Emirates School
ARCH Tournaments

3rd - 9th April 2017
United Arab Emirates

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WELCOME TO THE UAE

The UAE was created as a federation and became a unified independent sovereign state in 1971.  In addition to Abu Dhabi, which is the largest constituent in terms of both area and population, its members are Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.

UAE map

What are the temperatures in the UAE?

Abu Dhabi temp chart

What is the climate like in the UAE?

Sunny/blue skies can be expected throughout the year.  The months June through September or summer season are generally hot and humid with temperatures averaging above 40C (110F).  The weather is much more pleasant from October to May.  January to February is cooler and may require the use of a light jacket.  Air conditioning makes life comfortable at all times of the year even in summer.

Recommended sun screen factor

High – factor 20/30 and above.)  Re-apply frequently in the hot temperatures.

Population

The population of the UAE has grown dramatically over the last two decades and stands at over four million today.  Abu Dhabi has the largest population of the seven emirates, reaching almost 1,600,000 compared with just over 1,200,000 in Dubai and 636,000 in Sharjah. In addition to UAE nationals, the population figures include the many expatriate residents that live and work in this cosmopolitan country.

Women visitors

Female visitors, whether travelling alone or with their families, experience no special restrictions of dress or behaviour in day-to-day life in the UAE. Foreign women visitors can be assured they will be readily accepted and welcomed.

Dress code

Lightweight summer clothing is suitable most of the year, but some slightly warmer garments may be needed for the winter months, especially in the evenings.  When visiting hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and cinemas it is also a good idea to take a sweater or cardigan as the air-conditioning can be a little cold.  The attitude to dress in the UAE is relaxed, but visitors (men as well as women) should show respect for local culture and customs in public places by avoiding excessively revealing clothing.

Health and Medical

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No health certificates are required, except for visitors who have been in cholera or yellow fever infected areas in the previous 14 days.

The quality of healthcare in the UAE is generally very high and visitors should have no problem obtaining appropriate treatment and advice either in a private clinic, or in case of an emergency, in a government run hospital. Most medicines are readily available at pharmacies, and many without prescription - even antibiotics.

As with any destination anywhere in the world, visitors are strongly recommended to arrange travel and medical insurance before traveling.  Visitors should check for any exclusions on policies, and that policy coverage is appropriate for the activities you wish to undertake.

Visitors with disabilities will find that international airports are well equipped to cater to their needs, as are most of the big hotels - many have specially adapted rooms for such guests.

Food and Alcohol

All types of cuisine can be found in the UAE.  As well as the international fare on offer in many top class restaurants and hotels, visitors are encouraged to sample the delicious local and regional dishes such as hummus, salads, fresh pastries, rice dishes and grilled meats.  Pork however does not feature on Arabic menus, as its consumption is forbidden under Islamic traditions.  Alcohol is served in hotel restaurants and bars  (except  in Sharjah) but, with a few exceptions (e.g. some clubs and associations), is not for sale elsewhere.

Visas

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Visa requirements vary for UK passport holders.  Full United Kingdom passport holders require a simple visitors visa (rubber stamp) on arrival at the airport.   Other UK type passport holders (i.e. “British Overseas Citizen passport”) need to check their requirements with the local UAE embassy or consulate.

Except for citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council who do not require a visa and nationalities automatically entitled to visit visas on entry, all other visitors who wish to stay longer than 14 days in the UAE must obtain a visit visa in advance through a sponsor. The sponsor can be your travel agency, your hotel, the company or department with which you are doing business in the UAE, or an individual (eg. a relative or friend resident in the UAE).

In order to complete your application, your sponsor will require your date of arrival, flight details, and a photocopy of the first few pages of your passport, which should be valid for at least three months after your return or departure from the UAE.

A hotel will only provide a visa if you are a guest.  Your visit visa must be deposited at airport immigration one hour before the arrival of your flight.  Note that your airline may require evidence (e.g. a photocopy) before departure that a valid visa awaits you on arrival.

Customs

The duty free allowance for each visitor entering the country is 2,000 cigarettes or 400 cigars or 2kg of tobacco, a 'reasonable amount' of perfume, and, for non-Muslim adults, two litres of spirits and two litres of wine.  Visitors are not charged customs duty on personal effects they bring into the UAE.

Religion and Ramadan

The UAE is an Islamic country and Islam plays an integral role in the life of its citizens. Other religions are treated with great respect, especially monotheistic faiths like Christianity, with which Islam shares many common roots. The UAE’s cosmopolitan population supports many places of worship from Hindu temples to Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. 

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar calendar and the holiest of the four holy months. It begins with the sighting of the new moon after which all physically mature and healthy Muslims are obliged to abstain from all food, drink, gum chewing, any kind of tobacco use.  However, most private hotel restaurants stay open for business to cater to their guest.

The exact dates of Ramadan change every year because Islam uses a lunar calendar, which means that each month begins with the sighting of a new moon.

Currency and Credit Cards

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The monetary unit of the UAE is the dirham (abbreviated to Dhs or AED) divided into 100 fils.  The dirham is linked to the US dollar at a rate of around US$1 to Dhs.3.67.  There are no foreign exchange restrictions and the currency is freely convertible.

The UAE has a comprehensive network of local and international banks as well as ATMs, to be found in shopping malls, petrol stations and the airports. Cards accepted include American Express, Cirrus, Global Access, MasterCard, Plus System and Visa.

Most shops, hotels and restaurants accept all major credit cards. Money exchanges can be found all over the UAE offering reasonable rates. Hotels also change currencies and cash traveller's cheques on behalf of guests

Tipping

Tipping practices are similar to the rest of the world.  Taxi drivers do not expect a tip, but will appreciate a little extra.  In restaurants 10% is considered adequate if service is excluded.

What language is spoken in the UAE?

The official language is Arabic, but English is widely spoken and hotels have staff speaking a wide range of other major European languages.

What is the time difference in the UAE?

+ 4 hours GMT

What is the flight time from London to the UAE?

Approximately 7 hours

International telephone dialing code

+971

Electricity supply

The electricity supply in the UAE is 220/240 volts at 50 Hz. The socket type is the square three-pin system (as used in the UK).

Is the tap water drinkable in the UAE?

The local water supply in the UAE is perfectly safe – however given the very inexpensive cost of bottled water, it is recommended to take these with you especially on trips or excursions away from the city limits.

Official Holiday

Fridays and Saturdays constitute a weekend in the UAE.

 

 

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