·         About UAE

The UAE in brief

This page provides basic information about the UAE. 


The UAE: a constitutional federation of seven emirates 

The United Arab Emirates consists of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah. Four-fifths of the UAE is desert but has contrasting landscapes—from the towering red dunes of the Liwa to the rich palm-filled Oasis of Al Ain, from the precipitous Hajjar Mountains to the more fertile stretches of its coastal plains.


Though small in size (similar to the size of Scotland), the UAE has become an important player in regional and international affairs. In 1971, the late President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan unified the small, underdeveloped states into a federation—the only one in the Arab world. With his visionary leadership, oil wealth was used to develop the UAE into one of the world's most open and successful economies.


In 2004, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan became the President and has since continued to strive towards an ambitious vision for the UAE.


Quick facts

Political system:

Constitutional federation 


National Day:

2 December (The UAE was establised on 2 December, 1971)



The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan



H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Ruler of Abu Dhabi)


Vice President and Prime Minister:

H. H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Ruler of Dubai)


Other Rulers:

Sharjah: H. H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi


Ajman: H. H. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi


Umm Al Quwain: H. H Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla


Ras Al Khaimah: H. H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi    


Fujairah:  H. H Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi



83,600 Sq. km. (Slightly bigger than Scotland); Abu Dhabi accounts for 87% of the country's total landmass.



Bordered to the North by the Arabian Gulf, to the East by the Gulf of Oman and Sultanate of Oman, to the South by Saudi Arabia and Sultanate of Oman and to the West by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.


Geographic coordinates:

22. - 25.5 North and 51 - 56.5 East.



Arid desert, cooler in the eastern mountains. (Winter: warm & sunny / Summer: hot and humid). The average annual rainfall in the coastal area is fewer than 120 mm (4.7 in), but in some mountainous areas annual rainfall often reaches 350 mm (13.8 in) where it is also generally cooler.


Elevation extremes:

Arabian Gulf 0m, Jabal Yibir 1,627 m


Natural resources:

Oil and gas; more than 90% of which are located in Abu Dhabi.



8.19 million, 16.5 % Nationals (est.2010. The National Bureau of Statistics, UAE)



Abu Dhabi


Largest city by population density



Monetary unit:

UAE Dirham 1AED = 100 Fills


Exchange rate:

1 USD = AED 3.67 (Pegged to the US Dollar)


Fiscal year:

1 January to 31 December



Friday and Saturday


Official language:



Other languages:

English, Farsi, Hindi, Urdu



Islam (Practice of other religious beliefs is allowed)


Literacy rate:




GMT +4 (Daylight Saving Time +3)


International dialing code:



Internet domain:




Three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white (middle), and black (bottom) with a wider vertical red band on the hoist side.



The demonym for UAE nationals is Emirati. 


National anthem:

The national anthem is ‘Aishi Biladee'.


*Content sourced from the official website of the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the official website of The Cultural Division of the Embassy of the UAE in Washington, DC.


Useful links:

·         UAE fact file – UAE Interact


Read more about the UAE under:

  1. Culture
  2. Economy
  3. Electoral system
  4. Environment and energy
  5. Foreign policy
  6. Governance
  7. Government of future
  8. History
  9. Human rights
  10. Innovation
  11. Media
  12. Science and technology
  13. Sports
  14. The seven emirates
  15. Topography


View videos about the UAE on the YouTube channel of UAE Interact and WAM news agency.


Read more about the UAE on UAEPedia or download these E-Books

With year-round sunshine, intriguing deserts, beautiful beaches, luxurious hotels and shopping malls, fascinating heritage attractions and a thriving business community, Dubai receives millions of leisure and business visitors each year from around the world. These visitors can benefit from a range of services and a local infrastructure that help make any trip to Dubai smooth and hassle-free.

Dubai has a warm, sunny climate that is ideal for tourism, with mild temperatures for most of the year and a low rainfall. Summer temperatures in July and August can reach highs of around 45ºC (113ºF) with high humidity, making this the least comfortable time of year to visit in terms of climate. However, Dubai is well geared up for high temperatures, and public transport, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions are all air conditioned.

English is widely spoken in Dubai, and as all restaurant menus, road signs and other information is usually presented in both English and Arabic, visitors who speak English will have no trouble making their way around. Many tour operators and travel professionals will also be able to offer services to French, Russian and German speaking visitors.
The local currency is the dirham, which is pegged to the dollar at Dhs 3.67. Dubai offers a sophisticated network of banks, currency exchanges and ATMs, making it easy to access money across the city.
Dubai is tolerant and cosmopolitan and all visitors are welcome. However, Islam is a way of life in the city, and therefore tourists should adopt a certain level of cultural and religious sensitivity for the duration of their stay. While dress codes are fairly liberal, swim wear should only be worn on beaches or at swimming pools, and when visiting shopping malls and other attractions, tourists should wear clothing that is not too tight or revealing. Certain attractions, such as mosques or religious sites, usually have stricter dress codes, requiring both men and women to cover up bare shoulders, arms and legs, and women to wear headscarves.
Despite being governed by Islamic laws, alcohol is available to tourists in licensed bars and restaurants (these are almost always located inside four and five star hotels), and in airport duty free shops. Drinking in public places (such as beaches) is not permitted, and being drunk and disorderly in public can result in stiff penalties.
The Journey of Dubai and its Ruler
For those who prefer a visual journey of Dubai, here is a link to a seven and a half minute video entitled ‘The Journey’. Released by Dubai Government Media Office, the 3D animation video in either English or Arabic highlights the most important achievements of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, while also drawing parallels with the growth of Dubai.
The video takes viewers back to 1949 to Sheikh Mohammed’s birth and his early childhood and schooling, to his earlier positions as Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security in 1969, as Defence Minister in 1973, to becoming Crown Prince in 1995, to assuming the post of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in 2006.
The video pays special tribute to the economy and development of Dubai, highlighting a series of achievements through which Dubai has created a deeply influential strategy in its rich march of development and modernisation. Among these key achievements are the opening of Port Rashid in 1972, construction of Dubai World Trade Centre in 1978, opening of Jebel Ali Port in 1979, the launch of Emirates Airline in 1985, and the launch of the Dubai Shopping Festival in 1996.It includes major projects such as the launch of the Dubai Quality Award (1994), Dubai Government Excellence Award (1997), the Dubai Internet City (1999), the opening of Burj Al Arab Hotel (1999), as well as the launch of Dubai Media City (2000). The same year witnessed the launch of the eGovernment project, as well as the establishment of the Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprises followed by Dubai Healthcare City (2002).
Navigating between time and place, the work also showcases the launch of the Dubai International Financial Centre - DIFC (2002), the opening of Palm Jumeirah (2008), Dubai Metro (2009), and the opening of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world (2010) -- right down to the year 2013, during which Dubai made a range of achievements of great significance, such as the launch of the strategic plan for developing Dubai as the hub for the global Islamic economy, the launch of ‘Dubai Smart Government’ culminating in Dubai winning the bid to host the World Expo in 2020.


More Information for Visitors to Dubai – Dubai Tourism
List of Dubai Tourism Offices Abroad – Dubai Tourism
Dubai Visitors' Checklist - 21 Must-Do Activities – Dubai Explorer
Current Weather Report for Dubai – Dubai Meteorological Services
Dubai's Culture and Customs – Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
Currency and Exchange Rates – UAE Interact
List of Dubai Banks– UAE Interact