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United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates,or the UAE, is an Arab Country at the southeastern corner in the Arabian Peninsula. It’s made up of seven emirates (states), including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah,Fujairah, and Umm alQuwain,and is one of the fastest-growing countries in the Middle Eastfor tourism. One of the reasons the United Arab Emirates has become so popular is the emergence of Dubai, which is known as one of the most amazing and beautiful cities in the world. The United Arab Emirates is full of desert sands, luxury resorts, and magnificent skyscrapers. The UAE is definitely an interesting place to visit and a place you can look forward to doing business in.

Arriving In the UAE

There are a few different airports to arrive at in the UAE. You’ll want to have an idea of where you’ll conduct the majority of your business, but generally, business people will fly in to one of two airports. The two main airports are the Dubai International Airport (DXB) and the Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH). DXB receives most of the flights and is the busiest airport in the United Arab Emirates, and AUH is also very prominent, as it’s located in the country’s capital.

Airport Transportation
Once you arrive, there will be a few options for transportation including public transportation, taxi or hired car service. Public transportation will be the most economical, but most business travelers will likely opt for a taxi for faster service and more convenience. There are two types of taxis: metered and limousine. The availability of these two options will be dependent on the terminal you arrive at, and the prices will be visible curbside and fixed for the limousine taxi.

Passport and Visa Requirement

You will need a valid passport to enter the UAE; make sure your passport doesn’t expire for at least 60 days. You will most likely not need a visa to enter the UAE, and will be given a 30 day visa at immigration, free of charge. If you need to stay for longer than 30-days for your business, an additional 30-day extension can be granted for a fee.

Before traveling to the UAE, check the Emirates website to make sure your country is one of the eligible countries for visas, as not every country is entitled to a 30-day visa.

Doing Business in the UAE

The seven Emirates that make up the UAE all have very distinctive and individual characteristics, but like most countries, are bonded by some commonalities. One of the main commonalities in the UAE business culture is the religion of Islam. Unlike western business culture that usually separates business and religion, in the UAE the locals integrate Islam with business. As a person who will be doing business in the UAE, it’s important that you understand the religion and show great respect for both the culture and religion.

Another thing to consider is the people you’ll be working with. Much of the population is made up of non-locals. The question to research is, “Will I be working with a local?“ If the answer is yes, than you’ll definitely want to approach the meeting differently than if working with a westerner. However, even if you are working with an American, the UAE is still an Islamic country and an understanding of the religious customs may go along way.

Here are a few additional things to consider when doing business in the UAE:

  • If you are doing business outside of Dubai or the capital Abu Dhabi, do some additional research on the business culture and traditions in that specific emirate. The business customs are often noticeably different when outside these two cities.
  • Managers typically will have a very direct and straightforward communication style.
  • Be aware that some older Emiratis may have a gender bias, and prefer to work with men.
  • Meetings will often start late and very rarely start on time.

Things to do in UAE

The UAE is very accommodating for business travelers, and you’ll find there is much to do when you have some free time. There are many common attractions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and also museums, zoos, and landmarks to visit outside of the two most popular cities. In Dubai there is the Dubai Fountain and the Dubai Mall, in Abu Dhabi there’s the Shikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Emirates Palace. Outside of those two you’ll find places like the Iceland Water Park in Ras Al Khaimah, and the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort in Al Ain.

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