Hordes of jet-setters, international students, and ex-pats use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Skype every day to keep in touch with their friends and family back home. However, in some countries, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Skype and similar services are blocked entirely. In fact, in the UAE, there are only a handful of permitted VoIP services, and these tend to come with high monthly fees. Luckily, it’s easy enough to work around this issue by using a VPN.
By connecting to a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can mask your IP address, making it appear that your internet traffic originates in a different country. This allows you to download software and visit websites that are ordinarily inaccessible from within Dubai, Qatar, and elsewhere in the UAE. VPNs also encrypt your data, preventing it from being read by third parties like your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
In this post, we’ll explain why the UAE blocks Skype and how you can bypass these restrictions using a VPN. We’ll also recommend the best VPNs for the UAE and the risks associated with free VPN services in the UAE. We go into plenty of detail on each of the services we review, but if you only have time for a quick summary, start here:
The best VPNs to unblock Skype in the UAE:
- NordVPN Our #1 choice for unblocking Skype in the UAE. This provider has a great record for unblocking geo-restricted and censored services. Top speeds and strong security. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark Best budget alternative. Impressive security and privacy features. Adept at unblocking. Allows unlimited simultaneous connections.
- ExpressVPN Large network of servers that spans over 90 countries. Can unblock almost anything. High-end privacy and security.
- PrivateVPN A fast, secure, privacy-conscious VPN. Excels at unblocking chat and streaming services. allows ten simultaneous connections.
- VyprVPN This zero-logs service offers steady speeds, impressive security, and the ability to unblock Skype from anywhere, even the UAE
How to unblock Skype in the UAE
Here’s how to use Skype in UAE:
- First, use a suitable service. Many VPNs don’t work in the UAE, so choosing the right one is vital. (We recommend NordVPN.)
- Download and install the VPN software. Several different versions will be available, so make sure you install the right one for your device.
- Connect to a server in a country that doesn’t block Skype. If you connect to a server in the US, you will gain a US IP address and be able to bypass Skypes restrictions.
- Wait until you’re connected. Now, download Skype. Once it’s installed, you should be able to make and receive calls without any problems.
- If you have any problems, try clearing your browser’s history before trying again, or contact your VPN provider’s customer support team for more help.
WANT TO TRY THE TOP VPN RISK FREE?
NordVPN is offering a fully-featured risk-free 30-day trial if you sign up at this page. You can use the VPN rated #1 for Skype with no restrictions for a month. This allows you to try the service out and make sure it’s right for you before making a decision.
There are no hidden terms—just contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn't right for you and you'll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.
Best VPNs for unblocking Skype
While there are hundreds of VPN services available, only a handful work reliably and have great call quality inside the UAE. To find the best VPNs for unblocking Skype in the United Arab Emirates, we looked for services that met the criteria below:
- Is capable of bypassing the UAE’s internet restrictions
- Has connection speeds fast enough for high-definition streaming and high-call-quality VoIP
- Offers numerous servers in a wide selection of different locations
- Uses strong encryption and includes other advanced security features
- Does not log any information which could identify you
You can read more about how we choose the VPNs we recommend further on in this article. But for now, let’s take a closer look at the ones that made our list.
Here’s our list of the best VPNs for the UAE:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our first choice for a UAE VPN. It’s among the fastest VPNs we’ve tested and has a huge network, with roughly 5,500 servers in 60 countries worldwide. Further, there are very few services that this VPN doesn’t work with, so whether you’re looking to make crystal-clear Skype calls or watch a few episodes of your favorite show on Netflix, you’ll be in good hands.
NordVPN offers more security options than many of its rivals. Its toolkit includes 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection, plus ad-blocking, malware-scanning, and the ability to connect to Tor via VPN. There’s even a proprietary protocol, NordLynx, which is based on WireGuard and claims to offer higher speeds without compromising on privacy. NordVPN recently passed its second no-logs audit, so there’s no need to worry about your activities being traced back to you.
This VPN has apps for Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, and macOS systems. It can also be installed on supported network routers, although manual configuration is required.
