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FAQ
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1. What is the capital of the UAE?

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

2. What is the voltage in the UAE?

The electricity voltage in the UAE is 220/240V AC and 3 pin wall sockets are used but most appliances come with two-pin plugs and adaptors.

3. What is the Time Difference?

Dubai is + 4 GMT.

4. What countries need a Visa entry to UAE?

Notably, visitors from countries such as China, Iran, Japan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, etc., need to secure a visa to enter UAE.

PTT Holidays are ranked among the top DMC's in the UAE with high capacity, high volume UAE Entry visas. For those countries requiring visas when entering the UAE, our team of experts will process your visa in record time, ensuring a hassle free arrival into the UAE. If you have a large group or are an independent traveller, please try our PTT Holidays professional UAE Visa service.

5. How can I obtain Visa to enter in the UAE?

There are different factors and Visas applicable for you to enter UAE such as your nationality and the purpose and duration of your planned visit.

a. If you are a citizen of the country – United Kingdom (with the right of abode in UK), France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Finland, Spain, Monaco, Vatican, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Hong Kong - you can enter the country on a thirty (30) day single Entry Visa, free of charge, upon entry. If you intend to extend for another thirty (30) days, you should contact the Immigration Office before the expiration of the first visa. The extension will cost certain amount and you have to exit the country after the validity of the Visa expires.

b. On the other hand, if you are a citizen and passport holder of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – there is no need to obtain a visa to enter UAE.

c. If you are not a GCC National but occupies professional status, such as company manager, business people, auditor, accountant, doctor, engineer, pharmacist, or employee working in the public sector, your families, driver and personal staff sponsored by you, you are eligible for a non-renewable 30-day visa upon arrival at the approved point of entry.

d. If you do not fall in any of the above, you will be required to have a Visa and Sponsor to enter UAE through:
PTT Holidays, on your behalf, can apply for a Tourist Visa (valid for 30 days); or a Service Visa (valid for 14 days); or a Visit Visa (valid for 30 days and can be extended for other 30 days).
Airlines & Airlines Handlers apply on behalf of their crew members for a 96-hour Transit Visa.
Other Organizations based in the UAE may only apply for Visit Visas and Service Visas.
Individuals (Relatives or Friends) already resident in the UAE may, subject to guidelines, also apply on your behalf for a Visit Visa.
Required Documents are as follows:

1. Visa Application;
2. Passport copies (applicant and companions valid for at least 6 months);
3. A letter to specify sponsor, whether from the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs or its diplomatic mission specifying the type of required permission (tourist, business, etc.);
4. Permission classification (short term, long term, multiple entry, complementary), and;
5. A clear passport-size photo.

6. Can I drink the Tap Water?

Tap water is safe to drink, but most people drink bottled water which is widely available.

7. What is the language most commonly used in the UAE?

Arabic is the official language and being used by the majority of multi-cultural population. However, English is the second language which is fluently being spoken and used in writing by almost all people.

8. Is English Spoken and written in the UAE?

The official language is Arabic but English is widely spoken and used in business, as well as on signs and menus. There are three English newspapers, English language television stations and international channels available in hotels via satellite. British publications are also on sale in shops and hotels. The local newspapers The National & Gulf News are both printed in English.

9. Is it Safe in the UAE?

Dubai is virtually a crime free city. Crimes are relatively rare and it is safe to walk around at night, making it one of the best places in the Middle East for Tourist. To ensure they better serve Dubai’s visitors, the UAE police have now introduced the Department of Tourist Security

10. What is the climate in the UAE?

UAE is sub-tropical with sunny blue skies most of the year. During the months of November to March, mild weather prevails during the day and cool temperature at night. Drizzle to light rain fall, heavy fog will also be experienced during these months

April to September is the summer months where the temperature rises very high. The minimum average temperature will be 25 °C while the maximum will be as high as 39 °C. Temperature is significantly high during the months of July and August with a maximum temperature of 48 °C during daytime.

