Discover the United Arab Emirates


If you are contemplating a move to the United Arab Emirates, Expat.com is happy to provide you with a general overview of the country.

The United Arab Emirates, commonly referred to as the UAE, is a federation comprised of seven emirates. Located in the Middle East, on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, the UAE has a surface area of 83,600 km². Abu Dhabi, the capital city and also the largest of the Emirates, is the centre of the oil industry. The other emirates are Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Quwain, Ras al Khaimah, and Fujairah.The official language is Arabic.

Demography of the UAE

According to the official statistics, the country has a population of about 9, 267, 000 inhabitants, out of which 7.8 million are expatriates. The United Arab Emirates is one of the world's most popular destinations for people around the world, especially Dubai, which has experienced an accelerated immigration rate over the past few years.

Economy of the UAE

The United Arab Emirates are the second biggest economy in the Gulf, just after Saudi Arabia. Its economy comes predominantly from the petroleum produced in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. However, with oil prices falling in June 2014, the UAE has since looked at other sources to diversify its economy. As documented in the Economic Report 2015 released by the UAE’s Ministry of Economy, the UAE attracted approximately AED 37 billion of foreign investment in 2014. This ranked the UAE first among the countries most attractive to foreign investment in the Middle East and Africa region. The current GDP of the UAE is estimated at 386.4 billion USD. The long-term vision for the UAE by 2021 is to create a sustainable environment and develop a green economy.

Climate of the UAE

Due to its location, the UAE has a subtropical and dry climate, generally hot and sunny year round. The hottest months are July and August with average maximum temperatures of over 50 ℃. In the mountains, it is slightly cooler due to the high altitude. Winters in the UAE are mild, with temperatures going down to a minimum of 15℃ and maximum temperatures of about 30 ℃. Rain is infrequent and does not last long, amounting to roughly five days of rainfall in a year. In early summer, strong winds blow from the north and north-west, causing sandstorms and bringing a lot of dust.

Government of the UAE

The country has a presidential system and a federal constitutional system since 1971. This includes a cabinet, a parliamentary body, a federal national council, and an independent judiciary system. Each emirate has its own governmental institutions, thus maintaining a large degree of independence.

The UAE is not strictly under the Islamic Sharia law but uses a few elements derived from it. The Sharia law is only used in specific circumstances, for instance when solving family matters such as divorce, or succession. Furthermore, the UAE has replaced some of the punishment terms of the Sharia, such as being sent to jail as opposed to being flogged for an offence.

 Useful links:

Government of the UAE 
Economy of the UAE