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By No owner — last modified Dec 22, 2016 10:41 PM

 United Arab Emirates - Formalities

Clearance

Clearing customs and immigration is a variable process depending upon the preferred emirate port of arrival. Generally allow 1-2 days.

On approach to a port of entry, yachts should call Port Control on Channel 16 and ask for directions.

The Q flag and UAE courtesy flag must be flown.

A foreign vessel clearing into the country may require the use of a clearing agent (this is required in Abu Dhabi). Typical agent fees for entry of the vessel, customs inspection, crew visas and a local navigation permit, will cost around AED 12,000 (US$ 3,000).

A foreign vessel has 21 days ‘grace’ after clearing-in during which the vessel may sail, then a Navigation Permit must be obtained. It is also expected that the vessel will have a marina
address. Anchoring for the duration of the visit would not typically be permitted for security reasons.

The arrangements for sailing from one emirate to another differ slightly. In Dubai for example, you need an approval to sail to other Emirates, but not from Abu Dhabi.

Last updated December 2016.

Immigration

Citizens of the GCC nations of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia do not require a visa to travel to the UAE.

The following citizens can receive a 30 day visa on arrival:-
Australia, Andorra, Austria, Brunei, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom United States of America. This vias may be extended for another 30 days for a fee.

All other nationalities require a visa prior to entry which will be vaild for 30 days with no extensions. Israelis and people with an Israeli stamp in their passports will be denied a visa.

Visa applications must be arranged through a sponsor (UAE resident) or hotel or travel agency. A multiple entry visa should be obtained if intending to visit more than one state.

In the case of those arriving without a visa, especially if it is made clear that only a short stay is intended, Immigration may retain passports and issue yacht crews with a landing pass for 48 hours.

Ensure there are no Iranian stamps in any passports.

Last updated July 2016.

Immigration Department
Visa Office , Abu Dhabi
Tel:+971 4 3572300

Customs

Current UAE regulations allow foreign flagged vessels a period of 21 days to sail in territorial waters.  After this time, the vessel needs to have a UAE Navigation Permit, which lasts one year and must be renewed each year. It is also expected that the vessel will have a marina address.

Boats being imported into the UAE must pay import duty on the vessel at 5%.  Note - duty at 5% now applies on all sailing equipment bought for boats in the country, whether they are locally registered or foreign registered.

Firearms must be declared and may be held in custody until departure.

A doctor's prescription should be carried along with any medication that is brought into the country.

Some drugs and medications that may be purchased over-the-counter in other countries are classified as controlled substances in the UAE and are illegal to possess. A person may be arrested and prosecuted if in possession of prescribed or over-the-counter medicines containing, for example, codeine or similar narcotic-like ingredients.

Importing pork products and pornography into the UAE is illegal. Videos, books, and magazines may be subject to scrutiny and may be censored.

Electronic cigarettes are illegal in the UAE and are likely to be confiscated.

Equipment like satellite phones, listening or recording devices, radio transmitters, powerful cameras or binoculars, may require a licence for use in the UAE.

Last updated December 2016.

Documents

Documents required on checking in: clearance from the last port, crew lists, customs declaration and passports (with valid visas if necessary).

Fees

Typical agent fees for entry of the vessel, customs inspection, crew visas and a local navigation permit, will cost around AED 12,000 (US$ 3,000).

Last updated December 2016.

Restrictions

All the states except Sharjah allow the consumption of alcohol by non-Muslims, but it is illegal to drink alcohol on the street or to buy it for a UAE citizen. During Ramadan it is illegal to eat, drink or smoke in public.

Abu Musa Island and the other six islands in the Abu Musa Group are under the control of Iran and all foreigners are banned from the island. Foreign sailors have been imprisoned and their yachts seized after visiting the island.

Beware sailing too close to Iranian waters and straying into their territory, as this will result in being arrested.

From 15th September 2009, UAE owned or registered boats must carry an electronic tracking device known as an e-passport. It costs about US$1,900 and is being promoted as an aid to finding a boat in difficulties.

Local Customs

You are strongly advised to familiarise yourself with, and respect local laws and customs.

Women should dress modestly when in public areas like shopping malls. Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs, and underwear should not be visible.

Swearing or making rude gestures is considered an obscene act and offenders can be jailed or deported.

Public displays of affection are frowned upon, and there have been several arrests for kissing in public.

Don’t photograph people without their permission.

Clearance Agents

JPS Yacht and Charter Services
PO Box 213623 Rm. 906 Sheikha Noora Bldg , Tecom Dubai , United Arab Emirates
Tel:+971 4 343 7734 / Mob. +971 50 5533562 Fax:+971 4 343 7764
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday (08:00 to 17:00)
Clearance arrangements, many other marine services, including insurance, crewing and training.
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andreatithecott
andreatithecott says:
Dec 22, 2016 08:40 AM

My husband and I are based in UAE and keep our yacht here. We sailed the boat over from Singapore in January 2015 clearing into Abu Dhabi. Customs and immigration clearance was quite strait forward however, ensure there are no Iranian stamps on the passport and no weapons, drugs etc on the boat. As a foreign flag vessel current UAE regulations allow a period of 21 days grace and sailing in territorial waters. Then the vessel needs to have a UAE Navigation Permit, which lasts one year and must be renewed each year. Boats being imported into the UAE must pay import duty on the vessel at 5%. Note - duty at 5% now applies on all sailing equipment bought for boats in the country, whether they are locally registered or foreign registered. The arrangements for sailing from one emirate to another differ slightly. In Dubai for example, you need an approval to sail to other Emirates, but not from Abu Dhabi. The actual sailing bit is very safe. Beware sailing too close to Iranian waters and straying into their territory as this will result in being arrested. (Andrea December 2016)

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