11. What is the dress code in the UAE?

Lightweight and modest clothing is appropriate in the UAE as it is an Islamic country. Sweaters and jackets may be needed during winter, which starting from November to March. Hats, sunglasses and other forms of protective gears may also be needed when going out in the direct sunlight. Beachwear such as bikini, swim-suits and trunks are acceptable at beach clubs, hotel pools and on the beaches except in the Emirate of Sharjah and Khor Fakkan.

12. What is the Currency and Exchange Rate?

Dirham, often abbreviated as AED or Dhs, is the local currency. The available denominations are 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are also available in AED 1, 50 and 25 fils.

Exchange rate varies. Approximately, USD 1 = AED .367.

Money Exchange is available in almost all areas and malls. However, most international currencies are accepted in banks, hotels and souks (market).

13. What Credit Cards can I use in the UAE?

All major international credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard or Visa are generally accepted in shopping malls, supermarkets, hotels and restaurants. However, small retail shops, stores and restaurants prefer cash. Using cash can work to your advantage as you can negotiate discount.

14. Is giving/providing ‘Tips’ a practice in UAE?

Giving or providing ‘Tips’ is similar in almost all countries. In using the taxis, rounding up into the nearest paper bill (e.g. 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, etc.) is often being done, but not mandatorily obligated. Many restaurants and hotels add service charge to the bill. Otherwise, 10% is more than enough to compensate gratefulness.

15. What are the usual hours of business in the UAE?

Fridays and Saturdays are considered weekend in UAE. However, except for government offices, there are business offices and banks opened during Fridays and Saturdays. Below are the usual office/business hours:

Business : Sunday to Thursday 08:00 to 18:00 (maybe close between 13:00 to 16:00 for afternoon breaks)

Banking : Sunday to Thursday 08:00 to 14:00 (maybe open even during afternoon break)

Government : Sunday to Thursday 07:00 to 14:30

16. What are the Banking times in the UAE and where can I find an ATM machine?

Generally, banks open at 08:00 until 13:00 hours from Sunday to Thursday. The banks are usually closed during Fridays and Saturdays, but there are handfuls that are open during Saturdays.

Bank branches can be found throughout the UAE, online banking is widely available, and the use of credit, debit and cash cards is common. ATM machines are available in all bank branches, shopping malls and even in metro stations. Telephone banking is also available for many accounts in both Arabic and English, and bank statements and correspondence can also be provided in either Arabic or English.

17. What are the dates of fixed public holidays in the UAE?

There are two (2) fixed public holidays in UAE, namely:
1. New Year’s Day 1st January
2. National Day 2nd December

Other major Islamic Holidays being celebrated on a movable dates are as follows:
1. Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday
2. Lailat Al Mi’raj
3. Eid Al Fitr (3 days)
4. Eid Al Adha (4 days)
5. Islamic New Year

18. In case of Emergency, what numbers should I call?

Fire : 997
Police : 999
Ambulance : 998/999
Directory Enquiries : 181
Airport Enquiries : (04) 224 5555
Emirates Airline : (04) 214 4444
Electricity and Water: 991
Road Services : (04) 800 4430
Al Ameen : (04) 800 4888

19. If I require Medical Assistance, who can I contact?

In-house doctors and nurses are available on-call in most hotels. Pharmacies can also be found around the corner and shopping malls. UAE’s private and government hospitals are all equipped with modern technology equipments and highly specialized medical professionals. (Relax in comfort before you fly and book your travel Insurance through PTT Holidays for cover for your Holiday Travel.)

Ambulance: 998/999

20. Do I need vaccinations to travel to the UAE?

Dubai has a very good standard of hygiene, advanced healthcare and efficient hospitals; however it is advisable to ensure passengers have adequate health cover on their travel insurance. Western medicines are widely available from pharmacies; therefore no special injections are required for visitors.

21. How can I travel around in UAE?

Public transport is always available and accessible to get you easily to your destination.

Metered taxi originating at the Airport has surcharge, but within the city, the flag rate starts at AED 3.00 and charges AED 1.60 per kilometer. The minimum fare is AED 10.

