Diving into a new life in the UAE?

Hold your camels!

Our comprehensive guide is here to smooth your journey from the sandy dunes to the towering skyscrapers.

From visa options to finding your new abode, we’ve got your pre- and post-move checklist covered.

The UAE is an excellent place to move to due to unlimited job opportunities, the global connectivity it provides, the power of its passport and delicious Arab cuisine.

So buckle up for the adventure of a lifetime in the UAE!

Things To Do Before Moving To The UAE

Below are some of the things we would urge you to do before moving to the UAE.

You should make appropriate arrangements and plans before leaving so that you do not have to face stressful situations once you are there.

We have prepared this list for you to read and get relevant info! 

Do Your Research On The UAE 

It is vital to do your research when you decide to move somewhere. There are many aspects of a country which you should thoroughly read about to better understand if you can spend your life there. 

Some of the things, which you should know about, are the laws, climate, cuisine, job opportunities, everyday life, and family life in UAE.

The laws in the UAE are strict and are enforced duly.

You should read about the common laws of the UAE to see if you can survive and thrive there on an everyday basis.

You should also read about the political situation in the country and only move where it is stable because a country cannot thrive until democracy is prevalent and stressed.

The climate of the Arabs is mostly not suited to Europeans (though the air-conditioning everywhere helps) and they face difficulty in getting their tastebuds adjusted to Arabian Cuisine.

However, the cuisine is very delicious. Home of the Hummus, Falafel and Fattoush.

The Arabian cuisine is very diverse and you will find yourself loving it after a short while. Even if you don’t the international cuisine scene is super strong here since you have so many expats!

The climate of the UAE is arid. You will see that there are air conditioners everywhere in the UAE.

In the offices, buildings, homes and pretty much everywhere else. Most of the UAE is a desert and hence the weather is pretty hot, with dry long spells with little to no rain.

This is why; the climate is one of the biggest drawbacks for expats who are moving in from European countries due to the huge climate difference.

However, efficient air conditioning systems make it bearable. 

Job opportunities are also very vital when moving to a country; make sure that there are many opportunities for you in your area of specialization or expertise so that you do not have to worry about putting food on the table for yourself and your family. 

Make sure to check out our article on Pros and Cons of living in the UAE!

Explore Visa Options And Work Permit 

It is important to look for a visa and work permit before you move to the UAE. If you have already found a job in the UAE then you can ask your employer to vouch for you and start the process of your work and residency permit

If your employer is in the mix then it is easier for an expat to get their visas on time.

To begin the process, you need to look for a job and apply for a work permit. After you have your work permit, you can apply for an Emirates ID, with your work permit and passport. 

It is important to find an employer who is willing to provide you with a resident and work permit for you because otherwise, the process is long and tedious.

After you have your Emirates ID, your employer can apply for these permits and visas based on it.

The work permit, you will get will give you the ability to work in the UAE for two years

Make sure to not go to the UAE by any illegal means or on expired work visas or permits since the fines are very heavy and might follow with imprisonment.

Trust us that you do not want to see the inside of a jail cell in the UAE! 

Check Your Bank Balance Before Making Decisions 

Checking your financial health is very important before deciding to move. You should check your bank balance, streams of income, tax certificates and other things before switching the country. 

At this stage, it is very important to plan and have an escape plan or an exit strategy in case things don’t work out in the UAE. You should set aside some money for a rainy day in case, you find that life in UAE is far from what you had in mind. 

Also, make sure that you look for local banks to open an account if you do not plan to use your account as an international account.

The transfer fees and other things will not be practical if you want to use your bank account in your current country.

Also, employers generally prefer to transfer your salary to a local account and are hesitant if they have to transfer money out of the country. 

You should look for banks and account types beforehand so that you know the necessary documentation needed to open an account once you are there.

Find A Place To Live 

This is one of the most important things to consider once you are in the UAE.

If you have not figured this out and plan to take a cab to the nearest hotel after you have landed in the UAE, it will prove very financially burdening.

