The UAE and South Africa have a strong relationship. The UAE is home to a large South African expatriate community and frequent daily flights connect the two countries.

Country Information


Shipment value above AED 50000 must have the following documents

  • Original Invoice with stamp & sign of shipper. No stamp by Chamber of Commerce required.
  • Original Certificate of Origin stamped by Chamber of commerce.

Shipments valued between AED 1000 to 50000 should have country of origin printed/mentioned in Invoice. If COO is missing, a fine of AED 1000 will apply. This is refundable within 90 days upon submission of revised invoice.

Shipments from Switzerland, manufactured in Switzerland are duty exempted in Dubai if the shipment is attached with EUR 1 certificate.

Customs Duty in UAE is 5% of the CIF value.

Clearance of Dutiable shipments to individuals (Personal) in Abu Dhabi is subject to approval by the relevant government statutory authorities (Customs, Health, Security, Municipality, etc) regardless of declared value. Such approvals must be obtained by the receiver. DHL cannot obtain approvals on behalf of the receiver. Shipments valued at US$ 270 and above require the importer to be registered with Abu Dhabi Customs with an importers code. The importer has to provide a copy of their Emirates ID or passport with a valid UAE residence visa page and a fee of AED100 to complete a registration and obtain a 1 year importers code. DHL will contact the receiver in the event that any additional documents are required.

For temporary imports of dutiable shipments to exhibitions and trade fairs, in order to avoid any delay and service impact to the customer, please ensure that a customs broker is appointed on the air waybill as DHL cannot perform temporary import formalities on customers behalf in terms of deposit payment and acting as an IOR. Full delivery addresses and contact name/mail/phone number must be provided on all paperwork to facilitate contacting the receiver.

Abu Dhabi customs will require a COO for shipments with declared value above 50,000 AED. Failure to attach the Commercial invoice will result in a customs clearance delay. In an event when shipments with value above 50,000 require clearance without a Commercial invoice, a deposit of 2000 AED has to be kept with Abu Dhabi customs to facilitate the clearance process. The customer will have 90 days before the commercial invoice is submitted failing which the deposit will be forfeited.



Below are details on what is defined to be sent as a Document according to UAE customs.

  • Airline tickets, blank stock (NI) 4
  • Airline tickets, issued/validated
  • Annual reports
  • Artwork including drawings/proofs/layouts
  • Blank forms
  • Blueprints
  • Booklets, brochures (non-adv.)
  • Business cards
  • Calendars
  • Cash letters (NI)
  • Catalogues
  • Charts/graphs
  • Cheques, blank (NI)
  • Cheques, cancelled (NI)
  • Cheques, cashier (NI) 1
  • Computer printouts
  • Deeds
  • Diaries 2
  • Diplomatic mail 5
  • Documents, general business
  • Drawings, technical/architect/eng.
  • Invoices, blank
  • Invoices, not blank
  • Labels
  • Manuals, technical
  • Maps
  • Money orders (NI)
  • Music, printed or manuscript
  • Negatives, including x-rays, films
  • Newspapers
  • Pamphlets
  • Passports 3
  • Personal mail
  • Photographs
  • Photos as part of business reports
  • Plans/drawings – architectural or industry
  • Playing cards
  • Postal envelopes
  • Price lists
  • Price tickets for garments
  • Publication not for public resale
  • Ship manifest-computer generated
  • Shipping schedules
  • Transparencies
  • Visa applications
  1. If cancelled or ‘for deposit only’, otherwise unacceptable.
  2. Soft back and hard back: up to 5 kg’s send as a document. Over 5 kg’s, send as parcel
  3. Passports can be forward as documents but subject to customs inspection, delay expected 24 to 48 hours
  4. 1) For ATA carnet clearance: The carnet must be attached to the box and the Invoice and Air waybill must clearly state that it is a carnet shipment. For export ATA endorse shipper should call local DHL Customer service and request for re-expo booking. 2) CITES – For Export / Re-Export shipments which has CITES certification requires to be endorsed by customs inspection at the port of loading. Such shipments need to be notified by the shipper to customer service at the time of booking.
  5. Diplomatic mail above 26 kg’s and (20kgs for AUH), consignee to provide approval from Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Shipment will not be released until respective Embassies/Consulates produce the approval.



