Travel Tips for United Arab Emirates, Updated Intl. Guide – Travel Medicine, Inc.
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United Arab Emirates

Capital: Abu Dhabi

Time Zone: +4 hours. No daylight savings time in 2008.
Tel. Country Code: 971
USADirect Tel.: 800
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz). United Kingdom Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plugs C, F.

Travel Advisory - United Arab Emirates

There is a low risk of malaria in North Africa and the Middle East, but other insect-transmitted diseases, such as leishmaniasis and viral infections, are potential threats. Safe water precautions, safe needle, and insect-bite prevention measures are important.

Dr. Rose Recommends for Travel to United Arab Emirates

Resource Links

World Health Organization
Travel Health Services
Country Insights
Travel Warnings
Consular Information
Foreign Commonweatlh Office


• U.S. Embassy
Abu Dhabi
Tel: [971] (2) 414-2200
The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi is located at Embassies District, Plot 38, Sector W59-02, Street No. 4. The telephone number is (971)(2)414-2200, and the Consular Section fax number is (971) (2) 414-2241. The email address for American Citizens Services inquiries is The after-hours telephone number is (971)(2)414-2500. The embassy Internet site is 
The Embassy strongly encourages all Americans visiting or residing in the UAE to register with the Embassy. Registration should be made on-line at:

The U.S. Embassy will assist Americans with LIFE THREATENING EMERGENCIES at any time. During work hours (Sunday through Thursday, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM), the Consulate General can be reached at (04) 311-6000. After hours call 02 414 2200, the US embassy in Abu Dhabi in case of life threatening emergencies. 

• American Consulate 
Dubai World Trade Center
Tel: [971] (4) 311-6000

• Canadian Embassy
440 26th Street 
Abu Dhabi
Tel: [971] (2) 445-6969

• British Embassy
Abu Dhabi
Tel: [971] (2) 6101100
Fax: [971] (2) 6101586 

Entry Requirements

A passport is required. For stays of less than 60 days, U.S. citizens holding valid passports may obtain visitor visas at the port of entry for no fee. For a longer stay, a traveler must obtain a visa before arrival in the UAE. In addition, an AIDS test is required for work or residence permits; testing must be performed after arrival. A U.S. AIDS test is not accepted. For further information, travelers can contact the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, 3522 International Court, NW, Washington, DC 20037, telephone (202) 243-2400. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on the United Arab Emirates and other countries. Visit the web site of the UAE's Ministry of Information regarding tourism, business, and residence in the UAE at
Unlike other countries in the region that accept U.S. military ID cards as valid travel documents, the UAE requires U.S. military personnel to present a valid passport for entry/exit.

HIV Test: Applicants for work or residence permits except those under age 18

Required Vaccinations: None required.

Passport Information

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven independent emirates, each with its own ruler. The federal government is a constitutional republic, headed by a president and council of ministers. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws and practices. The UAE is a modern, developed country, and tourist facilities are widely available. 

Vaccinations: Recommended and Routine

Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers >1 year of age not previously immunized against hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B: Recommended for all non-immune travelers at potential risk for acquiring this infection. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from acupuncture, tattooing or body piercing; when receiving non-sterile medical or dental injections, or unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin sores on an infected person. Recommended for long-term travelers, expatriates, and any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B infection.

Rabies: Rabies vaccine is recommended for: persons anticipating an extended stay; for those whose work or activities may bring them into contact with animals; for people going to rural or remote locations where medical care is not readily available; for travelers desiring extra protection.

Routine Immunizations: Immunizations against tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine) and varicella (chickenpox) should be updated, if necessary, before departure. MMR protection is especially important for any female of childbearing age who may become pregnant.
• The new Tdap vaccine, ADACEL, which also boosts immunity against pertussis (whooping cough) should be considered when a tetanus-diphtheria booster is indicated.

Typhoid: Recommended for all travelers with the exception of short-stay visitors who restrict their meals to hotels or resorts.

Hospitals / Doctors

Basic modern medical care and medicines are available in the principal cities of the UAE, but not necessarily in outlying areas.
All travelers should be up-to-date on their immunizations and are advised to carry a medical kit as well as antibiotics to treat travelers diarrhea or other infections. Travelers who are taking regular medications should carry them properly labeled and in sufficient quantity to last for the duration of their trip; they should not expect to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in local stores or pharmacies in this country - the equivalent drugs may not be available. WARNING: SEE NOTE BELOW.

While many other countries also apply controls to the following drugs, UAE is unusual in conducting extremely thorough searches of many travelers through its airports, with highly sensitive equipment.

WARNING: Drug laws in the UAE are very strict. Travelers should avoid bringing into this country certain medications, even if legally prescribed.
Travelers who have in their possession certain prescribed and/or over-the-counter drugs, for example narcotic-based pain medications, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, Lomotil, cough syrups with dextromethorpham (e.g., Robitussin-DM), sleeping pills, estrogen compounds, e.g., HRT, BC pills, or other drugs on the Controlled List will have these drugs confiscated and may face other penalties.
The list of controlled medications is here:

To bring these medicines in to the UAE, residents and non-residents alike must have a medical prescription from a UAE-licenced physician. For those who received treatment abroad, they must show a medical report from a doctor detailing their illness and the reason for taking the medicines.

� Travelers are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage. Policies should cover: ground and air ambulance transport, including evacuation to home country; payment of hospital bills; 24-hour telephone assistance. 

For a government ambulance in Dubai, call 999. For a private ambulance, call Welcare Hospital at 971-4-2137-289 or Al Zahra Private Hospital at 971-6-561-9999.

