At the Dubai International Airport.


New UAE rules on traveler baggage: Can Filipinos still bring TV or gifts?


DUBAI – Filipino expatriates flying home with a flatscreen TV in their checked-in baggage may be a common sight at UAE airports, but is that going to change with the new announcement by the Federal Customs Authority (FCA) on rules regarding what is permissible in traveler baggage?

On Sunday (March 28), the FCA made a fresh announcement on what travelers coming to or from the UAE are allowed to bring, ranging from electronic items and gifts, to cash.

The authority said the rules apply to anyone flying into the UAE or traveling out of the UAE, adding that travelers must adhere to customs policies for a risk-free travel experience.

Can travelers bring a TV from UAE to Philippines?

Can Filipinos still bring home a flatscreen TV? Yes, according to the FCA.

The authority said that permitted luggage includes movie projection devices, radio and CD players, digital cameras, TV and receiver (one of each), personal sports equipment, as well as portable computers and printers.

This is good news for Filipinos as many of the budget-savvy expats love to buy electronics and gadgets as gifts, called pasalubong, to their families.

Electronic goods are among the popular items expats love to bring home as these are generally cheaper in the UAE but can cost up to four times more in the Philippines where there is 12 percent sales tax. Filipino expats in the UAE also want to take advantage of tax exemptions when bringing non-luxury items on their flight home.

Speaking to, representatives from Emirates and Etihad said that Filipino travelers are allowed to bring flatscreen TV on flights to the Philippines.

Emirates charges a $75 (Dh276) service fee as long as the weight of the TV is not heavier than 32kg and the maximum width of its box is not more than 300cm. Etihad allows travelers to bring a flatscreen TV of up to 40 inches for free as part of their total baggage allowance on the flight.

Bringing cigarettes, alcoholic drinks into or out of UAE

Those who love to bring packets of cigarettes into or out of the UAE can only bring a maximum of 200 cigarette sticks, or 10 packs of cigarettes. Tobacco products and alcoholic drinks should not be carried by travelers below the age of 18.

Carrying cash and precious stones into or out of UAE

If carrying cash, cheques or jewelry worth more than Dh60,000, travelers are required to disclose this with customs officers.

Bringing gifts to the UAE

The Filipino gift-giving concept of pasalubong isn’t only confined to the Philippines. It is normal for Filipinos to bring gifts when they return to the UAE as well. These are usually souvenirs, or traditional food that are rarely available in the country. So, how much gifts can they bring back to the country?

On Sunday, the FCA said that the value of gifts that travelers can bring should not exceed Dh3,000.

Carrying medication into or out of UAE

The FCA advised travelers to carry a certified prescription for medications they will be carrying, and to declare any restricted substances.

Prohibited items for travelers in UAE

Which items are travelers not allowed to carry? Some of the prohibited and restricted commodities include narcotics, gambling tools and machines, nylon fishing nets, live animals of pig species, raw ivory, laser pens with red light package, fake and counterfeited currency, substances contaminated nuclear rays and dust, publications, pictures, religiously offensive or immoral drawings and stone sculptures, as well as paan substances, including betel leaves.

Restricted items for travelers in UAE

According to the FCA, the entry of a number of restricted commodities may be allowed following competent authorities’ consent including; live animals, plants, fertilisers and pesticides, weapons, ammunitions, explosives and fireworks, medicines, drugs and medical equipment and instruments, media publications and products, new vehicle tyres, transmission and wireless devices, alcoholic drinks, cosmetics and personal care products, raw diamonds and cigarettes manufactured and processed from tobacco.

In case of restricted commodities, competent authorities’ consent shall be sought, including the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health and Prevention, Ministry of Culture and Youth, Federal Authority for Nuclear Energy, Ministry of Industry and Advance Technology, Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, Dubai Police and Kimberley UAE.

Smuggling illegal items into or out of UAE

Travelers who are caught smuggling illegal items into or out of the UAE will be subject to a fine, imprisonment or both penalties.

Don’t receive luggage from strangers: UAE customs authority

The FCA also reminded travelers to refrain from receiving or exchanging luggage or bags from unknown persons in the country of departure without knowing their contents. ICA/Expat Media

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