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Is Dubai A Country?

UPDATE MARCH 2022. So I had a conversation with an American friend the other day, and he had never heard of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he thought Dubai was the capital of Saudi Arabia and he thought their nationality was Muslim. Yup, really! Where do I start?! I tried to tell him the actual story but it got a bit long-winded. The UAE is a big tourist destination these days, and with so many people taking holidays to Dubai I thought the confusion would be over, but clearly not!  So is Dubai a country or not? Is it one of the 197 countries in the world? Nope. Let me put things straight:

What is the UAE:

The UAE is an abbreviation of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is a country, consisting of seven smaller ‘Emirates’ which are similar to states. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are 2 of those 7 states.

The seven emirates which make up the UAE are:

  1. Abu Dhabi
  2. Dubai
  3. Sharjah
  4. Ajman
  5. Fujairah
  6. Ras al Khaimah
  7. Umm al Qaiwain
Is Dubai a country?
Is Dubai a country? No.

What is the Capital of the UAE:

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE.

Is Dubai a country?
Is Dubai a country?

Wait for a second, so you’re telling me neither Dubai nor Abu Dhabi is a country?!

Is Dubai A country? No, Dubai is not a country and Abu Dhabi is not a country.

What continent is Dubai in?

Dubai is on the continent of Asia. It’s in the Middle East of course, but that too is within the Asian border

So, Is Dubai in Asia?

Yes! Remember, the Middle East isn’t a continenet. The middle east is part of the Asian continent. One of 7 continents in the world.

So why does Dubai, Abu Dhabi etc have their own flags?

They are the flags of their Emirate, all the seven emirates have individual flags BUT they also all fly the same UAE flag (seen below).

Is Dubai A Country?
Is Dubai A Country? The UAE flag

How does their Government work?

The UAE has a President (the Emir of Abu Dhabi) and a Prime Minister (the Emir of Dubai). Each Emirate retains autonomy over its region.

what continent is dubai in
what continent is dubai in

Where is the UAE:

It’s on the eastern side of the Arabian peninsula. It has Saudi Arabia to the West and Oman to the South.  Check out the graphic and google map below.

is Dubai A Country?
Where is the UAE, and is Dubai A Country?

Is Dubai a country? Where is Dubai? Google map: 

Should I Visit the UAE?

If you enjoy experiencing very different cultures, then yes certainly! Bumming on a beach in Thailand can only offer so many aspects to a holiday, so once you’ve ticked that box it’s time to put yourself to the test. The Middle East is back to ‘real’ travelling, no tourist buses, no dorms full of college students, you’re really on the road. And Dubai is a great starting point for that.

It’s a lot more liberal (in the Western sense) than much of the UAE so it breaks you in nicely. After than you can consider tours to Syria, or tours to Iraq, like the trips I took my readers on (read about them on those links, great trips!).

Why are so many people visiting Dubai these days!?

Dubai is the most famous place to visit in the region. Why? Cheap flights. Hot weather. And lots of instagrammable places. Quality food and pretty epic night life too mean that more and more influencers see it as the place to be. For better or worse.

And there are certainly enough things to keep you occupied for a good few days but the UAE is not cheap so don’t stay too long! Budget for around $60 per day at the super low end, get in, soak it up and move on. It’ll be an experience like no other.

is Dubai a country?
Is Dubai a country? Dubai skyline

Is Dubai Safe?

In a word, yes. Super safe. Unless that is you breach the cultural rules. Violent crime is almost non-existent. But if you disrespect the Mosques, or are drunk and disorderly in public, you can find yourself in trouble with the police quite quickly. Be sensible, and it’s one of the safest places on the planet.

Do women need to cover up in Dubai?

No. Dubai is a liberal state within the United Arab Emirates.

Some Muslim women do cover up, so don’t be shocked to see full hijabs in practice. However, you’re just as likely to see a Russian instagrammer in next to nothing right beside them.

Is the Dubai weekend Saturday and Sunday, or Friday and Saturday?

Dubai follows the Islamic tradition of Friday/Saturday weekends. So that means Dubai brunch on a sunday morning has become an institution for expats. All you can eat (and drink). It has to be seen to be believed!

is dubai a country

Can You Drink Alcohol in Dubai?

Yes! It is of course a Muslim country. However, the vast majority of people who live in Dubai aren’t from Dubai. It has a HUGE expat population. And with that, there are venues to serve them. Most hotels have alcohol licences, and therefore have bars within them.

