Shipping Cargo from USA to Dubai


In the past ten years Dubai has become an increasingly important trading US partner for waterborne exports and imports. More and more goods are shipped between the two countries as an ocean freight cargo.Whether for business or pleasure, there is a growing need to ship items from USA to Dubai.

The time involved to ship cargo is dependent upon a variety of factors. If the vessel is traveling at 22 knots it will take approximately 17 days to travel the shortest route between Miami and Dubai. This is without any stops or delays along the way. Tanker and bulk vessels usually travel at speeds less than 22 knots. Therefore, the most realistic time frame to ship cargo from the United States to Dubai is approximately 4 weeks. There are many variables that may be factored into this time range. How many stops the vessel makes along the way will determine how long the trip takes. Finally, rough seas and other types of bad weather can delay a ship as well.

This diagram shows briefly the steps and processes that an importer has to go through, as well as the documents that need to be submitted in order to complete the import process successfully for Full Container Load into Dubai.

For importing goods into Dubai, an Importer should have a valid Trade License issued from any of the License Issuing Authority in U.A.E. and should be registered with Dubai Customs.

The Importer can carry out import procedures to Dubai online or manually through Ports & Customs Documentation Centers.


1. To import goods from outside the country into Dubai the following original documents are required:

  • Original Bill of Lading copies
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Commercial invoice from the exporter addressed to the importer detailing total quantity, goods description and total value for each item.
  • Original certificate of origin approved by the chamber of commerce at the country of origin detailing the origin of goods.
  • Detailed packing list as per weight, method of packing and HS code for each individual article contained in the shipment.
  • Import permit from the competent agencies in the event of importing restricted goods or duty exempted goods.

The above documents are required irrespective of the sales agreement and payment method agreed between the importer and exporter.

2. Based on the vessel arrival date, the importer must then approach the shipping agent to submit the original Bill of Lading and settle any dues with the Shipping agent. In return, the shipping agent must issue a Delivery Order to the importer.

A Shipping agent may issue Delivery Order 3-4 days before vessel arrival. The Importer must ensure that all cargo clearance formalities (step 3 to 8 ) are completed before the Delivery Order expiry date. If the expiry date is passed without these steps being completed the shipping agent will charge for an extension.
In case of restricted goods or duty exempted cargo, the importer must arrange for necessary permits from the designated Permit Issuing Authority before filling the Customs Import Declaration.

3. Dubai Customs will verify and evaluate the information provided for the purpose of payment of customs duties and import approval. Dubai Customs may order examination, checking and inspection of the goods by a competent authority before release of cargo to the importer.

4. Once customs have approved the import and customs duties have been paid a Customs Import Declaration is distributed.

5. Once the container is discharged, the importer can then nominate a transport company to take delivery of the cargo/ container from DP World on the importer’s behalf.

6. If inspection is required as per the Customs Import Declaration, the haulier must take the cargo/ container to the inspection area of the competent authority. Post inspection clearance, the haulier can exit the Jebel Ali Free Zone by presenting a copy of the EIR to the security staff at the Free Zone gates.


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