Abu Dhabi city is the capital of the UAE Federation.
The late H. H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the first President of the UAE and is known as the Father of the Nation. He served this position since the formation of the UAE on 2 December 1971 until he passed away in 2004.
The Late H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
was the second President of the UAE. He took this position in 2004 until he passed away on 13 May 2022.
H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the current President of the UAE. He took this position on 14 May 2022. He is also the Ruler of Abu Dhabi.
The UAE is a constitutional federation of seven emirates. The Constitution of the UAE provides for five federal authorities. They are:
- The Supreme Council
- The President and the Vice-President
- The Cabinet
- The Federal National Council
- The Federal Judiciary.
The UAE follows a moderate foreign policy that reinforces balanced relationships with the international community. It adheres to the principles of peaceful co-existence, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. It pursues peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue together with the support of international institutions, such as the United Nations. The UAE is a leading player in the global campaign against human trafficking, terrorism and in maintaining human rights.
Through foreign aid, the UAE supports developmental, humanitarian and charitable programmes in a number of developing countries. As per the new ‘Grant Equivalent’ methodology of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC), the foreign assistance was valued at AED 6.81 billion (USD 1.85 billion) in Official Development Assistance, accounting for 0.52 percent of the UAE’s Gross National Income in 2020.
With this, the UAE continued to maintain its position of being among the world’s top 20 donors of the Official Development Assistance as a proportion of Gross National Income (ODA/GNI), for the ninth year in a row. Read the UAE’s annual foreign aid reports.
Arabic is the official language of the UAE. In the courts, the other five official languages are Chinese, English, French, Hindi and Russian. All road and traffic signs, and signs on commercial outlets are in Arabic and English. Some of the other widely spoken languages include Bengali, Farsi, Malayalam, Turkish and Urdu.
Islam is the official religion in the UAE. Expatriate residents practice their respective religions by virtue of the UAE’s policy of tolerance and co-existence, and religious inclusion.
The UAE is located in Asia. It is situated in the southeastern region of the Asian continent, and in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. It overlooks the Arabian Gulf on the north and northwest, borders the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the west and south and the Sultanate of Oman to the southeast.
The UAE area is approximately 71,023.6sq km of land, including some islands in the Arab Gulf, in addition to 27,624.9sq km of territorial water. Abu Dhabi accounts for 84 per cent of the country's total landmass.
The UAE is situated at:
Longitude: 51° 35’ - 57°10’ east
Latitude: 22°35’ - 26°25’ north
The UAE is 4 hours ahead of GMT.
The UAE maintains a desert climate. It is warm and sunny in the winter and during the summer, it is hot and humid. It is generally cooler in the eastern mountains.
The Arab Emirati Dirham is the official currency of the UAE. It is called Dirhams and is abbreviated officially as AED. Unofficial abbreviations include Dh and Dhs. The dirham is divided into 100 fils.
Coins are in the following denomination: AED 1, 50 fils and 25 fils.
Notes or bills are in the denomination of AED 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000.
(Source: Extraordinary Abu Dhabi, PDF, 1 MB)
Since February 2002, the Arab Emirati Dirham (AED) is pegged to the US dollar (USD). 1 USD = AED 3.6725.
The flag comprises three equal horizontal lines with green at the top, white in the middle and black at the base. There is also a wider vertical red ribbon in the direction of the flagpole.
Green represents hope, joy, optimism and love. It can also symbolise the country's prosperity.
White represents peace and honesty. White is the purest colour, and is interpreted by some to symbolise cleanliness.
Black stands for the defeat of enemies and also strength of mind.
Red represents hardiness, bravery, strength and courage. The vertical red band can also be interpreted as binding all the other meanings together in unity.
Coat of arms
The UAE's new coat of arms displays the UAE flag surrounded by seven stars, representing the seven emirates. The falcon is also shown holding a parchment in its talons which reads 'United Arab Emirates' in Arabic.
