United Arab Emirates dirham

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Emirati dirham
درهم إماراتي (Arabic)
Obverse of an Emirati one dirham coin
ISO 4217
CodeAED (numeric: 784)
Symbolد.إ‎ in Arabic
Dh/Dhs or DH in Latin
1100fils (فلس)
BanknotesDhs5, Dhs10, Dhs20, Dhs50, Dhs100, Dhs200, Dhs500, Dhs1,000
 Freq. used25, 50 fils, Dh1
 Rarely used1, 5, 10 fils
User(s)United Arab Emirates
Central bankCentral Bank of the UAE
 SourceThe World Factbook, 2011 est.
Pegged withUSD[1]
US$1 = Dhs 3.6725

The Arab Emirates Dirham (/ˈdɪər(h)əm/;[2] Arabic: درهم إماراتي, abbreviation: د.إ in Arabic, Dh (singular) and Dhs (plural) or DH in Latin; ISO code: AED is the official currency of the United Arab Emirates. The dirham is subdivided into 100 fils (فلس). It is pegged to the United States Dollar at a constant exchange rate of approximately 3.67 AED to 1 USD.


The name dirham is a loan from the Greek δραχμή (drakhmé). Due to centuries of trade and usage of the currency, dirham survived through the Ottoman Empire.

Before 1966, all the emirates that now form the UAE used the Gulf rupee, which was pegged at parity to the Indian rupee. On 6 June 1966, India decided to devalue the Gulf rupee against the Indian rupee. Not accepting the devaluation, several of the states still using the Gulf rupee adopted their own or other currencies. All the Trucial States except Abu Dhabi adopted the Qatar and Dubai riyal, which was equal to the Gulf rupee prior to the devaluation. These emirates briefly adopted the Saudi riyal during the transition from the Gulf rupee to the Qatar and Dubai riyal. Abu Dhabi used the Bahraini dinar, at a rate of 10 Gulf rupees = 1 dinar. In 1973, the UAE adopted the UAE dirham as its currency. Abu Dhabi adopted the UAE dirham in place of the Bahraini dinar, at 1 dinar = 10 dirhams, while in the other emirates, the Qatar and Dubai riyal were exchanged at par.


In 1973, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 fils and 1 dirham. The 1, 5, and 10 fils are struck in bronze, with the higher denominations in cupro-nickel. The fils coins were the same size and composition as the corresponding Qatar and Dubai dirham coins. In 1995, the 5 fils, 10 fils, 50 fils, and 1 dirham coins were reduced in size, with the new 50 fils being curve-equilateral-heptagonal shaped.

The value and numbers on the coins are written in Eastern Arabic numerals and the text is in Arabic. The 1, 5, and 10 fils coins are rarely used in everyday life, so all amounts are rounded up or down to the nearest multiples of 25 fils. The 1 fils coin is a rarity and does not circulate significantly. In making a change there is a risk of confusing the old 50 fils coin for the modern 1 dirham coin because the coins are almost the same size.

Since 1976 the Currency Board of the United Arab Emirates has minted several commemorative coins celebrating different events and rulers of the United Arab Emirates. For details, see Commemorative coins of the United Arab Emirates dirham.

Image Value Technical parameters Description
Obverse Reverse Diameter Thickness Weight Edge Shape Obverse Reverse
25 fils 20 mm 1.5 mm 3.5 g Milled Circular A Gazelle facing left, with Lunar Hijri and Gregorian year of mint below. Lettering: "الامارات العربية المتحدة", below it "٢٥", below it "فلساً" and below it "UNITED ARAB EMIRATES"
50 fils 21 mm 1.7 mm 4.4 g Smooth Heptagon Three oil derricks, with Lunar Hijri and Gregorian year of mint below. Lettering: "الامارات العربية المتحدة", below it "٥۰", below it "فلساً" and below it "UNITED ARAB EMIRATES"
Dh 1 24 mm 2 mm 6.1 g Milled Circular A Dallah, with Lunar Hijri and Gregorian year of mint below. Lettering: "الامارات العربية المتحدة", below it "١", below it "درهم" and below it "UNITED ARAB EMIRATES"

Issues with fraud[edit]

By August 2006 it became publicly known that the Philippine one peso coin is the same size as one dirham.[3] As 1 peso is only worth 8 fils, this has led to vending machine fraud in the UAE. Pakistan's 5 rupee coin, the Omani 50 Baisa coin and the Moroccan 1 dirham are also the same sizes as the Emirati one dirham coin. Although 1mm thinner, one dirham coin has also been found in ten-cent coin rolls in Australia. A falcon watermark is present on all dirham notes to prevent fraud.


On 20 May 1973, the UAE Currency Board introduced notes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 dirhams; a Dhs 1,000 note was issued on 3 January 1976.[4] A second series of note was introduced in 1982 which omitted the Dh 1 and Dhs 1,000 notes. Dhs 500 notes were introduced in 1983, followed by Dhs 200 in 1989. Dhs 1,000 notes were reintroduced in 2000. Banknotes are currently available in denominations of Dhs 5 (brown), Dhs 10 (green), Dhs 20 (light blue), Dhs 50 (purple), Dhs 100 (pink), Dhs 200 (green/brown), Dhs 500 (navy blue) and Dhs 1,000 (greenish blue).

