Customs procedure in Abu Dhabi

Customs Procedure in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Customs Administration (ADCA)Opens in a new tab.

Abu Dhabi Customs is one of the first governmental departments established in the Emirate and responsible monitoring the movement of passengers, goods and means of transport through borders. ADCA involves in clearance of goods and facilitating smooth running of trade activities  in the Emirate.

Exporting from Abu Dhabi

The export procedures are depending on the type of volume of merchandise as the export of some goods are subject to periodic restrictions based on the local consumptions and need.

In general , exporters of clearing agents have to arrange the following documents and attach them with customs declaration from prior to submitting the application at ADCA:

  • Original Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Bill of Lading
  • Original Certificate of Origin


  • Obtain the necessary approval from concerned authorities for the shipment of goods that are subject to export restrictions imposed on certain items and quantities
  • Prepare the documents required to complete the customs declaration process and submit them for verification
  • Submit the Original Certificate of Origin of goods intended for export.

Re-exporting from Abu Dhabi

Re-export involves importing merchandise of foreign origin into the country and shipping it to another destination in the same condition when it was imported or after reprocessing inside the country.

Required Documents

  • Original Invoice
  • Copy of declaration on temporary entry or import for re-export purpose
  • Original certificate Origin


  • Make sure the there are no restrictions on the export or the quantities of certain items
  • Produce the shipment to the customs officer who will check the number of consignments in each item and the total number of consignments to be re-exported.
  • The customs officer will also verify the type and volume of the items to be re-exported and whether the lead seal which is used to prevent unauthorized opening of goods under customs control is intact.

Importing to Abu Dhabi

Before approaching the customs, make sure that the documents are in the name of the importer and the attached invoices mention the coordination code of each item and the number and weight of consignments to facilitate easy customs clearance.

Required Documents

  • Delivery Permit from the Forwarding Agent showing the name of the owner of goods or the clearing agent or delivery order from the shipping agent.
  • Bill of Lading (by air or sea which includes the details of goods being imported
  • Packing List which includes details of the package contents
  • Original Certificate of Origin showing the country of production or manufacturing attested by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and industry (excluding goods imported from GCC countries).
  • Original Invoice showing the total quantity and description of goods and preferential value of each item.
  • Copy of trade license
  • Statistical statement if the goods are meant to be moved to their final destination in one of the GCC countries


  • Prior to customs clearance, get the importer number against a fee of AED 50 from the customs centre
  • Submit the required documents
  • Pay customs duties. Customs duties cover the value of goods, insurance on goods (1%) and the value of shipping
  • Collect the copy for customs declaration form.

Special Conditions

  • All importers need to hold a valid residence permit in the UAE.
  • The trade license is mandatory in case of importing goods in large amounts
  • Individuals are allowed to impart their personal belongings in limited quantity by paying 5% customs tariff.

Temporary Import into Abu Dhabi

Temporary import (entry) mean the entry of goods via customs checkpoints into the country on a temporary basis (against a deposit similar to customs duties levied on the total value of goods). The purpose of the temporary entry can be manufacturing, repairing, participation in an exhibition or show or implementing certain projects.

Required Documents

  • Manifesto or original statement of border crossing stamped by the customs centre in the country of export or the neighboring country
  • A detailed statement on the incoming consignment (number, type, quantity, pictures of some consignments such as gold and jewellery).
  • The original invoice showing items and quantities of goods being exported
  • Original Certificate or Origin showing the country of origin of the goods
  • Packing list
  • Letter from the exhibition organizer in certain cases.

Procedures for Temporary Import

  • The importer should notify customs about his intention of temporary import before clearing the shipment
  • In order to facilitate an easy customs clearance process, the attached invoices must include the serial number for each item in order to enable the customs to view and cross check the contents against the invoice
  • After the cross checking process is over, the importer shall keep a copy of the invokes carrying customs stamp and remarks of the customs officer (the contents comply with re-export, exhibiting and return norms)
  • Those who import for exhibitions should submit an application from the exhibition organizer addressed to the general Director of Customs requesting to facilitate the entry of the consignment before receiving goods. 6% of the value of goods should be paid (value of goods + value of shipping+insurance+1%).
  • The customs officer will approve the customs declaration, clear the consignment and refer the transaction with all documents to the Insurance Sections until re-export.
  • Goods will be given a temporary entry period of 6 months only, after  that the deposit amount will not be refunded in case of re-export.
  • If the importer wishes to extend the temporary entry period, he has to apply to the ADCA before the expiry of the insurance period and there will be a fee charged on extending the insurance period.
  • To refund the deposit amount, the importer or the clearing agent should notify Customs to cross check the invoice against the contents upon export to obtain clearance on the imported shipment.
  • After that the importer has to approach the Customs Administration and submit the clearance in order to refund the deposit amount.
  • Temporary entry is not applicable to the import of spare parts, tyres, batteries and other consumable materials that are used in projects

Restricted Goods

To ensure a safe society and stable economy, the UAE restricts the entry or exit of certain goods. Restricted goods are goods of which the import or export is restricted by the UAE under the provisions of the Common Customs Law of the GCC countries or any other relevant law. The import of restricted goods is controlled by competent government agencies such as Ministry of Environment and Water, Ministry of Interior, Heath Authority-Abu Dhabi and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority depending on the type of goods. Importers need to get necessary approvals from the concerned authority for their import.

Transit Procedures

Transit refers to the customs declarations that detail foreign goods passing through the territory of the UAE to another country or  to one of the Free Zones in the UAE using mass transport modes by virtue of transit declaration.

Required Documents

  • Delivery Order form the shipping agent
  • Original Invoices of goods showing the type of goods, quantity and value
  • Packaging List which includes details of the package contents
  • Original Certificate of Origin (excluding foreign goods)
  • Bill of Lading which contains the details of goods being imported
  • In case of transportation by land, attach the original manifest (transit declaration) signed and stamped by the customs centre of the country of export or the neighboring country. It is also required to clearly mention the country of final destination of shipment

Entry Procedures

  • Before transporting goods to other destination, check if there are nay restrictions that ban or restrict passage of certain items through the territory of the UAE.
  • Make sure that the documents are complete with correct information before submitting to the customs officer who will verify them and hand them over to one of the inspectors
  • Customs will then confirm they type, numbers and mode of transport
  • Make sure that there are no discrepancies in the detail of goods and all of the items and quantities are moved out of the country.
  • Receive a copy of customs declaration

Exit Procedures

  • Make sure that the documents are complete with correct information before submitting to the customs office r who will verify them and hand them over to one of the inspectors
  • Make sure that the shipment meets the conditions and instructions regarding the mode of transport
  • The type and numbers of mode of transport will also be subject to customs verification
  • Customs will examine the authenticity of stamps, belts and customs lead.
  • Receive a copy of customs declaration.

Source: Morison MenonOpens in a new tab.

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Deepak is a passionate blogger with interests in bitcoin, online marketing, and writing.

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