Prohibited & Restricted Goods for Import into UAE
Importing and exporting goods across borders and between countries is a vital part of international trade. However, when importing into or exporting to the UAE, certain rules and regulations prevent the transport of prohibited and restricted goods into the country.
These specific goods are determined by the Customs Tariff Codes established by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). These customs tariff codes indicate that the goods will require a permit when completing online Customs Declarations.
In this guide, we’ll explain the differences between prohibited and restricted goods, as well as list all the items classified as such and the relevant UAE authorities controlling the import of restricted items
Prohibited vs. Restricted Goods
Goods placed under laws of prohibition and restriction include all goods that will be prevented entry into the UAE or the goods that require special permissions for import into the country.
These prohibited and restricted products are items that may cause harm or injury to human health, negatively affect public safety, and destruct plant and animal life, which are likely to oppose national interests. This includes items deemed offensive according to moral, religious, and human rights laws.
Consequently, airline and shipping carriers incorporate special policies concerning these goods in order to avoid breaking customs rules and regulations. Due to this, prohibited and restricted products are usually deemed ineligible for transport.
Essentially, these special items are classified into two groups;
- Prohibited goods
- Restricted goods
What Are Prohibited Goods?
Prohibited goods are items that are banned from entering the UAE from other countries under any circumstances. These products are forbidden entry by federal law and, when found, will be seized by Customs Authorities.
Generally, these prohibited goods include products or items that will negatively impact the health and safety of humans, animals, plants, and the surrounding environment. As a result, prohibited goods must never be imported into or exported to the country.
What Are Restricted Goods?
Regarding restricted goods, these are items that may or may not be allowed entry into the UAE, as determined by special conditions or circumstances. This means that goods placed under restriction are not absolutely prohibited during import but involve implementing certain procedures.
The major requirement is obtaining special licenses, certificates, or permits issued by the relevant federal agencies prior to such items arriving and being granted entry into the country.
As expected, restricted goods usually involve specific packaging, labeling, handling, and transport procedures that must be put in place, including specific volume or quantity to be shipped, when importing these goods.
List of Prohibited and Restricted Goods
Around the globe, there are products commonly prohibited or restricted from moving across international borders, regardless of the destination of the shipment. In addition to this worldwide list, there are certain goods that are specifically denied entry into the UAE.
All goods under import regulations of prohibition and restriction by UAE authorities are listed below. Note that this includes all items that are either absolutely prohibited or simply restricted from entering the UAE.
- All kinds of narcotic drugs and substances (e.g., hashish, heroin, poppy seeds, cocaine, hallucination pills, and others) and recreational drugs
- Goods originating from Israeli or bearing Israeli trademarks, flags, logos, and emblems
- Goods entering the UAE from boycotted countries or regions
- Products made from crude ivory and rhinoceros horn materials
- Gambling-related tools, devices, and machines
- Three-layered fishing nets
- Original engravings, prints, lithographs, sculpture and statues made from any type of material
- Vehicle tires (used, reconditioned, and inlaid)
- Substances polluted by radiation or radioactive materials, chemical and nuclear activities
- Print materials, any kind of publications, oil paintings, photographs, artwork, pictures, cards, books, magazines, stone sculptures, and mannequins that challenge or contradict teachings, values, laws, and decencies according to Islam
- Any form of forged or duplicated currency notes, coins, or items of monetary value
- Cooked and homemade foods
- Pirated contents and materials infringing on trademark or copyright laws, including counterfeit goods, such as clothes and clothing items, accessories, machinery, electronics, etc
- Items intended for use in witchcraft, black magic or sorcery, and related activities
- Animals classified as exotic, protected, or endangered, and certain dog breeds
- Exceptionally high value or expensive items like jewelry, precious metals, stones, antiques, and similar articles
- Animals, plants, and perishable food items
- All forms of adult and pornographic materials
- Human remains, including ashes
- Arms, ammunition, fireworks, and related accessories/items
- Furs and fur products
- Radar detectors and similar scanning equipment
- Goods classified by the IATA regulations as Hazardous Items
UAE Authorities Controlling Import of Restricted Goods
The authorities controlling the permit of restricted goods into the UAE, as well as the respective goods they control, are listed below.
- Ministry of Climate Change and Environment – live animals and plants, fertilizers and insecticides, and products of animal origin
- Ministry of Defense / Armed Forces / Ministry of Interior – arms, ammunition, explosives, fireworks, and their parts/accessories intended for the Ministry of Defense / Armed Forces / Ministry of Interior
- Ministry of Health and Prevention – instruments and machines for medical/surgical purposes and pharmaceutical products
- National Media Council – print materials, newspapers, publications and media products, artworks, and collector items
- Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) – nuclear reactors and products related to nuclear energy production
- Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology – new tires for vehicles, drinking water
- Telecommunications Regulatory Authority – transmitters, radio equipment, electronics, technology products, and other telecommunications equipment
- Dubai Police – alcoholic beverages
- Dubai Municipality – prepared/processed foodstuff, frozen and fresh meat, vegetable foodstuffs, cosmetic and personal care products, supplements, and products of chemical composition
- UAE Kimberley Process Office – rough or diamonds, processed diamonds, and pearls
- Ministry of Economy – raw materials for industries
- United Arab Emirates Coast Group – boats and cruise ships
The UAE customs website contains further information on prohibited and restricted goods, including details about permits, certifications, and licenses for importing restricted items.