There is no shortage of shipping and relocation companies to meet the demand of expats heading to Dubai. In some cases, the employer will have an in-house or preferred service provider to help make the move as smooth as possible.

Relocation companies can be hired to assist with every aspect of the move, from furniture transportation to school enrolment. Consider companies that offer a comprehensive range of services, including packing, storage and insurance, to ensure your belongings are protected throughout the move.

Choosing the right shipping or relocation company is crucial for a stress-free move to Dubai. With the plethora of options available, it's essential to select a service that aligns with your needs, whether you're moving household items, vehicles or pets. Personal recommendations, online reviews and detailed quotes can aid in making an informed decision.

Banned, regulated and censored items in Dubai

It should be noted that the UAE has strict rules on what may and may not be brought into the country. It is advisable to check the UAE customs website before travelling, as being caught with banned items can result in a jail term.

  • Weapons and drugs: No weapons, ammunition or narcotics will be admitted.
  • Medication: The UAE has imposed restrictions on various medicines, including codeine.
  • Media: All music, books, CDs and DVDs etc. will be subject to inspection/censorship at customs. Anything considered to be against the values, tradition and morality of the UAE will be banned. This would include anything with pornographic or anti-Islamic content.
  • Vapes and e-cigarettes: In addition to these regulations, items such as e-cigarettes and vaping products have specific guidelines. While personal use quantities are generally permitted, it is crucial to confirm current regulations as policies may vary and change over time. 
  • Drones and electronics: Electronic items and drones are also subject to scrutiny and may require special approval or permits for import. Ensuring compliance with these rules is essential to avoid penalties or confiscation of items upon arrival.
  • Food: Importing pork products and seeds for cultivation, for example, faces strict controls. Personal consumption quantities of non-restricted food items are usually allowed, but it's important to declare them and ensure they meet the UAE's health and safety standards.

To stay informed about the most current regulations and ensure a trouble-free journey to Dubai, visit the Dubai Customs website and the Ministry of Health and Prevention website for the latest updates on banned and controlled substances.

Bringing pets to Dubai

When relocating with pets, it's important to be aware of the UAE's specific requirements regarding vaccinations, microchipping and the necessary health certificates. Be sure to prepare accordingly if planning to ship a pet to Dubai. 

  • Microchipping: All pets must be microchipped with an ISO-standard microchip before travelling to Dubai.
  • Vaccinations: Pets must be vaccinated against rabies, and the vaccination must be at least 21 days old at the time of travel. Additionally, pets must have had vaccinations for canine distemper, hepatitis (ICH), and parvovirus (CPV).
  • Health certificate: A health certificate must be issued within ten days before travel and signed by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Import permit: Before bringing your pet to Dubai, you must obtain an import permit from the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE). The import permit requires submitting the necessary documents, including vaccination certificates and health certificates.
  • Breed restrictions: Certain dog breeds are not allowed entry into the UAE, including Brazilian Mastiffs, Argentinian Mastiffs, Japanese Tosas, Rottweilers, Dobermann Pinschers and Boxers.

For those who find this overwhelming, engaging with a pet relocation specialist can simplify this process, ensuring your pet meets all entry requirements and quarantine regulations, if applicable. Planning well in advance is key to a smooth transition for your furry family members.

Expat Health Insurance

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