Essential info for United Arab Emirates

Official name: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Capital city: Abu Dhabi

Other major cities: Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah

Population: About 9.4 million

Geography: The UAE is a small country occupying a desert stretch of land along the northeastern part of the Persian Gulf​​​​

Neighbouring countries: The UAE is bordered by Oman to the southeast and Saudi Arabia to the southwest, with the Persian Gulf to the north

Political system: United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven constitutional monarchies/emirates. Traditionally, the ruler of Abu Dhabi is also the president of the UAE.

Major religions: Islam. Other religions are tolerated, but proselytising is illegal

Main languages: Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken

Money: The currency of the UAE is the Dirham (AED), divided into 100 fils. ATMs are widely available and credit cards are accepted in most establishments. Expats are able to open a bank account in the UAE.

Tipping: A 10 percent fee is usually added to restaurant bills, but this rarely makes it to the serving staff, so leaving an additional cash tip on the table may be a good idea. It is customary to round up taxi fares to the nearest AED 5 and giving an additional AED 10 to hairdressers and beauty therapists is appreciated. 

Time: GMT +4

Electricity: 220 and 240 volts, 50Hz. The square three-pin plugs are the most frequently used.

Internet domain: .ae

International dialling code: +971 for UAE, plus (0)2 for Abu Dhabi. City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)2 for Abu Dhabi and (0)4 for Dubai.

Emergency contacts: In case of emergency expats can dial 999

Transport and driving: Cars drive on the right-hand side. Seat belts are mandatory and children under 10 must sit in the rear seats. Expats must get a local driving license once they acquire their residence visa. Holders of a driving license issued by the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most European countries do not need to take a driving test.