We suggest you not think about hotels or motels for a second and try to get an apartment for rent

This is because you might not be able to buy the property outright as an ex-pat since properties are expensive in the freehold zones in UAE.

You should look for a shared apartment to lower expenses.

Make sure you look for apartments online and on classified ads, talk to homeowners on call, set up a meeting and finalize a place where you will live. 

You will have to research the neighborhood and look at rental laws, rental insurance and other things before finalizing your new home.

All of these things will be very overwhelming from the room of your hotel once you are here with no place to call home.

Therefore, we would strictly urge you to find a place to live before coming here. 

Look For Jobs

Securing a stable job before coming to the UAE is very important since your employers are your best bet to get you a resident and work permit. They will get the ball rolling for you in UAE after you have secured the job and provided them with relevant documents. 

Looking for jobs through social media classifieds is a very good method and hence you must spend a great deal of time before actually moving here to find yourself a job.

It is not financially advisable or viable to move here and then look for a job since you might run out of savings before finding a job.

The UAE is very costly; the rent of your hotel room and takeout food will take a heavy toll on your savings till you find a job. Hence, we would advise you to secure a line of income before moving here, which will make it better to manage your expenses. 

Move Your Belongings 

Ensure that you do not leave this part of the moving process for the end.

Moving your belongings depends on whether you want to stay for a short period for a couple of years. If you are planning to stay for a shorter period then all you need are some luggage bags.

Also, note that the airline might charge you separately for your luggage. 

However, if you want to travel for a longer period then look for movers who will transfer your belongings through freights.

Sea travel takes a lot of time, hence choose your movers a week ahead of when you plan to move to the UAE.

You should look for freight companies who are known to be careful with your stuff and provide complimentary services like loading up your belongings. 

Set Your Healthcare And Insurance 

It is vital to look for quality healthcare providers and insurance before travelling to the UAE.

If you have a disease for which you need a specialist doctor or health care provider, make sure to locate someone of equal qualification in the UAE, where you are planning to move.

The UAE has a quality healthcare system and some of the best doctors and surgeons in the world so you do not have to worry about not finding one for your condition.

However, it is important to look for one beforehand to avoid any inconveniences. 

Insurance is another important thing to cater to before leaving for the UAE. Make sure to compare insurance quotes and features before moving and getting one beforehand hence you will not have time on your hands in your first few days of travelling to the UAE. 

Check out our article on Insurance in the UAE!

Learn The Language 

The official language of the UAE is Arabic; however, English is also widely spoken because most of the population of the UAE is comprised of expats from every corner of the world. 

However, if you do work on your communication skills we are sure that it will help you in your daily life in the UAE.

Communicating with Arabs in your daily life will be easier and will make your life easier if you can learn some basic Arabic. Moreover, it would be considered a very big plus point when you apply for a Job in an Emirati Company if you are fluent in Arabic. 

Furthermore, if you are planning to stay in a country for the rest of your life and have a family there, you will need to speak Arabic or at least have some knowledge of it at some point in your life. This is why we recommend you learn Arabic through an online course or an academy! 

Check out our article on the best apps for learning Arabic!

Connect With Others Relocating To The UAE 

There are support groups of travelers, which are highly beneficial if you are moving to a new country since there could be any number of hurdles and problems from the flight to the first few weeks when you would have wished to have someone to talk to and discuss your problems with.

This is why it is important to locate and befriend people who are in the same boat as you. 

This also allows you to network with people going to the UAE, as you will have limited friends when you get there in the UAE as an expat.

It is always nice to know that you have friends you can talk to.

Talking to other travellers will also be beneficial in terms of knowledge about your travel and trip, and you might learn something, which is imperative for your travel! 

Check out our article on making friends in the UAE!

Look For Transportation

Make sure to look for transportation before moving to the UAE. You should know that the public transport system of the UAE is very good, hence you do not have to shell out on a shiny new car once you are in the UAE.

However, it depends on where your job is in the UAE.

If commuting by public transport is difficult for you then we suggest you look for a midsize car and look at classified ads beforehand so that you know the market prices and can negotiate better once you are there.

Check out our article on buying a car in the UAE!

