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United Arab Emirates was established on 2 December 1971 as a result of
two distinct, but related, events. One was the signature by the Government
of the United Kingdom and the rulers of the seven emirates (formerly known
as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman) of separate instruments bringing
to an end the treaty relationship that had existed between other was the
them since the early nineteenth century. The other was the agreement between
rulers of six of the emirates, Abu Dhabi,
Al Qiwain and Fujairah,
the previously July, to establish a federation to be known as the United
Arab Emirates simultaneously with the ending of the treaty relationship
with Britain. The seventh emirate, to the new federation Ras Al Khaimah,
formally acceded on 10 February country.1972. Abu Dhabi was chosen to
be the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
new federation state had its basis in the Provisional Constitution. Adopted
by the rulers on behalf of their emirates, it represented a consensus
on the form of the state which they agreed to establish, and on the concessions
that they agreed to make with relation to a surrender of part of their
sovereign powers to the new federal body. In July 1996, the Supreme Council
of the Federation decided unanimously to drop the word 'Provisional' from
the establishment of the Federation, the UAE has become a member in regional
and international organisations. It has joined the Arab League and the
United Nations. The country is also a member of the Arab Gulf Co-operation
Council (AGCC) and a number of other international organisations.
United Arab Emirates is now entering its 27th year and celebrated its
Silver Jubilee in December, 2nd 1996. Since its birth as a federation
of seven Emirates, the UAE has developed at a rate guaranteed to stagger
even the most hardened of international commentators. The success of the
diplomatic efforts that gave birth to the Federation, and which have continued
to nurture it throughout its growth, owe much to astute leadership that
has enabled a surge of progress hardly equaled anywhere in the world.
It has witnessed a remarkable and swift economic development, which is
very difficult to attain even in the most developed communities. The UAE
has rapidly maximised the benefits obtained through its immense oil proceeds
to cater for the basic requirements of the society. The UAE has lived
up to the expectations of the international community, and generously
stood by Arab World countries, and other developing countries in the rest
of the world.
of this site is a catalogue of development and a celebration of achievements,
and the UAE's citizens have every right to be proud of the many areas
of progress that can be seen in the country today.
U.A.E. has a sub-tropical, arid climate. Sunny, blue skies can be expected
most of the year. Rainfall is infrequent and irregular, falling mainly
in winter. Temperatures range from a low of about 10.5°C /50 °Fto a high
of 48°C/118.4°F. The mean daily maximum is 24 °C/75.2 °F in January rising
to 41°C/105.8 °F in July.
Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for most of the year, but sweaters
or jackets may be needed for the winter months, especially in the evenings.
Compared with certain parts of the Middle East, U.A.E. has a very relaxed
dress code. However, care should be taken not to give offence by wearing
clothing which may be considered revealing, for example low-cut dresses,
very short skirts, or tight shirt or top in public. At the pool or on
the beaches, trunks, swimsuits and bikinis are quite acceptable. Good
quality sunglasses are advised, and photochromatic lenses for those who
wear spectacles. Hats, or some protection for the head, are advisable
when in direct sunlight.
Supreme Council of the UAE, comprising the hereditary rulers of the seven
emirates, is the highest federal authority. It is responsible for general
policy matters involving communications, education, defence, foreign affairs
and development, and for ratifying federal laws. The President, HH Sheikh
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, who is also Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and the Vice-President,
HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also Ruler of Dubai, are
elected by the Supreme Council from among its members.
Federal Council of Ministers, responsible to the Supreme Council, has
executive authority to initiate and implement laws. The Federal National
Council is a consultative assembly of 40 representatives who are appointed
for two years by the individual emirates. The council monitors and debates
government policy but has no power of veto. While Abu Dhabi is the centre
of federal government activities, most ministerial departments also maintain
offices in Dubai.
The UAE became a member of the United Nations and the Arab League
in 1971. It is a member of the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation
of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the General Agreement on Tariffs
and Trade (GATT) and other international and Arab organisations, including
the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council (AGCC), whose other members are Saudi
Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. In its foreign relations, the
UAE's stance is one of non-alignment but it is committed to the support
of Arab unity.
In matters unrelated to diplomacy and defence, each emirate enjoys
considerable autonomy in managing its own affairs. In business, the government
of Dubai is committed to liberal, free market policies and to the creation
of a business environment conducive to commercial activity. This approach
is well illustrated by the incentives available to investors in the Jebel
Ali Free Zone and by the continuing high level of public sector investment
in the infrastructure.
culture is firmly rooted in the Islamic traditions of Arabia. Courtesy
and hospitality are among the most highly prized of virtues, and the visitor
is sure to be charmed by the genuine warmth and friendliness of the people.
U.A.E.society is marked by a high degree of tolerance for different lifestyles.
Foreigners are free to practice their own religion, alcohol is served
in hotels and, provided reasonable discretion is shown, the dress code
is liberal. Women face no discrimination and may drive and walk around
Despite rapid economic development in recent years, U.A.E. remains close
to its heritage. Local citizens dress in traditional robes and headress.