UAE Nation Brand
In 2020, the UAE adopted the ‘7 Lines’ design as its logo for the next 50 years. The logo represents the seven emirates and the seven founding fathers, and complements the slogan ‘Make it Happen’. This logo is to represent the UAE in all its initiatives and events, and to convey its story to the world.
The UAE's national anthem, Ishy Bilady was originally conceived as an instrumental in 1971. In 1986, Dr. Aref Al Sheikh was given the task to write the words to the UAE's national anthem, and the Cabinet approved the lyrics.
Read the translation of the UAE's National Anthem
Download the UAE National Anthem's musical Notes
Download the UAE National Anthem
Diplomatic missions in the world
Find embassies of the UAE across the world.
Foreign representation in the UAE
Embassies and consulates are usually open from Monday to Friday (the UAE work-week) and are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, all UAE public holidays, and on the public holiday of the embassy's home country.
Opening times vary depending on each embassy and the purpose of visit. Find embassies and consulates in the UAE.
All UAE citizens in the seven emirates carry the unified nationality of the UAE, which is recognised internationally. The demonym is Emirati.
According to Arton Capital's Passport Index, the UAE passport holds the 1st position globally. A UAE-passport holder can travel to 168 countries; 115 destinations offer visa-free travel and 53 offered eVisa or visa on arrival at the airport.
According to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, the UAE's total population (nationals and expatriate residents) was 9,282,410 in 2020, as compared to 9,503,738 in 2019. Males outnumber females.
There were 6,468,460 males in 2020, as compared to 6,302,724 in 2019.
There were 2,813,950 females in 2020, as compared to 3,201,014 in 2019.
There are more than 200 nationalities living and working in the UAE. The expatriate community outnumbers the population of UAE nationals.
Indians form the largest foreign community in the UAE, followed by Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, other Asians, Europeans and Africans.
According to UNESCO, the literacy rate among the population aged 15 to 24 years is 98.2 per cent and among the population aged 65 years and older is 87.1.
According to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, here are the figures for births in 2019:
Total births: 94,697
Males: 48,857 Females: 45,840
According to Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, here are the figures for deaths in 2019:
Total deaths: 9,006
According to Human Development Report, issued by the UNDP in 2020, life expectancy at birth is 78 years.
Prior to the construction of 'Dubai Palms' and other schemes, the coastline of the UAE was approximately 1,318 kilometres. Land reclamation projects are extending this figure.
The country's lowest point is at sea level and its highest point is Jebel Jais at 1,934 metres.
According to Annual Economic Report 2020 (PDF, 18.5 MB), GDP at constant prices was AED 1,486.3 billion in 2019, while GDP at current prices was AED 1,546.6 billion in 2019.
Imports and exports
The value of the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade in 2021 amounted to nearly AED 1.9 trillion, reflecting a 27 per cent growth compared to the value of trade in 2020. The breakup is as follows:
Imports: AED 1trillion
Non-oil exports: AED 354 billion
Re-exports: AED 521.3 billion.
1 January to 31 December
AED 58.931 billion is the federal budget for 2022. The largest share of the 2022 budget has been allocated to the development and social benefits sector at 41.2 per cent, out of which the UAE will spend:
- 16.3 per cent on education
- 6 per cent on social development
- 8.4 per cent on health
- 8.2 per cent on pensions
- 2.6 per cent on other services.
Meanwhile, 3.8 per cent of the budget has been allocated to the infrastructure and financial resources sector.
The UAE's inflation rate was 2.5 per cent in 2021.
Consumer price index
The UAE's consumer price index at the end of 2021 reached 108.62.
The UAE does not levy income tax on individuals. However, oil companies and branches of foreign banks are liable to pay taxes. In addition, the UAE levies 5 per cent Value Added Tax on the consumption or use of goods and services.
Natural resources and energy
Oil and gas
The UAE holds 6.7% of the world's proven oil reserves estimated at 97.8 billion barrels and 3.5% of proven gas reserves, equal to 6091 billion cubic metres.