You can pay for this transport with a card that can be issued through the RTA. 

Moreover, if you already have a license in your home country, you might be able to exchange it by the RTA and get a driving license for the UAE without giving any of the exams.

However, there are some documents you need to have for this. You might be exempted from the driving exams, but you still might need to pass the written ones.

The written exams are quite complicated hence, we would advise you to download the rulebook from the Road and Transport Authority’s website and study it so your chances of passing the exam increase. 

However, this offer is only valid for certain countries, a list of which is available on the RTA’s website. Make sure to see if your country is one on the list or not!

Check out our article on driving licences in the UAE!

Things To Do After Moving To The UAE

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There are many things from the above list that you could do even after moving to the UAE, however, we would recommend you do these things before moving so that the relocating process is less stressful and not the first few weeks are not overwhelming for you. 

Moreover, if you do all of these things before moving then you will have a chance to make any changes you desire once you are here and that will save time as compared to choosing and switching things once you are here.

Buy Property 

Now that you are here, we would urge you to buy property as soon as you can since the rent is very high in the UAE and if you plan on moving to Dubai or Abu Dhabi then make sure that you save up and invest in a property. 

As a foreign national, you can buy property in any one of the freehold areas in the UAE. These localities are presented in designated zones all over the twin cities, however, they do not come cheap. 

There are property agents through which you can buy properties and interact with owners. Moreover, if you like the property then you should deposit around 10% to secure the property. The buyer is expected to pay the transfer fees as well as the agent’s fee.

You can also get your house mortgaged from the bank, however, it is a long and tedious process.

You will also have to deposit a huge down payment, which will be determined according to the tenure of the mortgage and the value of the property.

However, it is one of the most popular methods of buying a house in the UAE. This is because banks in the UAE offer amazing mortgage rates so that you can lease things.

Check out our article on buying property in the UAE!

Open A Bank Account 

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Opening a bank account in the UAE is very easy for expats and the process is not lengthy at all. There are more than 4 dozen international banks in the UAE where you can get your bank account opened.

However, if you prefer a local bank then they will also cater to you as an expat and open an account for you. 

The only drawback to using an account is that there are many stringent protocols for expats and processes for getting loans often take time and are quite strict.

But, these banks offer excellent services and rates to expats. 

When choosing a bank look for the services they offer, their interest rates, transfer fees, chequebook protocols and other things so that you can make a timely and informed decision.

To open a bank account in the UAE, you will need some documents including a Visa, Passport, proof of address, referral letters and driving license for identification. 

Check out our article on the best bank accounts in the UAE!

Look For Schools

If you plan to stay in the UAE for a long period and plan to raise a family here then make sure to live somewhere where there are good schools nearby and other facilities needed to raise a family.

Apart from this, many schools in the UAE offer education in English, although Arabic is the official language. 

The education system starts from kindergarten at the age of five, after which there are three stages until college. These stages are a primary school, preparatory stage and secondary school. 

Private and public education systems are widely different as well. Public education system schools are segregated by gender and strict implementation is made on Islamic teachings. Moreover, English is taught but there is a strict emphasis on Arabic. 

Private education systems are more according to European standards, where you can find British Curriculum and other teaching systems in place and a stronger emphasis on English. Hence, you can get your children enrolled in whichever system you want. 

School fees in the UAE range from AED 5,000 to AED 65,000 per annum, depending on the locality, type of school and other things. 

Check out our article on the education system in the UAE!


And there you have it – your roadmap to a seamless transition into your new life in the UAE.

Remember, relocation is a marathon, not a sprint. So, keep this guide handy as you navigate through the exciting maze of relocating.

The quality of life is great in the UAE and there are many things here, which will attract people.

There are ample job opportunities for people here given the rising business culture in the UAE and Dubai is a global hub of travel and business. Moreover, the UAE has started giving amazing incentives to expats to stay here, which include lenient citizenship laws, and tax-free incentives among other things.

One of the most famous reasons the UAE is an excellent place to move to is that there are virtually no taxes here!

So welcome to the UAE, where a blend of tradition and modernity awaits you!