GCC citizens do not require an entry visa to the UAE, but requirements for other nationalities vary. It is recommended to confer with your country’s embassy prior to travel. Most UK, US and East Asian travellers can obtain a 30-day tourist visa on arrival, which can be extended at an immigration office. The EU signed a short-stay visa waiver agreement with the UAE, allowing its citizens to stay for a period of 90 days within any 180-day period. Regulatory changes were introduced to promote inbound tourism, allowing for Chinese and Russian tourists to obtain visa on arrival at any point of entry.


The country code for the UAE is +971, followed by Sharjah’s dialling code, 06. There are three local telecoms providers: du, Etisalat and Virgin Mobile. Pay as-you-go SIM cards for the three can be obtained at most shopping malls upon presentation of a valid passport.


Arabic is the official language of the emirate, but English is widely spoken, especially in business settings. Public signs are commonly in both Arabic and English. Other languages in public use include Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog, Farsi and Chinese.


The UAE dirham (Dh) is pegged to the US dollar at $1:Dh3.67. ATMs are widely available in the emirate and cash can be exchanged in most malls. Credit cards are widely accepted throughout hotels and retail outlets.


Hospitality plays a central role in Emirati culture and longer greetings are an important prelude before proceeding to other matters, be it in business or social interactions. Seeing as how Sharjah is a conservative and family-oriented emirate, modesty in dress is advised.


Reflecting its diverse population, Sharjah offers a wide variety of international cuisines, with nonetheless strong Middle Eastern and South Asian influences. The consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited throughout the emirate.


There are no strict conventions concerning tipping, although restaurants often include a 10% service charge. In the absence of such a charge it would be advisable to tip 10-15%. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip, but it is often easier and more convenient to round up your fare. Hotel staff can be tipped between Dh5 ($1.36) and Dh10 ($2.72).


Sharjah’s health services are good, and UAE nationals have access to full medical coverage provided by the government. Tourists who do not possess travel health insurance can visit private hospitals, where English-speaking staff can commonly be found and payment is expected upon treatment.


The UAE uses the same square, threepin sockets as the UK, although some outlets are compatible with europlugs. Adapters are widely available. The electricity supply is 220/240 V at 50Hz.


In the UAE, government offices are open from 7.30am to 3.30pm, Monday through Thursday and 7.30am to 12.00pm on Friday, with most most private businesses following suit. Ramadan business hours are 9.00am to 2.30pm. However, in January 2022 Sharjah implemented a four-day work week with Friday, Saturday and Sunday forming the new weekend. The UAE National Day is on December 2, and the time difference is three or four hours ahead of GMT, depending on the season, since daylight saving time is not observed.


Taxis are generally the most reliable way to get around Sharjah and can be flagged down or booked by phone (600 52 5252). Trips within Sharjah cost between Dh12 ($3.27) and Dh45 ($12.25). Tourists with a driving licence from any of the 36 government-approved countries can drive without a local licence. Chauffeur-driven car services such as Careem and Uber can also be booked via smartphone apps. In addition Mowasalat operates nine bus routes around Sharjah city. A single fare costs Dh6 ($1.63) and tickets can be purchased on board.