United Arab Emirates Register Travel insurance Destinations

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Risk level(s)

Risk level(s)

United Arab Emirates - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in the United Arab Emirates due to the threat of terrorism.

Safety and security

Safety and security

Conflicts in the Middle East and the Gulf region have the potential to affect the UAE.  Armed groups in Yemen have publicly stated their intent to target neighbouring countries, including the UAE, using unmanned aerial systems (drones) and missiles.

Terrorism

There’s a threat of terrorism. Terrorist groups have indicated their intention to target the UAE. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time. Targets could include:

  • government buildings, military installations and schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Exercise caution in commercial and tourist areas popular with foreigners. Be particularly vigilant during sporting events, religious holidays and other public celebrations. Terrorists may use such occasions to mount attacks. Security measures are currently in place. Emirati authorities may reinforce these on short notice.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations rarely occur. Emirati authorities must authorize any public demonstration. Past demonstrations have focused mainly on regional political developments.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Crime

The crime rate is low. Violence is rare. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs. Lock your car doors at all times. Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times. Don’t carry anyone else’s bags or packages, especially across borders.

Cyberattacks, often involving malware and malicious URLs, are common.

Swimming

Rip currents occur at beaches. They can sweep swimmers out to sea. Always comply with warning signs, particularly red flags. Only swim at designated beaches.

Women’s safety

Although rare, women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment, verbal abuse, or physical assaults. Women should travel in groups and avoid travelling alone at night.

Emirati authorities have detained women reporting sexual assault. The victim must prove that the sex was not consensual to avoid being charged. Extramarital sex is illegal in the UAE.

Safe travel guide for women

Road safety

Accidents are common. Driving habits differ from those in Canada. Drifting sands may create hazards. Limited visibility during sand storms increases the risk of accidents.

Avoid off-road driving unless you’re in a convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles with an experienced guide. Leave your travel itinerary with a third party. Ensure that you’re well prepared with a cell phone and a sufficient supply of gasoline, water and food.

Use only officially marked taxis with meters. Avoid shared or service taxis.

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

Sea travel

Exercise caution if travelling by sea, including for recreational purposes. Exercise particular caution around the islands of Abu Musa and the Tunbs. Iran and the UAE each claim sovereignty over these islands.

Regional travel

The UAE government has suspended diplomatic relations with Qatar. All air and sea points of entry between the UAE and Qatar have been closed since June 6, 2017. Authorities have also imposed restrictions on travel and residence for UAE and Qatari citizens. If you’re planning to travel between the UAE and Qatar, verify your travel plans with your airline or travel company.

Entry/exit requirements

Entry/exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the authorities of the United Arab Emirates. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond their date of entry into the United Arab Emirates.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.

Useful links

Travel documents with an X in the "sex" field

Emirati authorities will deny you entry if your passport shows an X in the “sex” field or  includes an observation to that effect.

Visas

Tourist visa: Not required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required

If you’re entering the UAE as a tourist, you must obtain an entry stamp at the port of entry. This entry stamp is free and valid for 30 days. It’s renewable for a further 30 days.

Health entry requirements

If you’re planning to work or reside in the UAE, you must undergo medical tests, including a test for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. If you’re found to be HIV-positive, you may subject to deportation. Emirati authorities don’t recognize foreign-issued HIV certificates. Positive tests for other communicable diseases may result in quarantine, treatment or deportation.

Regional travel

You could face significant delays when trying to enter or transit through the country if your passport contains Israeli visas or stamps, whether they are valid or expired. If you are a Canadian-Israeli dual citizen or are suspected of holding Israeli citizenship, U.A.E. authorities may refuse your entry.

The Government of the U.A.E. has implemented measures restricting the entry of Qatari citizens and foreign residents of Qatar into the U.A.E. These measures should not affect Canadians travelling to or transiting through the U.A.E. from Qatar. If you are a resident of Qatar, contact diplomatic representatives of the UAE to confirm current entry requirements.

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Health

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.

Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasismalaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Chikungunya

There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.


Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Adequate health care is available in large cities, including private clinics. Immediate payment is usually necessary at the time of treatment. Certain prescriptions are available from local doctors.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive. You may need it in case of serious illness or injury. Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

Laws and culture

Laws & culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

The work week runs from Sunday to Thursday.

Overview of the criminal law system in the United Arab Emirates

Illegal drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe, even in very small quantities. Convicted offenders can expect a minimum 2-year jail sentence and heavy fines. Severe offences may be punishable by the death penalty.

Prescription drugs

Some prescription and over-the-counter medications that are legally available in Canada, such as codeine, are classified as controlled substances in the UAE. It’s illegal to bring them into the country, even in small quantities, without prior permission from the UAE Ministry of Health.

If you attempt to bring banned pharmaceuticals into the UAE without prior approval and required documentation, Emirati authorities may confiscate them. You may also be subject to heavy fines and imprisonment.

Even if you bring no such medications with you to the UAE, local authorities may prosecute you if blood and urine tests detect traces of a prohibited substance in your system.

Consult the Ministry of Health and Prevention’s list of controlled medicines to determine if you must obtain a permission to import any required medication. You may get a permission by creating a profile online and completing an electronic form.

Alcohol

Respect local restrictions on the consumption of alcohol. It is illegal for all Muslims, even non-practicing, to possess or consume alcohol.

Although tourists and visitors can buy and drink alcohol in licensed venues, such as hotels, restaurants or clubs, it is a punishable offence to drink or be under the influence of alcohol in public. Even passengers who are in transit through the UAE and are found to be under the influence of alcohol can be arrested.

Other illegal activities

It’s illegal to engage in religious proselytizing, as is this disrespects the Muslim faith and its symbols and practices.

The UAE has strict laws regarding online behaviour, including comments made via social media, which is punishable by fines, imprisonment and deportation.

It’s illegal to criticize or disrespect the UAE’s ruling families or political system.

It’s illegal to provide assistance or support to unlawful organizations, financial or otherwise. Ensure that you donate funds only to government-approved charities.

Common law relationships, cross-dressing, prostitution and sexual relations outside of marriage are illegal and subject to severe punishment, including the death penalty. It’s illegal to live together, or to share the same hotel room, with someone of the opposite sex to whom you aren’t married or closely related.

Avoid physical contact in public, particularly overt displays of affection between adults.

It’s illegal to photograph aircraft, military installations and certain government buildings. Avoid photographing people without their permission.

Possession of prohibited items may result in imprisonment or deportation. Pornographic material is illegal in all emirates. Possession of firearms and ammunition may result in an investigation and cause exit delays. Possession of pork is illegal only in the emirate of Sharjah.

The UAE restricts the use of virtual private networks (VPNs).

Government-approved charities – UAE Government

Prohibited items – UAE Government

LGBTQ2 travellers

The laws of the U.A.E. prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, which are punishable by up to the death penalty. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to the U.A.E.

General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad

Driving

Visitors to the UAE wishing to drive must carry an International Driving Permit.

Penalties for drinking and driving are severe. The legal blood alcohol limit is zero. If the police suspect you of drinking and driving, they could confiscate your driver’s licence on the spot. The police may also require you to take blood and urine tests if they suspect you of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you test positive, you may be prosecuted. If you’re convicted, you can expect heavy fines and a lengthy jail sentence.

You must report all accidents to the police. Familiarize yourself with the rules of each of the emirate(s) in which you’ll be driving. Required procedures following a car accident vary depending on the emirate in which the accident occurs. For example, you may be permitted to move your car to the side of the road after an accident, or you may be prohibited from moving it until the police arrive.

Drivers involved in an accident causing injuries may be jailed until the injured are released from hospital. In an accident causing fatalities, those found at fault may be legally required to provide financial compensation to the family of the deceased. Relatively minor accidents may lead to lengthy court proceedings.

Dress and behaviour

The country’s customs, laws and regulations adhere closely to traditional and Islamic practices and beliefs. To avoid offending local sensitivities:

  • dress conservatively
  • behave discreetly
  • respect religious and social traditions

During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), refrain from drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2019, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 5.

