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Top tips for relocating to the UAE

Published on 2018

Thinking of moving to the UAE? Or just arrived? Here are 10 key things to remember.

1. Be financially and bureaucratically prepared:

The UAE is a great place to live and one of it’s biggest draws is zero income tax. However, don’t that let that fool you into thinking that this is a cheap place to live. Setting up home in Dubai, like any other city, can be expensive, so do your research before arriving to make sure you know what to expect and adjust your plans accordingly. Research living costs, work out a budget and bring enough money to see you though for the first few months.

2. Attestation:

Get your education certificates attested for sponsorship and residency purposes before leaving your home country. Get an early start on all the necessary paperwork for visas and other bureaucratic processes. And, bring lots of passport photos.

3. Finding a home:

You must have a resident’s visa to be able to rent an apartment, which you can only apply for once you have a working visa. You‘ll also need to pay up to at least 3 months’ rent in advance – exactly how many checks is part of the negotiation. What are the hidden costs of renting?

You’ll also need a bank account; to open one you must go in person to the branch along with a letter from your employer stating your employment status and salary. Also, make sure you register your tenancy agreement via Ejari. What is Ejari?

If you’re considering buying a home rather than renting one, here’s what you need to know.

4. Home insurance:

Do you think that if there’s a fire or an accidental mishap, the building will reimburse you for your home theatre system and designer bag collection? Umm, not really. Don’t forget to get home contents insurance before your first expensive brush with misfortune. The ins and outs of home insurance

5. Sponsorship:

If you plan to bring your family along, you need to prove that you’re legally married and that your children are under the age of eighteen. Your employer will have to support your application for your family visa in the form of a ‘sponsorship’. You’ll also be expected to provide bank statements to prove that you’re earning a certain amount.

6. Schools:

Waiting lists can be long, so research your options right away. You’ll also need to put down admin and test fees, so be prepared.

7. Tax:

Know your home country’s liability for moving to the UAE.

8. Travelling:

Once you have the residence visa, you can only leave the UAE for six months or less at a time, or your residency may be canceled.

9. Ramadan:

If you arrive during Ramadan, you cannot eat, drink or smoke during fasting hours, regardless of your religion.

10. Familiarise yourself with the culture:

It’s worth doing a bit of research into local customs and laws, talking to expats who know the region and finding out what behavior is and isn’t acceptable. Typical things to watch out for are dressing appropriately for the area you are in. Consumption of alcohol in public is prohibited as are open displays of affection between men and women.

11. Be very careful with how you manage your money:

Getting into debt is a serious matter and can land you in big trouble. Ensure your salary will cover your bills and the lifestyle you want to live.


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