A first-timers guide to understanding Abu Dhabi
In this section, we cover everything you need to know about how to legally enter Abu Dhabi as a tourist, along with religion, dress code and customs all visitors should be aware of when planning a trip to Abu Dhabi.
You can jump straight to:
- Tourist visas for Abu Dhabi
- Religion in Abu Dhabi
- Dress code in Abu Dhabi
- The do’s and don’ts every first-time visitor to Abu Dhabi should be aware of
Tourist visas for Abu Dhabi
Please read our more up to date guide to Abu Dhabi entry during COVID in conjunction with the advice set out here as it contains further details on pre-approvals, testing requirements and potential self-quarantine periods.
To enter the UAE as a tourist, everyone except GCC nationals (passport holders from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman & Bahrain) needs a Tourist Visa.
For many nationalities, however, the tourist visa is free on arrival for either 30 days or 90 days.
We share the complete list of countries and how visa extensions work here.
If you are not from one of these countries, then you can apply through your airline or a travel agent for a transit visa (free for 48 hours if arranged in advance, or 50AED for 96 hours), or if staying longer, a 30-day or 90-day eVisa (these come in single and multiple entry).
For a complete guide to Abu Dhabi Tourist Visas, click here.
If you have overstayed your UAE tourist visa, or wish to renew a 30-day visa, click over to this article where we detail how to do a “visa run” from Dubai (the same rules are applicable from Abu Dhabi).
(Note we are not a Tour Agency registered in the UAE. We cannot help you with this step!)
Religion in Abu Dhabi
The UAE is a Muslim country with a Sunni Muslim majority of approximately 76%. The country’s laws are based on a Civil Law System and Sharia Law, which may have some key differences to the legal systems tourists are used to.
- You can learn more about “the Call to Prayer” and Islamic practices in the UAE here
- You can see a full guide to Abu Dhabi Religious and Public Holidays to be aware of here
- You can find a full tourists guide to the Holy Month of Ramadan in Abu Dhabi here
Dresscode in Abu Dhabi
As a Muslim country, there may be a stricter standard of dress expected of you than you normally experience in your home country. Whilst there is no need for non-muslim tourists to be fully covered, tourists are expected to be respectful of the culture and dress in a conservative manner in public places.
The difference between public and private places, and what’s considered appropriate can be tricky in some situations, so we have a detailed guide here to help you navigate your way around the Abu Dhabi dress code.
The Do’s and Don’t every first-time visitor to Abu Dhabi should be aware of
Particularly if you’ve never visited a more conservative Muslim country before, there may be a few social rules, and strict laws you are unaware of that could land you in trouble with the law.
You can read our full guide to the do’s and don’t for first-time visitors here.
We also have these detailed guides which may help you understand local laws and customs to be aware of:
- Am I allowed to drink alcohol in Abu Dhabi?
- The Alhosn App and Abu Dhabi’s “Green Pass” system explained
What happens if I need to cancel my trip to Abu Dhabi?
In the unfortunate event you have to postpone or cancel your trip to Abu Dhabi, we talk you through all the steps you need to take care of here.
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Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our hotel or tour recommendation links.Abu Dhabi Travel Planner