Expats can get anything delivered at almost any time, including food, groceries, dry cleaning and office supplies.
Tax Free Environment
Friday brunch is a popular activity for expats, with every hotel and restaurant offering delicious arrays of food and drink to patrons. Dubai is a fun city that caters to the young. Big-name entertainment and parties are advertised all the time. Getting official paperwork, such as resident and work visas, utilities set up, bank accounts opened and mobile phones connected can be a bit frustrating as it can be difficult to navigate bureaucracy in Dubai. Many documents will have to be translated into Arabic, so expats should be sure to use a reliable company.
The Dubai Metro is a nice, clean, affordable way to move around the city. There is a system of feeder buses offered at most of the major stations. Taxis are cheap and plentiful. For air travel, once expats have their residence visa, they can get an eGate card which expedites clearing customs. Driving in Dubai is for the stout-hearted. The road system is difficult to navigate and the driving can be erratic and fast, especially on the main expressway, Sheikh Zayed Road.
There are limited street signs and not all streets have names.
Directions are given in landmarks. If making a wrong turn or taking the wrong exit in Dubai, the city is totally unforgiving.
It can take more than 30 minutes to get going in the right direction again. It is usually far too hot to walk any distance in Dubai, with the exception being the emirate's slightly cooler period between November and March. There is good healthcare in Healthcare City, an area of certified healthcare providers and hospitals. A wide variety of alternative medicines is also available in Dubai, including Ayurveda and acupuncture. Outlying hospitals and clinics can deliver sub-par medical care, so it's best to choose the big brands.
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Dubai. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
I am an American expat freelance travel writer living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates who writes about travel, culture, fashion, food and wine on my blog. Backed by more than 25 years of experience in corporate, academic and non-profit public relations in the United States, I now enjoy focusing my writing skills full time on my passions. Here are some pros and cons of living in Dubai.
Cultural awareness in Dubai It's important to always remember that Dubai is an Arab emirate. Muslim country, but other religions tolerated Although Dubai is an Islamic emirate, other religions are allowed to be practised there is a church compound in Jebel Ali with Christian churches and a Sikh temple but there is a strong warning that proselytising is not tolerated.
Cultural adjustments needed when in a Muslim country The call to prayer five times a day can mean that non-Muslims may have to wait a bit to continue their business until Muslims return from prayer. Accommodation in Dubai Renting property in Dubai is a popular option with expats. Buying is also an option. The Arabian Ranches is one of the gated communities that offer attractive villas and facilities, this one is situated on the outskirts of Dubai but connected to the city by an efficient road system.
The UAE is a largely tax free country. Revenue is collected through the usual means such as car registration renewed yearly, parking charges minimal in comparison with European countries and other discrete means. Some businesses, such as restaurants and bars in hotels, charge tax. Despite this, any salary quoted is not going to be divided between you and the government before it reaches your bank account. The flip side of this tax free society is that government provides few services.
There are government and private hospitals. In fact, there are so many to choose from it is hard to decide. The costs range widely depending on the type of hospital or medical care sought. So medical insurance is a must.
Pros and Cons of Moving to Dubai | Expat Arrivals
In addition, you will need to factor in the cost of educating any children should you settle in Dubai. Although there are government schools, they are for Emiratis. Expatriates have a variety of different private schools to choose from. There are approximately private schools; some purport to offer a curriculum based on a particular country. Some present themselves according the dominant language and still others emphasize religious teachings. The fees for private schooling range as widely as the types of schools available. Generally, a western model school will be far more expensive than, for example, an Indian one.
In Dubai the Road Transport Authority manages the roads, the Salik tolls, enforces parking regulations and provides public transport systems.
Life in Dubai: what to expect
Congestion on the roads has not been eliminated for several reasons. For one thing, taxis are everywhere in Dubai. If you move part way through a UK tax year you may have some tax to pay at home, but after that your income will be earned tax-free. Rhianon Wilton moved to Dubai in and lives in Jumeirah with her husband and daughter.
The move was a career and lifestyle choice.
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My brother and sister-in-law both worked in Dubai at the time; both had great jobs … the contrast was that they lived in a villa in a private compound on the beach and when they finished work they could sit on a yacht with a glass of champagne and watch the sunset, whereas I queued in traffic on the motorway. Wilton got a job with Toyota, although she is not currently working. She says the work culture in Dubai involves long hours, hard work and stress, but the sun shines and at weekends people relax.
She says she leads "quite a privileged lifestyle and one which we could not afford in the UK. At the supermarket your shopping is packed for you and taken to the car.
A UK expat's guide to the UAE
Petrol is about a quarter of the price it is in the UK. It is easy to meet other expats because there are so many. Her advice for would-be expats is to avoid debt — you can end up in prison — and to negotiate a good expat package: We want to see the view from your window. You can share it with us by adding it to our Flickr group tagged "UAE". Our selected favourites will appear in a gallery on guardian.
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Things you need to know when you get there What airport will you arrive at?