Dubai has become the international hub of trade in the Middle East, especially with regards to the trading of substantial commodities imported and exported through its ports each year. For importing goods into Dubai, an Importer should have a valid Trade License issued from any of the License Issuing Authority in U.A.E. and should be registered with Dubai Customs.The Importer has the option to carry out import procedures online on Dubai Trade website (www.dubaitrade.ae) or manually through Ports & Customs Documentation Centers.
To initiate the Import process in Dubai, the importer must obtain following documents in original from the exporter:
- Original Bill of Lading copies
- Commercial Invoice
- Packing List
- Certificate of Origin
The above documents are required irrespective of the sales agreement and payment method agreed between the importer and exporter.
- Based on the vessel arrival date, the importer must then approach the shipping agent to submit the original Bill of Lading and settle any dues with the Shipping agent. In return, the shipping agent must issue a Delivery Order to the importer.
- A Shipping agent may issue Delivery Order 3-4 days before vessel arrival. The Importer must ensure that all cargo clearance formalities are completed before the Delivery Order expiry date.
- The importer can then login to Dubai Trade to create and submit the Import Declaration application for Dubai Customs clearance. The importer can make payment for customs duties and other fees online using the CDR account or E-payment using credit card or direct debit. If the CDR account is used, the declaration can be printed immediately. In case of restricted goods or duty exempted cargo, the importer must arrange for necessary permits from the designated Permit Issuing Authority before filling the Customs Import Declaration.
- Dubai Customs will verify and evaluate the information provided, for the purpose of payment of customs duties and import approval. Dubai Customs may mandate examination, checking and inspection of the goods by a competent authority before release of cargo to the importer.
- The importer can check the vessel arrival using the Vessel Enquiry e-service and container discharge status using the Container Enquiry e-service.Once the container is discharged, the importer can then nominate a transport company to take delivery of the cargo/ container from DP World on importer’s behalf using the Haulier Nomination service on Dubai Trade.
- The importer can also generate an e-token for the designated day and time slot, which manages the flow of trucks entering and exiting the Jebel Ali Port. The haulier will be provided an Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR) by DP World for each container taken out from the Jebel Ali port.
- If inspection is required as per the Customs Import Declaration, the haulier must take the cargo/ container to the inspection area of the competent authority. Post inspection clearance, the haulier can exit the Jebel Ali Free Zone by presenting a copy of the EIR.
Food Import is considered among the most vital and important activities for Dubai economy. Such high volume of trade is monitored by the Food Import Re-Export System (FIRS)–provided by Dubai Municipality. It covers the services provided by the Food Trade Section of the Food Control Department, which include importing foods, importing food for re-export, food label approval, issuing all kinds of health certificates, food destruction application and issuing of their certificates. It includes an advanced food sampling system which is based on analyzing the risk of each food item, while ensuring complete integration with the electronic program of DM Food & Environment Laboratory. In order to get the approval from the customs, the food label should contain:
- Brand Name and product name
- Food ingredients (arranged according or weight or volume).
- Production and expiration dates of all products (except those which are exempted from displaying the validity or expiration dates).
- Name of the food manufacturer, packer, distributor or importer.
- Storage conditions (if the validity of the product depends on such conditions).
- Mention the ingredients which may cause hypersensitivity.
Language of the label shall be in Arabic. Approved stickers could be used to translate the food labels in Arabic Language. The stipulations included in individual food standards shall be followed to avoid committing any violations (such as presence of prohibited ingredients, microbial or chemical requirements, etc) in securing approved food labels.
In order to gain approval from the Dubai Municipality for importing food items, an original Health Certificate approved by the governmental health authority at the country of origin and an original Halal Certificate issued by Islamic Organization approved by UAE authorities (for meat/poultry and products thereof) must be obtained. Other certificates related to the country of origin are those based on concerns on GMO-Free, Avian Flu-Free, Dioxin–Free etc.
Auto import to Dubai
Shipping cars is a major task as it needs all the paperwork mentioned above, which deals with governmental norms. Besides, there are special rules for particular cars and a lot depends on factors such as the age of the car.
The first step of the procedure is the evaluation of the car which is done by customs officers. They would determine the value of the car at its exact price, to help you calculate the amount of tax that you must pay on the car while shipping it into the country. Once this is done, you should get the local license for the car from Dubai Traffic Police. The most vital documents are the original trade documentations of the car, the car delivery order and NOC from the Dubai government.
While shipping a car to Dubai, you have to pay customs for every entry bill that is passed, apart from the usual car duties. This subsequently makes importing car an expensive business.
Apart from the products that are imported in bulk, individuals are allowed to carry certain amount of items into the country. For people over 18 years old, non-commercial amount of gifts and other items for personal use of value up to AED 3,000 are allowed. They include:
- 400 cigarettes
- 50 cigars
- 500g of tobacco
- 4L of alcohol (combination of spirits, wine and beer) or 2 cartons of beer (no more than 24 cans per carton, and no more than 355 ml per can)
At the same time, there are certain items which are strictly prohibited in Dubai. They are:
- Narcotics including psychotropic medication
- Any material that contradicts Islamic teachings
- Counterfeit items
- Cultural artefacts and other objects of cultural importance (authentic engravings, prints, lithographs etc.)
- Any goods from countries with no diplomatic relation with UEA
- Any goods from Israel or with Israeli branding
- Gambling related items (lottery tickets, gambling machines)
- Three layers fishing nets
- Any tyres showing usage or tempering, also inlaid tyres are not allowed
- Items, materials or substances polluted with radiation
In addition to this, there are certain items which are allowed restricted import in Dubai. They are:
- Live animals which requires health certificate with complete and valid inoculations.
- Endangered species and any products or parts thereof as outlined by CITES maybe be brought in only with CITES permission.
- Medication (including some painkillers)
- Currency – whether foreign or local exceeding the equivalent of AED 40,000 (including traveller’s cheque) needs to be declared.