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Vital info for importing goods into the United Arab Emirates

We live in a rich global economy, and businesses in the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are continuing to establish more and more mutually beneficial trade arrangements. If your UAE company is considering importing foreign goods from the United States, there is significant documentation necessary.

What you need to know

Consider the type of good you are trying to import, and first, make sure it is not on the prohibited list. Also, you will want to assess market value and weigh the benefits and challenges of selling the imported good in question. Once you have done your business due diligence, you need to do the same on the legal side.

Import requirements for the U.S. exporter and the foreign importer

As the importer, you need to obtain an order from the Shipping Agent and submit the following paperwork:

  • Merchant invoice from the exporter with product details, including description and value
  • Certificate of origin from the U.S. that has been approved by a U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Detailed packing list, which should indicate the weight, method of packing and provide a code for each item
  • Import permit, if necessary, for bringing in restricted goods or duty-exempt products
  • Bill of entry

Additionally, for food products, you will require the following:

  • Original health certificate from a U.S. agency, verifying the food's quality and that it is safe to consume
  • Original Halal slaughter certificate for meat and poultry

Document verification and submission

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is the UAE Embassy's sole verifying agent for proving imports. You must submit your paperwork to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and undergo a two-step process for approval. After verification and approval, submit these documents to either the UAE Embassy in D.C. or to the Consulate of the State in which your company has its headquarters.

The business of importing foreign goods can be highly lucrative, but it is vital to follow the legal procedure in place. If you have any questions about this process, consult a lawyer with experience in this area for advice. They can help you get all the legal protection and permissions necessary to succeed in this endeavor.

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