Custom Duty in UAE

Effective 1 January 2003, the UAE acceded to the GCC Customs Union, which equalizes the duties paid upon entry of an item to any member state, regardless of the country of destination within the GCC. For example, an item imported into the UAE destined for the Saudi market is subject to the five percent duty once it enters the UAE market. In theory, the trader needs not to pay customs duties again to take the item across the border into Saudi Arabia.

Only firms with an appropriate trade license can engage in importation, and only UAE registered companies, which must have at least 51 percent ownership by a UAE national, can obtain such a license. However, this does not apply to goods imported by free zone companies.

The customs duties for most items are calculated on Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) value at the rate of 5 %, while many categories are exempted from customs duties. Alcoholic products are assessed a 50 % duty, while tobacco products are assessed a 100 % customs duty.

CIF value will normally be calculated by reference to the commercial invoices covering the related shipment, but customs is not bound to accept the figures shown therein and may set an estimated value on the goods, which shall be final, as far as duty is concerned.

The GCC Common Customs Law provides guidance on goods that are exempted from UAE Customs duties. Each member provides its own list of exemptions. Guidance on goods exempted from tariff upon entry to the UAE can be found at UAE FCA Unified Customs Tariff.

There are various restrictions on the import of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and pork products.