mixed Student Nationality: Mixed Uniform: Yes Bus Service: Yes Activities/Facilities: Entrance Requirements: Placement tests Tuition / Annual Fees: Dhs 13,300 to 24,500 Email: Website:

Lycee Louis Massignon (French School) PO Box 2314, Abu Dhabi, Tel: (9712) 444-8075, Fax: (9712) 444-9290 Location: New Airport Road and Road 29 Curriculum: French Founded: 1972 Level: Nursery to Senior High School Co-Ed?: Yes Staff Nationality: French and other Student Nationality: 50% French Uniform: No Bus Service: Yes Activities/Facilities: Theatre room, Olympic swimming pool, gym hall, etc. Entrance Requirements: None for students from French government acknowledged schools. Entrance exam for others. Tuition / Annual Fees: Dhs 9,100 to Dhs 18,600 The school is non-profit making and is run by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Email: llmpro@llmae Website:


Below is a list of nursery attended by embassy children:

Butterfly-Montessori Pre-School Age group: 1 1/2 year to 4 1/2 years Based on the Montessori teaching method. Language: English, Arabic, and French. Located on 28th street between 9th and 11th (Khalifa Bin Shakhbout Street) Tel 665-8611 Fax 665-8684 PO Box 42268 Abu Dhabi, UAE Fees: Prices range from $725 to $1270 per term (3 months) depending of the age of the child.

Stepping Stones Age group: 1 1/2 year to 4 1/2 years Language: English. Two locations: one is in the same street as ACS; the other is on 13th street between 24th and 26th. Tel 681-5583 Fees: Fees are around $1100 per term (3 months) for 5 days a week. It can be more or less depending on the number of days per week requested and the pick up time (12:15 pm or 1:15 pm)

Lady Bird Age group: 1 month to 4 years Open from 7 am to 3 pm. all year (summer included). Language: English. At the intersection of 11th Street and 26th (behind the Coop) Tel/Fax: 667-3881 Fees: Prices range from $135 to $330 per term (3 months) depending on the age of the child, and the number of days requested.

My Nursery Age group: 2 years to 5 years Language: French/Arabic or English/Arabic On 24th between 13th and 15th Tel 446-3634 Fees: Prices range from $280 to $860 per term (3 months) depending on the age of the child. Bus service available.

Humpty Dumpty Age group: 1 years to 5 years Language: English (British) Located in Al Bateen on 11th street, between 30th and 32nd. Tel: 666-3277 Fees: Prices range from $235 to $380 per month depending on child's age and number of days requested.

Special Needs Education Last Updated: 6/27/2005 7:31 AM

The American International School in Abu Dhabi (AISA) offers a program for children with (mild) learning disability in the Elementary school (not High School). Parent Sponsor Tutors (PST) assist 1-3 children in class full time. They offer the services of a trained learning specialist (Sp. Ed.) who supervises any children whose parents are providing in-class tutoring full time. He trains PSTs and follows child program.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 6/27/2005 3:50 AM

There is no higher education available for expatriates in Abu Dhabi, altought both Dubai and Sharjah have an American University.

Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 8/13/2003 2:35 AM

Unlike other associations at many posts in the region, the Abu Dhabi American Embassy Employees Association (AEEA) does not function as a hub of post social activities. There is no clubhouse or swimming pool on the Embassy grounds. The association does, however, support community activities such as Halloween parties and other celebrations. To fund this, the AEEA operates a lunchroom, a video club and gift store where clothing and gift items with Embassy logos can be purchased.

Most employees enroll in health/recreation clubs, which can be quite expensive. Annual membership fees range from $1,370 to $2,740 a family, and about 75% of that fee for single memberships. These memberships allow use of swimming pool, fitness center and beach access. Many of the clubs have social functions, restaurants and other activities for the whole family

Sports Last Updated: 8/13/2003 2:43 AM

Abu Dhabi is the paradise of water sports! Various recreation clubs around town offer water-skiing, scuba diving (very popular among Embassy families), sailing, jet ski rental etc. all year round. Good fishing is available in local waters. Tennis, squash, golf, soccer, handball, and other sports are also available. Sports activities (with the exception of water sports) diminish during the long, hot summers when outdoor activities are kept to a minimum. Swimming pools are temperature-controlled in major recreation clubs. Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have ice-skating rinks and bowling alleys. To save money, bring your own sports equipment and clothing, although most items can be purchased locally.