Exercise particular care in your behaviour toward others, particularly officials, to avoid offending local sensitivities. Verbal insults and obscene gestures may be considered criminal acts.  Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines, prison sentences and deportation. In the past, Emirati authorities have detained Canadians for showing disrespect toward others through verbal insults and obscene gestures. Exercise the same care when online in the UAE, particularly when interacting on social media.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in the U.A.E.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of the U.A.E, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

General information for travellers with dual citizenship

Emirati authorities determine your citizenship based on the passport you use to enter the country. Ensure you use the same passport to enter and exit the country. Using different passports may lead to detention and delays.

Child custody

Child custody and guardianship decisions are based on Islamic (Sharia) law. Although day to day care of boys under the age of 11 and girls under the age of 13 are normally entrusted to the mother, it’s extremely difficult for a Canadian woman, even if she’s a Muslim, to obtain sole custody of her children through a court decision. Regardless of parental marital status, children of fathers who hold Emirati citizenship acquire UAE citizenship at birth. They must enter and leave the country on a UAE passport. Children require their father’s written permission in order to leave the country.

Legal process

Witnesses to crimes, as well as suspects, may be held for lengthy periods without access to legal counsel or consular officials. Authorities may withhold the passport of an individual involved in a legal dispute, pending resolution of the case. This could result in the delay of a planned departure.

Familiarize yourself with the rules and laws of each emirate to which you intend to travel.

Courts may impose a sentence of corporal punishment on Muslims convicted of certain crimes, even if the individual is not a UAE citizen. Although the courts typically commute such a sentence to prison time, do not rely on this tendency, as a sentence of corporal punishment is still enforceable under Sharia law.

Fraud

Fraudulent practices, such as writing a cheque without sufficient funds and failing to pay a debt, are considered extremely serious offences. They may result in criminal prosecution, imprisonment and fines. Courts generally assess penalties according to Sharia law. Bail is available only for UAE residents. Authorities may grant temporary release pending legal action in minor cases, if both the accused and his/her guarantor surrender their passports to the authorities.

Employment

Clearly establish the terms and conditions of employment in writing prior to your arrival. You must be sponsored by your employer to legally work in the UAE.  Working in the UAE on a tourist visa is forbidden. Some local sponsors attempt to retain an employee’s passport, although UAW law forbids this practice. The UAE Ministry of Labour has established a special department to review and arbitrate labour claims in cases of dispute. A list of qualified local attorneys is available from the Embassy of Canada in Abu Dhabi or the Consulate General of Canada in Dubai.

Money

The currency in the United Arab Emirates is the dirham (AED).

Natural disasters and climate

Natural disasters & climate

Flash floods occur in dry river canyons, most frequently in winter.

Humidity and heat are highest during the hot season, from June to September.

Assistance

Assistance

Local services

Emergency services

In case of an emergency, you can call the following numbers while anywhere in the UAE: 999 for Police, 998 for Ambulance, 997 for Fire Department (Civil Defence).

Consular assistance

Abu Dhabi - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressAbu Dhabi Trade Towers (Abu Dhabi Mall), West Tower, 9th Floor, Abu Dhabi, United Arab EmiratesPostal AddressP.O. Box 6970, Abu Dhabi, United Arab EmiratesTelephone971 (2) 694-0300Fax971 (2) 694-0399Emailabdbi@international.gc.caInternetwww.canadainternational.gc.ca/uae-eau/ServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookEmbassy of Canada to the United Arab EmiratesTwitter@CanadainUAE
Dubai - Consulate General of Canada
Street Address19th Floor, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, United Arab EmiratesPostal AddressP.O. Box 52472, Dubai, United Arab EmiratesTelephone971 (4) 404-8444Fax971 (4) 314-5556Emaildubai@international.gc.caInternetwww.canadainternational.gc.ca/uae-eau/ServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookCanada in the UAETwitter@CanadainUAEOther social media @CanadaUAE

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Abu Dhabi or the Consulate of Canada in Dubai and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.


The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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