The Customs House is a new and grand building. I tried increasing levels of seniority within the Authority to have my Carnet recognised, finally reaching the Director himself. He advised that the UAE customs at Port Rashid were not recognising Carnets at the moment.
For the wife, the Director asked for a 5% deposit, and told to go to a specific desk in Hall A. From that desk, I was processed through five further counters, collected more paperwork, had everything stamped, and become lighter in the wallet department.
I was then dispatched into Hall B, where I was directed to go behind the counter (official side, accessed by going outside the building and re-entering using the staff entrance) to see the department's boss and pay the deposit. Along with a fee for handling the deposit.
A piece of paper was received, which was then handed to another counter in the same office (back on the public side of the counter), with another 10 Dhm note. This guy tapped on a computer, and then gave me another piece of paper, which was taken back to the official side of the counter for the boss to stamp. How I'd love to have the ink-supplying contract for this office.
Then back to the Vehicle Yard Office within the port, and to the righthand office. I took out a 3 day insurance policy (the maximum obtainable here) - 50 Dhm - and collected the temporary (3 day), self-adhesive paper registration plates - 10 Dhm.
From there it was back into the lefthand office to visit the desk at the extreme left to pay the port fees. Then go to the adjacent desk, where you finally receive the paperwork to exit the port with your wife.
I then drove to the gate, stopping 50m short at the checkpoint on the RHS where the chassis plate was checked against the documentation. And then I left burning rubber on the tarmac in an attempt to clear the main gates before they closed for the afternoon.
Stage 2 then commenced: to the Traffic Police to register the wife officially and obtain EXPORT REGISTRATION PLATES.
Firstly, the chassis and engine numbers had to be officially checked. If I had a standard-Land-Rover-Defender-sized vehicle, I could have gone to the Al-Quoz branch of the Dubai Traffic Police, entered the test bays, stated the need to get Export Plates, and thus have the numbers verified. However, as my wife is large, it was off to the truck inspection depot on the Al-Awir Road in the Warsan district (zone 621). It's on the RHS of the road going towards Hatta, surrounded by a few thousand trucks. Payment was required for the inspection and resultant paperwork.
Armed with the inspection paperwork, it was back to the Dubai Traffic Police Office in Al-Quoz, and into the vehicle registration room. From the row of desks right in front of the doorway, I was directed to the appropriate initial counter. After shuttling from desk to desk, collecting more paperwork and stamps, and paying for insurance (14 days), I was issued with (after paying for) blue metal registration plates.
This has been the most difficult, and most illogical, entry into any country so far. Singapore pales into second place by comparison.