Making Business in the UAE

Making Business in the UAE

UAE – United Arab Amirates

Tami Lancut Leibovitz


The United Arab Emirates is a union of seven sovereign sheiks that was established when the British left the Persian Gulf in 1971. In this relatively small region there are mountains, beaches, desert, oasis, camel races, Bedouins, and duty-free shopping area in Dubai which already became a household name.


Identity Card:

Full name: The United Arab Emirates

Land: 83,600 square kilometers

Population: 2.4 million people

Capital city: Abu Dhabi (about half a million people)

Residents: 61% Arabs; 22% South Asians; 8% Iranians; 9% foreign residents

Language: Arabic, English, Persian, Urdu, Hindi

Religion: 96% Muslims; 4% Hindus, Christians and others

Sovereignty: Federation, when certain authorities are at the federal regime's hands and others are in the hands of each of the Emirates


Lifestyle and Culture

The Persian Gulf States share a regional culture that is sometimes called "the Gulf culture." There are different dialects of the Arabic language in all of the Gulf States, there is similar music (Sawt, Fijiri, Ardha, Liwa), similar cuisines, they share the same type of clothing and so on. Many of the Arabs that live near the Persian Gulf States consider their dynasty as having its roots in the tribes.

Most of the Emirates citizens belong to the Malachi and Hanbali movement (the law system) of the Sunni Islam. Many of the last movement members are Wahhabis (cult of the 18th century that supports in sticking only to the Qur'an), but they are not religious and strict as the Saudi Wahhabis. The united Emirates is the most lenient country in the Gulf, but still very conservative in comparison to the West countries. There are also small communities of Shiites and Ibadis (the most ancient cult in Islam that supports equal concepts), and the strangest fact about the union population is that only a quarter are citizens of the union, and the rest are foreign residents from other countries in the Gulf and yes, Iranians, Indians and Pakistanis.

The official language is Arabic, yet English is pretty common as well. In Dubai they also speak Persian, and big communities of foreign residents from Pakistan that live in Abu Dhabi and Dubai speak Urdu. The Emirates Union cuisine includes the common Middle Eastern dishes: Ful, Falafel, Humus and Shawarma. Light soda can be found anywhere, but alcoholic liquor is sold only in hotels' restaurants and bars in a scale of three stars and up and in outrageous prices. In Sharjah you cannot get any alcohol beverages at all.


Holidays and Special Occasions

The religious holidays are celebrated per the lunar calendar, withdraws every year 11 days as opposed to the civilian calendar. Eid ul-Fitr (breaking the fast holiday at the end of Ramadan), Eid al-Adha (sacrifice feast at the end of Hajj, Mecca's Pilgrimage), Lailat ul-Isra and Miraj (Muhammad's "night of journey and ascension"), Moulid el-Nabi (Muhammad's birthday) and Ras as-Sanah (Muslim New Year's) are the main holidays. The public holidays are the Silvester (January 1st) and Independence Day (December 1st).

The Islamic calendar is the official calendar of the Persian Gulf States (especially Saudi Arabia), and the Muslims around the world use it for religious proposes. The Islamic calendar, which is also called the Hijri Calendar, is based on the moon cycle alone. There are always 12 months a year with 29.5 days on average, which means – just a little over 354 days. The Islamic year is shorter than the Christian year, which is a little over 356 days. Each month begins as the moon is first spotted, and that is why the exact date is affected by different factors (weather, viewer location and more). This method makes it difficult to know in advance the date of a certain months' beginning, and it is possible that in different places the month will begin on different days.

While calendars are printed in advance they are strictly estimates, and the dates change according to observations, which are done at the same day.

The Islamic New Year begins at the 1st of the Muharram month at the Hijri year. It takes place every year in a different time as per the Islamic calendar principles. Muhammad the prophet's birthday starts at the month Rabi ul-Awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar. The prophet's birthday is commemorated with teens parading and reading the story of the prophet's life, which is written in the Book Al-Sira.


Setting Appointments:

Addressing by Name:

Business Dress Code:

Business Cards:

During the Meeting:

Business Conversations:


The Gift Protocol

When it comes to these states, gifts are a problematic issue given that first of all, the cost of a present here is cheaper than in any other place in the world. Second, most Westerners are having difficulties distinguishing between the different citizens you can find here, and each one has different priorities. Following are a few valid rules to serve everyone: