International Moving during Ramadan

It is once again that special time of year where many people around the world observe and celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. In this article, we look at how Ramadan may affect your life as an ex-pat in general and how the holy month may or may not impact your international move specifically.

International moving and relocating at any time of the year can be stressful but are there any additional concerns if you are moving internationally during Ramadan which needs to be taken into consideration?

Working hours and productivity

In general – offices, shops, and government establishments will alter their working hours during the month of Ramadan in order to take into account fasting schedules which people may have. It is common for most places of business and commerce to be closed by the early to mid-afternoon. It is fair to say but generally speaking work productivity is likely to reduce during Ramadan.

When it comes to moving and shipping companies the schedule adhere to buy the packing crews may not change too much from normal provided the staff members are non-Muslim. Since they are working in your home you may find they’re working hours are unaffected.

Port and customs officials, a substantial number of whom, in the UAE, are Muslim will work fewer hours and things may proceed slower than usual however in the UAE it is uncommon to experience lengthy delays in customs clearance, administration, and processing at ports and airports. In most cases the delays are minor.

Food and drink

During the month of Ramadan Muslims fast from dawn until sunset, this includes eating, drinking and smoking. The aim is to practice discipline and self-control whilst purifying the body. As a non-Muslim, you should not feel obliged to fast during this time but it is important to respect those around you and avoid eating, Drinking or smoking in front of others. In the UAE doing so in public is deemed very disrespectful and should obviously be avoided. There may be some restaurants/Hotels/coffee shops who do you serve food and drinks during daylight hours however they tend to be partitioned or screened from the public.

What you do in the privacy of your own home is entirely up to you, however, this may cause some apprehension and anxiety if you have a team of packets in your home for a long period especially a number of days.

Once again the religion of the packing personnel at your residence is likely to influence your actions. If the team is comprised of non-Muslim individuals then talk to the crew leader and discuss the idea of approaching the consumption of food and drink Arsenal i.e. The packing crew may consume food inside the house, Have access to drinking water etc. Should the packing crew we comprised of one or more Muslims, then clearly considerations should be made.


Ramadan is seen as a time of restraint and peace and so playing music especially loud music in your car or even at home should be avoided. Live music concerts are uncommon during Ramadan and many discotheques and dance clubs closed during the holy month.

Again whilst at home, it is important to be sensitive to packing personnel at your residence particularly if any of them are Muslim.

Tips and charity

Everyone appreciates a tip and packing crews are no different. It is also not uncommon for people who are moving internationally to often donate items they no longer require or do not want to include in their international move to packing personnel.

This type of altruistic approach is particularly appreciated during the holy month especially by any Muslim individuals.

Some other areas to be mindful of which probably will not have any impact on your international moves are:


Dressing conservatively in the UAE is, in general, a wise guideline to follow however this is a heightened degree of sensitivity during the month of Ramadan. Avoid wearing clothes which reveal shoulders and knees, or are too tight, especially if you are planning to visit public places.

In the workplace

It is probably best not to plan vitally important business meetings during Ramadan. Schedules should be fairly flexible and any meetings which do need to take place should be arranged for morning and ideally not close to any prayer times. If you are visiting a home or office of a Muslim during the fasting period and you are offered refreshments, it is considered a sign of respect to politely refuse.

Public displays of affection

Muslims refrain from any forms of sexual contact during fasting periods however it is particularly important to avoid kissing or hugging in public especially during Ramadan. This is likely to cause offense whether intended or not and could land you in real trouble.


Liquor sales during Ramadan are either prohibited or severely restricted. The liquor stores will be closed for the month and so it is advisable to stock up in advance. Alcohol is not served during daylight hours but may be served in some select hotels, although once again the premises tend to be curtained off or segregated from the public.