- Works reliably with Skype in the UAE
- Strong encryption and no logs make for top security and privacy
- Unparalleled network – over 5,500 servers across 60 countries
- Extremely fast and reliable downloading and streaming speeds
- Connect 6 devices concurrently
- 24/7 chat support are well trained to handle complex situations
- Takes multiple clicks to disconnect on desktop
BEST VPN FOR SKYPE IN UAE:NordVPN is our top pick. It has incredible speeds and works well with Skype in UAE. Boasts strong security features and allows up to 6 devices to be used simultaneously from one account. Try it risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a low-cost VPN that’s ideal for video calls. It regularly performs well in our speed testing and offers access to 3,200+ servers in around 100 countries. Needless to say, this makes it a strong choice for anyone hoping to securely access services like Skype, Disney+, or Netflix (over 30 libraries supported). Best of all, Surfshark has no connection limit, meaning you can protect all of your devices with a single account.
This service doesn’t compromise when it comes to security. It keeps you safe using 256-bit encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch (in every version). This service doesn’t log any personally identifiable information, although you can sign up using Bitcoin if you’d prefer. Customer support can be reached 24/7 via live chat in the event of any problems.
Surfshark has macOS, iOS, Linux, Windows, Android, and Amazon Firestick and Fire TV apps. Manual installation is required to work with internet routers.
- Global network of servers in around 100 countries
- Fast, reliable speeds
- Kill switch on all platforms
- Works in the UAE and China
- Allows unlimited simultaneous connections
- Customer support has room for improvement
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark offers very high speeds, excellent security and digital privacy features, and the ability to use Skype anywhere. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of Surfshark.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN provides access to more than 3,000 servers in 94 different countries. Further, it’s fast enough to stream HD video fluidly, with no noticeable buffering. This means that as well as being able to stream from popular platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, ExpressVPN allows you to have lengthy, uninterrupted Skype conversations.
Your internet traffic is kept private using a combination of 256-bit military-grade encryption, perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch (in the desktop apps), and protection against WebRTC and DNS leaks. ExpressVPN doesn’t log any personally identifiable information, just the email address you registered with. As such, if you use a throwaway email address and pay with Bitcoin, you can browse completely anonymously. Customer support is available 24/7 via live chat in case you encounter any issues.
This service offers apps for all the most popular operating systems (Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, and iOS). It also has its own router firmware, which was recently updated to provide higher speeds and a more stable experience. This must be installed manually, but you can do so in just a few minutes.
- Operates a network of more than 3,000 servers spanning 94 countries
- Well-designed mobile device and desktop apps
- An easy-to-use app that installs with a wizard
- High-grade encryption, security, and privacy throughout
- 24/7 live chat support
- Not the cheapest provider on this list
- Streaming servers aren’t labeled
EXCELLENT SECURITY:ExpressVPN is a solid choice. It has a vast server network that is optimized for high-speed connections. Excellent online privacy and security. Unblocks lots of streaming sites. Plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN might not have the largest server network, with only roughly 200 globally, but they are spread across 60+ countries, and it does provide higher speeds than most of its competitors. This is important since Skype is a fairly data-intensive program, especially if you make a lot of group calls. PrivateVPN is also capable of accessing popular services like BBC iPlayer and Hulu, so you can use it to stream TV from back home while traveling in the UAE.
This VPN uses 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks, and a strict no-logging policy to help keep your personal data safe. Notably, this provider recently began hosting its own servers and acting as its own ISP, which means no other company ever has access to your traffic. PrivateVPN’ allows you to connect 10 devices at once, and it’s customer support team are on-hand most of the time via live chat and email.
This service offers apps for Windows, Android, iOS, and MacOS. Manual installation is required for Linux systems and supported routers.
- A low-cost option that works in the UAE
- Gaining a reputation for unblocking popular geo-blocked sites and services sites
- Digital privacy and security are top-notch
- Allows 10 simultaneous connections
- Fewer servers to choose from than other providers higher on this list
- Customer support is not quite 24/7
GREAT SPEEDS:PrivateVPN is a good family choice. Works well with Skype and allows up to 10 devices on the same account. Small server count. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
VyprVPN has over 700 servers in 70+ locations around the world and is a natural choice for bypassing regional blocking. In fact, as well as letting you use Skype from anywhere, this VPN works with platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. Speeds are more than enough for lag-free video calls, and users can secure up to five of their devices at once.
As far as security goes, this is one of the best services around. It offers 256-bit encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch, and automatic wifi protection (just in case you find yourself using public hotspots as you travel). Additionally, recent updates have brought WireGuard support, which is faster than OpenVPN over long distances. VyprVPN is a zero-logs provider with 24/7 support via live chat.
VyprVPN has apps for iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, and Windows. Manual installation is required for use with supported routers.
- Fast speeds are perfect for calling and streaming
- Great set of security tools
- Provides around-the-clock support
- No cryptocurrency payment options
- Relatively small server network
SKYPE FROM ANYWHERE:VyprVPN excels at bypassing regional restrictions Better still, it lets you use your favorite services securely, and keeps no logs whatsoever. With decent speeds and a 30-day money-back guarantee, there’s plenty to like here.
Read the full VyprVPN review.
Why is Skype blocked?
In the UAE, VoIP providers are required to have a special license before their services can be used. The problem is, to date, only two services are available, both of which are run by Etisalat, a national ISP. The exact reasons for this requirement are unclear, but the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) lists one of its goals as “[ensuring] that licensees adhere to quality standards of performance.” You’d think that with 300 million active users worldwide, Skype would qualify, but apparently not.
There may be an ulterior motive for this ban. The UAE has a history of strict internet censorship. Also, many VoIP services, including Skype and WhatsApp, now offer end-to-end encryption. This makes it incredibly difficult for the government to monitor user activity. This isn’t mere speculation; the UAE already has strict rules on VPN usage, most likely for a similar reason.
Can I unblock Skype with a free VPN provider?
Using a free VPN service is generally a bad idea, but even more so when in the UAE. These services usually have fairly small networks and limited IP address ranges, yet more users than premium services. This leads to extremely slow speeds, long wait times for servers, and monthly data limits. As a result, you’re likely to experience video chat that hangs, stuttering audio, and possible call disconnects when using a free VPN provider with Skype.
Free VPNs aren’t known for their security. Even assuming you install a legitimate app and not one designed to infect your system with malware, research shows that a huge percentage of free VPNs are vulnerable to IPv6 leaks. Worse, some don’t even encrypt your traffic at all, meaning you’re actually less secure than with no VPN. These risks extend to larger providers, too; we’ve even seen a major free VPN sell its internet users’ bandwidth to help run a botnet.
Methodology: Choosing the best VPNs for Skyping in the UAE
It pays to do your research when buying a VPN, and this is even more important if you’re thinking about visiting the UAE. After all, there are lots of services that are too slow for any real day-to-day use and others that can’t beat the country’s VoIP restrictions at all. Here are the key features we looked for when trying to find the best VPNs for Skype:
- Unblocking ability: It goes without saying, but your VPN has to be able to avoid the government’s web filtering. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use Skype or access services from other countries (which can be a real nuisance if you’re visiting the UAE on vacation).
- Speed: You shouldn’t have to put up with stuttering, lag, or dropped calls. That’s why we only recommend VPNs that delivered exceptional speeds in our latest speed testing. We take consistency into account too, so only those that perform reliably make the cut.
- Security and privacy: We require providers to offer 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a no-logging policy at a bare minimum. However, many of the services recommended also include stealth modes, cloaking tools, and custom protocols for even greater privacy.
- Ease of use: Everyone should be able to browse the web securely. The best VPNs must have novice-friendly apps, live chat-based support, and ideally, simple, toggleable options that clearly explain what they do.
- Pricing: We compare VPNs with similarly-priced competitors to filter out any that charge more than is really justified. Additionally, where possible, we’ll include details about any discounts, trials, or money-back guarantees so that you don’t have to pay a cent more than is necessary.
Looking to find what other tests we perform? We have a detailed post explaining exactly how Comparitech tests VPNs to determine if they are good enough to recommend.
Skype in UAE FAQ
Are VPNs legal in the United Arab Emirates?
VPNs have many legitimate uses and are used legally all over the world. For instance, remote employees can use them to connect to their employer’s internal network, gamers can protect themselves from DDoS attacks, and users can stay safe when connected to public wifi networks. However, with VPN legislation varying from one location to another, it’s important to know the local laws when you visit another country. So, are VPNs legal in the UAE?
Federal Decree-Law No. 5 of 2012 On Combating Cybercrimes, article 9 describes punishments for those who use VPNs to commit, or conceal evidence of, a crime. However, it does not make VPN usage inherently illegal.
