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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 http://www.theemiratesnetwork.com/auto/car_deal.htm
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
- 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.
- 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
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
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
(proxy1.emirates.net.ae:8080) 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
AMERICAN EMBASSY, ABU DHABI
- 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 ChaplinBR@state.gov.
- 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
For official mail: 6010 Abu Dhabi Place, Washington, D.C.
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
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.
US CONSULATE GENERAL IN DUBAI
U.S. Consulate General, World Trade Center P.O. Box 9343 Dubai
United Arab Emirates
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
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
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
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
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
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
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 6/26/2005
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 http://10.196.1.5/CLO, 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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
St. George Denomination: Syrian Orthodox - Tel: (971-2) 446-4564
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
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: http://www.acs.sch.ae.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com
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:
firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.britishschool.sch.ae
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: email@example.com Website: www.tchs-auh.sch.ae
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.ics.co.ae
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:
email@example.com Website: www.iscad-sabis.net
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
NURSERIES AND PRESCHOOLS
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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: http://10.196.1.5/CLO/CLO.htm
UAE Interact. Check out their Yearbook! http://www.uaeinteract.com
The "Real Post Report": http://www.talesmag.com/
Three Emirates Guide: http://guide.theemiratesnetwork.com/
Gulf News: http://www.gulf-news.com/News/2005/0627/home2.asp
Al Khaleej: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/index00.asp
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
- 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 AlAliAH@state.gov and HaddadMY@state.gov.
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
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
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
The UAE uses the Metric System.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 8/12/2003
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
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
Armstrong, Karen. Islam: A Short History. New York, Random House,
Esposito, John L. Islam, The Straight Path. Oxford University
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
Maitra, Jayanti and Al Hajji, Afra. Qasr al Hosn: The History of
the Rulers of Abu Dhabi 1793-1966. Abu Dhabi. Center for
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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.