UAE Business Travel Guide

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The UAE Business Travel Guide contains a range of valuable resources and travel information to assist business travellers. The travel guide contains facts on the UAE, visa information, business customs, useful tips and other resources. Having knowledge of other cultures, languages, customs and traditions can be a great advantage for business travellers helping to ensure that their business trip is a success.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is located in the south east of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East. It is a federation of seven emirates, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Dubai is growing global hub for finance, tourism and retail. The country has a high income economy with a number of business opportunities, the largest sectors of the economy include petroleum and natural gas and tourism. It is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), United Nations, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Major trading partners include Japan, China, Germany, India, South Korea and USA. The UAE shares borders with Oman to the east, Saudi Arabia to the south, the Gulf of Oman is to the east, the Persian Gulf to the west and Iran is to the north.

The country includes plenty of coastline with beaches, desert and mountains. Famous attractions include Burj Khalifa, Sheikh Ziyeed Grand Mosque, Hajar Mountains, Dubai Museum, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation, Sharjah Arts Museum, Jabel Hafeet, Al-Bidyah Mosque, The Heritage Village, Al Ain Zoo and Acquarium and the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai.

UAE Guide

UAE Quick Facts
UAE Travel Advice
Visa Requirements
Business Customs and Etiquette
Travel Advice and Tips
Public Holidays
UAE Weather & Climate

UAE Quick Facts

Country: UAE (United Arab Emirates)

Capital: Abu Dhabi

Currency: Dirham (AED)

Population: 8.1 Million (UN, 2012)

Area total: 32,280 sq km

Languages: Arabic (Official), English (business), Persian, Hindi, Urdu.

Time Zone: GMT +4

Electricity: 220V 50Hz

Dialling Code: 971

GDP: USD 402.3 billion (World Bank, 2013)

Religion: Predominately Muslim, with Hindu and Christian minorities.

Political System: Federal Monarchy

Internet Domain: .ae

UAE Travel Advice

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers travellers useful advice when travelling to UAE. You can find further information on entry requirements for UAE, advice on local laws and customs, health considerations, useful tips on safety and security and the address and contact details of the British Embassy in UAE. The information is updated on an ongoing basis making it a useful resource for both business and leisure travellers when searching for the latest up to date travel advice and information on UAE. For more information please see: UAE Travel Advice

Visa Requirements

There is no visa requirement for citizens from the UK, some European countries, Canada, USA and selected other countries for short term visits, other nationalities should check with their nearest UAE embassy. Visa requirements are subject to change with changes in requirements and rules for further information please see: UAE Embassy UK

Business Customs and Etiquette

Business dress is conservative and modest for both men and women. The usual business greeting is with a handshake and saying 'Salaam Alaykum', after that business cards are exchanged. As is the case in this part of the world business cards are passed to all at the meeting meaning you will need plenty of them. You may be addressed as 'Mr John' i.e. Mr followed by your first name, first is established practice in the UAE.

Expect plenty of small talk and chit chat at the beginning of the meeting that can go on for some time before the business in hand is actually discussed. It is wise to steer clear of discussing the topic of women in the small talk and stick to general topics and nothing too controversial. Meetings can be interrupted and you should be prepare for this and not let it distract you in negotiations. The decision making process can be slow meaning you may have to be patient until a decision is reached.

Fridays are considered days for rest and prayer therefore business meetings with Arab colleagues should be avoided on Fridays. English is widely spoken in commercial and business circles, interpreters are available should they be required.

Travel Advice and Tips

Most trips to the UAE for both business visitors and tourists are likely to pleasant and incident free. There is relatively little crime to worry about compared to most places but you should be aware of incidents of street crime and use licensed taxi especially late at night. Do not display your valuables in public.

You should always remain alert and aware of your surroundings and environment. Islamic law is enforced here and it is recommended visitors adhere to the rules and regulations expected at all times. There are severe penalties for many offences such as drinking and driving. Given the social and religious sensitivities in the country and the region it is advisable to ensure local customs and expected behaviour are respected at all times.

Travel Checklist: See our Packing Travel Checklist containing useful tips and reminders to ensure you have everything you will need on your trip.

Travel Vaccinations: It is recommended you check with your GP whether any travel vaccinations are required up to eight weeks before you travel. For more information and advice on travel vaccinations please see the NHS Fit for Travel website.

Tipping: If service charge is not included usually around 10%

Hours of Business:

For Businesses:
08.00 to 13.00 then 16.00 to 19.00 Saturday to Wednesday (some firms close at Midday on Thursdays others stay open until 17.00).

For Shops
08.00/08.30 to 12.00 then 16.30 to 21.00/22.00 Saturday to Thursday (closed Friday, some may open in late afternoon).

For Banks:
08.00 to 14.00 Saturday to Wednesday
08.00 to 12.00 Thursdays

NOTE: During Ramadan opening hours are subject to change. Friday counts as part of the weekend but many shops are open.

Public Holidays

Public Holidays (2015):

January 1: New Year’s Day
January 2: Milad un Nabi
May 16: Prophet's Ascension
July 18: Eid al-Fitr
September 23: Eid al-Adha
October 13: Islamic New Year
December 2: National Day


Abu Dhabi Map, UAE

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UAE Weather & Climate

The UAE's location and geography result in a subtropical-arid climate characterised by hot summers and war winters. The hottest time of year are the summer months from June to September with sweltering temperatures well in excess of 40 °C and high humidity. Summer is best avoided for those that not like excessive heat. The winter months from October to April experiences pleasant temperatures of 25-28 °C, avoiding the extra heat and humidity of the summer months and offers winter sun for sun seekers.

The pleasant weather in the UAE with sunshine year round, little rain and bright blue skies ensure it is a destination that can be visited throughout the year.

Lightweight cotton and linen clothing can be warn for most of the year; can get very hot and humid in summer, plenty of hydration, sunscreen and sun hat are needed. In winter layering may be required with a jumper and coat need for the evenings.

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Disclaimer: The information given in on this website is given in good faith and to the best of our knowledge. If there are any discrepancies in no way do we intend to mislead. Important travel details and arrangements should be confirmed and verified with the relevant authorities.
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