Friday, April 17, 2009

Cigarettes only for kids


Sign outside Lulu Hypermarket in Riffa, Bahrain:

“Tobacco Sale is restricted to individuals below 18 years of age”

Poor adults.

Bowels for sale?

I picked this up at Carrefour in Qurm City Center. :-)


bow·el (boul, boul) n.

1. a. The intestine, gut (the part of the alimentary canal between the stomach and the anus).

Hmmm… I think they meant ‘bowl’.

Exporting a car from Abu Dhabi to Oman

1. Pay all your fines. As per the new law, you may even half to leave your car in the police compound for about two weeks if you have jumped a red light in Abu Dhabi. So make sure you plan well ahead.
2. You can export a car in your ownership even if your residence visa is canceled. Get your vehicle tested from the vehicle testing centre and get your vehicle fitness certificate. Tip: You can do the whole process at an ADNOC filling station – it is faster because there are less people. Try the ADNOC filling station at Samha.
3. Get a fresh third party insurance policy for 4 days with UAE coverage.
3. You need to take your UAE license, vehicle ownership card(mulkiya), the new 4-day UAE insurance policy, clearance letter from your bank (if mortgaged) to the traffic dept.
4. You also need to remove your Abu Dhabi number plates (yourself) and take them with you to the counter. It’s a good idea to check how these were fixed before you go to the traffic dept. If the plates were riveted, then you need to have the tools with you.
5. On providing the above documents and plates, and payment of a fee, you get the vehicle export certificate, a clearance letter for your previous insurance company to release any pending amounts to you, and an authorization to get new export plates.
6. If you did this at an ADNOC filling station, they provide you the blue export number plates. If you did this at the traffic dept in Abu Dhabi, you need to take the authorization to the License Plates Factory within the same compound and get the new plates by paying 50 dhs.
6. Fix the shiny new blue export plates to your car, keep all the papers safe and leave the country within 3 days. It is OK to stick the blue export plates with clear tape, but make sure its reliably affixed to your car. Make sure you leave the country through the border mentioned in your export certificate.
7. At the UAE side of the border, you have to prepare a bill of lading through one of the private agencies that have set up shops in the border checkpost. I used the Shikleh (Wadi Jizzi) border in Al Ain. You need to spend around 100-120 dhs for this letter. Your vehicle engine and chassis numbers will be checked by a customs officer. If you do not speak Arabic, you might end up doing a lot of legwork and being asked to wait unnecessarily.
8. Go through the UAE immigration. I exported my car after I got my Omani Employment visa and canceled my residence visa in Abu Dhabi. So this was like a final exit from the UAE for me and a first entry to Oman.
9. Drive across the border in to Oman. After a few kilometers you will reach the Omani checkpost. At the Omani side, go through the immigration. Since I was entering Oman for the first time on an employment visa, they stamped the residence in my passport from the border checkpost. The Omani immigration officers at Wadi Jizzi are very friendly and understand English well.
10. Purchase Omani insurance for your car. Dhofar insurance has a kiosk inside the immigration building at Wadi Jizzi. One week’s insurance for RO 8/- is good enough. Once you enter the country you need to obtain a 1 year insurance policy before you register the car.
10. Drive in to customs. The customs officers understand very little English and do not be surprised if you find yourself waiting in queues with truck drivers trying to bring goods in to Oman.
11. The customs officer will check your vehicle chassis and engine numbers and ask you to pay 5% of the value of the vehicle as customs duty. The value of the vehicle is based on what value is printed on your bill of lading from UAE. Most of the time the customs officer adds some amount to it, assuming you have lied on your bill of lading. It will be good to have your car’s receipt/bill issued by the dealer in UAE from whom you bought it in order to win the trust of the officer, and avoid having to pay more duty than you are supposed to.
12. Once you pay the duty, the customs officer gives you an import certificate, and a letter from the commerce ministry, both of which are in Arabic and are needed for registering your car in Oman. Make sure you get these, otherwise you will have to drive back all the way to get them!
13. Drive in to Oman. If you are a new resident (like me), you need to get your fingerprinting, health check and ID Card (smartcard), and also an Omani driving license before you can register your car.
14. You can drive the car around in Oman till you get these right, but its a good idea to obtain the 1 year comprehensive insurance policy for your car asap. You will need to do it before your register the car, anyway. The insurance company will also give you an application form for registering your car.
You also need a letter from your employer which states that they have no objection in you owning a car.
15. Get your driving license converted. See my blog post on that.

16. Go to the traffic department, get your vehicle tested (free of charge, unlike UAE). They will write the test result on the application form that the insurance company gave you.
17. Apply for registration – documents required are the application form with vehicle test pass, Omani driving license, ID card, and a credit/debit card for paying 30 riyal registration fee. They don’t accept cash payments. You also need to remove your Abu Dhabi export plates and carry them with you.
18. You will receive the vehicle ownership card with your new vehicle registration number. The whole process is quick, within 2 hours max, including the vehicle testing.
19. They will also give you an authorization for getting new number plates made. If you registered your car in Al Qurm traffic dept, you need to take this authorization to the petrol filling station near Al Harthy complex/Sultan Center, where there is a license plates factory. Simply produce the authorization and they will provide you the plates (free of charge, unlike UAE). You may have to wait a few hours though – during this time do not drive your car without a license plate!
20. You can get your shiny new yellow Omani license plate riveted to your car from the petrol station for RO 1/-.
Hope this helps. When I wanted to export my car I found that there was nothing on the internet that helped me with the steps. Each traffic dept knew only about their process, there was never a big picture. So I hope this helps all those of you moving to Oman/Muscat and exporting your car from UAE.
PS: You do not have to pay duty in Oman (or any other GCC country) if you have the receipt which states that you have paid duty for the car in the UAE (or any other GCC country). This basically means, that if customs duty was paid for a the car in any GCC country, it doesn't have to be paid again. If you purchased you car in UAE, you can try asking your dealer to give you this receipt. They might give it to you if you're lucky.

IMPORTANT UPDATE (9 Aug 2014): I have left the UAE a long time ago and I do not know the current process. Please do not post questions asking me about your situation, as I am not the best person to answer. You can approach the authorities directly or speak to a freight/moving company.