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General Information













Religion

UAE is an Islamic country, though all people are allowed to practice their own religion.
 
 

Climate

Dubai has a subtropical arid climate. Rainfall is irregular, falling mainly in winter for few days. Bank transfers are very easy due to non-existence of exchange control. Banking hours are from 8 am to 1 p.m from Saturday to Wednesday and 8 am to 12 p.m on Thursdays. Few banks work from 4.30 p.m to 6.30 p.m.
 
 

Clothing

Dubai is a cosmopolitan city and most type of casual dresses can be worn. However, in defense to local customs and norms it is good not to wear very short or tight dresses.
 
 

Local Time

UAE time is 3 hours ahead of GMT.
 
 

Business Days

Saturday to Thursday is the normal business days in UAE. The Government offices remain closed on Thursdays and Fridays. Weekend is on Fridays. Some private companies are closed on Friday and Saturday. Shops, Supermarkets and major Shopping Malls are open 7 days a week though on Fridays they start business after the afternoon prayer.
 
 

Working hours

Normal working hours of Government Departments are from 7.30 a.m to 2.30 p.m. Most of the private companies work on a two-shift system. i.e. from 8 a.m to 1 p.m and 4 p.m to 7 p.m . Some companies follow straight working hours from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.
 
 

Currency

Dirham is the official UAE currency and it is freely convertible to any other currency due to non-existence of exchange control. UAE Dirhams is pegged to US Dollar and 1 US Dollar is equal to 3.67 UAE Dirhams.
 
 

Credit Cards

All major credit cards like Visa, Master Card, Diners Club, American Express, etc. are accepted in UAE. Most of the establishments accept the credit cards for the transactions though you get a better price for cash purchase.
 
 

Banking

Most International banks have branches in Dubai as well as other Emirates serving both the corporate and retail segments
 
 

Transportation

Taxi is the main mode of transportation though bus services are available in selected routes in Abudhabi and Dubai. The taxis are metered in Dubai and in Dubai the taxi service is well controlled by four major taxi companies – Dubai Transport, National Taxi, Metro Taxi & Cars Taxi. Taxi service in Dubai is also metered.
 
 

Telephones

UAE is well connected within as well as internationally by a very modern telephone network. Telephone calls within respective emirates are free of charge. The mobile phone standard is GSM.
 
 

Electricity

Electricity supply is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles.
 
 

Water

Tap water is quite safe to drink but generally visitors prefer to use bottled water
 
 

Visa

Nationals of 33 countries get visa on arrival. That includes nationals of AGCC (Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar & Saudi Arabia), United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Finland, Malta, Spain, Monaco, Vatican City, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. All other nationals other than above needs should procure visa before arriving in UAE.
 
The different type visas issued are as follows:
Tourist Visa
Entry Service Permit
Transit Visa
Multiple Entry Visa
 
Tourist visa. This special category of visit visa is available for individual tourists from East and West Europe who are not entitled to be issued a visa on arrival, as well as visitors from Thailand, South Africa and China. Clear passport copy of the passenger with a minimum validity of 6 months for passport is required to process a tourist visa. Validity of visa is two months from the date of issue and one month from the date of entry into UAE. Visa is not renewable.
 
Entry Service Permit This is available to businessmen and tourists and is issued to all other nationals other than those who are eligible to get visa on arrival and tourist visa. Clear passport copy of the passenger with a minimum validity of 6 months for the passport is required to process the visa. For nationals of Yemen, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya & Morocco 2 passport size photographs are required along with passport photocopy to process the visa. Validity of the visa is 14 days from the date of issue and 14 days from the date of entry into UAE, exclusive of arrival and departure days. Visa in not renewable.
 

Transit Visa This is a 96 hours visa issued to passengers who travel through UAE airports while traveling from one destination to another. A valid ticket with onward flight confirmation is a must for this visa.

Multiple Entry Visa This visa is issued to business visitors who are frequent visitors to UAE and who have a relationship with reputable company in UAE. Visa is valid for 6 months from the date of issue. Each visit must not exceed not more than 30 days from the date of entry. The visitor must enter Dubai on a visit visa and apply for a multiple entry visa while in UAE. German nationals can get one or two year multiple entry visas from UAE Embassy in Germany without a sponsor and the maximum duration of stay should not exceed three months in a year. US Citizens can get one or ten years multiple entry visas from the UAE Embassy in US with a sponsor. The maximum duration of stay per visit should not exceed six months.

 
 

Restrictions

As UAE is an Islamic country, there are strict controls on import of following things.
 
Ammunition and weapons
Ivory, Hippo teeth, animal skins, etc.
Illegal and internationally banned drugs
Alcohol other than 2 liters of spirit or 4 cans of beer
Pornography and nude photographs and documentation containing same
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