Expats bringing food to UAE: What is allowed in your luggage?

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Bringing food into UAE? What the law says

If you are thinking of bringing food into the UAE for personal consumption, make sure you know the do’s and don’ts to avoid any hassle with authorities.

Returning expats might bring a food haul to satisfy their cravings for familiar tastes of home, and travelers might bring food as gifts. But what can they bring with them and how much is allowed?

According to UAE laws on importing food for non-commercial purposes, you can bring in a maximum of:

25 kg of canned food
100 kg dates
10 kg sweets and bread
10 kg of vegetables and fruits
10 kg of fish and seafood
11 kg of eggs (except fermented ducks eggs called balut)
20 kg of yoghurt
50 litres of oil (including olive oil)
30 kg of grains, cereals and red meat
500 gm of caviar
20 kg for honey and sugar products
5 kg herbs and spices including vinegar, orange blossom water and rose water
500 gm of saffron
10 kg of special-purpose food, such as children’s food
20 litres of drinks and syrups, including water
5 kg of juice concentrates

When it comes to personal goods, travelers are permitted to carry wine, gifts and other items for personal use, at these maximum quantities:

  • 4 litres of alcohol or 24 cans of beer
  • Dh2,000 worth of cigarettes or 400 sticks of cigarettes
  • Dh3,000 worth of gifts, including perfume
  • Dh3,000 worth of cigars

You can bring allowable cigarettes and alcohol into the UAE if you are above 18 years of age. For beer, the amount must not exceed 355ml per can.

Customs authorities in the UAE regularly update the list of regulated and banned items in the country. Travelers visiting the UAE must check their website before travelling because bringing some items can result in fines, or in serious cases, imprisonment. It is important to declare your goods once you arrive at the airport, in case you are unsure about anything you are bringing with you. ICA/Expat Media


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