Medical facilities in UAE include:

• The American Hospital Dubai
Bur Dubai
Tel: [971] (4) 336-7777
The American Hospital Dubai is a 143-bed private health care facility with over 65 western-trained physicians providing primary as well as tertiary care. The hospital is a Joint Commission International (JCI) Accredited facility. 24-hour emergency services.

•  Welcare Hospital
Al Garhoud
Tel: [971] (4) 282-7788
ER Tel: [971] (4) 2137-289
24-hour emergency and ambulance services.

•  Al Zahra Private Medical Centre
Tel: [971] (4) 331 5000

•  Al Zahra Private Hospital 
Tel: [971] (6) 561 9999

•  Tawam Hospital
Al Ain
Tel: [971] (3) 7677 444
Eemergency Tel: [971] (3) 7075 208 or 7075 209
24-hour emergency department (managed by Johns Hopkins Medical International).

Destination Health Info for Travelers

AIDS/HIV: The prevalence of HIV in the adult population is estimated to be very low, at <0.1%, but reliable statistics are not available. The notion that this region has sidestepped the global epidemic - perhaps due to strict rules governing sexual behavior - is difficult to evaluate. In neighboring Saudi Arabia, about 20% of people living with HIV/AIDS are indigenous nationals, the remainder primarily foreigner workers. 
Note: The Federal Ministry of Health of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a vigorous AIDS control program that conforms to international guidelines. Available information on HIV infection in the Al Ain district (UAE) shows a low incidence among its citizens and a low frequency of spread by the sexual route. This is in keeping with cultural factors
perceived to have withstood the potential for sexual spread in the Arabian Gulf area. However, there is an acknowledged concern for the risk to young male citizens while traveling abroad to popular destinations such as India, Thailand, and the Philippines.” (Source: Journal of Travel Medicine, Volume 3, Issue 4, Page 224-226, Dec 1996)
• Transmission of HIV can be prevented by avoiding: sexual contact with a high-risk partner; injecting drug use with shared needles; non-sterile medical injections; unscreened blood transfusions.
• The threat of HIV/AIDS should not be a primary concern for the traveler. However, there may be a concern for a subset of travelers who may be exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through contact with the body fluids of another person or their blood. Although travel has contributed in a general way to the global spread of AIDS, fear of traveling because of this disease is not warranted.

Accidents & Medical Insurance: Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travelers under the age of 55 and are most often caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; drownings, aircraft crashes, homicides, and burns are lesser causes.
• Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travelers.
• Infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travelers, but, overall, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.
• MEDICAL INSURANCE: Travelers are advised to obtain, prior to departure, supplemental travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should provide for direct payment to the overseas hospital and/or physician at the time of service and include a medical evacuation benefit. The policy should also provide 24-hour hotline access to a multilingual assistance center that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care and determine if medevac or air ambulance services are required.

Hepatitis: All travelers not previously immunized against hepatitis A should be vaccinated against this disease. Travelers who are non-immune to hepatitis A (i.e. have never had the disease and have not been vaccinated) should take particular care to avoid potentially contaminated food and water. Travelers who will have access to safe food and water are at lower risk. Those at higher risk include travelers visiting friends and relatives, long-term travelers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.
• Hepatitis E is may endemic but has not been reported. Sporadic cases may occur. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. Farm animals, such as swine, and also deer and wild boar, may serve as a viral reservoirs. (HEV is one of the few viruses which has been shown to be transmitted directly from animals through food.) In developing countries, prevention of hepatitis E relies primarily on the provision of clean water supplies and overall improved sanitation and hygiene. There is no vaccine.
• The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated at 2%. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from non-sterile medical or dental injections, and acupuncture; from unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin lesions of an infected person. The average traveler is at low risk for acquiring this infection. Vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended for: persons having casual/unprotected sex with new partners; sexual tourists; injecting drug users; long-term visitors; expatriates, and anybody wanting increased protection against the hepatitis B virus.
• Hepatitis C is endemic at a low level with a prevalence of 0.8% in the general population. Most hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread either through intravenous drug use or, in lesser-developed countries, through blood contamination during medical procedures. Over 200 million people around the world are infected with hepatitis C - an overall incidence of around 3.3% of the population of the world. Statistically, as many people are infected with HCV as are with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Leishmaniasis: There is a low risk of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis. Travelers should take measures to prevent sand fly bites.

Malaria: There is no risk of malaria in the UAE.

Other Diseases/Hazards: Mediterranean spotted fever (tick-borne; also called boutonneuse fever, Israeli tick typhus)
• Brucellosis (usually from unpasteurized dairy products, especially from sheep and goats)
• Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (low risk to travelers; reported in abattoir workers)
• Filariasis

Rabies: Animal rabies occurs in foxes and sporadically in stray dogs. There have been no recently reported cases of human rabies. All unprovoked dog or wild animal bites should be medically evaluated for possible post-exposure treatment.

Travelers' Diarrhea: Low risk, but water- and food-borne diseases sometimes occur. We recommend drinking only bottled water or beverages. Do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered or chemically purified. Do not use ice cubes. Avoid unpasteurized milk and dairy products. Do not eat raw and undercooked food (especially meat, fish, raw vegetables�these may transmit intestinal parasites, as well as bacteria). Peel all fruits. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhea. A quinolone antibiotic, azithromycin, or rifaximin, combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to antibiotic treatment may be due to a parasitic disease such as giardiasis, amebiasis, or cryptosporidiosis.

Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is the most serious of the Salmonella infections. Typhoid vaccine is recommended by the CDC for all people (with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to hotels or resorts) traveling to or working in the Middle East, especially if visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water. Current vaccines against Salmonella typhi are only 50-80% protective and do not protect against Salmonella paratyphi, the cause of paratyphoid fever. (Paratyphoid fever bears similarities with typhoid fever, but the course is generally more benign.) Travelers should continue to practice strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions, even if vaccinated.