The pubs witin the hotels are designed to barely look like they’re part of a hotel, which means nightlife and drinking culture in Dubai is the same as anywhere else. In fact, it’s probably crazier. And a lot more expensive! Beers can run to $20, and cocktails can go all the way to $50!

Local Muslims are forbidden (however, that is practically never enforced).

Do you need a visa to visit Dubai?

For the people who have found this article, generally not. The developed world gets a visa on arrival. Some developing countries still need to apply for a visa in advance however. UK/US/Ireland etc can just show up without doing anything.

Why is Dubai rich?!

The simple answer would be oil. However, the UAE is rich in oil, but Abu Dhabi has most of it! So much so, that Dubai has gone broke more than once in recent times. Hence the largest building in the world being named after Abu Dhabi’s leader, after he bailed Dubai out to finish it!

Dubai however is a huge trading port. And it’s often known as the GCC’s financial centre. So money continues to flow through Dubai.

So, is Dubai A Country After All?!

Nope! Dubai is 100%, not a country. The United Arab Emirates, or UAE, IS a country though. And I hope that helps clear things up, it can be quite confusing. So that should answer your ‘Is Dubai A country?’ quandary, and remember the UAE really is a great place to visit, great for shopping too, for more ideas on what to give to photographers, check this out, and while I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a typical backpacker haunt it’s certainly an intriguing place. Happy travels!

Is dubai a city or a country
Is Dubai a city or a country? A city.

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Got a question? Wanna comment? I'd love to hear from you

70 thoughts on “Is Dubai A Country? What is the UAE?

  1. Pingback: 迪拜是一个国家吗?什么是阿联酋或阿拉伯联合酋长国?-数字游民指南
  2. Pingback: 48 Hours In Dubai; A Step By Step Guide how to spend 2 days in Dubai
  3. Dear Johnny,

    Your article is very informative. Dubai is a wonderful place to visit as it has lots of visiting places. People are crazy to explore Dubai. There are the most wonderful places to visit include desert safari tours and Desert Safari Dubai.

  4. Dubai is not a country it is a city, UAE is a Country if you want any financial and accounting related service in UAE feel free contact us.

  5. I would argue that UAE is actually 7 seven countries united, just like the countries of the UK. So, what’s a country?

    The UAE has a UN seat, issues passports, has diplomatic relations, has an army. Sounds like a country.

    My understanding is that the finances of the emirates are quite separate. I’ve searched online and it says that the budget of the UAE is AED60.3 billion, whereas Dubai’s is AED56 billion. My understanding is that each emirate pays into the federal budget directly, more like how the EU states pay into the EU budget.

    Open questions:
    -can Emiratis live and work in any Emirate? I’d love to know
    -between Emirates, is there immigration control? customs? tariffs?

    So by most measures, UAE is a country. But some people then argue that the EU is a country. It sort of depends on your definitions for these terms.

  6. Dubai is one city of United Arab Emirates out of total 7 cities of Emirates.
    But Dubai is the top city amount all other cities in terms of Business, tourism etc.

    Hope its clear

  7. Dubai is expensive or equivalent to UK. Hotel room mini bar crisps 22 UAE currency which isaround £4.10!!!! LOL I could have bought 4 multiplies bags back home. Yes I totally understand mini bars are expensive but not so much that you would dare use it.
    Dubai is so expensive. I wanted to save on housing and I found great apartment on free service

  8. Hey there!!! Love your blog!! you did no put Qatar in your Middle East experience. It’s a country itself. Did you visit it???? I lived there for 9 years working as an Engineer 🙂

  9. HI
    I have european passport but i am israeli citizen
    i would like to visit Dubai for the tyre sjhow in may 2017
    will it be ok
    do i need any special certificate

      1. Hi .I have a friend from their and want them to come over here to visit how wrote a letter of invitation but don’t know where to take it to get stamped in anyone know .I feel like I’m getting the run around most appropriated

  10. Hi,
    I have 5years experience with Electrical Engineer, and I am currently working on the Eot crane, DEMAG CRANE, full portal crane, Tower crane, and I have 4years experience in the crane line.

    I want to working in gulf,

    Please feel free to contact on the bellow e-mail I’d,

  11. I want travelling to dubai to see whow country are pls help to show me a way or advise me

  12. I would like to export my anti-aging skin care products made in Australia. Would people in Dubai be interested in Australian skin care products?

