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What to carry and not to carry when travelling to Dubai

28 November 2019

When you plan a visit to Dubai, or any foreign destination for that matter, it is necessary to do some research, and take necessary precautions on what you are allowed to carry and what not to carry when travelling. It can be a frustrating experience to see the airport security throw away your things. But, you can save yourself from lot of hassle if you understand all the rules, and by packing your luggage in the right manner, as the airport also have rules regarding what you can pack in your cabin baggage and check-in luggage when you travel.
Here's what you need to know when packing your bag:

When choosing your bag:

All bags entering UAE airports should have at least one flat surface, as round and irregular shaped parcels will not be accepted at the check-in. The bag should not have a long strap.

A rectangular luggage, a handbag with flat bottom, or a box, are all fine, provided, they are sealed well.

The Dubai Airports allow maximum two pieces of baggage for international trips, with their total weight not exceeding 32kg. But this depends on the airline and fare type, so always ensure that you check with your airline before you fly. A baggage larger than 90cm in length, 75cm in height and 60cm width, or one that does not have a flat surface may be considered an oversized baggage, and it may not be accepted as standard size luggage at the scanning belt.

Usually, two pieces of hand luggage may be accepted by the airlines. A shoulder bag such as laptop bag, or a purse, or a backpack, apart from a small cabin bag with maximum length 56cm, width 45cm, and depth 25 cm (including the handles and side pockets and wheels) are permitted.

things to carry to dubai

How to pack the luggage?

When packing liquids:

Universally, there are restrictions on liquids, although enforcement of rules may vary from one country to another.

In Dubai airports, it is required that all liquids be packed inside a clear, re-sealable plastic bag within your hand baggage. The item should not be more than 100ml, and all of your liquid items in total should not exceed one litre.

However, medications, foods, baby milk and special dietary requirements to be used during the trip may be exempted.

But, in a checked-in bag, any quantities of liquids can be packed, and airport security does not impose any limits on liquids on checked-in bags. When packing liquids in a check-in bag, the only concern is to ensure that the bottles and containers do not open up and leak into your suitcase.

When carrying currency:

The UAE closely monitors money laundering and suspicious financial activities, and hence, passengers who travel are supposed to declare whether they have large sums of cash on them.

As per rule, cash, currencies and Travellers Cheques together should not exceed Dh.100,000, provided, the passenger is over 18 years of age.

What items are allowed to be brought into Dubai?

Generally, passengers are allowed to bring in the following items to Dubai, without paying any customs duty:

  • Gifts (only personal not commercial) worth not more than Dh.3000
  • Personal belongings of the passenger, they are exempted from customs fee
  • Still and moving video cameras with appropriate tapes, films and accessories.
  • Cash money, currencies and travellers cheques less than Dh.100,000, with passenger’s age not less than 18 years.
  • Radio systems, combined broadcast apparatus, CD and DVDs with agreeable quantities.
  • Agreeable quantities of projectors for displaying slides and films, including accessories.
  • Telescopes, mobile telephone, portable TV sets, computers, laptops, baby strollers, portable music equipment, sports equipment, portable typing sets, portable calculators, disabled wheel chairs and cars.
  • Not more than 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 500gms of tobacco pressed, anything exceeding this limit would be dutiable.
  • Alcoholic beverages (not more than 4 lts) and beer (not more than 2 cartons).

What are the things that are banned from entry in Dubai?  

Many visitors are unaware of the things that are banned from entry in Dubai, and are usually stranded at the check-in. The violators generally face strict penalties, including imprisonment, followed by deportation.

Here is the list of banned items, as per rules by Dubai Customs:

All kind of narcotic drugs including Cocaine, Hashish, Heroin, Hallucination Pills, Poppy Seeds etc., are under the banned list.

  • Goods intended to be imported from boycotted countries.
  • Goods of Israeli origin, or bearing Israeli trademarks/logos
  • Crude Ivory and Rhinocerous horn
  • Three layers fishing nets
  • Gambling tools and machineries
  • Used, reconditioned and inlaid tyres
  • Original engravings, lithographs, prints, sculpture and statues in any material
  • Radiation polluted substances
  • Used, reconditioned and inlaid tires
  • Forged/duplicate currency
  • Cooked and home-made foods
  • Any other goods, the importation of which is prohibited under the authority of UAE customs laws or any other laws in the country.
  • Printed publications, photographs, oil paintings, cards, books, pictures, books, magazines, stony sculptures and mannequins that contradict Islamic teachings, decencies or deliberately implying immorality or turmoil.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries.

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