United Arab Emirates 1971 Constitution (reviewed 2009)

Table of Contents


WE, the Rulers of the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Um AI Quwain and Fujairah,

Reflecting our will and the will of the people of our emirates to form themselves into a Federation to provide a better life and more enduring stability, and enjoy a higher international standing for the Emirates and all their people;

Desiring to create closer links among themselves in the form of an independent sovereign federal state capable of protecting its existence and the existence of its members and cooperating with the sister Arab states and with all other friendly member states of the United Nations Organization and of the community of nations, in general, on the basis of mutual respect and exchange of interests and benefits;

Desiring also to lay the foundation for federal rule in the coming years on a sound basis that reflects the reality and the capacity of the Emirates at the present time, enables the Federation to achieve its objectives, safeguards the identity of its members in a way consistent with these objectives and, at the same time, prepares the people of the Federation for a dignified and free constitutional life while going ahead towards a full-fledged representative democratic regime in an Islamic and Arab community free of fear and anxiety; and

Realizing that it is our dearest desire and strongest determination to achieve all the above-mentioned in order to push ahead our country and our people up to take an appropriate place among the civilized states and nations,

Announce to Allah, the Supreme and Almighty, and to all the people our approval of the Constitution undersigned by us.

May Allah, the best Protector and Defender, grant us success.


Article 1

The United Arab Emirates is an independent, sovereign, and federal state hereinafter referred to as (“the UAE”). The UAE consists of the following Emirates:

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, and Fujairah.

Any other independent Arab state may, subject to the unanimous approval of the Federal Supreme Council, join the UAE. When admitting a new member to the UAE, the Federal Supreme Council determines the number of seats to be allocated to that member in the Federal National Council (FNC) in excess of the number provided in Article 68 of the Constitution.

Article 2

In assuming its responsibilities under the provisions of the Constitution, the UAE has sovereignty over all territory and territorial waters lying within the international boundaries of the member Emirates.

Article 3

A member Emirate shall exercise sovereignty over its own territories and territorial waters in all matters which are not within the jurisdiction of the UAE under the Constitution.

Article 4

The UAE may not cede its sovereignty or relinquish any part of its territories or waters.

Article 5

The UAE shall have a flag, an emblem and a national anthem. The flag and the emblem shall be specified by an Act. An emirate shall have its own flag to use it within its territories.

Article 6

The UAE is a part of the greater Arab nation to which the UAE is linked by the ties of religion, language, history and common destiny.

The people of the UAE are one people, and a part of the Arab nation.

Article 7

Islam is the official religion of the UAE. The Islamic Shari’a is a main source of legislation in the UAE. The official language of the UAE is Arabic.

Article 8

The citizens of the UAE shall have a single nationality specified by law and shall enjoy abroad the protection of the Federal Government in accordance with the generally-accepted international principles.

A citizen’s nationality may not be divested or withdrawn except as may be provided in law.

Article 9

Abu Dhabi City shall be the capital city of the UAE.

Article 10

The objectives of the UAE are as follows:

  • Maintain the UAE’s independence and sovereignty.
    Safeguard the UAE’s security and stability.

    Repel any aggression against the UAE’s existence or the existence of its member states.

    Protect the rights and freedoms of the people of the UAE.

    Establish close co-operation among the emirates for their common interest to achieve these objectives.

    Promote the prosperity and progress of the emirates in all fields.

    Provide a better life for all the citizens.

Each member Emirate shall respect the independence and sovereignty of the other Emirates in their internal affairs as provided in the Constitution.

Article 11

  1. The Emirates of the UAE shall form a united entity in terms of economy and customs. The federal laws shall regulate the appropriate gradual phases to achieve this unity.
  2. The free movement of all capital and goods among the Emirates of the UAE is guaranteed and may not be restricted except by a federal act.
  3. All taxes, duties, dues, and tolls imposed on the movement of goods from one member emirate to another emirate are hereby repealed.

Article 12

The foreign policy of the UAE shall be directed towards supporting the Arab and Islamic causes and interests and towards establishing closer friendship and co-operation with all the nations and peoples on the basis of the principles of the charter of the United Nations Organization and international ideals.