Moving to Dubai from the UK: A Complete Guide

Whether you’re moving to Dubai from the UK with your family or flying solo, it’s an extremely exciting time.

Moving to Dubai provides a wide range of benefits, from the wonderful weather to the high salaries, but there is plenty you need to consider before making the move. 

During this time, it’s essential that you have the support of a reliable international removals company that can help facilitate your move and make the process as seamless as possible. 

Moving to Dubai from the UK

At Clockwork Removals, we’re experienced in helping people relocate all over the world and this includes supporting those moving to Dubai from the UK for work or any other purpose. 

We’ve put together a moving to Dubai checklist to help make the process easier for you. 

What are the shipping methods?

The most important thing you need to organise when moving to Dubai is the shipping of your belongings.

There are several options you can choose from including:

  • Air freight – The fastest shipping method available, this is a good choice for smaller consignments. However, for larger consignments, it can be extremely expensive.
  • Shared / Groupage container – With this method, you’ll only pay for the space you need as your belongings are placed in a shared shipping container with other UAE destined consignments. You’ll only pay for your part of the container which makes it a cost-effective choice. However, groupage customers will need to be flexible as shared shipping containers will not be shipped until they are full. This can result in somewhat longer transit times.
  • Sole use container – If you have a large number of goods to transport to Dubai, you could opt for a sole use container. This option will give you sole use of the shipping container which can be fully stocked with your goods and personal possessions. Even vehicles can be transported this way with 20ft and 40ft containers available if the vehicle meets UAE regulations.  

What documents do I need?

When shipping household goods and personal effects to Dubai, you’ll need to have the following documents. 

  • An original copy of the inventory which would be prepared by our packing crew. 
  • Two Original Bill of Ladings (OBLs) which would be prepared by our shipping department. 
  • A copy of your passport with a residence visa stamped or a letter from your sponsor that outlines that your visa has been applied for. 

What items are prohibited in Dubai?

Before shipping your goods, you should be aware of what items you cannot take into Dubai. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an Islamic country and as such some items are prohibited or restricted in the country. The lists below are subject to change so make sure you check this information at the time of your move to ensure it’s up-to-date. 

This includes the following:

Restricted items

  • Certain records, tapes, films, photographs, books, magazines and periodicals (All of these types of items will be reviewed by the UAE Ministry of Information who will decide whether they can be released to you or not). 
  • Live plants, fresh fruit, seeds and flowers. These items will be reviewed and either released back to you or destroyed if they’re assessed to be abnormal. 

Prohibited items

  • Weapons, firearms (both real and ornamental), ammunition, firecrackers, swords, daggers, spears, military equipment and uniforms
  • Alcohol
  • Narcotics of any kind (including poppy seeds, leaves and flowers), banned drugs and medicines, and large quantities of medicine even if prescribed
  • Radio transmitters or similar communication devices 
  • Statues and figures of animals with religious undertones 
  • Carvings and statues of humans (especially if nude) 
  • Pornographic material
  • Large quantities of foodstuff
  • Religious books that are not Islamic
  • Controversial political literature and materials that are contrary to the principles of an Islamic state  

What are the customs rules?

When moving to Dubai from the UK, tax is likely to be a concern when transporting goods. All used personal effects and household goods are exempt from duty when being delivered to Dubai, however anything brand new will have custom duty on it if an invoice is not provided. If you do not have an invoice, custom inspectors will assess these goods and give them a value. A 5% customs duty levy will also be placed on such items in these cases. 

All items that you’re shipping to Dubai will be reviewed with a physical inspection by customs, and it will usually take up to two weeks before goods are returned to you. 

As well as what we’ve outlined above, it’s also important to be aware of some other specific rules when moving to Dubai from the UK:

  • You must be present in Dubai when your goods arrive. 
  • All your goods should arrive within a month of your arrival. You may be asked to provide your passport with a valid entry stamp to prove this.
  • All shipments will receive a physical inspection. With this in mind, it’s worth placing all books, CDs, magazines etc in separate boxes that are labelled which can make them easily identifiable for customs officials. This will also give them a better chance of being released earlier. It’s also important that your relocation company packs and inventories all your personal effects and furniture. They have the required knowledge and training to properly fill out customs inventories to avoid delays.   

International removals

At Clockwork Removals, we are able to assist with any international move and are part of the FIDI Global Alliance and the BAR Overseas Moving Group, which demonstrates our commitment to quality and going above and beyond to make the moving experience as easy as possible for our customers. We ship customers’ goods to and from the UK, and even offer a third-party relocation service.

All of our crews are fully trained and experienced in the most efficient packing techniques and can create custom inventories that make the process seamless while ensuring you meet all of the required rules and regulations in your new country. To find out more, contact our team today.    


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