Shipping to UAE

shipping to

Freight between Thailand and United Arab Emirates

Paperwork are a difficult step of the shipping process. You always have to deliver documents and be in contact with customs. The process to ship a cargo is complex and you will have to deal with it. That’s why you can have a lot of money and problems saved if you work with an expert.

The UAE define its own rules. The goods have to meet these requirements to be allowed to enter the country. Siam Shipping has the experience to help you.

What to know about exportation Services by sea to the United Arab Emirates?

Most cargos that are shipped arrived at Dubai or Abu Dhabi. They have the largest ports for containerized cargo.

Remember that Dubai is the most used port to enter into the United Arab Emirates from the United States. However, sometimes some services require other ports. When your goods arrive in Dubai, you have two options. You can either pick up the cargo yourself at the airport or we can deal with a partner argent to have your goods deliver at a personal address.

In our services are included:

  • Vehicles
  • Personal goods
  • Huge equipment and machine engines
  • Loading of full or partial container

Additional Services

We don’t only offer sea container services. If you have to ship bigger items, boats and massive machinery for example, you can have a Ro-Ro service. It is a very interesting service if your goods are bigger than the standard container of 4Oft. You can also benefit from shipping by air and our department specialists if your goods have to be shipped quickly.

How to import your cargo?

Any goods, either imported by air freight or sea freight into the UAE, can have to apply to the coming steps:

  • The first thing to do is to deliver a thorough customs declaration, any other documentation potentially necessary has to be included. For instance, shipping a vehicle require a bill of landing / bill of sale.
  • Customs declaration should be registered with the appropriate customs officer.
  • Goods have to be examined, checked and inspected.
  • Calculate the value of the goods in order to determined customs duties.
  • Having the cargo delivered. 

Main information

The importation of merchandise to the UAE represents different costs depending on what you ship. For instance, vehicles are subject to regulations about the vehicle’s history and particularities. When you have all the requirements, you will be charged of 5% taxes, calculated from the global value of the engine, to clear customs. Items that are not imported for business are not subject to customs tax, they will just be inspected. Of course, the amount of the items has to be reasonable. Some items require an authorization or an import license.

How long and how much is the shipping?  

When you import to the UAE, like in any country, you have several stages during the process. The costs are different from a departure port to another, the services you need as well as the kind of goods. The transit time will also be different. For instance, our cargos in LA, will reach the port of Dubai in approximatively in 5 to 7 weeks, when it will take 3 to 5 weeks for a departure from the other side of America. In both cases, cargos will change boat during the travel.

Nadia Abdul Azia, President, National Association of Freight and Logistics, UAE


Customs regulation in United Arab Emirates

How to send goods locally when you are a license holder?

It is possible to both sell merchandise to business (thanks to an agent or distributor) and in the FZ. In the first case the buyer put his name on the Ex-FZ import bill to pass customs. Remember that you need to submit a permission letter for restricted goods to customs in Dubai as well as the needed documents after you arrive if you want to have the imported items released.

​Who can have cargo released from Customs Centers?

If they have UAE federal or Dubai Economic Department license or one of the Free Zone licenses, consignees can do that. Cargo can also be cleared by agents who own a Dubai Economic Department Clearing and Forwarding (C&F) license.

​If I want to Import goods to UAE for a while for demonstration or as model, what should I do?

 You can have a deposit that Customs Inspectors inspect and evaluate in person at the arrival, it is based on the estimated value. Then money of the exported items will be given back.

​Another option is to ask for the ATA Carnet. It is a document concerning international customs. Thanks to it, you can be exempt during one year for duty and tax during.

ATA Carnet concerns: commercial models, competent equipment, as well as goods for business, and demonstrations.

​Please advise me how I can access to the import/export statistics of Dubai’s Diamond in function of the country, the year and the month?

You can have access to business statistics on the website of DP world and UAE Customs. However, you will be charged to have access to the customer defined statistics.

If you need more information, you can contact:

Telephone number: +971 4 4178458

​What kind of the Duty Free allowances can I have with me?

​The value of the gifts should higher than AED 3,000. You cannot have more than 50 cigars, 400 cigarettes, 500 grams of tobacco. Then you will have duty if you have more. You cannot have more that 4 liters of alcohol beverages or 2 cartons of beer. It represents 24 cans and cannot exceed 355 ml per can.

​How much are customs duties in Dubai?

​The CIF (Cost Freight Insurance) terms determined customs duties at 5% of the value except for alcohol and cigarettes. For alcohol, the rate is 50% and 100% for cigarettes.

What paper Customs ask for?

