Business Etiquette in the UAE: Doing Business in the UAE

Business Etiquette in the UAE: Doing Business in the UAE

In recent years, the UAE has become an attractive business center. It is not surprising to see why so many people are drawn to the UAE for doing business. There is an environment conducive to the development of businesses and there is little government intervention. Additionally, the UAE is considered one of the least corrupt countries.

Free zones enjoy property rights, privacy and tax exemption. You can set up a business in any of the 7 emirates. When doing business anywhere in the UAE, remember that the region is subject to Islamic law. There is a fine line between life in general, business and religion.

Doing business in a free zone

Customs laws applicable to companies in free zones are different from those on the continent. Certain goods are prohibited in free and duty-free zones, depending on their nature of origin.

Prohibited goods refer to goods which are not authorized to do business either for export or import in accordance with uniform customs legislation. GCC country or the provisions of any other relevant law. Prohibited products include radioactive materials, ammunition, weapons and explosives, drugs and goods from boycotted countries.

Business etiquette in the UAE

Business etiquette is an acceptable way to behave in a business environment. To break it is rude and offensive. The following business etiquette ideas will help you understand what to expect:

Islam and culture

Doing business in the UAE requires that you familiarize yourself with the Islamic culture and way of life of the people. The legal system is based on Sharia law, which opposes criticism of Islam, proselytism, and photographs of people without consent. To avoid confusion, it is necessary to seek the help of legal consultants in Dubai. The success of your business depends on your understanding of the culture.


Although Arabic is the most widely spoken language in UAE, people also speak English, Russian, French, Hindi, etc. Almost all official forms, documents, decrees and laws are written in Arabic. Therefore, it is necessary to have some knowledge of the language. English is also widely used. Although most written correspondence is often in English, it is best to print one side in Arabic. During meetings, exchange business cards immediately after the greeting, present it with your right hand or with both hands. Do not offer or receive anything with your left hand.


The UAE is an Islamic country which means they worship every Friday. Unlike other countries, the working week starts on Monday and ends on Thursday. Weekends are Friday and Saturday. Private companies can work with separate or direct teams. If you have planned business meetings during Ramadan, it is very important for you to attend this position. Some restaurants have places where non-Muslims can eat.


You should always dress appropriately in public and at work. Both men and women should dress modestly. Avoid open clothes and shoes; arms, shoulders and legs should be covered. Business suits are more appropriate and acceptable for men. Dark colors are more professional than bright colors. Women should wear work clothes that cover the knees. If you are not a Muslim, you don’t need to wear the hijab, but you should be modest.


Business meetings in the UAE begin with a greeting. You have to greet the oldest person in order to show respect first according to Islamic culture. Welcoming your partners with the help of “Assalam alaykum” means peace for you, the answer should be “we, alaykum alaykum”, it means peace for you and for you.

Men can greet their partner with their right hand. The left hand is considered unclean. Women should refrain from any contact with the body. Women can greet each other with a left kiss on the cheek. When greeting a Muslim, a woman should not offer her hand, wait for the man to offer his hand to you, and if not, do not try to force it.

Professional conversations

Good business relationships are established during the first meeting. You need to get along with your business partner, you can find out about the well-being of your colleague during the conversation. However, avoid asking questions about your colleague’s wife or daughter.

In business conversations, status is very important and you need to use the right names. Usually, sheikh (boss) or sheikh is used for lady and sayyid (mr) or sayyid (mrs). You should always contact people with a proper name. In business negotiations, you should strive to gain the trust of the other party. Focus on flexibility and set clear goals.

It is easy and profitable to start a business in UAE, however, you need to know the proper culture and behavior. Dress modestly and learn more about the culture of the UAE. It is also advisable to understand how to strike up a conversation with the local people, especially during negotiations and meetings.

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