Recreation clubs include The British Club, Hiltonia, Meridien, Intercontinental Hotel, Palm Beach, Sheraton Hotel, the Marina, Al Ain Palace Hotel and the Khalidiya Palace Hotel. An organized slow-pitch softball league is sponsored by some of the major American oil companies. Games are played during the cool season. The Abu Dhabi Golf Club is an 18-hole sand course with Astroturf for fairway shots.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 8/13/2003 2:38 AM

You'll enjoy desert safaris, "Wadi-bashing," or driving off-road into the area's deserts and mountains during the cooler months. Indeed, except for a small area on the east coast, scattered oasis, and the northern tip of the country, the U.A.E. is mainly desert. The mainland across from Abu Dhabi island is especially dry.

Camping on the east coast is popular. Driving trips to the oasis of Al Ain, about 100 miles inland, to the beaches of Fujairah and Khor Fakkan on the east coast, and northward to the greener areas of Ras Al Khaimah, all provide beautiful changes of scenery. A Hilton Hotel at Fujairah and the Meridien Hotel near Khor Fakkan are modern, attractive lodges that help to ensure overnighting for non-campers as well. There, one can boat, fish, scuba dive, snorkel, swim, picnic, and play tennis. Dubai, Al Ain, and Ras Al Khaimah all have small but interesting museums, and Sharjah has a world-class natural history museum. Al Ain has an extensive, if somewhat shabby zoo, which is worth a visit during cool weather, as well as "Fun City," an amusement park popular with families. Dubai also has a small zoo, and with its picturesque creek filled with dhows and its historic wind towers, offers weekend diversions. Several archeological sites have been discovered and can be reached easily. The Heritage Village in the Bateen airport area and the Abu Dhabi Women's Handicrafts Center are worth-while visiting. A shopping trip to the souqs in any Arab country is a must. The U.A.E. is no exception. The gold souqs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have a large selection of 18 and 22 carat gold. Sharjah has a new souq, an impressive building in its use of mosaic tiles and traditional designs. There you will find a varied selection of Persian handmade carpets and tribal rugs, plus hundreds of other items, mostly imported from India, Pakistan and Iran.

A visit to Oman, an agricultural and trading center for centuries, with its interesting architecture and crafts, is worth the 5 hours drive. Its more settled population has had time to develop interesting architecture and crafts, which are lacking among the Bedouin population of the U.A.E. The old souqs and towns retain an unspoiled, authentic atmosphere. The Musandam peninsula, which juts out into the Strait of Hormuz, can be explored by four-wheel-drive vehicles and is rightly considered the "Norway" of the Middle East with its spectacular "fjord-like" sea inlets.

Entertainment Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:21 AM

Abu Dhabi has a very good selection of restaurants where cuisines from all around the world are represented. You'll also find more familiar items in the many American franchises available in town. Disco nightclubs and bars, mostly located in hotels offer live music.

On a different note, the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation offers various cultural activities throughout the year such as exhibits, shows, movies, art classes, etc. The hotels, the Embassy, the British Council, the French Cultural Center, and private businesses sponsor performing artists. Performances usually take place in the hotels. Local groups include the Abu Dhabi Choral Group, Emirates Natural History Group, the Thespians of Abu Dhabi (TOADS) and Abu Dhabi Dramatic Society (ADDS) for amateur theater, and various sporting societies.

Movie theaters in Abu Dhabi and Dubai show a good selection of current movies. The theaters are large, modern and clean and prices are similar to those in the U.S.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:21 AM The American community, although not formally organized, participates with the Embassy staff in such events as U.S. Navy ship visits and Fourth of July activities. The ACS is also a focus of American activity. Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops and a PTA are active. A fundraising bazaar, held at the school each year before Christmas, generates a considerable community-wide effort.

International Contacts Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:22 AM Abu Dhabi is a cosmopolitan city and international contacts can be made on every occasion (neighbors, school, cultural activities, etc.). But if you're looking for a more organized structure, you can attend the meetings of international clubs such as "Women in Abu Dhabi" or "Club Diplomatique". These organizations group women of various nationalities and presents guest speakers, activities, slide shows, and exhibits. They also sponsor excursions for members to places of interest.

The diplomatic and foreign community is large, and Embassy personnel have an active social life. There are always opportunities for social and professional contacts with fellow diplomats of the Abu Dhabi's diplomatic community.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:23 AM

Officers at all levels may be invited to attend official functions given by the U.A.E. Government and by personnel from other Embassies. Official invitations can include everyone with a diplomatic title. The U.A.E. Government and many large companies favor large receptions.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 8/13/2003 2:49 AM

A circular, detailing prevailing protocol practices, is given to new personnel. In Abu Dhabi, formal courtesy calls to all foreign missions are not generally expected of officers, except the Ambassador or the DCM, but they are appreciated. The Ambassador makes calls on the Ruler and on other high government officials at the Eid holidays and on National Day.

Note that business cards can be printed locally. They are most useful when printed in English on one side and in Arabic on the other. Locally printed cards cost about $20 for 100 cards. Spouses of representational officers should have cards printed also.

Special Information Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:24 AM

Related Internet Sites Last Updated: 6/27/2005 8:52 AM

Abu Dhabi CLO Intranet Webpages:

UAE Interact. Check out their Yearbook!

The "Real Post Report":

Three Emirates Guide:

Gulf News:

Al Khaleej:


Consulate General - Dubai

Post City Last Updated: 8/13/2003 5:43 AM

The Consulate General’s main offices occupy the 20th and 21st floor of the World Trade Center, Dubai’s premier office building. The Consulate General also has offices at the Dubai Port Authority at Jebel Ali, and the Fujairah International Airport, on the east coast of the UAE, as well as Dubai Media City. Dubai is actually just one of the U.A.E.’s metropolitan areas. It is a tri‑city region of more than 2 million people, that includes not only Dubai, but the contiguous cities of Sharjah and Ajman as well. This metropolitan area is the commercial center of the U.A.E.. The Dubai‑Sharjah‑Ajman area has been an important stop on the traditional Eastern trade routes.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/13/2003 5:54 AM

Thirty U.S. officers, working with 35 locally engaged staff (LES) and support staff, represent four U.S. Departments: State, Commerce, Defense and Agriculture. The post is headed by the Consul General. The State Department presence is organized into four sections: Economic/Political, Consular, Administrative, and Security. Commerce is represented by a Foreign Commercial Service office headed by an American officer. Defense has four components: a Naval Criminal Investigative Service Office and the Port Liaison Element, a Navy Regional Contracting Command Office, and an ASU detachment at Fujairah International Airport, which has a constituent operation at the Port of Jebel Ali . The Department of Agriculture has a regional trade office in the Consulate General. The Consulate General and its offices are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday through Wednesday. A duty officer is on call after hours on a rotating schedule. The Consulate General’s main telephone number is 971–4–311-6000; fax: 971–4–311-6166.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/13/2003 5:58 AM

Quarters are not available for transients. If permanent housing is not immediately available, you will be housed at one of the major hotels.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/13/2003 6:04 AM

The principal officer’s residence is a large, centrally air‑conditioned, five bedroom house with garden terrace and swimming pool, which can be used for entertaining. The interior was recently redecorated and refurnished by A/FBO/OPS/IDF.

Staff housing in Dubai is very good. Housing is either three bedroom apartments, mostly located along Sheikh Zayed Road, or townhouses/villas located in Jumeirah and Umm Suqeium. Most are new in good condition, adequately furnished, and reside in safe neighborhoods.