Arab culture and folklore find expression in poetry, dancing, songs and
traditional art. Weddings and other celebrations are colourful occasions
of feasting and music. Traditional sports such as falconry, camel racing
and dhow racing at sea continue to thrive.
Islam is the official religion of the UAE and there are a large number
of mosques throughout the country. Other religions are respected and U.A.E.
has Christian churches all over in different states.
Ramadan is the holy month in which Muslims commemorate the revelation
of the Holy Koran. The timing of Ramadan is not fixed in terms of the
western calendar, but occurs a few days earlier each year.
It is a month of fasting when Muslims abstain from all food, drinks and
cigarettes during from dawn to dusk. Visitors are also required to refrain
from consuming these items in public places during this time as a sign
The of official language is Arabic but English is widely spoken and understood
Both languages commonly used in business and commerce.
Alcohol is available in hotel and club restaurants and bars. However,
restaurants outside the hotels are not permitted to serve alcoholic beverages.
Permanent residents who are non-Muslims can obtain liquor supplies without
difficulty under a permit system.
Normal tourist photography is acceptable but it is considered offensive
to photograph Muslim women. It is also courteous to ask permission before
photographing men. In general, photographs of government buildings or
military installations should not be taken.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES AND VISAS
visitors except AGCC nationals (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Saudi
Arabia) require a visa sponsored by a local entity such as a hotel or
There are two types: transit visas for 14 days and visit visas for 30
days (renewable). Airlines may require confirmation that the sponsor is
holding a valid visa for incoming visitors. British citizens with the
right of abode in the UK and expatriate residents of the AGCC of certain
nationalities and professions may qualify for automatic 30 day visit visas
on arrival, but current regulations should be checked before travelling.
German and US citizens may obtain visas from the UAE Embassies in their
respective countries. Visas are easily obtainable for other visitors except
Israelis and travellers whose passports bear Israeli stamps.
No health certificates are required for entry to United Arab Emirates,
but it is always wise to check before departure, as health restrictions
may vary, depending upon the situation at the time.
Duty-free allowances: Cigarettes—2,000; cigars—400; tobacco—2kg; alcohol
non-Muslim adults only)—2 litres of spirits and 2 litres of wine; perfume
— a reasonable amount. No customs duty is levied on personal effects entering
United Arab Emirates. United Arab Emirates Duty Free has a sales outlet
in the Arrivals Hall (but alcohol may only be purchased on departure).
is a comprehensive network of government schools throughout the emirate,
providing free primary and secondary education to UAE nationals. The Ministry
of Education runs 34 boys' schools, 32 girls' schools and 10 kindergartens.
These work to an Arabic curriculum. There are also 27 private institutes
and 22 evening schools for adults. For expatriate families, there are
79 private foreign schools offering education of a high standard to the
curriculum requirements of the UK, USA and a number of others including
Italy, Japan, Iran, India and Pakistan. In neighbouring emirates there
are French and German schools. English is usually the main language of
instruction, but other languages are used as necessary by foreign schools.
There is no corporate tax in UAE. The only exceptions to this are oil
producing companies and branches of foreign banks. Likewise, there are
no personal taxes. Direct taxation is against the traditions of the
UAE and it is highly unlikely that it will be introduced in the near
There are no exchange controls in the UAE and its currency, the UAE
dirham, is freely convertible. The dirham is linked to the USA dollar,
the currency in which oil revenues are paid. The current exchange rate
is Dh. 3.675 - US$ 1 and no revaluation has occurred since 1977.
The regulatory authority since 1980 has been the UAE central Bank. Some
47 commercial banks operate, with a total of around 350 branches, of which
about 28 are foreign banks with a combined total of more than 200 branches.
Federal law restricts foreign banks to no more than eight branches each.
Towards the end of 1992, the UAE President enacted three Federal Laws
on the protection of industrial and intellectual property. These laws
came into effect in 1993 and provide protection against commercial piracy
and fraud. The laws are: Federal Law No. 37 of 1992 on Trademarks, Federal
Law No. 40 of 1992 on Protection of Intellectual Property and Copyright,
and Federal Law No. 44 of 1992 on Protection of Industrial Property.
There is a comprehensive framework of legislation to ensure that business
in the UAE is conducted in a fair and orderly manner. There are laws dealing
with commercial transaction, intellectual property, labour and other aspects
of business life. Dubai has many local and international law firms willing
to advise foreign business organisations on legal matters. There are Federal
Courts in all emirates except Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, which have retained
their local courts. Dubai has civil, criminal and Shariah (Islamic) Courts
of first instance. All court decisions may be brought to the Dubai Court
of Appeal. Thereafter, a final appeal may be made to the Dubai Court of
Cassation. The Civil Court (as opposed to the Shaiah Court) has jurisdiction
over labour, civil and commercial transactions, as well as personal matters
(e.g. wills, divorces etc.) relating to non-Muslims. The language of the
Courts is Arabic and advocates admitted to plead are Arab nationals.
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