    1. Ofcours , Dubai is number one tourist destination of all muslim nations + it is among top 10 destination of the world , if your product can atleast have a both in a mall that is faily enough ! Not only tourist but locals and womens here care alot about their beauty and modernity so your product if you knew how to atract people you will be ok , am telling this because i am originally from here and i know how things works

    1. Hi there !
      M from India want to get a job in Dubai,currently working as production manager,a mech engineer having approx 15 + yrs of experience in automobile companies like tata motors,hero Honda, pls reply on

  13. I am selling Etisalat – ELife packages if you or any one of your relative, friend or colleague wants please refer me and please remember me.

    Uzair Ahmed
    Sales Executive

  14. How’s the nightlife in Dubai, what are the interesting things to do in Dubai coz nxt month me and my dad went to dubai for few days. Plz rply must

  15. Here in India every state has a capital. as an example Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra, Kolkata is the capital of West Bengal
    what about UAE ? what is the capital of Dubai ?

  16. pls, if somebody having Dubai visa, want to travel from Dubai to Qatar or Oman, does he require any visa again?

    1. Depends on what your nationality is. If you are from certain gulf countries no. But if you are from the US you will need a visa but you can get it online (could when I visited 2 years ago).

  17. I would like to visit that place . First how can i get manual job as cleaning ,helping to sell in a shop etc please guide me

  18. I want to start up my new home in dubai but I ve no contact or someone who base in dubai, how can I get started

  19. I just like how strict they are over how women dress. Unlike the western countries where women go half naked and put men in sexual danger, it’s never done that way in UAE.

  20. Im travelling to Dubai at the end of next month and am a bit worried as it will be Ramadam,do you think this will affect my holiday. Also what is the correct way to dress

    1. Ramadan I don’t think will be a problem, I have never been during that time but Dubai caters to tourist and many of the hotels and sites are run just like you would find them in any western tourist destination. You will see many of the tourists in shorts, tank tops and such but it’s best to stay within the guide lines you see on the monitors in many of the malls ..keep your shoulders and knees covered. Here you will find more info: Have fun, I love Dubai, can’t wait to go again.

  21. Wow! Thank you for the information! I totally get it not! UAE is a country like the USA. UAE has 7 emirates like the USA has 50 states. The UAE has an Emir and Prime Minister like the USA has a President and Vice President. Abu Dhabi is the UAE’s capitol just as Washington DC is the USA’s capitol. Very well explained! Again, thank you!

    1. Saudi Arabia is another country on the Arabian Peninsula. They are on the same peninsula but separate countries. Just like England (UK) Scotland and Wales are on the same island but all are their own separate country.

      1. England, Scotland and Wales are not separate Countries. The UK is 1 Country which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The capital of the UK is London.

  22. My Mum was in Dubai last month. She said the place has no water and that water is measure in wine glasses but there’re enough juices to be drank.
    Another thing is finding alcohol, that you can’t find it in the open.

    1. Your mum is blind or never got off the plane, that is just not true. There is plenty of water, every place I have been has running water (I have been 3 times), it’s clean and has all the modern conveniences of any western city (and more).
      Alcohol is there if you know where to look and if you can’t find it you probably shouldn’t be drinking anyway.

  23. My Mum was in Dubai last month. She said the place has no water and that water is measure in wine glasses but there’re enough juices to be drank.
    Another thing is finding alcohol, that you can’t find it in the open.

  24. so u mean subsidiary is not under any country. is it that is just o his own. what culture is prevailent there

  25. Don’t be fooled by the $2000 a night hotels. I have been to Dubai 2 times (as well as Abu Dhabi) and really loved it. If you get out of the glitz of the modern Dubai and go to old Dubai (Deira) you can find hotels from $60 and up. They have a great Metro for getting around as well as tons of Taxi’s that can take you anywhere.

    1. Hi my name is Charlene am from da the United States of America I am a nursing assistance I work with da elderly if I wanted to travel to Dubai to work or live or both would it be hard for me to get a place to live & a job what information will i need to have & will i need a visa to go & visit to see wat it’s like plz respond thank u in advance.

  26. I wanna go this summer, as a layover before going to Ethiopia. Too bad I have a Canadian passport, and Canadian citizens are not welcome to the UAE anymore and need to pay extortionately dumb fees for a visa… until it’s resolved, I’ll pass

      1. I think it’s something around 250$ for single entry, and upwards of 1000$ for multiple entry. All that because of some ridiculous dispute between Emirates and Air Canada……

  27. And the UAE is a great starting point for that. It’s a lot more liberal (in the western sense) than much of the UAE so it breaks you in nicely.

    Do you mean dubai?

    1. right i know! the cool thing about it is that it’s often a stopover for other places so you can sort of get there for free!

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