Metro is another convenient mean of getting around Dubai. The fully automated and driverless Dubai Metro trudges along the major thoroughfare and stops in strategic locations. Feeder bus (RTA) runs to and from outside the metro station and pass through the inner streets of the city.

Renting a car is very affordable in the UAE and for as low as AED 49 daily; you can roam around the city and complete your itinerary at your most convenient time. (Book through PTT Holidays)

Chauffer Limousine service is also available if you would prefer a less stressful way of getting around. (Book through PTT Holidays)

The Big Bus Company also operates in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. (Book through PTT Holidays)

22. Duty Free Shopping?

Travellers are entitled to import limited quantities of duty free goods such as cigarettes, cigars and Dubai & Abu Dhabi Airports offers generous allowance to all arriving passengers. Alcohol can be brought into Dubai by non-Muslims. The duty free allowance is 2 litres of wine and 2 litres of spirits. http://www.dubaidutyfree.com/shop/arrivals

23. Can I use my Mobile Phone?

Mobile phones are very popular in the UAE and some people have several. International GSM roaming is available but you can purchase a pre-paid SIM cards with a local number for holidaymakers who take their own phone. Phones can also be hired from car rental companies and from Dubai International Airport. E-mail and Internet access is available in hotels, shopping centres and Internet cafe´s.

24. Can I smoke in the UAE?

Smoking is not allowed in government facilities, offices, malls and shops. There are also some Cigar Bars and nightclubs that still allow smoking areas inside. Smoking outside designated areas is subject to fines.

25. Where can I go to Shop in the UAE?

There are numerous and glamorous shopping malls that can be found in UAE that offer a wide selection of items both made locally and internationally. This includes the world’s most visited and leisure destination Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Bur Juman, Ibn Battuta Mall, among others. Shopping malls are open from 10:00 to 22:00 hours during Sunday to Wednesday, and 10:00 to 00:00 hours from Thursday to Saturday.

Another good place for shopping are the Souks or Souq where the different kind of goods are bought or exchanged like gold, spice, perfume, textile, etc. Bargaining prices is essentially the main lure as you can negotiate up to 25% off prices of the sold items. Souks are open from 10:00 to 13:00 & 16:00 to 22:00 hours during Saturday to Thursday and 16:00 to 22:00 during Fridays.

26. What type of food is offered in the UAE?

The UAE has a wide and diverse range of food available in this country. Starting from casual coffee shops, beverage, fine and specialty dining, broad selections is offered to the clients’ delight in equally affordable prices.

Besides from the Arabic food, a wide choice of international cuisine includes British, Chinese, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mediterranean, Portuguese, Spanish, Swiss and Thai. (Go to PTT Holidays Food & Wine Tours)

27. Is giving/providing ‘Tips’ a practice in UAE?

Giving or providing ‘Tips’ is similar in almost all countries. In using the taxis, rounding up into the nearest paper bill (e.g. 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, etc.) is often being done, but not mandatorily obligated. Many restaurants and hotels add service charge to the bill. Otherwise, 10% is more than enough to compensate gratefulness

28. If I want to send a postcard, letter or parcel, where do I go?

Post offices are available and located in almost every part of the town. Approximately, AED 3.50 to 4.50 is the cost of airmail letters and AED 2.50 for postcards going to Europe. Some hotels offer mailing services and also selling postage stamps for the guests. The Mall of Emirates offer a Concierge desk where you can purchase stamps and a Post box sit outside the door opposite and DHL have a desk on the second floor above. Courier services are also available to deliver packages worldwide such as ARAMEX, Blink Express, FedEx Express, UPS, etc.

29. Where can I go for Nightlife in the UAE?

The UAE has a lot of surprising and unique blend of nightlife scene. This oasis in the desert is full of amazing places. You can chill out in a lounge bar, relax and enjoy the many beach and outdoor clubs such as Club or enter Cirque Du Soir for a mesmerizing experience and much more. Go to Time Out (http://www.timeoutdubai.com/bars)

Weekends are Thursday and Friday nights;

Tuesday & Wednesday nights are Ladies night. Ladies usually get free entrance and a minimum for 2 free drinks in most of the venues;

Drink and drive is strictly prohibited

30. What are the rules regarding taking photos in the UAE?

Taking pictures of the locals, bridges, power stations, palaces, government institutions, oil and gas, airports or any other items deemed important to national security is prohibited. It is also not recommended that you take a photo of an Emirati woman without their permission. This action could be reported and you might end up spending some time at the police station, therefore be sensible when taking photos of the local people and also ask permission first.