Supplies and Services Last Updated: 4/30/2001 6:00 PM

The availability of goods and services is essentially the same in Dubai as in Abu Dhabi. Prices are equivalent.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 8/13/2003 6:58 AM

Most international religious denominations are active and worship freely in Dubai. There are at least nine different churches and many of them offer Bible Studies and other services: Church of Jesus Christ-Later Day Saints, Emirates Baptist Church International, Evangelical Church, Holy Trinity (Anglican), St. Mary's Church (Catholic), New Covenant Church (Non-Denominational), United Christian Church of Dubai (Inter-Denominational) and St. Matin's in Sharjah.

Education Last Updated: 8/13/2003 6:58 AM

The American School of Dubai has 914 students from pre-kindergarten to grade 12. All of the Consulate staff children age four and over, attend the American School of Dubai. The Consulate General reserves thirteen seats for the students of the U.S. staff. Send records as early as possible to: The Headmaster, The American School of Dubai, PO Box 2222, United Arab Emirates; or e-mail

The school follows the U.S. curriculum and calendar. It is owned by a group of U.S. or U.S. affiliated companies and accredited by both the Middle States and Southern States School Association. Classes are held Saturday through Wednesday from: K1: 8:05 to 12:00; K2: 8:00 to 1:45 and grades 1-12 from 8:05 to 3pm; late August to early June. Annual tuition for the school year 2002/2003 was $2,640 for Kindergarten 1; $7,402 for Kindergarten 2; $11,113 for grades 1-12. A one time registration fee of $68 and an annual book fee of $27 are charged for all children.

There are numerous other possible U.S. curriculum schools, as well as other nationality schools (French, German, Arabic, Swedish, etc.) offering international curricula.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 8/13/2003 7:06 AM

Sports activities are a large part of the Dubai community, even in the hot summer months! The most popular sports are golf, tennis, football, rugby, hiking, horseback riding, off road driving, and you can't forget all the water sports available. With Dubai's calm and clear water coastline, snorkeling and scuba diving are extremely popular for all ages. There are a range of health clubs and beach clubs to join that offer aerobics & weight lifting, swimming pools, tennis courts and many other amenities that are usually adjacent to a hotel. Prices for joining a beach club range from Dhs 2,000 to 10,000 per person. A fun pastime in Dubai is the art of sand boarding and sand skiing down one of the many dunes outside the city. Another way of conquering these dunes is taking off in a 4-wheel drive, rolling over sand dunes and exploring the extremes of the desert. Who knows, you may see a camel or two.

Entertainment Last Updated: 8/13/2003 7:19 AM

Dubai has numerous restaurants, cafes, and specialty shops, offering every kind of cuisine in the world. Some examples to wet your appetite include: Chinese, Japanese, Continental, Indian, Pakistani, Persian, German, Arab, Thai, and everything in between. The price range varies but there is always something to fit your budget and your taste buds. Many U.S. franchises are represented, e.g., Planet Hollywood, Johnny rockets, Hard Rock Cafe, trader Vics, Starbuck's, as well as nearly all the fast food franchises. A very popular draw to the locals and expatriates are the quaint and cozy cafes that litter many of the side streets; offering sandwiches, coffee & tea, and pastries. All hotels offer extensive luncheon buffets, especially on Fridays, which feature Arab-style "mezzas" (smorgasbord). Most hotels offer live entertainment in the evenings. For the "after hour" seekers, Dubai has this covered with dozens of nightclubs and bars that are open as late as 3am. For the most part, only restaurants and bars in hotels are allowed to serve alcohol, and it can be quite expensive. As in Abu Dhabi, liquor purchases for residential consumption are handled through authorized stores only to non-Muslim permit holders. Video cassettes/DVD'S are the most popular form of movie entertainment, and first -run films are widely available for rent, but quality is patch and films are censored. There are several modern movie theaters showing first run English-language movies. Prices for the movie tickets are Dhs 30/person.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 8/13/2003 8:31 AM Among Americans, half of the almost 16,000 Americans living in the UAE reside in the Dubai-Northern Emirates area, and most multinational U.S. firms have offices in Dubai. This American community, coupled with the Consular Corps representing 45 countries, insures an active social life for personnel assigned to Dubai. There are many cultural and social groups to get involved with. Just a few examples of some organizations here: American Women's Association, Dubai International Women's Club, American Women's Network and American Business Group. There are also a variety of clubs that cater to just about any hobby you might have. Some examples of special interest groups and workshops are: art classes, dance classes, belly dancing, gardening, stitching, book clubs and language schools. Last, but not least, is the art of shopping and bargaining at the local souks. This is a fun activity and a true test of your bargaining skills.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 8/13/2003 7:31 AM

