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Currency in Dubai

Monday 18 February 2019 (UAE)   

Currency in Dubai and UAE is the United Arab Emirates dirham

The UAE dirham is pegged to the US dollar with the rate fixed or pegged at (approximately) Dh3.67 = US$1.00 (or 1 UAE dirham = 0.273 US dollars).

  • The currency unit in Dubai and other emirates is the United Arab Emirate dirham, divided into into 100 fils.
  • Common abbreviations include AED or Dh before the number, and dh or dhs after the number.
  • Shops in the larger shopping centers might accept some foreign currencies. Usually other Gulf (GCC) currencies, US dollars, Euros, and British pounds).
  • Up until the mid-1960s, the Indian rupee was used in the UAE, before being replaced with the UAE dirham. You will occasionally hear older residents talk about "rupees" instead of "dirhams".
  • UAE banknotes are printed overseas including the UK and France. The Central Bank has announced plans to build a currency printing plant in Abu Dhabi (Reuters 12 Dec 2009).
Money Changers in the UAE
  • Foreign currency exchange is available at banks and money changers for most of the common currencies.
  • Shopping centers usually have a money changer that is open the same hours as shops are (banks hours are shorter).
  • Al Ansari Exchange, Al Rostamani (Thomas Cook), and UAExchange are popular money changers in the UAE.
Banknotes in Dubai and the UAE
Amount Color Picture front Picture back Size mm1 Comments
5 dirhams brown Sharjah Central Souk Landscape 145x612  
10 dirhams green Arabian dagger (Jambiya) Farm 147x62  
20 dirhams turquoise Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club Dhow (Samaa, Sama'a) 149x63  
50 dirhams purple Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain Oryx 151x64  
100 dirhams red Al Fahidi Fort in Dubai Dubai World Trade Center 155x66  
200 dirhams3 orange Sharia Court and Zayed Sports City UAE Central Bank HQ 157x67 older notes are brown
500 dirhams blue Jumeirah Mosque Falcon 159x68  
1000 dirhams brown Al Hosn Palace in Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi corniche towers 163x70 darker brown than 5 dhs
Coins in Dubai and the UAE
1 fil         very rarely seen
5 fils         very rarely seen
10 fils         very rarely seen
25 fils         common
50 fils         common
1 dh         common
  • All banknotes are issued by the UAE Central Bank and are printed in English on one side, and Arabic on the other. Coins have "United Arab Emirates" and the denomination in Arabic on one side, and a picture and date on the other.
  • Chicklets are not an official UAE currency unit issued by the Central Bank, but an irritating replacement common at petrol stations and small supermarkets in lieu of small change. Chicklets are a one-way transaction only, you can't use them for purchases (although if enough people tried, maybe that would encourage shops to give proper change).


  1. Banknotes are of increasing size as the value increases.
  2. Size given as 157mm x 67mm by UAE Central Bank but that appears to be an error, the 5 dh note is smaller than the 200 dh note. Our estimate is 145mm x 61mm (not confirmed).
  3. The 200 dh bank note was updated in May 2008 to reduce confusion with the 5 dh and 1000 dh banknotes.
UAE currency museum
  • 18 Dec 2013 - the Central Bank announced the opening of a currency museum at its headquarters. See UAE coins and notes museum for more information.
UAE currency updates
  • 20 Aug 2012 - the UAE Central Bank announced that a new version of the 50 dirham note would be issued, and circulation of the new notes would begin on Monday 30 July 2012. The new note would have a new security feature - the silver metallic thread on the front of the note would be replaced with a broader (3mm) colour shifting thread reading "UAE 50".
  • 2012? New AED 500 notes were put into circulation, with new security features but otherwise looking much the same as the older 500 dirham notes.
UAE commemorative coins and other special issues

Since 1976, the UAE Central Bank has issued commemorative coins on a regular basis, annually from 1998. In 1976 two coins were issued in denominations of 500 dhs and 1000 dhs, made of gold. You probably won't get one as change from your shopping trip to Carrefour. In subsequent years a range of denominations have been issued, including 1 dh, 5 dhs, 10 dh, 50 dh, and 100 dhs coins. Materials include copper-nickel alloy, silver, and gold.

  • 10 March 2012 (announcement date) - The UAE Central Bank will issue a silver coin to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Khalifa International Date Palm Award, with the logo on the back, and the portrait of UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the front.
  • 03 March 2012 (Gulf News report) - the "UAE's first gold coin" will be available by the end of March 2012 reportedly. The announcement that it will be the first gold coin issued by the UAE seems a bit odd - there were gold coins issued in 1976. But anyway, the coin will have a portrait of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the front, and a picture of the Burj Khalifa on the back. Coin is being marketed by the Dubai Multi-Commodities Center (DMCC). A prototype was launched in August 2011.
GCC Common Currency and Monetary Union
  • The six GCC countries - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE - had planned to launch a common currency by 2010, but Oman pulled out of discussions in 2006, and the UAE withdrew in 2009. In 2009 the 2010 target was moved to 2015 but as of 2014 that seems unlikely to happen. "Maybe one day" is probably the most realistic launch date for now.
  • Other information moved to GCC currency union section on list of GCC countries page.
Last update Thursday 20-Mar-2014
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