Moving to the UAE: The Ultimate Guide - Part 1

The U.A.E. is quite popular among expats because of the many opportunities it offers them; high salaries, no income tax, and a multicultural life are just some of the few benefits of living there!

The U.A.E. attracts hundreds of thousands of expats each year, and this is because of how easy it is to live and move there. Having said this, to avoid any shocks along the way and to make your move stress-free, we have compiled a guide that contains the things you need to prepare for and the steps you must take in order to have a smooth transition. For the sake of not bombarding you with too much information in one place, the guide has two parts. (Part 2 is on the way)

Know what you’re getting yourself into

Simply deciding to move to the U.A.E. is not enough without not having done the proper research. Chances are, moving there will be a huge culture shock to you as there is no country like it; prepare yourself for that, because there will be many things that will confuse you in the beginning. You should also know some key information about the country, such as the fact that it has 7 emirates: Dubai. Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah. Although there are job opportunities in all 7 emirates, the majority are found in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These two emirates are also among the most expensive cities in the U.A.E. and the world.

Another major fact to know is that the weekends there are on Fridays and Saturdays, not Saturdays and Sundays like most parts of the world. You should also do a lot of research on the laws that exist ahead of time to not risk breaking any once you move there. Some of them can be quite weird, such as showing any public displays of affection, but they are very important to abide by or else you’d risk high fines or even deportation.

Arrange your visa

Regardless of whether you have already found work in the U.A.E. or will have to search for one once you get there, you need to have an entry permit to be able to stay there for 90 days or more. The requirements can vary, so try to check that you have the right documents and permit ahead of time. After coming to the U.A.E. with your entry permit and settling in, you can apply for a residence permit. However, you should be aware that residence permits are subject to medical examinations and if you test positive for HIV or hepatitis, you will be deported.

Seeking Employment

Because the U.A.E. is a multicultural hub, it is also home to branches of many international companies. Chances are, the company you’re currently working for could have a branch in the U.A.E. and the most that you need to do is to ask for a transfer. However, if that is not the case, the U.A.E. has many job opportunities for every profession, so you don’t need to worry about it too much. However, it is important to note that you cannot work on a tourist visa while in the U.A.E.. You need to be sponsored by your employer upon accepting your job offer, and they will apply for. residency visa on your behalf. Once you obtain your residency (or it is in process), you have to apply for a work permit at the Ministry of Labour.

Housing Matters

Even though there is no shortage on housing in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, you should be warned that at least half of your income will be spent on housing. Renting is very popular in the U.A.E. but expats can also buy a house. In fact, some expats can simply qualify for a visa by owning property in the U.A.E.. Having said this, there are different housing laws in each of the emirates and you should, once again, do research when it comes to buying property. In Dubai, for instance, expats can buy properties that are either “Leasehold” or “Freehold”. There are at least 20 Freehold areas in Dubai, including Bluewaters Island, Al Barsha South, and Dubai Marina.

These 4 points are among some of the most important ones you need to keep in mind if you plan on moving to the U.A.E.. The second part of this guide will be out next, so keep a lookout for it!

Compare listings