  • Airline tickets, blank stock (NI) 6
  • Alcoholic beverages 5
  • Coal & firewood 5
  • Communications equipment 7
  • Compact disc 9
  • Cotton 8
  • Cotton seed 8
  • Dangerous goods, hazardous materials 12
  • Diskettes 9
  • Drugs: non-prescription 10
  • Drugs: prescription 3
  • Films: 8mm, 16mm & 35mm 2
  • Films: entertainment 9
  • Films: promotional, training 9
  • Foodstuffs 1
  • Isopropanol 5
  • Laser disc 2
  • Magazines, periodicals, journals 2
  • Military equipment 5
  • Liquids, non-hazardous 5
  • Medical samples 4
  • Military equipment 5
  • Mobile phones, accessories and component 11
  • Perishables 5
  • Phones/modems 7
  • Radar equip.-transmitters/receivers 7
  • Radios, radio equipment or parts 5
  • Seeds 8
  • Tapes: computer 2
  • Tapes: video cassettes 2
  • Telecommunication equipment 7
  • Tobacco 8
  • X-ray machines 13
  1. Non perishable samples up to 1KG can be sent as a parcel however import permit may be required by customs case by case. Others to be sent under Air waybill direct to consignee C/O DHL and comply with below; all commercial invoices should have Goods Country of Manufacture Heath certificate, Products should have date of expiry clearly mentioned, Consignee should have valid license to import food stuff.
  2. Due to censors, delay: 1-6 days (depending on quantity).
  3. a) Commercial Consignments: AE consignee requires an approval and import permit from the AE Minimum of Health. Imports subject to delays of between 3 to 6 days depending on quantity and commodity. Shipments containing medical drugs must be consigned direct to consignee as OFFNET, C/O DHL when requiring DHL to clear shipments b) Personal Consignments: Origins must check with AE GTW  if medicine is acceptable for import into the UAE as the AE Authorities maintain an extensive list of drugs that are commonly prescribed but that at are banned for use or import into the UAE – a prescription accompanying the shipment will not facilitate the import of a banned commodity
  4. Manual Air waybill to be consigned to actual consignee, C/O DHL International. Commercial Inv, Packing List and Air waybill required. Samples for human consumption must travel off-net, D to A. Equipment can travel on-net but then consignee has to clear it. Medicine shipments should be consigned direct to consignee as OFFNET, CO DHL when requiring DHL to clear
  5. Please consign the shipments to the actual consignee c/o DHL. Consignee must provide licence for clearance; otherwise shipment will be confiscated
  6. 1) For ATA carnet clearance: The carnet must be attached to the box and the Invoice and Air waybill must clearly state that it is a carnet shipment. For export ATA endorse shipper should call local DHL CS and request for re-expo booking. 2) CITES – For Export / Re-Export shipments which has CITES certification requires to be endorsed by customs inspection at the port of loading. Such shipments need to be notified by the shipper to customer service at the time of booking.
  7. Consignee must have approval from Ministry of Communication BEFORE import. Failure to obtain this will result in long delays and shpt being returned to orig. All shipments must be  accompanied by Air Waybill, Invoice and Packing List
  8. Max 1 kg as samples allowed and consignee must provide Certificate of Agriculture. Shipments to be addressed to consignee’s name only.
  9. Maximum quantity 10 pieces and shipments can clear customs within 4 hrs upon arrival. If more than 10 pieces, shipment has to go to Ministry of Information for formal clearance, delays: 1-15 days.
  10. To private individuals: prohibited. Only acceptable for commercial companies with licence to import any quantity, approval from Ministry of Health required. Clearance delay: 1-15 days.
  11. To private individuals limited quantity is allowed [5 pieces] no commercial quantity can be importer by individuals- For companies consignee should have valid importer of record registration with Dubai Customs.
  12. Please contact the local Dangerous Goods Coordinator prior to shipping email address
  13. Please contact destination prior to accepting shipment for any licenses or permits requirement.



The following items are specifically not allowed to be sent with DHL to the United Arab Emirates.

  • Aircraft parts and spares
  • Antiques
  • Asbestos
  • E-cigarettes
  • Engine / tires / spare parts, etc.
  • Fertiliser or pesticides
  • Firearms, parts of
  • Food items, canned / tinned food
  • Furs
  • Gambling devices
  • Herbal products
  • Jewellery
  • Medicines
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Plants and plant products
  • Plants or seeds
  • Precious metals and stones
  • Satellite equipment

Restricted items

  • Temporary importation of dutiable shipments to exhibitions and trade fairs
  • Airline tickets, blank stock (NI)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Coal and firewood
  • Cotton, including cotton seed
  • Dangerous goods, hazardous or combustible materials
  • Drugs: prescription and non-prescription
  • Isopropanol
  • Foodstuff
  • Liquids, non-hazardous
  • Medical equipment
  • Magazines, periodicals, journals
  • Military equipment
  • Medical samples
  • Perishables
  • Telecommunications equipment including non-mobile phones, modems, radar equipment, radios, radio equipment or parts, transmitters and receivers
  • X-ray machines

This is in addition to DHL’s Global standard list of prohibited items which can be found here



Maximum dimensions: length 120.0CM (47.0 IN), height 80.0 CM (31.0 IN), width 80.0 CM (31.0 IN)

Contact destination GTW when need to shipment Non Standard size & weight shipment

Maximum weight per shipment: 3000.0 KG (6600.0 LB), Maximum weight per piece: 1000.0 KG (2200.0 LB)

Pallet piece weight = 1000KG, Non Pallet piece weight = 70 KG


Should you at any time require more information or telephonic assistance, please make contact with our Certified International Specialists.




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