United Arab Emirates

Quick facts

  • Full name: United Arab Emirates
  • Capital: Abu Dhabi
  • Largest city: Dubai
  • Official language: Arabic
  • Area: 83,600 km2
  • Population: 9,575,729 (2016)
  • Currency: UAE Dirham (AED) 1 (AED) = 100 fils
  • Foreign tourists: 20.7 million (2017)
  • Travel risks and hazards: Petty crime.

The United Arab Emirates consist of 7 Emirates, most notable of these are Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These two are the most visited regions of the country. The country is famous for emerging as one of the richest nations in the world after oil discovery. In the space of 20 years, cities of United Arab Emirates boomed to create some of the most futuristic cities and impressive skylines in the world.

Traveling info

All visitors traveling to the UAE are required to have a valid passport. ​The kind of visa that you require for entry into the UAE depends on several different factors such as your nationality, the purpose of your planned visit and its planned duration. Citizens of certain nations are exempt from the requirement of a visa and may enter UAE for a period ranging from 30 to 180 day period depending on their nationality. Tourists who wish to drive in UAE must have a valid driving permit and an international driving permit. The international driving permit is a translation of the original document which allows for its recognition. At no point, IDP substitutes for the original driving permit and is only a translation of it. Both documents must be present with the driver.

Traveling hazards

Traffic accidents are a leading cause of death in the UAE. According to the World Health Organization, the UAE has the highest rate of road fatalities in the Middle East and one of the highest rates in the world. Drivers often drive at high speeds. Unsafe driving practices are common, especially on inter-city highways. On highways, unmarked speed bumps and drifting sand create additional hazards. Pedestrians should also use great care on the roads of the UAE as over 25 percent of road fatalities are pedestrians. Country-wide traffic laws impose stringent penalties for certain violations, particularly driving under the influence of alcohol. In the UAE, there is zero tolerance for driving after consumption of alcohol. Persons arrested for drinking and driving are often jailed for many days as they await a court hearing. Penalties may include hefty jail sentences, fines, and for Muslims who fall under the sharia law jurisdiction, lashings.

Environmental hazards

There are no large animals inhabiting UAE that would pose any danger to people. There are 4 dangerous snakes. All of these are vipers and have venom potent enough to kill people. 2 of these species are restricted to mountainous regions of UAE. UAE is home to the indigenous species of the peninsula, namely the fat-tailed scorpion which is one of the most lethal of its species. A sting from these lethal scorpions can cause a number of terrible symptoms, including seizures, unconsciousness, and hypertension. Swimming on the beaches of UAE is safe. There has been only a single shark attack recorded in the history of the country however there have been many more in the Persian Gulf. Such attacks cannot be ruled out. There are several other marine creatures which pose danger to people. These are stonefish and lionfish which both have paralyzing venom however these fish do not harm people unless touched or stepped on. Blue-ringed octopus can also be found in the waters of UAE and is considered one of the most venomous creatures on earth. The octopus injects its venom by biting. Stings from these creatures are often fatal.
The United Arab Emirates has more exposure to natural hazards that have been previously recognized. In the last 20 years, the UAE has been subject to earthquakes, landslides, floods, and tropical storms although earthquakes and cyclones are rare.

Health hazards

There are currently no outbreaks of any diseases in the United Arab Emirates. There are however several vaccinations which are recommended for a disease-free trip. These are the routine vaccines aka MMR vaccines, typhoid, hepatitis A and B and rabies vaccines. Currently, public healthcare in the UAE is free for its citizens, despite the free healthcare and great quality of service, there is a large private healthcare sector which is constantly increasing. This is also due to the fact that UAE is becoming a popular medical tourist spot where tourists often visit esthetic surgeons. Expats must pay for their services in the public facilities. Medical insurance is strongly recommended as medical services might come at quite an expense.


Criminal statistics are difficult to measure due to the host government’s policy of not releasing crime information. In comparison to similarly sized cities worldwide, Abu Dhabi’s crime rate appears to be significantly lower. However, tourists should not be lulled into a false sense of security due to a lower crime rate. While violent crimes and crimes against property do occur, they are infrequent. Most Western travelers are not impacted by crime. While the UAE is less traditional than the countries in their vicinity, people should remember that the locals are still conservative and tourists should stay respectful and dress appropriately in certain places. Particularly around places of worship. Women can generally feel safe however solo traveling might gather unwanted attention. Women can wear bikinis or a bathing suit. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are still quite liberal, some other Emiratis aren’t. However, being topless, of course, is not allowed. While individuals are free to worship as they choose, and facilities are available, religious proselytizing is not permitted. Persons violating this law may be imprisoned or deported. The drugs laws are very strict in the UAE, and travelers passing through the UAE with only trace amounts of drugs on them have been imprisoned for up to four years. This has occurred several times since 2006 and even amounts as low as 0.05 grams or less can lead to a guilty verdict.


The UAE is popular among tourists for a reason. The immense wealth, incredible resorts and architecture on almost every step attracts millions of peoples annually. UAE has one of the highest standards of living in the world which also attracts many foreigners seeking jobs in the country making the native population a minority. Remember that planning your trip with will give you the quickest information about nearest emergency services and will also help you purchase indispensable travel insurance for the trip of your lifetime. Please feel free to comment and share the experiences of your travels with