Disclaimer: Nothing we’ve said above should be considered legal advice. The UAE’s digital landscape is complex and subject to fast-changing legislation. We recommend carefully researching the country’s copyright, cybercrime, and VoIP laws for yourself before attempting to use a VPN there.
What other sites and services are blocked in the UAE?
The UAE has some of the most heavily-restricted internet access in the world. Below is a list of the types of content automatically censored by the country’s government. Note: as the TRA does not publically list every banned website, there may be additional categories of material that are not mentioned below.
- Pro-LGBT content
- Religiously sensitive material
- Anti-UAE content
- Proxy servers and VPN-related websites
- Unlicensed communications platforms (Skype, WhatsApp, etc.)
Will Skype and a VPN work on public WiFi?
When traveling, it’s not just the government’s internet restrictions you’ll have to contend with; plenty of public WiFi hotspots have their own list of blocked sites on top of this. The good news is that by connecting to a VPN, you can simply route your traffic through servers in another country. These aren’t affected by the UAE’s web filtering, meaning you’ll be able to access just about anything as long as you use a server in a country with a relatively open internet.
In other words, if you’d like to unblock Skype while on public WiFi, just connect to your VPN. Remember: if there’s any doubt as to the legality of doing so in your location, it’s best to do your research beforehand.
How do I delete my Skype call history when I'm in the UAE?
It’s actually really simple to delete conversations and individual messages on Skype. In fact, all you have to do is right-click the thing you’d like to delete (or tap and hold, if you’re on mobile) and click Remove or Delete conversation. This isn’t a completely foolproof method, and any investigator will still be able to find traces of your deleted messages, but it should be good enough to pass a cursory inspection.
Does Skype for Business work in the UAE?
Normally, Skype for Business is completely blocked, just like most other international VoIP services. The UAE did lift restrictions on some popular apps in March 2020 to enable citizens to communicate more easily during the pandemic, but this is under periodic review and will almost certainly be a temporary measure. As such, you’d usually either have to find a state-approved communications app, or use a VPN to access Skype for Business in the UAE.
Will a VPN make my internet too slow for video calls?
It's unlikely that a VPN will slow down your internet connection while making video calls. Video calls are regarded as high-bandwidth activities by ISPs, who may throttle (slow down) your internet connection when you're not using a VPN. A VPN will limit bandwidth throttling by your ISP, so you may notice increased speeds and less buffering while making video calls.
Can I buy Skype Credit in the UAE?
It is technically possible to purchase Skype Credit in the UAE, but you’ll need a VPN and a payment method from a second, supported country. You could add to your balance using a Skype gift card as these are widely available online and can be delivered to your email inbox in minutes. Just make sure you’re purchasing a card with digital delivery, not one that has to be physically shipped to you.
Unfortunately, even once you’ve added Skype Credit, you’re not out of the woods. Many users in the UAE experience intermittent connections when calling landlines and mobile devices using Skype credit, although PC-to-PC calls seem to be fine, at least for an hour or so.
What video calls do work in the UAE?
Most international video calling software simply doesn’t function in the UAE. However, there are a few services that work, and that are permanently available. These include BOTIM, C’Me, Voico, Smoothy, and HiU Messenger.
Why are VoIP services blocked in UAE?
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has strict regulations surrounding telecommunications and the internet. As a result, many VoIP services – such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber – are blocked in the UAE. This is because these services enable users to make calls or send messages over the internet for free or at a low cost, which can hurt the revenues of telecom companies in the UAE.
There are several reasons why these regulations have been put in place. One reason is that traditional telephone services still make up a significant portion of the revenues for many telecommunication providers in the UAE. VoIP services threaten this revenue stream by offering similar services at lower costs. Additionally, some UAE telecom companies have partnered with major international telecommunications providers to offer their own VoIP services in the country.
Another reason that VoIP services are blocked is due to concerns about internet security and privacy. Many of these services use encryption technologies that protect the calls or messages from being intercepted by unauthorized users. This has raised concerns among UAE officials that criminals or terrorists could use these technologies to communicate secretly and undetected.
Despite the strict regulations surrounding VoIP services in the UAE, many people still use these services by using virtual private networks (VPNs) or other tools to get around the blocking measures. While some risk is involved in doing so – as UAE officials are actively trying to block these tools – many people believe that the benefits of using VoIP services outweigh the risks.