Dubai life, The heart of the Middle East, Dubai is one of the more highly-desired destinations expats emigrate to. With its year-round sunshine, professional opportunities and chance of an enviable lifestyle, it should come as no surprise that Dubai is home to roughly 200 nationalities. *
The British expat population was 240,000 * in 2012 alone. When you consider that the American and Canadian expat population is a mere 40,000, * it becomes obvious that Brits are flocking to Dubai.
However, anyone with excitement and adventure on their minds should be aware that Dubai can be a world away from what they’re used to. Planning and foresight is required when starting your new life in Dubai. Here’s a quick look at what expats should do to ensure a seamless transition, and make sure that their first few months in Dubai are filled with happiness.
Know What to Expect
It’s important to research everything that you need to know about Dubai before jumping on the plane and waving goodbye to the UK. This will minimise the impact of any change in culture and lifestyle and make adjusting to the new environment easier.
Remembering that once the realisation that you’ve left an old life behind to start a new one has set in some expats can feel adverse effects. This is normal, and all part of the adjustment process. What’s important is to not allow any initial excitement and happiness to turn into anxiety and depression.
Search online and you’ll find a veritable treasure trove of advice, guidance and resources to help expats adjust to a new life in Dubai effectively. Remember that Dubai is a Muslim country and the religion influences every aspect of life, including dress codes, social etiquette and activities. Preparing yourself for the greatest adventure of your life requires planning, and building up your knowledge base.
Get Your Finances in Order
It’s important to remember that Dubai isn’t the type of place where all you’ll need is the clothes on your back. A toothbrush, soap and pocket full of notes. You can’t expect to come here, find ultra-cheap accommodation, get a part-time bar job and expect to live a life of casual adventure.
At the very least, expats will need enough money to get them through their first few months. This includes accommodation, food and sundries. Those with a visit visa should have enough money for at least three months. It should also be noted that the average length of time it takes expats to find gainful full-time employment is also three months.
The typical average cost for a single adult living in Dubai is as follows:
- Short-term studio let apartment – 7000AED
- Food and drink – 3000AED
- Care Hire – 1800AED
- Phone – 500AED
- Sundries – 500AED
This works out to approximately 13000AED. If you’re short on this total, it might be worth delaying your emigration until you have enough to comfortably start your new life.
Make Sure You Have the Right Documentation
Prior to jetting to Dubai for a new life filled with sunshine and success, there is a wealth of documentation that expats must gather. To get a residency visa, expats must have the following:
- Certificates to prove professional qualifications, including degrees and diplomas
- Passports (including photographs), birth certificates and driver’s licences
- Marriage and (if applicable) divorce certificates
- Medical and dental records (for insurance purposes)
- Children’s school records (if applicable), including transfers and any leaving certificates
Expats are advised to have photocopies of each of the above documentation. Accepted advice for expats often states that having 5 copies of this documentation is necessary. It’s also important to keep them safe and readily available to be provided to authorities as and when required.
Make Sure You Have Your Accommodation Sorted
Before arriving in Dubai to enjoy your first day of a whole new life, it’s paramount that expats have their home ready and waiting for them to move into.
The real estate market in Dubai does change, with property and rental prices fluctuating constantly. For a seamless and happy transition to a new life in Dubai, expats should always secure, at the very least, temporary accommodation. It goes without saying that this is essential for families.
Some companies do offer accommodation depending on the role accepted by expats. However, many provide an allowance to help expats find somewhere to live. It’s important to choose an e home, one that meets personal financial and lifestyle needs.
Families should also bear in mind that rush hour traffic in Dubai can be horrendous. This can have a bearing on the decision of where to live – especially when getting children to school on time every morning.
If you want to minimise stress, feel happy and enjoy a seamless transition to life in Dubai, these are just four of the factors that expats must consider. The more expats know, the easier it’ll be to start a new and exciting life!
This page is also available in: العربية (Arabic)