Source: Annual Statistical Report 2018- OAPEC
The UAE is ranked as the 6th largest proved reserves of both oil and natural gas globally.
Source: WAM (Arabic)
Domestic supply is 220 volts. Sockets suitable for three-pin 13 AMPs plugs of British standard design are the norm. Appliances have two-pin plugs attached.
In 2017, the total installed capacity of electricity in the UAE reached 30371 megawatts (MW), which utilises natural gas.
Source: Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure
The installed capacity for desalinated and groundwater reached 1,658 million imperial gallons per day, while the production of desalinated water was 435,387 million imperial gallons per year as of 2017.
Source: Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure
Tap water produced by desalination is safe to drink; however, bottled water is preferred by most residents and tourists and priced reasonably in general.
In 2017 installed capacity of renewable energy plants in the UAE amounted to 325 MW.
The UAE adopted a nuclear programme for production of electricity. Four reactors are being built at the nuclear power plant in Baraka in the Western Region of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Upon the completion of this programme, a production capacity of up to 5600MW will be added to the national grid by 2020.
Government and semi-government offices operate from Monday to Friday. However, Sharjah government entities operate from Monday to Thursday.
Most private companies are closed only on Sundays, while others are closed on both, Saturdays and Sundays.
UAE National Day
It falls on 2 December and marks the UAE's formal nationalisation and the start of the federal unification of the emirates in 1971.
The UAE marks its Commemoration Day on 30 November. It recognises the sacrifices and dedication of the sons of the nation, who have given their lives in the UAE and abroad in the field of civil, military and humanitarian service. The Public holiday for Commemoration Day is on 1 December as per UAE's Cabinet decision for the national holidays in public and private sectors in 2019-2020.
Other public holidays are:
- Gregorian New Year
- Eid Al Fitr
- Arafah day and Eid Al Adha
- Hijri New Year
- The Prophet's Mohammed birthday
International dialling code: +971
The dialling codes for the emirates/cities are:
- 02 for the emirate of Abu Dhabi
- 03 for Al Ain city in the emirate of Abu Dhabi
- 04 for the emirate of Dubai
- 06 for the emirates of Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain
- 07 for the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah
- 09 for the emirate of Fujairah and city of Khor Fakkan.
Telephones - fixed lines
According to Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), there were 2,115,353 fixed lines with an average of 23.4 lines per 100 inhabitants as of March 2021.
According to TDRA, there were 17,075,188 active mobile subscriptions with an average of 188.5 mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants as of March 2021.
The top-level domain is .ae.
According to TDRA, there were 3,269,359 broadband internet subscribers with an average of 36.1 broadband internet subscriptions per 100 inhabitants as of March 2021.
TV and radio
TV channels and radio stations are owned by government and private companies; both local and international.
Content is offered mainly in Arabic and English. Other languages of broadcast include Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, Tagalog and Farsi.
The number of TV and radio stations:
Emirates News Agency (WAM) is the official UAE news agency of the UAE Government. It publishes news in multiple languages.
Major airports in the UAE
Motorists drive on the right hand side of the road.
The emirate of Dubai levies a toll (salik) of AED 4 when vehicles pass through the toll gates.
In Abu Dhabi, a toll of AED 4 is levied on every vehicle passing the toll gate during peak hours from 7 to 9 am and from 5 to 7 pm from Saturday to Thursday.
E11 - it is the longest road in the UAE. It stretches from Al Silah in the emirate of Abu Dhabi to the boundary of Ras Al Khaimah.
It has various alternate names: Sheikh Maktoum Road in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai and Sheikh Muhammad bin Salem Road in Ras Al Khaimah.
E311 or Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, which was known as Emirates road - the road links Dubai to the rest of the emirates.
E611 or Emirates Bypass road - it has a length of 110km.
Sheikh Khalifa highway - it links Dubai and Fujairah.
According to the World Shipping Council, one of the world's top 50 container ports is in the UAE.
The UAE has several seaports. Some of the major ports are: