Custom duties in the UAE

Customs duties in the UAE are 5 % of CIF. Commercial goods are subject to customs duties. Some goods can be taxed as high as 100 %. Customs duties exemptions are made for certain types of goods.

customs duties are 5 %

certain goods are exempt

some goods are subject to 100 % taxation

deposit can be returned upon re-export of goods

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Commercial goods in the UAE are subject to customs duties. Most goods are charged 5 % of their cost, insurance and freight – the transportation of the goods to their final destination (Cost, Insurance and Freight, CIF). Some types of goods are subject to higher customs duties tax. For example, the customs on alcohol is 50 % and tobacco products is 100 %.

Customs duties in the UAE may not be levied on commercial goods that are for companies registered in a free economic zone, or based on the type of goods, the place of origin and destination, trade agreements signed with other countries, as well as other factors.

All commercial companies must register with customs, declare the value of their imported goods, and provide an invoice and a certificate of origin. They also need to obtain permission to import and export goods from the UAE. In order to get permission, the company must submit a customs declaration. It can be issued for import, export, transit, transfer or temporary admission. Customs fees depend on the type of customs declaration the delivery channel.

The company will receive a special code from the customs authorities of the emirate they are located in. This gives them the right to import or export the goods. The customs code is valid until the expiry of the licence and can be renewed annually.

In order to store goods under the supervision of the Customs Department and without paying customs duties, the company can apply for a warehouse licence. In order to apply, the company must submit audit reports, an ownership certificate and other documents, as well as pay the fee of AED 25K - 150K (USD 7K - 41K). The total amount of the fee depends on if the warehouse is public or private.

What is exempt from customs duties

The following goods are not subject to a customs duty tax:

  • personal and second-hand items;
  • exported from the UAE;
  • included in the World Customs Organization’s Approved Focal Point program;
  • supplied by national factories;
  • imported by diplomats or military contractors or bodies;
  • imported by charitable organisations;
  • imported by Arab and Gulf Coast countries provided there is a certificate of origin.

Goods that are imported from Arabian Gulf Coast countries are considered to be UAE local goods if the raw materials used in manufacturing the goods comes from Arabian Gulf countries.

Refund of deposit

When exporting goods, a deposit equal to the customs duty must be paid. In order to get this deposit back, you must fill out an application and submit the following documents that prove the re-export of the goods:

  • copy of declaration;
  • certificate of entry/exit;
  • copy of the export declaration;
  • copy of the flight invoice or bill of lading.

The information posted on this site is only for your reference. If you would like more detailed information regarding customs duties in the UAE, please get in touch with one of our specialists at Metropolitan Consulting.

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