What You Should Know Before Moving To Dubai

We've been writing for some time about what you need to know if you come to live in Dubai.  This post is difficult to write because, although we have the same priorities, we don't all come in the same circumstances and we don't have the same needs. Still, we are going to try to respond to everyone.

Let's go back in time and situate ourselves at the moment when we decided living in dubai as an american. The first inquiries are usually through the internet (now everything has its website). Take a look at what seems and is a safe and westernised country, its government regime, climate, customs or Code of Conduct

First of all, work. It is important to negotiate a good package regardless of salary, including medical insurance (Social Security is cheap but covers very little).

The house, the school and / or nursery if you have children are the biggest expenses in emirates.  Forget the public schools, this does not exist here for expatriates. Schools cost an average of 40,000 dh per year, and the kindergarten costs 25,000 dh, not counting the route and the food. It is also important, when negotiating with the company, to ask for accommodation while you find a house (the hotels in the central areas are almost all 5-star). If you are a super negotiator, try car and relocation money, although this is difficult to achieve today.

Find out in which area of Dubai you are going to work and you will be able to choose the residential area that best suits you by price and characteristics, sizes, type of villas or apartments, proximity to parks, shopping and / or leisure

It's difficult to talk about figures because it depends on the area, number of rooms, flat or house ...

Remember that the rent is paid in advance in one or two checks (if you are very lucky you will be allowed to pay in more).

To be clear: Make sure, before you pay, that the owner is going to commit to fix all the damages (take pictures to show that they were before you occupied the house), as well as negotiate that the maintenance is included in the contract.

Sometimes they don't accept the latter, so you'll have to contact a maintenance company for the unexpected (which are not a few). Another thing is the issue of water and electricity, you must go to DEWA offices and put it in your name, as well as check that everything is paid and discharged before closing the negotiations. If you need help, at dubaiytu we have this service.

We do not want to overlook the visa issue. As you negotiate the package, ask the company all the documents you need to get your resident visa. Most of the documents will have to go through the channel of the Embassy of the Emirates in your country of origin, it is not superfluous to consult your Embassy or Consulate in the Emirates; having a resident visa as soon as possible will make your life much easier, since without it you can neither buy a car, nor open a bank account and the list would be endless...

Many companies have a PRO whose role is to facilitate and do the necessary paperwork for the employees. If your company doesn't have one, dubaiytu can provide one, don't hesitate to ask us.

Bring birth certificate of all family members, as well as the family book, also passports with a margin of more than 6 months validity. It is important that you bring a copy of the birth certificates translated into English, they will be asked for in the schools, as well as the vaccination calendar. When you enter, REMEMEMBER, you must be married and homosexual marriages are not allowed.  

If you are not married you cannot come and live with your partner. If you are pregnant, it would be an illegitimate pregnancy, so no doctor could take care of the pregnancy and it would be a crime.

The section of schools or nurseries is very important. Before you come, decide what kind of curriculum you want for your children (British, American, International, French, German...). You have the complete list on our website, in directories.

There is a wide spectrum of schools but the best ones usually have waiting lists. Don't despair, you will always find a place in one while you wait to get into the one you really want, for an average of a year.

A tip to push for admission is to try to pay in advance for a trimester when you go to do the registration you like, it's the best way to get your child admitted without relying on the ¨malditas¨ waiting lists, but not all schools accept it. The differences between international schools are not so great, just make sure you have support classes if your children don't speak English well (some don't have it and others charge it separately).

Once you have all this under control, it is good to come to Dubai to get the house and visit the area , as well as see the school and / or nursery you have chosen. Once you arrive, and with your passport in your backpack, tell the taxi driver to take you to a mall (in the Mall of The Emirates you have everything and it's archi-known, even the newest taxi driver knows how to get there) to exchange money at any exchange office (although the change is written on a table ask them which is the best price you can give me?, here you negotiate until this).

And buy a phone plus a card from Du or Etisalat (Dubai's two phone companies). The shopping malls are very large but all have an information service on each floor and also have plans in English.

Once you have the visa you must get the ID (the equivalent to the identity card). And, it would not be too close to Traffic (RTA), to get your driver's license. Join an academy, without wasting time, if you are from Latin America, because if you do not have dual nationality with any European country, Canada or the USA, they will make you get it to drive.

Spaniards and Portuguese only have to go to Traffic and with the license of their country and some photos and they will have it. Certainly it is a great advantage because, although you can live without a car, it is uncomfortable to depend completely on taxis, especially when you do not know the city or have important appointments to arrive on time (at peak times is sometimes not easy to get them).

