How to import furniture to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and UAE?

a stunning modern sofa

Importing furniture to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can be a lucrative venture for businesses looking to tap into the region's thriving market. However, navigating the import process can be complex and daunting, requiring careful planning and adherence to the country's regulations. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps and considerations to successfully import furniture into Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the UAE.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a dynamic economic powerhouse in the Middle East, evolving from its heavy reliance on oil exports to becoming a global hub for shipping, transportation, and logistics. Leveraging its strategic geographical position, the UAE has embraced diversification and established free trade zones with distinct regulations, enticing foreign investment. In this article, we will explore the key considerations for importing and selling goods in the UAE, including setup requirements, documentation, and the associated taxes and costs.

The UAE's free zones offer a range of advantages, including zero percent corporate tax, minimal import/export duty, low company start-up and operational costs, and the ability to have 100% company ownership. These benefits make the free zones in the UAE highly advantageous for businesses involved in import-export activities.

This article will provide comprehensive information on the key factors to consider when importing furniture in Dubai and in the UAE or its various free zones, as well as the primary shipping ports and airports. We will delve into the necessary setup requirements, essential documentation, and explore the taxes and costs associated with importing furniture products into the UAE.

How do I obtain an Import Code for importing furniture in the UAE?

  1. Ensure that you possess a valid Trade Licence for either Dubai, Abu Dhabi, the wider UAE, or one of the UAE Freezones, allowing you to engage in import and export activities.
  2. Gather the following documents necessary to obtain a UAE Import Code:

- A valid UAE Company Trade Licence that explicitly states the activity of "Importing."

- A copy of the Passport of the General Manager listed on the Trade Licence.

- A copy of the Emirates Resident Visa belonging to the General Manager of the company.

- A copy of the Emirates ID card of the General Manager of the company.

Once you have collected these documents, you can proceed with the application process to obtain the UAE Import Code.

How do I import furniture into the UAE?

Importing furniture into the UAE can be done through two main methods: air and sea transportation. Choosing the most suitable option for your needs requires careful consideration of several factors, including budget, time limitations, storage requirements, weight, dimensions, and fragility of the goods. By evaluating these factors, you can determine the optimal mode of transportation for your import needs. However, transportation by air will cost much more than by sea.

The UAE is home to several prominent ports and airports. The key shipping ports in the UAE include:

  1. Jebel Ali
  2. Mina Rashid
  3. Mina Zayed
  4. Mina Khalid
  5. Khor Fakkan

Furthermore, notable airports in the UAE are located in:

  1. Dubai
  2. Abu Dhabi
  3. Fujairah
  4. Ras-Al-Khaimah

These ports and airports serve as vital hubs for import and export activities, facilitating efficient transportation of goods in and out of the UAE.

import furniture Dubai

How do I ship furniture products into the UAE?

When importing products into the UAE using sea freight, the exporter must furnish the importer with the following essential documents:

  1. Original copies of the bill of lading: This document serves as proof of ownership and contains details about the shipment, such as the quantity, description, and destination of the goods.
  2. Commercial invoice: The commercial invoice provides information about the transaction, including the description of the goods, unit prices, total value, payment terms, and other relevant details.
  3. Packing list: The packing list itemizes the contents of each package within the shipment, including the quantity, weight, and dimensions of each item. It helps customs authorities and importers verify the contents of the shipment.
  4. Certificate of Origin: This document confirms the country of origin of the goods being imported. It is necessary for customs clearance and may be subject to specific requirements or preferential trade agreements.

By providing these four documents, the exporter ensures that the necessary information is available for customs clearance and facilitates a smooth import process via sea freight into the UAE.

After obtaining the original bill of lading certificate, the importer must proceed with the following steps:

  1. Delivery Order: Submit the original bill of lading certificate to the shipping agent to obtain a delivery order. This document authorizes the release of the cargo.
  2. Cargo Clearance and Import Declaration: Fulfill all cargo clearance requirements, including submitting the Import Declaration application for UAE Customs clearance. In Dubai, this can be done online through
  3. Payment of Customs Duties and Fees: Pay any applicable customs duties and fees. This can be done online using the CDR (Customs Duty Credit) account or by credit/debit card.
  4. Customs Import Declaration: Once the payment is made, the importer can print the Customs Import Declaration. UAE Customs will review the provided information and may inspect the cargo before granting its release.
  5. Freight Forwarding: At this stage, the importer can engage a freight forwarding company to take delivery of the cargo at the port.

By following these steps, the importer ensures compliance with customs procedures and facilitates the smooth release and delivery of the imported cargo in the UAE.

What taxes are applicable to imports of furniture into the UAE?

In order to import new furniture from abroad into the UAE, the customer is required to provide a purchase commercial invoice and a certificate of origin. It is important to declare that the import is for personal use and not for commercial purposes or as a furniture merchant. The customer must then formulate and submit a customs declaration through a customs broker or clearance agent at the port of entry. Additionally, the customer is responsible for paying the applicable customs duties, which are set at 5% of the value of the imported goods.

UAE Value-added Tax

The UAE implemented Value-added Tax (VAT) starting from 1 January 2018, with a rate of 5%. VAT is applicable to a wide range of transactions involving goods and services. The UAE government imposes VAT on registered businesses at every stage of the supply chain.

A business is required to register for VAT if its taxable supplies and imports surpass a threshold of AED 375,000. Voluntary registration for VAT is possible for businesses whose taxable supplies and imports exceed AED 187,500. However, if the value of imports falls below this threshold, registration is not mandatory.

How can we assist with importing furniture to Dubai and the UAE? has a well-established presence in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, the broader UAE, Oman, and Qatar. With our extensive teams, experience, and expertise, we specialize in offering professional assistance and sourcing high-quality furniture from China for international companies, businesses, and homeowners looking to import furniture in the local market.

Our dedicated operations teams maintain strong relationships with local government authorities, ensuring that accurate information is provided and all requirements are efficiently met. We prioritize effective and timely processes to support our clients in navigating the import and sales procedures seamlessly. Contact us today and get the best prices for your furniture in Dubai and UAE

/Let's talk/
Ready to build your dream home?