Shipping to Dubai From the US
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For over a decade the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been a top US export market in the Middle East and Africa region. This Arabian Gulf country has a dynamic economy that is open to international business.
Its strategic location works as a gateway to the region and makes it a lucrative market for US businesses.
UAE is also the ecommerce leader among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. In the year 2020, the digital shift caused due to COVID resulted in a record $3.9 billion in ecommerce sales in the region. This was up by 53% from the previous year and constituted 10% of the total retail sales.
Are you planning to expand your online business in this exciting market and sell to customers in Dubai?
This guide provides information on how to ship a package from the US to Dubai, plus tips on how ecommerce brands can better plan international shipping logistics with ShipBob.
Cost & delivery speeds for shipping to Dubai from the US
As an ecommerce business, your shipping strategy could vary from being speed-oriented to being environmentally conscious, plus other factors.
When expanding your business, choosing a carrier that is reliable and aligns with your shipping strategy is critical. USPS, UPS, DHL, and FedEx are all major international carriers that ship from the US to Dubai and are trustworthy.
Below is a list of shipping options from these carriers. The shipping rates in the table here have been calculated using each carrier’s unique pricing calculators.
A consistent example of a 2 lbs package in March 2022 has been used to determine the prices here. Costs for UPS, DHL, and FedEx have been calculated for a sample package with dimensions of 17” X 13” X 1” (L X W X H). Actual costs may differ.
Note: These are general options for consumers shipping orders. To know what ShipBob offers when shipping to other countries like South Africa, please request a quote here.
ShipBob’s exact rates for customers will vary as we charge an all-in ‘total fulfillment cost’ that includes picking, packing, and shipping, among other factors.
|USPS||GXG Envelopes||$123.85||1-3 business days|
|USPS||Priority Mail International||$61.50||6-10 business days|
|USPS||Priority Mail Express International||$77.30||3-5 business days|
|UPS||Worldwide Expedited||$157.34||5 business days|
|UPS||Worldwide Saver||$133.57||3-4 business days|
|FedEx||International Economy||$161.01||5 business days|
|FedEx||International Priority||$175.69||3 business days|
|DHL||Express Worldwide||$122.15||5 business days|
How to choose a shipping carrier
International shipping comes with many challenges. To choose the right shipping carrier for your needs, it’s good practice to assess the merits and demerits of key players.
To make shipping to South Africa, you have different options from USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL.
Besides shipping rates and transit times, there are other carrier services you will want to keep in mind, including reliable order tracking, pick-up options, and more.
Below is a list of the pros and cons of four leading international shipping companies. This will come to be of use when shipping from the US to Dubai.
Shipping to Dubai from the US with USPS
USPS ships to over 180 countries internationally and has a widespread presence across the US as well. It offers a credible and strong delivery network.
Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) is one of the options offered that promise speedy delivery. However, this service comes at a cost premium.
Alternatively, Priority Mail International is a cost-effective option offered. But it takes longer to deliver.
When to use USPS to ship from the US to Dubai
If you are looking for affordable delivery options, USPS would make a good choice. Its flat rate options allow for sending heavier packages at reasonable prices.
When shipping to Dubai, Priority Mail Express International is a valid option that attempts to club affordability with relatively faster delivery timelines.
Shipping to Dubai from the US with UPS
UPS is a global logistics leader with over 115 years of presence. It delivers across 220 countries including the United Arab Emirates and is one of the world’s largest customs brokers.
When to use UPS to ship from the US to Dubai
UPS Worldwide Saver is its most affordable option for shipping to Dubai. It aims to deliver within 3 business days and is a reliable service.
If your need is thorough customs support, on-time delivery, business solutions, and a dedicated 24/7 international shipping support helpline, UPS would make for a dependable choice.
Shipping to Dubai from the US with FedEx
FedEx ships to over 220 countries and is a strong international logistics carrier. It has a robust air and ground network that helps ensure prompt deliveries with a time guarantee.
When to use FedEx to ship from the US to Dubai
If you are an ecommerce business or an individual in need of speedy delivery, and like your shipments insured, FedEx could be your preferred carrier.
FedEx International Economy and FedEx International Priority are two options it offers when shipping to Dubai from the US.
Although these options are priced significantly higher than other carriers, their international shipping is trustworthy and fully trackable. FedEx also offers customs assistance.
Shipping to Dubai from the US with DHL
DHL is a German carrier with a commitment to environmentally friendly practices. It is a trusted global player in logistics that ships to over 220 countries across the world including Dubai.
When to use DHL to ship from the US to Dubai
If you are looking for a carrier that offers free pick-up service, trackability, and delivers on time, DHL could be a suitable option for you.
Its environment-conscious practices can be of significance to an ecommerce business that is committed to adopting climate-friendly solutions.
Duties & taxes when shipping to Dubai from the US
Imports to the UAE from the US are charged a fixed 5% customs duty. Some products may however attract higher duties.
Import duties and taxes in the UAE are calculated using the CIF method. It is a way to calculate customs duty as a percentage of the value of imported goods and the shipping costs.
The threshold value over which customs duty is levied is set at 1000 AED for most shipments from the US.
Businesses registered in a Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in the UAE may be entitled to additional benefits related to customs requirements.
Below is a list of some of the product categories with their respective customs duties as charged by the UAE’s customs authorities.
|Custom Duty %||Description|
|20%||Health and beauty|
|0%||Pharmaceuticals and agricultural products|
|0%||Computers, mobiles, and tables|
|100%||Energy drinks, tobacco products, and e-smoking devices|
|50%||Carbonated and sweetened beverages|
|5%||Toys, home décor, books, and collectibles|
Dubai customs information
Despite where a company is set up in the UAE, Free Trade Zone (FTZ), or the mainland, a correct trade license from appropriate authorities is required to import goods in the country.