The Consul General represents the Ambassador at official functions throughout the six northern emirates. The principal officer is frequently invited to functions hosted by the Government of Dubai, and he makes calls on the rulers of the other five northern emirates.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 6/27/2005 6:31 AM

You will get to post by air. Most major airlines have daily flights from Europe to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Flights often arrive and depart late at night.

Customs, Duties, and Passage Last Updated: 6/27/2005 6:55 AM

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 6/27/2005 7:05 AM

Air freight: Send air-freight marked with according to your post of assignment:

Your Name, Your Name,

c/o American Embassy, c/o US Consulate General Abu Dhabi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates united Arab Emirates

Notification of shipment of air-freight is required. New staff members are met at the airport by their sponsor and the Embassy/Consulate General expediter. All personnel assigned to Dubai should visit the Embassy after arrival.

Those with diplomatic passports are accorded unlimited duty-free privileges. Those with official passports are given duty-free entry of their initial shipment.

Non-Muslims arriving at the airport may bring in up to four bottles of liquor on each arrival at the airport. The U.A.E. Government has no restrictions on importation of currency, travelers' checks, or other money instruments.

Import Restrictions No alcoholic beveramay be imported in HHE or UAB. An alcohol purchase permit is issued to all personnel (details under “Liquor Permits”). No weapons and ammunition may be imported or acquired in the country. Pets: Cats and Dogs may be imported without quarantine. (See importation of pets to UAE.) Narcotics: Any prescription drugs in your possession must be in the original container. Magazines, books, films and video tapes, that are considered to be pornographic (containing nudity), immoral, against the Islamic religion, containing anything derogatory against the UAE government, president or country, or anything dealing with Israel is not allowed into the country. Vehicles: This is very important and you will save yourself a lot of frustration if you pay close attention to this warning: Do not bring pick-up-trucks to Post. Pick-up trucks cannot be registered here. Also, if your vehicle has tinted windows, check with the manufacturer that it its below 30%. We cannot get these vehicles registered.

Passage Last Updated: 6/27/2005 7:04 AM

Short term visitors staying less than one month can either get a visa from any U.A.E Embassy prior to arrival or get a visa upon arrival at the airport (valid for 30 days). Long term visitors and assigned personnel must obtain a valid visa from any U.A.E. Embassy before arrival. Fax your passport data page to the Embassy (c/o Expeditor, fax no 971-2-452988), at least 1 month in advance of your arrival. Embassy employees and their dependents, including children, should each bring a minimum of 45 photographs (1 x 1 inches), although these can also be obtained locally. Don't bring Passport-size photographs; they are too large.

Pets Last Updated: 6/27/2005 7:04 AM

Cats and dogs may be imported accompanied or unaccompanied subject to making the following prior arrangements. An import permit is required from the Ministry of Agriculture. In order to obtain this permit, the Embassy must make a written request and complete an application issued by the Ministry of Agriculture. Copies of the following documents and information are required to complete the application:

- a health certificate - a vaccination certificate - a copy of your passport - AED 200 (around $55)

Fax all these documents to GSO (fax # 971 2 414 2696) Attn Amer Al Ali / Majdi Haddad about 2 weeks no later than 2 weeks before your arrival. You can pay the fee at your arrival or arrange for your sponsor to advance the money. Related questions can be forwarded to Amer AlAli and Majdi Haddad, our Expeditors. You can email them at and

The veterinary certificate must indicate that the pet has been vaccinated against rabies and that the vaccination is at least 30 days old but not more than three months old, and a health certificate no more than 4 weeks old, indicating good health of your pet. To avoid administrative delays, we recommend that pets be brought in as accompanied baggage. It is also recommended that pets be brought into the U.A.E. on a weekday—Saturday through Wednesday—versus a weekend—Thursday or Friday.

