The Federal Customs Authority “FCA" called on all travelers from and to UAE to strictly comply with customs procedures as prescribed by GCC unified customs law and relevant applicable laws in the country to ensure their safety, and safe risk-free travel experience.
In a press release, the Authority highlighted that travelers from and to UAE entertain handful customs benefits and facilitations which counts up their travel entertainment from and to the State, whether it comes to luggage, permitted substances, prohibited and restricted commodities or cash sums in their possession.
In this context, the Authority broadcasted an awareness movie in three languages; Arabic, English and Urdu on its various social media platforms and its website www.fca.gov.ae to educate travelers on travel customs procedure, travelers' rights and obligations as prescribed by GCC unified customs law.
H.E Ali Saeed Matar Al Neyadi, Commissioner of Customs - Chairman of FCA, said leveraging the level of customers and travelers' customs awareness and offering safe and risk-free travel experience is one of the strategic objectives of customs sector in the country therefore, the Authority alongside local customs departments are keen to ensure effective communication with traveler and traders and their up to date updates on customs procedures and requirements.
H.E pointed out that the monitoring operations by the Authority and local customs departments of travelers' compliance with customs procedure assures the high level of customs compliance among the majority of travelers despite the attempts by foreign smuggling and organized crime gangs to exploit a few travelers' lack of awareness and the appetite of some of them to attain swift gains, to implicate them in committing smuggling crimes of prohibited substances as drugs, hazardous materials and endangered species and other prohibited and restricted substances.
Authority's movie addressed those substances qualified to be brought into the country and duty exempted namely; telescopes, Movie projection devices and relevant accessories, Radio and CD players along with CDs, video and digital cameras and their tapes for personal use, Portable music instruments, cellular phones, TV and receiver –one each-, strollers, personal sports equipment, portable computers and printers, calculators, special needs' chairs and equipment, medication for personal use provided complying with applicable regulations, personal clothes, toilet tools and luggage of personal nature.
Additionally, the Authority confirmed in the press release that the unified customs law provided for a set of conditions for the said commodities to qualify for exemption, that is to say that gifts brought in with traveler shall not exceed AED 3000, luggage and gifts should be of personal nature but in non-commercial quantities, traveler should not be frequently dealing with customs department or a trader of the substances in his possession, cigarettes should not exceed the permissible limit (200 cigarettes), tobacco quantity should not exceed the permissible limit of chopped tobacco for smoking, pipe tobacco, regular tobacco or hookah exceeding which the same shall be subject to imposed duties and traveler should not be one of the crew of the transport means. Additionally, tobacco products and alcoholic drinks may not be entered nor exempted for a travel below 18 years.
In terms of cash sums with traveler, the Authority emphasized in the awareness movie that all travelers coming to or departing from the country shall disclose any currencies, financial and bear's negotiable instruments, precious metals of stones of more than (60) thousand Dirham or its equivalent in any other currency, exceeding which they shall fill in relevant cash sums disclosure form. The Authority highlighted that those below 18 years may not bring in or take out any sums above the set threshold given that any sums in their possession shall be added to their parents' limit.
Prohibited and Restricted Commodities
FCA drew the attention to an existing list commodities prohibited by the country to import or export in accordance with customs law and competent authorities in the State, the top of which narcotics of different types, gambling tools and machines, nylon fishing nets, live animals of pig species, raw ivory, laser pens with red light package, fake and counterfeited currency, used and renewed tyres, substances contaminated nuclear rays and dust, publications, pictures, drawings and stone sculpture against religion or public moral., paan substance and betle leaves and any other goods prohibited to import.
FCA added: “Entry of a number of restricted commodities may be allowed following competent authorities' consent including; live animals, plants, fertilizers and pesticides, weapons, ammunitions, explosives and fireworks, medicines, drugs and medical equipment and instruments, media publications and products, new vehicle tyres, transmission and wireless devices, alcoholic drinks, cosmetics and personal care products, raw diamonds and cigarettes manufactured and processed from tobacco.
“In case of restricted commodities, competent authorities' consent shall be sought, including the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health and Prevention, Ministry of Culture and Youth, Federal Authority for Nuclear Energy, Ministry of Industry and Advance Technology, Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, Dubai Police and Kimberley UAE". Added the Authority.
H.E Commissioner of Customs - Chairman of FCA, stressed that customs inspectors and controllers are quite vigilant in customs port to detect any smuggling operations or any breach to stipulated customs procedures as prescribed by the law whether if it relates to exempted commodities, permitted cash sums in the possession of travelers, restricted or prohibited commodities.
FCA emphasized that any traveler committing smuggling crime shall be subject to punishment whether by fine, imprisonment or both penalties. It indicated that the unified customs law defined smuggling as the entry or an attempt of entry or taking out any goods from or to the state without paying duties wholly or partially, or in contradiction to the provisions of prohibition or restriction prescribed by the unified customs law or other regulations and laws.
The Authority listed some forms of smugglings as refraining from heading to the first customs department with the goods upon entering the state, travelers' non-declaration of any goods of commercial type in their possession, passing goods away from the customs department without disclosure thereof, furnishing forged documents, placing false signs to evade duties or the provisions of prohibition and registry, transporting or possessing prohibited or restricted goods without providing an evidence of systematic importation thereof in addition to detecting any concealed goods without declaration.
Pertaining the penalty of smuggling crime, the Authority said that in accordance with the unified customs law, the penalty ranges financial fine, imprisonment for one month to 3 years or either penalty, or confiscating goods and tools engaged in smuggling depending on the type of smuggling and smuggled commodity.
FCA provided a bundle of golden tips to travelers to ensure their safety and enjoying a risk-free journey the most prominent of which is refraining from receiving luggage or bags from unknown persons in the country of departure without knowing their contents, not to exchange luggage with friends under good faith grounds without verifying their contents and refraining from concealing cash sums, precious items or hesitating in disclosing the same where reaching the set threshold.
As well, Authority's tips to travelers included submitting an evidence of the gentility of possessing the goods carried by travelers (a certified prescription for medication), following the guidelines and instructions issued by airlines and forwarding companies, being familiar with its applicable laws on imposed prohibitions and restrictions before traveling, acting upon the guides and instructions of customs officers within customs and inspection areas in addition to not concealing information pertaining persons carrying prohibited or restricted substances and finally, not to penetrate randomly among travelers in crowded areas to speed up travel formalities.
The Authority advised travelers and traders to visit its website or refer to #customs_ enquiries for further details.