Cars are cheaper than in other parts of the world and you have a very wide range of second-hand vehicles. Gasoline is at a good price, especially compared to Europe. Whether you have to go by taxi or you drive, always carry a map of Dubai and keep in mind that you can follow the pattern of Abu Dhabi (Sheik Zayed South) on one side and Dubai (Sheik Zayed North) on the other to know which direction you are going.

The main wagon is Sheik Zayed Road. At first don't overdo it and try to get to the sites by that main road, although you'll soon find out that it's not the only one. A good trick we advise you to take the buildings as a reference, they are so high that you can see them from everywhere and they help you to orientate yourself.

There are many "rent a car" agencies that will allow you to compare prices. It's not a difficult city although people are very impatient driving and they whistle as you delay five seconds to go out at a traffic light or if you hesitate at a junction. Don't worry, it's cultural. You must be alert, because they don't flash or stop in the middle of the road, or back up on any road when they make a mistake...

Sooner or later, stop by the Commercial Office, Consulate or Embassy of your country, to register and ask everything you need. Go to the Directory/Embassies and Consulates tab of this website, where you will find all this information.

Another thing to do is open a bank account. It is better to bring dollars or euros because if not, you will be asked for the resident visa that maybe you do not have yet. If you are married, take out the joint account, this way you avoid using the visa of your country with the corresponding charges.

To furnish the house, if you have not brought a container with your belongings, in the big shopping centers you have many shops of furniture and decoration of all styles. You have from IKEA in Festival City (near the airport) to Exotic in Al Quod in the area near Al Barsha, in fact this area has many shops and stores to buy some special furniture, garden furniture, lamps, paintings .... In my case I bought almost everything in the warehouse of Marina Furniture because I like the colonial type furniture.

But if you like more modern lines, you have The One, Crate & Barrel with very original dishes and kitchen details, Pottery Barn, with English country-style furniture (although it's American) and with a section for the little ones where you have very nice details for their rooms... Home Center, Home'r Us, are larger and more varied decoration stores, where you can buy from carpets and bathroom accessories to dishes and pillows.

You can also find nice stuff in Galeries Lafayette on the Dubai Mall. You can buy electrical appliances in any Carrefour or Geant supermarket, where you have a wide range, and if you want something more specific you have to go to the firms, spread all over Dubai. Take your time to decorate the house to your liking! You can approach, when you have time, to compare paintings to Bastakiya in Bur Dubai (where you have several Art Galleries) or to the D.I.F.C. or to Global Village (open from November to March) where you have a "city" of countries (expo style) where you can buy details from different parts of the world while alternating with the local population of the Emirates.

Try to do a couple of things in the morning and no more. Give yourself a month to settle down, which all this requires your time. In the afternoon you can always keep looking at shops and buying things, but save some time to sort out the list of priorities and relax and/or socialize.

Meet a neighbor or a compatriot to give you advice, and if you have been told that your father's cousin's nephew lives here....or any other guy, don't hesitate to call him, the best thing is for the people who are already here to explain and give you a hand or both! If you have children, it is very important that they do not see you "so" stressed, or you will pass your nerves and you will have problems, I tell you from my own experience.

Domestic help is explained in the section on Procedures, and I'm not going to extend, just know that there are many cleaning agencies, car wash at home, gardeners ... if you do not want internal (maid) or do not get it at first. Sometimes you can get certain services without leaving the block of your house, how? because gardeners ride their bikes and come in and out of the gardens ...

The security can give you contacts maids or even cleaning agencies ... and the nearest supermarket usually have bulletin boards with the phones of maintenance companies, maids, private teachers ...

If you have to interview staff, perhaps it would not be a bad idea to make you accompany a person who has already been there for some time.

The little ones deserve a separate chapter, because it's not just school, you also have to see the activities you want them to follow or the ones you want them to start. Look at the ones in the schools, some have many and others very few, it also depends on the age of the children. If you can start looking at this on the internet before coming, because in certain activities there are waiting lists, let's put riding lessons, music ... when I arrived there were waiting lists even to play football.  

But trust me, the first year they have to do activities, but just as important is that they have time to play with the neighbors, the schoolmates... They also need time to adapt. Although Dubai is a destination for them, for all the possibilities it offers. Here the children are happy!

Between trips to the shops or offices to do the odious paperwork, familiarize yourself with the roads. Learn your way to your children's school, or the Mall of The Emirates or the math academy! Buy the Dubai road map from the Explorer, it's a must, and it's complete. The arrival saved me!

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