Note that pet food and supplies are available locally, but the selection is limited. Some American and British brands of pet food and cat litter are stocked in all supermarkets. There are veterinarians, kennels and grooming facilities for pets.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:31 AM

No weapons or ammunition may be imported or acquired in the country.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 8/13/2003 3:17 AM

The basic currency is the U.A.E. Dirham (DH), which is divided into 100 fils. Dirhams come in 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5- bill denominations, and coins in 1 Dirham, 50, 25, 10, and 5 fils. The Dirham is pegged to the US Dollar. The rate has been constant at AED 3.67=USD 1.00 since 1982.

Major banks provide full banking services. However, some banks are currently discouraging small accounts by requiring minimum balances of about $750 and levying service charges on checking accounts.

The Embassy facilitates currency exchange through a local commercial exchange center which provides accommodation exchange services at the Embassy three days a week and at its downtown office during all its normal working hours (including evenings and weekends). Most employees do not bother with local currency accounts. Dollar and sterling traveler checks are readily available, as is foreign currency on the local market. ATM machines are easily found and payment by major credit cards (Visa, Master card, etc.) is accepted almost everywhere (except in small shops or outdoor markets).

The UAE uses the Metric System.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:35 AM

The U.A.E. has nominal import duties on some items and no personal income tax. Car registration for non-diplomatic personnel costs DH 100 ($27) plus the cost of the license plate, DH 50 ($14). Diplomatic personnel are not charged. No U.A.E. Government restrictions are placed on resale of vehicles or other items imported for Embassy personnel.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 8/12/2003 7:37 AM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Al Abed, Ibrahim and Hellyer, Peter. United Arab Emirates, a new perspective. London: Trident Press, 2001.

Anthony, John Duke. The United Arab Emirates, dynamics of a state formation. Abu Dhabi: Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, 2002.

Armstrong, Karen. Islam: A Short History. New York, Random House, 2000.

Esposito, John L. Islam, The Straight Path. Oxford University Press, 1998.

Ghareeb, Edmund and Al Abed, Ibrahim, EDS. Perspectives on the United Arab Emirates. London: Tardent Press, 1997.

Heard-Bey, Frauke. From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates. London: Longmans, 1982.

Hourani, Albert. A History of the Arab Peoples. New York: Warner Books, 1992.

Maitra, Jayanti and Al Hajji, Afra. Qasr al Hosn: The History of the Rulers of Abu Dhabi 1793-1966. Abu Dhabi. Center for Documentation and Research, 2001.

Mansfield, Peter. The New Arabians. Chicago: J.G. Ferguson Publishing Co. 1981.

Peck, Malcolm C. The United Arab Emirates, A Venture in Unity. Colorado: Western Press, 1986.

The Economist. Economist Intelligence Unit Country Report. United Arab Emirates.

Zahlan, Rosemarie Said. Modern Gulf States. London: Unwin Hyman, 1989.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 11/17/2004 6:09 AM

The following holidays are observed in the United Arab Emirates:

New Year's January 1 Waqfa* February 10 Eid Al-Adha* January 21

Islamic New Year* February 10 Prophet's Birthday* April 21 Ascension Day* September 1 Eid al-Fitr* November 4 U.A.E. National Day December 4

*U.A.E. religious holidays are based on the Islamic (lunar) calendar and dependent upon the sighting of the moon. Since the lunar year is shorter than the U.S. calendar, these holidays will fall on an earlier date (around 11 days earlier) every successive year. The dates shown for these holidays are for calendar year 2005.

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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