Fast Facts: Dubai

Below are some of the most common questions from our travelers.

Do I need a passport? What is required for entry?

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least six months after your return date.

You may enter Dubai on a free visa issued upon arrival if you hold a passport from the U.S. or any of the following countries: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vatican City. Consult the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates or the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

Booked on one of our packages with Scheduled Dates? If you do not hold a passport from one of the countries listed above, you will need to obtain a visa and pay a $145 visa fee prior to arrival. We will send instructions and application forms after you book. Or you can obtain your visa directly from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates.

More information about passports & visas.

What is the weather like?

With its dry, subtropical climate and lots of sunshine, Dubai is a year-round destination. Rainfall is infrequent—mostly during the winter months—but flash floods can occur. Temperatures range from a low of about 50 F to a high of 118 F in the summer. The best time to visit Dubai is during the winter months, November-March. April and May are still pleasant, although it will be warming up. Summers are hot and humid.

Check out the current weather conditions in Dubai.

Are there any health precautions I should take?

There is no risk of malaria or yellow fever in the United Arab Emirates. While there are no required vaccinations for entry into the United Arab Emirates, consult your doctor about vaccinations and other preventative medicine recommended by the Center for Disease Control. Make sure your food and drinking water are safe as food and waterborne diseases are the primary cause of illness in travelers.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

What is the currency?

The currency of the U.A.E. is the dirham. Currency exchange bureaus are the best places to exchange money. They can be found all over the city and are usually open until 8:30 pm. Please review the current exchange rate for the dirham.

ATMs are found all over the city.

Are tips & service charges customary?

Where service charges are not included in a bill, a 10% tip for hotel bellhops and restaurant waitstaff is adequate. It is also appropriate to tip taxi drivers a few dirhams.

What are the best things to shop for?

As the shopping capital of the Middle East, Dubai is a true shopper's paradise. Low customs duties make luxury goods less expensive than in most countries. In fact, the Dubai Duty Free is renowned as one of the best duty-free operations in the world.

In the city, there are three main places: shopping malls, souks and the shopping streets or areas. Souks are very common in the Emirates and tend to be good places to buy gold, fabrics, electronics, and traditional Arabic art. Other items to shop for include clothes and fabrics, Persian carpets and rugs, Arabic coffee pots, silver and brass swords and khanjars (curved daggers), ancient rifles, shisha pipes, porcelain prayer beads, antique silver jewelry, brass trinkets, and silver and wooden miniature dhows.

Bargaining is acceptable everywhere, even in the malls.

What are the voltage requirements?

220/240 volts. You will most likely need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances, even though some outlets will correspond to American plug types and voltages. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. View more information about electrical standards around the world.

Can I take my cell phone?

See our blog post on using your cell phone abroad.