  • Delivery Order: the shipping agent need the receipt of freight charges and the original BOL or a guarantee delivered by the bank.
  • Original Invoice: The initial exporter should produce it and a recognized authority in the country of export should legalize it. (Customs use this documents to determine the duties and realize statistics).
  • Certificate of Origin: The initial exporter delivers it and it is legalized by a recognized authority of the export country. Customs need it to assure the country of origin and the office make sure it is not a product boycotted on the trade market.
  • Bill of Entry: The consignee or C&F agent compete it. Free Zone (FZ) bills of entry allow to declare cargo for the zone. Merchandise just require a standard bill of entry if they stay in Dubai.
  • Customs Duty Receipt: Customs deliver it if duty is payable. A credit facility with customs is often operated by some importers.
  • Duty Exemption Certificate: companies that have non-taxed goods, or the agents working for them.

​What about the Import rules for print or visual media tools?

​Imported print and visual media merchandises are controlled by Ministry of Information / Department of Information. It is only after inspection and censure that the items will be released. In general, if it is not conforming with the value and morality of the country, it will be forbidden.

What should I do if I want to sell imported Uncut Diamonds, and what kind of documents do I need at the arrival airport?

​Duty are exempted on rough diamond industrial or non-industrial. However, the K.P Certificate (Kimberly Process) has to be given by the company. Remember the shipment need the K.P Certificate otherwise it will be kept at the airport. Loose diamonds are exempt of duty and loose color gems stones diamond duties represent 5% of the CIF value.

​What are the conditions if I personally need medicines? Even if Dubai is just a stopover.

  • ​There are regulations even for passengers who have medicines for their own use. It may be kept by authorities and can be considered as criminal action.
  • You need a prescription from the doctor to have the drugs with you. You need to have just what you need for your stay in Dubai.
  • A special permission issued by the Ministry of health is sometimes necessary to have more than usual quantity of medicines.
  • Ministry of Health and Medical Services can be call to approve medicines. Medicines can be detained if ministry has disapproved.

​What are the rules concerning the import of Jewelry/Diamonds to Dubai?

​The documents needed are:

  • Origin Invoices of the export company that have to sign and stamp it.
  • Packing list (quantity & packing).
  • A precise list of jewelry.

What are the regulations to get vehicle pass through customs?

​You need the Bill of lading 2nd copy that the shipping agent give you and if you can the invoice.

Dubai Customs deliver the Vehicle Clearance Certificate (V.C.C) needed for registration. Then to be registered, the V.C.C has to be given to the Traffic Department of Dubai Police.

Are there any restrictions if I want to bring animals into Dubai and should I do?

If you want to import pets into UAE, you have to bring the coming documents, they will be need at the arrival airport:

1) An original import permit provided by the Ministry of Water & Environment vet Quarantine section. To obtain it you have to engage by yourself or thanks to an agent, you will need: vaccination records copies (rabies vaccine above all), owner passport copies with his residence visa and 200 dhs fees by e-dirhams

2) A governmental health certificate delivered by the country of origin.

Is it compulsory to register with Dubai Customs?

Yes, it is for any business dealing with Dubai customs services.

What do I need if I want a client registration?

  • Copy of valid business license
  • New registration ask for a passport copy of official person
  • Professional companies need an undertaking letter
  • Cargo Handlers and Bonded Warehouse Operators require facility registration documents. ​

How much is this service?

  • A new registration costs (100) AED
  • A renewal​ registration cost (25) AED

Is the registration request only delivered at the customs office?

No, you can have the application filled on the website​

What do I need when I pass customs?

  • Packing list
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Bill of Lading (Sea and Air)
  • Manifest (land)
  • Delivery Order
  • Certificate of Origin Manifest (land). ​

What should I declare if I am just a passenger?

All merchandise that is valued more than 3000 AED as to be declared.

What does Customs Value stand for?

​It is the value of the merchandises considered by customs in order to calculate import duties.

Do customs need to know how much my imported goods are valued?

​Yes, the value of the imported goods should always be declared at the customs entry point, as well as the supported invoice.

What documents are needed in support of the declaration?

In addition, with the invoice, if the accuracy of declared value is doubtful according to the customs officials, they may require additional documents and specific information.

How can customs value goods according to the Agreement on customs valuation (ACV)?

​The following basis have to be applied in order to value imported goods:

You can use:

  1. The imported goods method and determine the transaction value.
  2. The transaction value of goods that are identical.
  3. The transaction value of similar goods.
  4. You can use the sale price in the importing country to determine the deductive value.
  5. All the cost (manufacturing, profit, handling charges…) in the country where goods are product give you the computed value.
  6. Using the 5 previous methods following the same order but with more adaptability give you the fallback method.

Can we apply the methods in another order?

​Changing the order between the 4th and the 5th method is possible according to Article 4 of the Agreement on customs valuation (ACV). However, Dubai Customs has to approve it.

What is the main method of valuation?

