Relocating to Dubai: What You Need To Know

Dubai is one of the top destinations when it comes to expats’ choices; the figures show that Dubai enjoys an annual influx of hundreds of thousands of people. So if you’re one of those people looking to start a life here, these are some things to take into consideration when relocating to Dubai.

 

Dubai is a city, not a country!

UAE detailed map

 

Yes, Dubai is a city – not a country. It is situated on the Persian Gulf coast of the United Arab Emirates (the UAE). The UAE is a country, consisting of seven smaller emirates and Dubai is one of those emirates. The seven emirates are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and Umm al Quwain. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE.

There are different kinds of visas

dubai visa

Residence visas: In Dubai are sponsored by the employer and issued by the Ministry of Labour. Family members can be sponsored by a resident in the UAE (i.e.: husband, father).

Free Zone visa: Free Zone visas are issued if the company office is registered within free zones, such as Jebel Ali (JAFZA), Dubai International Airport (DAFZA), and TECOM. Unlike other visas, a free zone visa does not require the approval of the Ministry of Labour. A free zone visa allows residents to switch jobs freely between companies registered with the same free zone.

Regular visa: Regular visas are visas based on sponsorship. The sponsor must be a UAE national. This kind of visa limits the chances of an employee switching jobs easily, and the sponsor has the right to ban entry to the UAE for 6 months.

Family members: Once you obtain your resident’s visa in the UAE, you have a right to bring family members such as parents and spouse and sponsor their visas. This choice is limited to those with salaries above AED 4000-6000, and who have an official accommodation within the country.

Maids visa: Residents wishing to sponsor a maid can do so if their salary is not less than AED 6000. Keeping in mind that single men cannot sponsor a maid.

 

For any finance related issues…

Opening a bank account in Dubai is not a complicated matter, there are a few formalities to follow, but overall, the process doesn’t require a lot of time and work.

In order to open a bank account you need to provide:

  • A passport copy with a valid visa stamp
  • An NOC letter from the employer/sponsor
  • Salary certificates are mandatory for all expats working in Dubai. The employer must provide a salary letter, along with a valid residence visa stamp

 

When looking for a place to stay

Where to live in Dubai

There are many various areas to live in Dubai, suitable for all different preferences and budgets. You are advised to choose an area close to your workplace to avoid rush hour traffic. Eventually, the new residents learn how to organize their time and routes to avoid harsh traffic jams.

Visit our Area Guides section to find out more about some of the residential areas in Dubai, or go straight to Propertyfinder.ae to browse through thousands of listings in the city. 

How to move around the city

Public transportation

Public transport is not only popular, affordable, clean but also has available free wifi! Public transport includes:

Dubai Metro: the metro system is very reliable and has state of the art facilities. You could even get a chance to bump into Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Ruler of Dubai.

image of Dubai Metro

 

Dubai Buses: the bus system is equally reliable however the routes change as the new metro stops become operational. Each bus station is covered and air-conditioned!

buses in dubai

Dubai Taxis: taxis are directly available upon your arrival at any Dubai Airport, and almost everywhere in Dubai. You can also call the corresponding companies to book your cab in advance. As a new-comer from Europe, you might be positively surprised with how taxi fares remain much cheaper than in most European cities.

image of the taxi

 

Dubai water taxis: you can hire the private water taxi from any of the 25+ marine stations located around Dubai, including prime tourist locations like Dubai Festival City, Creek Park, Jumeirah beach, Dubai Marina, Atlantis, Mina Siyahi, etc. The water taxi fares varie based on the distance traveled.

Dubai Water Taxi

 

Private transportation

Uber

Uber Dubai

Uber is a world-famous app, and it is quite popular amongst residents of Dubai. The service is fast and easily manageable. 

Careem

Careem Dubai

Careem is a private car booking service which you can book via the mobile app, online, or by calling the company directly. They offer a list of car types to choose from, including a child equipped vehicle and a first-class car. 

Driving License

There are some 36 countries approved by the UAE for a direct transfer procedure for a driving license, this can be done at the RTA. This particular helps you find out whether or not you are eligible for a direct transfer of a driving license. As for others, they must go to a training school authorized by the RTA, and then undergo a theory test, road test and get an eye test done at a local optician.

Documents you will need to apply for a driving license in Dubai:

  • An original passport copy
  • A residence permit copy
  • 8 passport photos
  • An NOC from your sponsor

Communications

There are two main telecommunications providers in the UAE, Etisalat, and Du, and both offer a wide network of coverage. Additionally, they provide internet, TV and satellite services that can easily be found on their websites.

 

Lifestyle

Most expats relocate to Dubai looking for better job opportunities, however, the city also offers a better and more interesting lifestyle. Dubai is home for more than 200 nationalities, all sharing an ever-growing city. This gives people a chance to explore different backgrounds, participate in various activities and experience what it’s like to live in a real cultural melting pot.

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The type of lifestyle a person can have in Dubai highly depends on their income, and the city offers a lot of entertainment and leisure outlets, suitable for people from all kinds of backgrounds and traditions. 

 

Dubai Lifestyle

Gold Souk Old Dubai