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L.Srikumar Pai
B.Sc( Engg.), MIE, MIWWA, MICI
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The United Arab Emirates (UAE ) is a federation of seven states formed in 1971 after independence from Britain. Although each state - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al Qaiwain - maintains a large degree of independence, the United Arab Emirates is governed by a Supreme Council of Rulers made up of the seven emirs, who appoint the prime minister and the cabinet. Dubai is one of the most developed emirates of UAE. Abu Dhabi is the capital city.World's highest building Burj Khalifa is situated in Dubai.

Before oil was discovered in the 1950s the United Arab Emirates's economy was dependent on fishing and a declining pearling industry. But since 1962, when Abu Dhabi became the first of the emirates to begin exporting oil, the country's society and economy have been transformed.

The United Arab Emirates is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf, with other cultures and beliefs generally tolerated. Until December 2006 it was the only state in the region not to have elected bodies.

Local laws reflect the fact that the United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country. Hence it is important that local traditions, customs, laws and religions are respected at all times to ensure that any action does not offend other cultures or religious beliefs.

Women should dress in a modest way, particularly in Sharjah and Ajman Emirates where Islamic law is rigorously enforced. Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs, and underwear should not be visible.

Alcoholic drinks are served in licensed hotels and clubs. But it is a punishable offence to drink or to be drunk in public. The legal age for consumption of alcohol is 18 in Abu Dhabi and 21 in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, except Sharjah where any alcohol consumption is illegal.

It is an offence in the United Arab Emirates to drink and drive (no matter how small the amount). There is zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving, and the penalties can be severe.

Before departing their country of origin, passengers should check visa requirements for entry into UAE. Upon arrival at the airport, passengers should proceed to passport control where they can present their visas or be given visas upon arrival, depending on nationality. At this point, passports are stamped with an entry date most visit visas are valid for 30 days from the date on the entry stamp, although some visas (such as transit visas) have a shorter validity time.


Make sure you have a valid passport and a visa to enter any emirate of UAE. You should have Xerox copies of your passport, visa and other important travel documents, keeping them separate from the originals.
Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home so that you can be contacted in case of an
emergency. Also keep a list of UAE emergency phone numbers always with you.
There are no major health concerns or specific vaccinations required for visitors to UAE. However, you are advised to check the current health warnings prior to your departure.
Change your money only from authorized moneychangers or banks in Dubai. As there are no currency restrictions
in the UAE, all major world currencies can be exchanged, with several internationally renowned banks and hotels.
Always drink bottled water that is easily available everywhere in UAE. Tap water is desalinated and safe for
drinking, but drinking bottled mineral water is advisable.
Taking of photographs can be sensitive; ask permission and avoid secure areas (airport, military camps, official
buildings etc.).
Respect local cultures and traditions of UAE, and never try to make a mockery of local traditions. Avoid
commenting on dress of the local people.
Always be careful of the belongings you carry with you during your trip.


UAE is an Islamic country and so avoid tight and exposing clothing. Women should particularly wear modest
Avoid photographing Muslim women and do not photograph airports, docks, telecommunications equipment, Govt.buildings, and military and industrial installations.
Don't behave in a manner that might insult Muslim customs or beliefs. Don't swear - as you can get fined and sent
to jail
Don't use your left hand while greeting or handing over things to people.
Don't touch anyone's head as it is considered offensive in UAE.
Don't participate in local demonstrations.

Local Transportation

Roads and Transport Authority has many bus stations in Dubai, including: Al Rashidiya bus station, Gubaiba bus station, Al Qusais bus station, Jebel Ali Free Zone bus station, Gold Souq bus station, and Satwa bus station.

Metro Train Service is also available to commute to various places in Dubai. Taxis are plentiful and reasonably priced. Most of the drivers do speak English. It is important to know exactly where you are going so that you can give them directions if necessary.
Banking machines with international connections are available throughout the United Arab Emirates. All banks offer major credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa.

Useful Links:  (Dubai Airport Terminal Map)  (Dubai Airport Information)  (Dubai City Guide)  (Dubai City Guide)  (Dubai City Guide)

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