In each of our destination countries, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are currently different conditions and hygiene regulations in place that are specific to each country, and these can also change at short notice. The conditions of entry can also changeat short notice at the moment. For this reason, we have put together the most important information for your RSD trip at https://www.rsd-travel.co.uk/travelsafely/. The information will of course be checked and updated on a regular basis. Please also check the Foreign Office‘s website before your departure (www.gov.uk/).
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) comprises seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Um al-Qawain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The UAE is located in the southeast of the Persian Gulf and borders on Oman.
The United Arab Emirates is a federal constitutional monarchy comprising seven autonomous emirates. The highest federal body is the Supreme Council made up of the rulers of the seven emirates. They elect the head of state and his representative from among their number, each of whom holds office for five years. Comprising 40 delegates, half of whom are elected indirectly and the other half are appointed by the emirs, the parliament has an exclusively advisory function. Political parties are not permitted in the UAE.
Abu Dhabi (approx. 2.5 million inhabitants).
Islam is the state religion (80 per cent Sunni, 16 per cent Shiite). Resident foreigners practice their religions without hindrance (e.g. Christianity, non-native Islam religions, Hinduism).
The official language is Arabic. English is also spoken and understood in business transactions and in hotels.
Subtropical to tropical desert climate with very low annual rates of precipitation (mostly in winter); extreme heat and humidity from May to October (max. daytime temperature of over 45 °C); average temperature in January 18 °C, in August 34 °C.
220-250 volt AC, 50 Hertz. Three-pin plugs are the norm here. Adapters can be obtained from any electrical store and all larger supermarkets.
Central European Time (CET) +4 hours. During European summertime, the time difference is +3 hours.
The country code for international calls from the UK to the Emirates is 00971. When phoning the UK from the Emirates, the country code to dial is 0044, dropping the zero before the area code.
Islam restricts the consumption of alcohol in the UAE. A strict general ban on alcohol prevails in the Emirate of Sharjah in particular where alcohol is not offered in any hotel while it is served in the other emirates. Women should not wear strapless tops, hot pants or mini-skirts and instead should cover their shoulders and knees at all times. During the fasting month of Ramadan, restrictions in everyday life (e.g. restaurants outside the hotels are closed during the day, shorter opening hours at official authorities) and increased sensitivity concerning religious matters and regarding the observation of Islamic traditions can be anticipated. Eating, drinking and smoking in public, including in vehicles, is also forbidden for non-Muslims from sunrise to sunset. During this period, women should wear respectable clothing with long sleeves and men should refrain from wearing short leisure clothes.
Adults and children must hold a valid passport to enter the UAE. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry.
British citizens do not require a visa before their arrival in the UAE and will be given a 30-day visa on arrival. Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.
Note: Entry requirements for British citizens can change at short notice without the Foreign Office being made aware of this beforehand. Legally binding information and/or information on entry regulations going beyond this information can be obtained from the competent representation of the destination country. Before travelling to the United Arab Emirates, please check your visa requirements and make sure you have a valid visa if necessary. You are solely responsible for applying for, and presenting, any visa that may be required. RSD assumes no liability if you fail to do this. Please note that entry into the UAE is dependent upon the approval of the immigration authorities.
Your expert tour guides will be able to provide you with detailed information about the country, people, history, culture, etc., and offer advice and assistance for organising your trip. They can also help with room allocation and look forward to welcoming you with initial information. Here you will find out all you need to know and useful information about the trip. We have put together a varied programme including numerous highlights, enabling you to experience the culture and diversity of landscape that the United Arab Emirates have to offer, and learn all about the country and its people.
Although your trip already includes a comprehensive package, you also have the option of choosing added extras. We recommend booking the following packages:
„Discoverer“ excursion package: The package includes 3 excursions: “Great Dubai tour, incl. museum”, “Dubai boat tour, incl. dinner” and “Abu Dhabi tour, incl. lunch”: only £240 per person.
The currency is the UAE dirham (AED). 1 dirham = 100 fils. Exchange rate (November 2021): 1 GBP = 5.05 AED; 1 AED = 0.20 GBP.
Currency can be exchanged at banks during opening hours and at your hotel. Bank opening hours: Sat. – Wed., 8 a.m. – 3.30 p.m., Thurs. 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.; some banks also open from 4.30 to 6.30 p.m. The weekend in the United Arab Emirates is Friday and Saturday. International credit cards are accepted by hotels, car hire companies and several shops. Cash withdrawals using a PIN code can be made at ATMs. Travellers’ cheques are almost universally accepted.
Severe penalties will be imposed on anyone bringing weapons, drugs, forged currency or pornographic items into the country. Even the cover pages of some, more “permissive” magazines, may be construed as pornography. Video cassette recordings may be checked and even confiscated. E-cigarette imports are also prohibited and will be confiscated on arrival. Should you require more detailed information about customs regulations governing the goods which may be brought into the United Arab Emirates, please contact the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates directly. Only there will you be able to obtain legally binding information.
Important: If you’re travelling to Great Britain from outside the UK, your personal allowances mean you can bring in a certain amount of goods without paying tax or duty. If you go over your allowances you must declare all your goods and pay tax and duty on all the goods in that category. Please inform yourself about the current customs regulations: www.gov.uk/bringing-goods-into-uk-personal-use/arriving-in-Great-Britain
In view of the general situation in the Near and Middle East, vigilance is also advised in the United Arab Emirates. You should act in a safety-conscious manner that is appropriate to the situation, especially in large crowds.
Crime: The UAE is one of the safest countries in the Middle East with an extremely low crime rate. Nevertheless, individual incidents of pick pocketing, e.g. in larger shopping centres, can not be ruled out.
Strict Islamic moral values prevail in the UAE. Homosexuality and extra-marital sexual relations are prohibited and punishable by a prison sentence if reported to the authorities. Tourists sharing rooms in hotels do not generally experience any difficulties in this regard. Likewise, expressions of mutual affection (e.g. kissing, physical contact) in public can lead to fines or prison terms in accordance with Islamic law. Consideration of customs and traditions in the UAE is therefore recommended. Travellers should exercise restraint in public, and their behaviour should take consideration of the religious, political, cultural and social traditions of the country, as well as staying clear of any demonstrations or protest events. The possession and consumption of even the smallest quantities of drugs will also result in prison sentences. Even consumption of soft drugs some days beforehand can be established through blood tests and subject to correspondingly tough punishment. It is a criminal offence to photograph/film the following facilities: military facilities, ports, airports, imperial palaces, public buildings, industrial plants, crude oil/natural gas plants. In the event of a violation, at least the camera/film/chip will be confiscated.
Vaccinations: Please contact your GP around 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country-specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.
Healthcare facilities in the UAE are generally comparable with those in the UK, but visitors may be prevented from using them without travel insurance or without the means to settle any medical fees. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
If you are planning to travel with any prescribed or over the counter medicines for personal use, you will need to meet the UAE’s specific requirements for your medicine to be allowed into the country. A list of medicines where this rule applies, allowed quantities and documents to present can be found on the UAE Ministry of Health website (https://www.mohap.gov.ae/en). To gain approval prior to travelling, you can apply online using the electronic application form and accompanying user guide on the UAE Ministry of Health website.
Customers should ensure that they are physically and psychologically fit for undertaking the selected trip and make the necessary queries concerning the level of physical and psychological fitness required.
All information subject to change – last updated March 2022