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Removals to Dubai: A Guide to Shipping

Mar 22. 2016

When moving to the United Arab Emirates and specifically Dubai, you may be excited to start your new life overseas and for the new opportunities that come with it. You need a professional international removals company to assist you on this journey and make sure your household goods and personal effects arrive safely. For more information on the whole shipping process, and guidance on what is required from you and what you can take please keep reading.

Specific Information

  • The shipper has to be present in the U.A.E. and Dubai at the time of customs clearance of their shipment.
  • All shipments must arrive preferably within a month of the shipper’s arrival and they must be able to produce their respective passport copy with valid entry stamp.
  • Shipments of Personal Effects may or may not attract customs duty (currently 5% of the value assessed by customs) which is at the discretion of the customs authorities.
  • Mostly all shipments will go through a 100% physical inspection. It is advisable to have all books, CD’s, videos, DVD, magazines in separate cartons and marked clearly so that they can easily identified by customs and released if in order quickly.

Shipping Methods

  • Air Freight: this method of shipment is usually for smaller consignments and can be a good choice if you need your goods to arrive quickly. However, it can be very expensive for larger consignments.
  • Shared / Groupage Container: this method is where you share your container with other people also going to the same destination country, your items are secured and separated but it can be cost effective as you only pay for the space you take up within the container.
  • Sole Use Container: this method is where you pay for your own dedicated 20ft or 40ft container, this method is useful if you have a larger consignment as you can fill all of the space with your own household goods and personal effects and car if you so wish.

Documents Required

  • Original inventory + copy
  • 2 originals OBL (Original Bill of Lading) and 1 copy
  • Copy of your insurance policy
  • Passport copy with residence visa stamped or letter from sponsor indicating visa has been applied for.

Restricted Items

  • Records, tapes, films, photographs, books, magazines, periodicals, etc.
  • Live plants, seeds, fresh fruits and flowers are coming under restricted items, if found objectionable, they will destroy the same and never return these to the consignee.
  • Combustible liquids, corrosives, explosives, flammable, compressed gases.

Prohibited Items

  • Weapons, firearms (real or ornamental), ammunition, fire crackers, swords, daggers, spears, etc. military uniform or equipment
  • Alcohol, narcotics of all kinds even poppy seeds and flowers, leaves etc, banned drugs and medicines, medicines in large quantities even obtained under prescription and for the consignee’s own use.
  • Radio transmitter or communication equipment, statues and figures of animals with religious undertone.
  • Carvings and statues of humans especially in nude.
  • Pornographic materials.
  • Foodstuff in large quantities.
  • Religious books other dealing with Islamic beliefs
  • Controversial political literature and materials contrary to an Islamic State’s principles.


  • Importation is allowed provided the shipment consists of personal effects and used household goods.
  • All used personal effects and household goods are exempted of duty. Brand new items will attract Custom duty and if the invoice is not provided for the same items, Custom Inspectors will assess a value for the same and on the assessed value 5% will be levied as Customs duty.
  • For duty purposes the inventory should not state value of items.
  • As all shipments require a physical inspection it can take up to two weeks before your goods are customs cleared.


  • If you have paid for a door-to-door service your international mover should arrange for one of their trusted agents in Dubai to deliver and unpack your items in to your new residence.
  • If you are not ready for delivery immediately you may take advantage of putting your items in to secure storage until such a time you require them.

For more information on removals to Dubai or shipping to the United Arab Emirates, why not contact Burke Bros Moving Group on 01902 714555 or email sales@burkebros.co.uk.

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