Emirates Post postal services in the UAE
Emirates Post (previously the General Postal Authority, GPA, of the UAE) is the company that operates postal services and post offices in Dubai and the UAE. The CEO of Emirates Post is Ibrahim Bin Karam, CEO of Empost is Sultan Al Midfa. Emirates Post is a subsidiary of Emirates Post Holding (which has more than just philatelic interests), and is sometimes referred to as Empost but Empost is the courier company subsidiary of Emirates Post Holdings.
Emirates Post Office services
Emirates Post counters offer the usual post office services (stamps, letter and parcel delivery, express post, registered letters, PO Box rentals). Additional services available at Emirates Post Offices include the following but don't expect all services at all post offices, especially the smaller ones, and any times mentioned are overridden by the individual post office opening hours:
Emirates Stamp Club and Philatelic Services
Emirates Philatelic Association
Degree attestation / verification service through Emirates Post
This service is no longer available. For the curious though, it was a service introduced by the UAE Ministry of Labour and Emirates Post in September 2005 to make it easier for foreign workers to get their degrees attested / verified. This was normally a tedious procedure involving notarisations, stamps and signatures from several organisations including the issuing university, the UAE embassy or consulate, the embassy or consulate of the worker, perhaps an education ministry along the way, and always one more official body that applicants had forgotten about. The reason for this was to weed out fake certificates and easily frustrated workers. Emirates Post, after payment of a fee of AED 500, would take the workers certificates, hand them to Integra Screen (an international document screening organisation) and return the attested copies after a month or two. In April 2008, the Ministry of Labour said the degree attestation process would revert back to the old system.
Mail Delivery in the UAE and Post Office boxes
There is no mail delivery to street addresses in the UAE, all mail goes to PO Boxes at the various post office locations. Most residents have mail delivered to their company's post office box, which is usually collected daily by companies, and delivered to their employees. Your address is normally accepted as the company's PO Box in the UAE. This can cause problems when supplying an address to various organisations overseas who are not familiar with mail delivery in Dubai and the UAE (and many other countries in the Middle East). Usually if you explain the situation, companies will be sympathetic.
Courier companies such as Aramex, DHL, Fedex will do home and office deliveries. It is normal to supply them with a telephone number for the recipient so the courier company can phone and get directions to the delivery location. Street addresses do exist, sort of, but navigation is more often done with the use of major landmarks, common names for streets (rather than the signposted name), and building names and colors.
It's possible (but unlikely) that those living in apartment buildings have PO Boxes provided - the building owner, not you or your landlord, has to arrange this with the Emirates Post. Or if undesignated post office boxes are installed in the building already, you might be able to rent one individually direct from Emirates Post - see below about PO Box rental but also bring along your tenancy contract.
There were reports in early 2009 that Emirates Post was implementing a system of home delivery of mail in the UAE, to be up and running by 2012. Don't get too excited just yet - when you start seeing letter boxes outside your apartment building or villa, then something might be on the cards.
Post Office box rental UAE
Update January 2011
Emirates Post increased PO Box rental prices (minimum AED 200 per year for individual), and decreased rental period from a choice of 1-3 years to just one year. Rental application or renewal at post office or online but going to post office seems easier - they might be less fussy about documentation required (such as Emirates ID card, residence visa copy, photos, but you will at least need passport copy), and how accurately you fill in the form.
There is an option of once per week mail pick up and deliver for business customers for minimum AED 3,500 (approximately, unconfirmed).
Previous post office box rental information for Dubai and UAE
You can get your own personal mail box - a good idea if you think you may be changing employers on a regular basis, but want to stay in the UAE. The disadvantage is you have to go and get your own mail. PO Box rental costs about 200-500 dhs per year (increased from 100-250 dhs in February 2008). New applications can be accepted at anytime (if there are PO Boxes available) but renewal is always done in January. Go to your favorite post office location with passport & residence visa (employment shouldn't be necessary), 2 copies, 2 photos, and some cash. There's an application form on the Empost website you can download and fill in, or get one at the post office.
For convenience, look for a post office near where you live or work, and remember that if you sign up for a PO Box in another emirate or new location in the same emirate, you will end up with a new PO Box number.
Post office box access is normally available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week but parcel and registered letter collection is not.
Fridays and public holiday post office opening hours
24 hour post offices
General Postal Authority
The UAE General Postal Authority (GPA) rebranded itself and launched as Emirates Post on 15 September 2001 (or about then) along with the usual marketing gobbledegook like new corporate identity, new vision, new commitment, new brand, new logo, new standards, new technology, enhanced customer service, new dedicated to consumer satisfaction, and so on. The GPA boss at the time, director-general Abdullah Ibrahim Al Daboos, used most of those phrases in a press release announcing the new postal agency.
Emirates Post contact details
Last update Monday 15-Aug-2011