The obverse texts are written in Arabic with numbers in Eastern Arabic numerals; the reverse texts are in English with numbers in Arabic numerals. The 200 dirham denomination is scarce as it was only produced in 1989; any circulating today comes from bank stocks. The 200 dirham denomination has since been reissued and is now in circulation since late May 2008 – it has been reissued in a different colour; Yellow/Brown to replace the older Green/Brown.[5]

On 22 March 2008, The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates released a Dhs 50 note. The security thread was a 3-mm wide, colour-shifting windowed security thread with demetalized UAE 50, and it bore the new coat of arms. On 7 December 2021, a redesigned polymer Dhs 50 note was released to commemorate the golden jubilee of the country on 2 December 2021, making it the UAE's first polymer banknote.[6] Additional new polymer banknotes of Dhs 5 and Dhs 10 were introduced on 21 April 2022,[7] with the Dhs 1000 released in the first half of 2023,[8] and the Dhs 500 note reportedly introduced on 30 November 2023.[9]

2003 series
Image Value Main Color Dimensions (mm) Description
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
[1] Dhs 5 Brown 143 × 60 Sharjah Central Souq also known as Islamic Souq, the Blue Souq or the central market Imam Salem Al Mutawa Mosque, which was formerly known as Al Jamaa mosque in Sharjah
[2] Dhs 10 Green 147 × 62 A Khanjar A pilot farm
[3] Dhs 20 Blue 149 × 63 The front face of the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club Traditional trading dhow (called sama'a)
[4] Dhs 50 Light Brown 151 × 64 An Oryx Al Jahili Fort, a pre-Islamic fort in Al Ain
[5] Dhs 100 Red 155 × 66 Al Fahidi Fort Dubai World Trade Centre building
[6] Dhs 200 Dark Yellow 157 × 67 The Zayed Sports City Stadium and the Sharia court building The Central Bank of the UAE building in Abu Dhabi
[7] Dhs 500 Sky blue 159 × 68 A Saker falcon The Jumeirah Mosque
[8] Dhs 1,000 Brown 163 × 70 Qasr al-Hosn View of Abu Dhabi skyline
2021-2023 series
Image Value Main Color Dimensions (mm) Description
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
[9] Dhs 5 Brown 143 × 60 Ajman fort Dhayah Fort in Ras al Khaimah
[10] Dhs 10 Green 147 × 62 Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Khor Fakkan Amphitheatre
[11] Dhs 50 Navy Blue 151 x 64 Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan and the other founding fathers Sheikh Zayed signing a union document
[12] Dhs 500 Light Blue 159 × 68 Terra Sustainability Pavilion in Expo Dubai Museum of the Future in Dubai, Emirates Towers, Burj Khalifa
[13] Dhs 1,000 Brown 163 × 70 Sheikh Zayed "Hope" probe Barakah nuclear power plant in Ruwais

Exchange rates[edit]

On January 28, 1978, the dirham was officially pegged to the IMF's special drawing rights (SDRs).[10] In practice, it has been pegged to the U.S. dollar for most of the time.[11] Since November 1997, the dirham has been pegged to the US dollar at a rate of US$1 = Dhs 3.6725,[12] which translates to approximately Dh 1 = US$0.272294.

Current AED exchange rates

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Annual Report 2014" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 April 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  2. ^ Stevenson, Angus (19 August 2010). Oxford Dictionary of English. OUP Oxford. p. 496. ISBN 978-0-19-957112-3.
  3. ^ Menon, Sunita (1 August 2006). "Hey presto! A Peso's as good as a Dirham". gulfnews.com. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  4. ^ Linzmayer, Owen (2012). "United Arab Emirates". The Banknote Book. San Francisco, CA: www.BanknoteNews.com.
  5. ^ url="Gulfnews: New Dh200 note to be issued in the UAE". Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2008.
  6. ^ Forster, Sarah (7 December 2021). "UAE leaders attend launch of new Dh50 banknote". The National News. The National News. Archived from the original on 9 December 2021. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  7. ^ UAE Central Bank[dead link]
  8. ^ Web Desk. "UAE Central Bank issues new Dh1,000 banknote for National Day". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  9. ^ "United Arab Emirates new 500-dirham polymer note (B250a) reportedly introduced on 30.11.2023 – BanknoteNews". 30 November 2023. Retrieved 17 December 2023.
  10. ^ Dynamic Growth of the UAE Monetary and Banking Sector, Central Bank of the UAE Archived May 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Tables of modern monetary history: Asia Archived February 19, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Statistical Bulletin, Quarterly July – Sep. 2005, Central Bank of the UAE Archived 2011-08-15 at the Wayback Machine Vol. 25, No. 3

External links[edit]