Relocating to the UAE, an enticing prospect for many, entails much more than just packing your bags.
Expats constitute approximately 88.52 percent of the UAE’s total population, reflecting its diverse nature as a melting pot of various cultures. Consequently, being well prepared is of utmost importance.
While relocating to the UAE may sound challenging, it does not have to be. This guide will make your transition as easy as possible.
Do your research
First, you must take time to thoroughly scrutinize all aspects of life in the UAE. From cultural etiquette, labor laws, and popular tourist spots to weather conditions, a detailed understanding will ease your move.
The best way to do this is by searching online for information about the UAE. More so, you can also join forums and chat groups where expats share their experiences living in the UAE. This will help you learn about various aspects of life in the UAE, such as housing, careers, and education opportunities.
Arrange your visa
Securing a visa is an indispensable part of your plan to relocate to the UAE. There are numerous visa types available, depending on the length and purpose of your stay here. It is essential to select the correct visa to maintain legality.
For instance, the virtual work residence visa caters to foreign employees based outside the UAE. This one-year visa grants you the right to reside in the UAE under self-sponsorship. Moreover, it allows you to work in accordance with the terms stipulated in the visa, providing a legitimate pathway for foreigners to live and work in the UAE.
Meanwhile, the standard work visa is an excellent choice for individuals securing a job in the UAE’s private sector, government institutions, or Free Zone Area. This visa typically extends for two years.
Transport your belongings
Additionally, planning for the transportation of your belongings is something you cannot overlook when relocating to the UAE. While some items may be more cost-effective to buy when you arrive, others that hold sentimental value or are necessities will require careful packing and scheduling.
However, before you pack and ship, take note of UAE customs regulations. Some prohibited items include narcotics, gambling equipment, and counterfeit items. Likewise, the UAE also has strict rules concerning the import of pets, which require an import permit from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
Manage your finances
Notably, managing your finances is a crucial aspect of relocating to the UAE. Remember that regardless of the zero tax regime, living expenses can mount up, particularly in upscale cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
It is helpful to know that according to the Mercer Cost of Living City Ranking of 2023, Dubai ranked as the 18th and Abu Dhabi as the 43rd most expensive city for expatriates in the world.
Get a health insurance
The government mandates every resident to have at least a basic level of health insurance coverage, making it a non-negotiable prerequisite.
Fortunately, the UAE has a highly competitive health insurance market. What is more, they offer a wide variety of plans at different price points to cater to diverse needs and budget constraints.
For instance, the average cost of comprehensive health insurance in the UAE can range from AED 5,313 to AED 48,077 per year. It is worth noting that exact costs can vary according to numerous factors, such as age, health history, and the extent of coverage.
Find a place to live
Similarly, finding yourself a place to reside is a step that needs your immediate attention when relocating to the UAE. Despite higher living costs in larger cities, the real estate market here has many options to suit your budgetary needs.
Engaging with local real estate agencies can be instrumental in finding a place that aligns with your needs and tastes. Collectively, they have online platforms that list thousands of properties, which can be extremely helpful.
Start looking for a job
Unless you are relocating to the UAE with an existing job offer, your next major step needs to be job hunting. The UAE has a potent job market, especially in sectors such as finance, construction, tourism, and technology.
In terms of working culture, the UAE has a diverse, multicultural workforce with high professional standards. Full-time employees typically work eight to nine hours per day, five days a week. Importantly, work-life balance is highly encouraged across the UAE, reinforcing why it continues to be a fascinating destination for expats seeking international work experience.
Start learning the language
Ultimately, it is always beneficial to learn the local language when migrating to a new country. For those relocating to the UAE, learning Arabic can add valuable interaction with locals, although English is widely spoken in the UAE due to its cosmopolitan society.
Relocating to the UAE involves more than just a geographical change. It represents the advent of a new, exciting life phase. Despite its challenges, with adequate preparation, your relocation to the UAE could well be a gateway to global opportunities.
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