Moving International to or From United Arab Emrites

Moving Overseas to or From UAE


When shipping to the United Arab Emirates, you will ship your goods to one of these ports: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Khorfakkan, & Fujairah.  You can choose to ship your belongings in a Full Container or Half Container. A Full Container can hold roughly the contents of a 2-bedroom home. The cost to move a Full Container to Dubai from New York City is between $7,100 – $11,800. From Perth, the cost will be about $8,400 – $14,000.

Your household goods will be carefully inspected at the Dubai Port Authority. The UAE government offers complimentary storage at the port for seven days after arrival to give you adequate time for customs clearance. The clearance process itself can take 4-5 days if you have a large shipment.

Here are some of the special rules that you must follow:

  • You must be physically present during customs clearance.
  • All books, movies, DVDs, magazines, or other media must be packed separately for inspection and marked clearly. Anything deemed inappropriate for sexual, religious, political, or otherwise controversial content is subject to confiscation or censorship.

You will need to present documentation for yourself as well, including a valid Passport, residence visa, Bill of Lading, comprehensive inventory and a letter from your employer in UAE.

Here are some items that are restricted or prohibited entirely. Note that many people moving to UAE report significant difficulty gaining approval for restricted items.

New items – Your items should be at least six months old to avoid problems. Save your new purchases for after your arrival.

Political and religious literature or items – Religious rules are very strict here. Any media that appears to disparage Islam or any aspect of the religion will not be permitted. Running afoul of these rules is not the best way to make a first impression, so avoid it if you can.

Medications – Bring written prescriptions for any medications you bring with you. You may want to check with your local embassy about medications that are prohibited, since not everything allowed in other countries is allowed in the UAE.

Importing a vehicle to UAE

When you arrive in the UAE with your vehicle, you will be required to pay a 5% duty on the assessed valued of your vehicle. Customs officials will need to see copies of your vehicle’s title and registration, a purchase invoice demonstrating that you own the vehicle free and clear, a residence permit, and insurance policy.

If your vehicle is being imported from North America, it will require substantial mechanical modifications to be driven legally in UAE. Work with your shipper or a qualified mechanic to get these alterations done correctly.

Living in UAE

If you decide to try out UAE’s nightlife, proceed with caution. The rules governing alcohol consumption make drinking alcohol legally quite difficult. In order to consume alcohol at all, you will need a Ministry of Interior liquor permit, which is only issued to non-Muslim people living in the country under a valid residency permit. Penalties for breaking the laws around alcohol or other drugs are severe and could result in your expulsion from the country. In fact, taking the time to learn as much as you can about the laws and social norms in UAE will save you a lot of trouble. Foreign nationals in UAE have been arrested and charged with crimes for everything from cursing to showing affection in public.

Three Men and a Truck

When it comes to moving internationally, some countries are just more complicated. Moving to the United Arab Emirates requires specialized expertise and attention to detail. We can help ease the stress of a complicated move by putting our experience to work for you. We can help you decide what to bring and how to pack it or take all that work off your hands entirely. To learn more about how we can help you move to the United Arab Emirates without losing your mind or your stuff, contact us today.


Written by Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving.

If you have any questions about moving, our services, or anything else you think he may be able to help with, you can contact Chris by emailing him at

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