31. Do I need and International Drivers License to drive in the UAE?

Visitors to the UAE, who would like to drive during their stay in the country, are allowed to drive cars provided that they carry a valid driving license, as well as an international driving license issued in their country or origin. International driving licenses or International Driving Permits (IDP), as they are commonly known, is necessary if you wish to drive while staying abroad.

On the other hand, if you are a GCC National or holder of driving license issued from Australia, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Austria, USA, Japan, Greece, Italy, Ireland, England, Belgium, Poland, Turkey, South Africa, Switzerland, France, Finland, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, and Netherlands, you may replace your licenses into UAE license without having to pass a driving test.

32. What are the laws concerning purchasing liquor in the UAE?

Alcohol consumption in the UAE is only permitted in certain designated areas, such as licensed restaurants and bars attached to hotels. However, a license can be secured to legally buy and drink inside your home. Nonetheless, a wide array of wines, beers and spirits is available in the licensed hotel and restaurants. A person under 21 is not allowed to drink liquor. You can also purchase alcohol from the airport Duty Free Shops when arriving into the UAE and can bring in 4 litres of alcohol per person.

33. What can you tell me about the culture and lifestyle in the UAE?

UAE is a diverse, multi-cultural and highly technological country. However, despite diverse backgrounds of its population, the country is able to maintain its precious and heralded cultural identity, which is closely, associated with the religious belief (Islam) and practices. Practically everywhere, you will find mosques and domes.

Most Emirati males wear kandura, an immaculate and gleaming white garment with a headdress called ghuttura locked with the black coil called agal.

For women, a pristine black garment called abaya that covers the whole body, coupled with the scarf (sheyla) embellished with traditional crafts and designs. Some wears a leather mask (burgaa) or a very luminous veil called niqal.

These iconic fashions underlie simplicity and humility, the very core of the country’s culture, tradition and religion.

34. How Ramadan is celebrated and observed in UAE?

Ramadan is the Holy Month for Muslims. During the month of Ramadan eating, drinking, loud music, entertainment, dancing and smoking in public areas are prohibited. Conservative dress must also be worn in public. As a sign of respect, non-Muslims and visitors, consuming food, drinks, smoking and even chewing gum is not allowed in public during fasting hours (from dawn to dusk).

Limited business and working hours are also observed. Shopping malls and shops operate on a slightly later and stay open later than usual timing.

35. What are the religions in the UAE and where can I go to pray?

Islam is the official religion in UAE practiced by almost 76% of the population. Other religion includes Christian (9%), Hindu, Buddhist and Shikhs which comprise the remaining religion and form of worships.

Mosques are located in the heart of almost all residential areas. Houses of worship for other religions were established in different locations where believers/followers are freely practice and express their faith.

36. What are the laws concerning Drugs in the UAE?

The UAE are very strict when it comes to illegal drugs/narcotics and have a zero-tolerance policy. The standard minimum jail sentence for possession is four (4) years. The airports and entry ports have more sophisticated equipment that can detect minute quantities of drugs.

If you do need to bring medicine with you, it is always safe and advised to bring the prescription and have it a letter from your Doctor or attested/notarised (try the UAE embassy nearest to where you live) before you travel.

37. If I meet a person in their National Dress, how should I greet them?

Instead of saying “good morning” or “hello”, they say “Assalamo Alaikum,” which means “May peace be upon you and may God's blessings be with you.” This greeting makes a Muslim aware that he has to spread love and peace wherever he goes.

Close male friends or colleagues hug and kiss both cheeks. They shake hands with the right hand only, for longer but less firmly than in the West. Contact between the opposite genders in public is considered obscene. Do not offer to shake hands with the opposite sex.