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  • Writer's pictureSadiya Kauser Ahmad

Moving to Dubai? What you must know


Dubai the cosmopolitan metropolis where east meets west is surely a lifetime experience to live around. It is known to be a business hub and luxurious tourist destination in the world. This futuristic city is home to millions of expats and the most tolerant emirate in terms of diversity, culture, and lifestyle.

if you are considering moving here, there are some things you may want to keep in mind to enjoy sustainable living.

  1. Visa. Dubai offers multiple types of visas. Depending on the nature and purpose of your visit and you will be eligible for the right visa ( work, freelance, residence, visit, etc ). If you are employed your employer will sponsor your visa.

  2. Entry Permit. Once your visa is processed. You will then need an entry permit to enter and stay in UAE. Check out this link for Visa and Entry Permit

  3. Medical Insurance. Medical expenses in UAE can really empty your pockets. It's important to have this sorted to enjoy the benefits. if you are employed your employer will sponsor your insurance. Check out some of these links for reference.

Both Visa and Entry Permit are needed before you arrive in UAE. Upon your arrival, the next things that you need to look out for are

  1. Emirates Id. This is a must-identity card issued to all residents. You can visit the Amer center to follow the process. Check out the link

  2. Mobile no. There are many service providers like Etisalat, du, etc. You need an Emirates Id to apply for a connection.

  3. Bank account. There are many choices of banks available to pick from ex Emirates NBD, Mashreq, Dubai Islamic, ADCB, etc.

  4. Ejari. This is the rental agreement document of your house. Check out the link.

  5. Driving License. Many western countries' licenses are accepted and recognized. However if you an Indian you gotta start from scratch. Emirates driving institute, Galadari, and Belahasa driving center are the most popular picks.

Based on your nature of visa necessary documents need to be produced for the above.

Once you have these sorted with the paperwork, you are good to start a living!

Tips to begin with your daily essential needs.

  1. Home furnishing. So you have a home sweet home and now begin setting up your space, so where to begin with? If you opt for a used one try Dubizel and if you prefer new instead lookout for stores like Home stop, Home center, Ikea, Danube, etc depending on your budget.

  2. Utensils. You can hunt from a wide variety of VFM stores. Check out Day to Day, Homestop, Lulu, and Carrefour.

  3. Groceries. I find Noon very affordable and convenient for online and doorstep deliveries. Of course, Carrefour is accessible almost everywhere and Lulu if it is close by. You may also find VIVA in your neighbourhood and is equally affordable.

  4. Transport. Metro is by far the best and cheapest way to commute. Buy an NOL card. Taxis can be really an expensive affair but quite a savior and must to board in for some remote places. Check out RTA, Careem, and Uber taxis. Of course, your own vehicle and fuel would be the best. If you can do get an E-Scooter. Really useful to get around in the neighborhood, especially during hot and sweaty summers.

  5. Food.& Dining. You will find this place a home to some of the finest and world-class hotels, restaurants, and cuisines just name it. Order from Talabat, Careem, and Deliveroo for home deliveries.

  6. Entertainment. Dubai is packed with entertainment and can end up being quite a costly affair. Check out sites like Groupon, Cobone, etc. Don't even think once to sign up for Entertainer app membership where you can enjoy buy one get one. Subscribe to stuff that can help you avail yourself of discounts on food, tickets, etc.

  7. Shopping. Dubai has shopping sales all around the year. Honestly, you can wait for sales to grab on some good deals as there is no such MRP system in my view.

Ok a few more things to count on

  1. Accommodation. Again depends on your preference and budget. Palm, JBR, Downtown, Business Bay, and Marina are some of the high-rise, affluent residential areas. For budgetary options look around Deira, Bur Dubai, Discovery gardens, etc. Ofocurse there are alternate accommodations types like shared and service apartments.

  2. Climate. This is something I cannot afford to miss to touch on. Living in Dubai would be like living in phases. Summers (indoors) and winters (outdoors). Make sure you understand this loud and clear. For almost 6 months you can end up literally caving in ACs. Summers begin right from May and last till Sept. It's going to be hot as an oven in the day and humid at night. So just when you think you can enjoy the mornings and evenings or nights, haha good luck. Trust me Ac will be your next best friend. Whether home, car, or office, the only place you would long to go is one which is Air Conditioned. Shopping Malls are where you will find the crowd. Perhaps winters are quite the opposite. You will thank god for having mercy on you and make the most of every moment to enjoy outdoor life.

  3. Clothing. Aah, as much as light summer wear please, preferably that can allow your body to breathe especially in heat and humidity. Don't forget the sunblock, antiglare, summer hat, sports shoes, and wet wipes. Invest in good quality ones, trust me you will need this for a long long time! Winters are quite pleasant and light warm wear should suffice.

  4. Culture. Being Cosmopolitian perhaps a mix I say, but largely Islamic. If you are a Muslim you will enjoy the rich heritage and Islamic culture of the Arab world. It's a blessing to have holidays for almost all important Islamic historic events. Fridays are holidays. Ramzan is beautiful. The Mosques, Prayers, Azan, Muslim attire, Islamic traditions, and food will surely make you love and enjoy your religion.

  5. Governance. The leaders are Par Excellence. I simply love the rules, regulations, and protocols. It is disciplined and systematic. Of course, I guess people who enjoy the forbidden you may quite hate this place. It may seem like las vegas but actually not las vegas hehe!

Being an Indian and coming from a place like Bangalore, I surely find a few shortcomings in Dubai. Dubai is an extreme climatic barren desert land of mass. One will undoubtedly miss greenery, mountains views, rain showers, rickshaws, street food, family, and friends.

However, the bright side is the quality of life Dubai offers. Community of ex-pats, splendid Infrastructure, quality food, lifestyle living, hygiene, entertainment, beach life, good governance, monetary benefits, and tax-free take-home salary are key takeaways about Dubai.

One cannot deny Dubai has its own charm that actually grows over you over time.


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