Preparing for the UAE

Jul 27, 2016

Congratulations on getting your new job in the UAE!

We know that you are excited about starting your new job and broadening your horizons by living overseas! In order to make your move to UAE more comfortable, we would like to recommend a few pointers that will make your transition more seamless. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in the excitement that we forget to tie up loose ends back at home.  A brief list of important things to take care of before you leave.


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Preparing for the UAE Thumbnail


 Arrange your visa

visa dubai


First off, your passport should have 6 months of validity beyond the length of your visa/residence permit. Your employer will help you to arrange your visa, remember that this process is very detail sensitive, so read the instructions clearly and don’t skip any steps. Different cities have different work visa policies; some may require you to arrive with your work visa, while others allow for the visa type to be changed without leaving the country. If you do need to arrive without your work visa you can check tourist visa requirements here. Citizens of most countries receive a 30 day visa on arrival. If you have family coming with you be sure to inform your employer so they can arrange proper visa sponsorship.

Inform your family and friends of your plans

thumbs up friend family approval


And keep them regularly updated on your latest address in UAE. It may be a good idea to get Skype installed on your computer (if you haven’t already) and also get Skype installed on your family’s computer. Show your family how to use Skype if they’re new to it and schedule a time of week to talk with your family and friends.

Inform your bank that you will be living in the UAE



Sometimes, for your own security, banks will block your card if they detect that it has been used overseas. Although a simple phone call will unblock it, such instances can be a nuisance.  Letting them know beforehand will keep this from happening in most cases.

Bring LOTS of passport photos

Passport-photos 400x400


Best to do them at home rather than hunt around looking for a photo shop. Get around 12 per person.

Budget for your first month in the UAE



If your employer is not providing accommodation you will likely need to pay your first month’s rent, plus a deposit (equal to another month’s rent). You should consider living costs and you may want to budget for an emergency fund, as well. Rents and living costs vary widely by city, so ask your recruitment consultant if you need further advice on this matter.

Prepare for jet lag



The effects of jet lag will vary depending on where you’re coming from. Be sure to drink plenty of water during your trip and after you arrive and immediately conform to the new time zone when you arrive, i.e. sleep at night and stay awake during the day (but don’t exhaust yourself). Try not to put too much emphasis on what time it is in your home country, as this will further confuse your system.

Purchase a guidebook

7140-Oman  UAE   Arabian Peninsula travel guide

Source: Lonely Planet

We suggest books such as the Lonely Planet to read up on your city before you come. Although English is spoken by the majority of the population, knowing basic phrases in the language of the foreign country you are visiting/staying in never hurt. Moreover, it gets to you closer to the culture and the locals who will appreciate the effort. Most quality guidebooks also have a Arabic phrase-book toward the back.

Weigh your bag before you set off to the airport

oversize suitcase


Bathroom scales will suffice. Be aware that airlines often have very high charges for overweight luggage, even if they are only slightly overweight.

Bring the appropriate clothing for both climate AND UAE’s dress code



Refer to your guide book or checking Google for the latest weather updates. It gets extremely hot and cold in the Middle East, especially when the Spring is around the corner. We’re talking +40°C in the daytime and –10°C at nighttime. Although shorts, tank tops and other lighter pieces of clothing would be the most appropriate for this type of weather, bear in mind that the religion rules the state and play an important role in the locals’ lifestyle therefore modest and conservative clothes are to be prioritized.

Pay a visit to your doctor


Source: Wise Geek

If you take prescription medicine, consult your doctor about obtaining a larger prescription. Although, most medications are easy to come by in the UAE.

Make sure your phone is unlocked



Bring your cell phone, because you will be able to use it in the UAE! If you have a smart phone, you will just need to make sure you unlock it before you leave home. Being able to access GPS on your phone will definitely come in handy while you are overseas!

Bring cosmetics/toiletries

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Infamous for being a shopping paradise, it won’t be a trouble for you to find the right beauty products, make up, creams, shampoos, contact lenses (if necessary), etc. in the UAE. At a certain cost. Indeed, although tax-free, the cost of living in the is quite high therefore these same products can cost significantly more than in your home country. It’s recommended to make sure to have a stock on all beauty products before coming abroad.

Buy a voltage converter or transformer


Source: Ebay

While goods from Europe, South Africa or Australia are compatible with Dubai’s voltage supply, goods from the US or Canada will not be so buy a converter or transformer. Also, the UAE favors British brands over American so bring all your necessities along with you.

Apply for a liquor license



As a Muslim country, the UAE does not promote alcohol. Do not bring alcohol with you on your trip because residents must first hold a liquor license to purchase and consume alcohol. Although alcohol can be legally consumed at licensed bars, hotels and restaurants in Dubai, the price for a bottle of wine will be much higher due to heavy taxes.

Be respectful



While Dubai is far more liberal and where the laws are not necessarily strictly enforced than its neighbors, it does not mean one should not be careful. Although 92% the population in Dubai is made up by expatriates, the UAE is still a Muslim country and the Emiratis are still very attached to their culture and history. Dress conservative because you will get call out for showing too much skin. Learn the customs and pay very much care to Islamic culture so as to avoid any uncomfortable situations, or worst case, jail time.

To get you acquainted with some of the other information you should know before moving to UAE, check out Teaching Nomad’s series of Info Sheets, which you can download at:

Best of luck on your new adventure!


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