Also, documentation is required by the UAE customs authority is essential for smooth customs clearance and should be submitted once the consignee/agent in the UAE receives a delivery order from the shipping agent:
- A commercial invoice
- Certificate of origin approved by the Chamber of Commerce from the country of origin
- Detailed packing list with relevant HS codes
- Airway bill
For restricted or duty-exempted goods, an import permit from a competent agency would be required.
Food products may need additional documentation such as Halal slaughter certification, health certificate, etc.
Aside from food products, all shipments to the UAE must go through a legalization process. It’s a two-step process:
- Documents are to be verified by the UAE’s exclusive verification agent, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
- After verification, companies are to submit the documents for legalization to the UAE Embassy or consulate depending on where the company is based in the US
There may be additional documents or information required by the customs authority.
To know more about Dubai’s customs department and its processes, you can visit the official website.
Prohibited items when shipping to Dubai
Each country has a prohibited list of items for imports. It is advised to review this list before shipping as the UAE has a very strict policy in dealing with the import of banned goods.
Below is a list of some of the items that are prohibited from import:
Items you can’t ship to Dubai from the US
|Controlled drugs and narcotics substances|
|Protected and endangered animals|
|Pirated content material|
|Items that contradict Islamic faith and public morals|
|Pornographic literature and material|
|Products made in Israel|
What ecommerce businesses need to know about shipping to Dubai
Almost 100% of the UAE’s population has access to the internet and mobile phones. Online shoppers in this Gulf country made 58% of their digital purchases from overseas merchants.
If you are looking to expand your business to new territories and the MENA region excites you, Dubai could make for the perfect start.
Read on to get some insights on this multicultural hub for your ecommerce business.
1. Localize your communication efforts
While English is spoken widely and is the language of business in the UAE, Arabic is the official language and is required for all government documentation.
Sensitivity to local traditions and Islamic beliefs is essential. The use of Arabic in advertising and packaging is not only desirable but sometimes mandatory in marketing goods.
It is therefore important to localize and communicate in the regional language.
Many luxury brands have created Arabic language websites as some locals avoid online shopping owing to language barriers.
Product and brand reviews on social platforms can influence digital shopping behavior. You should use social media for local trends and engage with the audience to garner new customers.
2. Build relationships with partners, and customers
Dubai’s style of business heavily values personal relationships and integrity. Therefore, US companies are advised to take time to nurture their relationships by way of frequent visits and increased face-to-face contact.
You should look at building a local presence, engaging with the business network, and participating in local trade events for greater chances of success in the UAE market.
There is increased importance being given to quality, after-sales service, maintenance needs, and effective cost.
Returning customers are crucial for a business to win in this market. As an ecommerce business looking to gain a foothold in this promising market, you must offer robust customer service and post-sales support.
3. Price well and leverage the American reputation
Pricing your products well is critical in the UAE market as there is intense competition from foreign players.
Price is prioritized by buyers and consumers as an important element in many product categories.
However, consumers in the UAE perceive American products to be of better quality and durability.
When compared with Asian products, consumers may rationalize the higher prices of US products on account of advanced technology, superior quality, and higher transport costs.
But European companies that offer quality products make for strong competitors.
To establish yourself well, it is therefore paramount to price your products well, and offer not only great quality products but a superior after-sales experience.
4. Outsourcing to a 3PL expert like ShipBob
Ecommerce businesses face many challenges especially when trying to capture an unknown international market.
To enhance your chances of success it is therefore important to spend your time wisely on key drivers of growth such as product development and marketing.
Outsource shipping and logistics to a 3PL like ShipBob
To offer customers across the world a remarkable brand experience, consider partnering with an international 3PL like ShipBob.
Selling internationally can be challenging, time-consuming, and costly. But with ShipBob, you’re given everything you need to serve customers across the globe while saving time on logistics.
We not only take care of picking, packing, and shipping your orders to Dubai, we also offer upfront fulfillment costs that include customs, duties, and additional taxes.
By partnering with ShipBob, you eliminate the need to manage retail fulfillment, logistics operations, and hire labor.
The best part about partnering with ShipBob is you get time back to focus on more strategic initiatives, such as customer service and marketing.
“We realized that this time, we had to find a global fulfillment provider with expertise in US fulfillment — which led us back to ShipBob.
ShipBob’s software was much easier to use than our previous local provider’s, and gave us a better picture of what was going on with our orders. Even from overseas, it gave us the visibility and control we would expect from a provider in our backyard.”
John Greenhalgh, Co-Founder of A Year of Dates
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Shipping to Dubai FAQs
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about shipping to Dubai from the US.
What’s the cheapest way to ship to Dubai from the US?
USPS’s Priority Mail International is one of the cheapest ways to ship from the US to Dubai. It promises to deliver within 6-10 business days.
What’s the cheapest way to ship large packages to South Africa from the US?
USPS offers some flat rate shipping options to Dubai at rather cheap prices. The weight however is capped at a maximum of 20 pounds. Shipments are expected to reach the destination within 6-10 business days.
What’s the fastest way to ship a package to Dubai from the US?
USPS Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) and USPS GXG Envelopes both claim to deliver shipments from the US to Dubai within 1 to 3 business days.
Do I have to pay customs duties and fees when shipping to Dubai from the US?
For most shipments over the price of 1000 AED, a flat customs duty of 5% is levied. The duty may however vary for different products.
What’s the easiest way to ship something to Dubai from the US?
USPS has a vast physical footprint that makes dropping off parcels easier. It also offers services such as free pick-up and flat rate shipping and is, therefore, a convenient option when shipping to Dubai.