​The transaction value method is the most commonly used. ​

What transaction value stand for?

​When a product is exported, the customs value calculated from the price paid in reality or that will be paid is the transaction value.

What does the “price actually paid or to be paid” stand for?

​The “price actually paid or to be paid” is the total payment done or to be done by the buyer. Transfer of money is a way to pay, but you can pay by letters of credit or negotiable instruments too. You can also pay directly or indirectly.

What can I do when customs officials can doubt that the announced value is accurate?  

The importer may have to provide more clarification. Other documents or other evidences can be asked by custom to prove that the announced value correspond to the global expense that are actually paid or to be paid for the imported goods, that can change with some factors of valuation.

Are charges concerning freight, insurance, loading, unloading and delivery included in the customs value?

​The customs value for imported goods is based on CIF (Cost, Insurance, freight). In the CIF are included the cost of transport, insurance and relevant charges up to the place of importation. ​

How customs value goods when the currencies of the importing and exporting countries differ?

​The exchange rate is chosen at the time of payment of the customs taxes.

Who are considered as related persons?

According to the Article 15 of the Agreement on customs valuation (ACV) related persons can be:

  • officers or directors of one another’s business;
  • legally recognized partners in business;
  • employer and employee;
  • anyone who has directly or indirectly more than 5% of the outstanding voting stock or shares of both of them.
  • One of them directly or indirectly controls the other.
  • the two persons are under control of third person directly or indirectly.
  • One the opposite, they both control a third person.
  • Same family
  1. The legal persons are considered as “persons”.
  2. A person who has a legal or workable position which allows him to impose his conditions and directives over the person can be considered as someone that control another person.

What does transfer prices stand for?

National companies (TNCs) increase more and more shipping goods with their overseas affiliates and branches. Transfer prices are the prices indicated for such transfer of goods.

What do customs authority if they are not sure that the announced value is correct?  

According to the WTO Committee on Customs Valuation (Appendix III), the customs authorities can make other researches with the importer and reject the declared value.

If customs authorities don’t obtain the evidences they wanted, they refuse the transaction value method and apply another method.

If it consumes too much time and cost to have the goods value determined, is it possible for the importer to take back goods its before having the final decision taken?

 Yes. According to the article 13 of the Agreement on customs valuation (ACV), an importer is allowed to have his goods back from customs control before to continue customs procedures or paying duties. You can have more information in customs policy (DCP 18).

Is it possible to lodge an appeal if you disagree already taken decisions of customs value by the customs authorities?

 Yes. According to the article 11 of the Agreement on customs valuation (ACV) you can appeal the determined customs value without paying penalty. The Committee of Valuation, Tariff and Origin can handle the appeal.

How does the importer value goods exported for repairs when imported after repairs?    

The customs taxes correspond to the value resulting from finishing or repair goods that have been temporarily exported for that.

How are additional goods exempted of charge?

Sometimes, shipping can damage goods, that is why additional pack of goods are shipped along with the consignment as models or other goods. The total quantity shipped has to be considered in the sale price.

How should we value replacement goods?

The buyer and the seller have to come to a friendly agreement for giving credit for the original goods and they can both have the substitute goods invoiced free of charge or invoiced at the first price. In any case, the value of the substitute goods depends on the first price. You have to consider separately the initial shipment.

How to value used engine?

 You can apply to the method of transaction value. If the engine has functioned since it has been sold there are doubt about the given value, another valuation method can be applied. However, the cost is most of the time determined in consideration of the devaluation of the engine because new machineries are created during the time it is used. You can also have appropriate additions when the machinery is repair during the period of import.

How to value carrier media bearing software for data processing equipment?    

The customs notice DCP (10) determine how carrier media such as tapes and discs for data processing equipment (computers) are valuate.

How to calculate treat royalties and license fees?

A buyer has to add the amount of royalties or license fees related the imported goods as condition of sale to the price actually paid or to be paid. He can pay directly or indirectly.

How to treat discounts for valuation purpose?    

The provisions stated in customs policy DCP (9) allows discounts type. There are different type of discount (cash, in kind and special introductory…). 

Can we apply to any provisions on issuing invoices from Free zones in UAE for the mother company?    

Yes, you can, the customs instruction (05/2010) describe the provisions applied.

What is the required evidence to verify price?

Bank transfer and payments and exchange of correspondence between the seller and buyer sheets if necessary.

When the mother company (Exporter) ship and deliver the goods directly to our customer, but the invoice is delivered by the local company in the free zone, is an approval letter needed?

An approval letter is not required if the company is delivering its personal Dubai invoice. This letter is for allowing companies to deliver invoices in favor of the exporter.

How to evaluate jewellery?

Carat type and weight are determined to evaluate jewellery, the price is taken in real time by the international gold burse.