We are always writting about what you need if you come to live to Dubai. This post is not easy to do it, because although we have same priorities, we don´t have the same circumstances and the same needs. With this article we try to answer all of them.
We go back on time and then we think of the day we decide and we know we are coming to live to Emirates. First of all we check on internet and we see that it is a quite western life style country, Gobierno, clima, costumbres o al Código de Conducta (you can see this is written either in Spanish either in English!)
But the most important thing and the first to review is our JOB, our first advice is coming with at least an ´´invitation to work´´, after that we will have to deal a good package apart from the salary, it must include private health insurance.
The house and the school/nursery (if you have kids) are the biggest expenses in Emirates. Nothing about public schools, there is no chance for the expatriates. The average of the cost of a School is 40.000 aed/8000 euros per year, the nursery 25.000 aed/5.000 euros per year, what doesn’t include either meals or transport. Another thing is to include in the package a place to stay while you find a house to live. Also some money for relocation would not be a bad thing to add in the negotiation.
Ask in which area you are going to work in and then it will be easy to choose the area to live.
It is not easy to talk about numbers, it depends of the area, number of rooms, apartment or villa…Remember the annual rent is paid in advance, you need to deal about the payment of one, two, three and even four cheques and the price could modify.
We have zonas para vivir, unfortunately this section is only in Spanish but is always updated and you can always check on us through our e’mail (email@example.com) if you have a question or two, we could almost write a book about this subject… but if you want a permanent advice you can hire our relocation services, we would recommend an english or spanish speaking person to help you with all. For not to write about this for ever, you need to make sure that the owner is going to fix everything that is damaged (take pictures of everything before you sign your contract) and then include this condition in the contract, although this could not be accepted it can always reduce the price of the rent.
About WATER AND ELECTRICITY BILL, you will have to go to DEWA and register the contract under your name and of course check that everything is paid before you closet he deal.
Another subject not to forget is the VISA. Before coming to UAE ask your company or sponsor all the documents you need to obtain the RESIDENCE VISA. Most of the documents will have to go through the Embassy of Emirates in your native country, so one of the first steps to take is communicating with the Embassy and asking everything you need to live or to work at Emirates. Tio have your residence visa is going to help you a lot, without one you cannot buy a car, open a bank account (although you can open a special one for non-residents in some banks) and we could write a long list about what you cannot do… Some of the companies have a PRO, who is the person who is in charge of doing the visas and other documents in the companies. If your company does not have one, Dubaiytu can help you to provide you one.
Bring the birth certificate of the whole family in English, also all the passports with more than 6 months validity and the vaccination id. If you come with a couple, you must be married and homosexual marriage is not allowed.
Pregnancy out of marriage is forbidden.
Schools and nurseries is such an important choice, the first decision must be the type of curriculum (british, american, international, french, german, japanese…). You have the whole list in our web (colegios y guarderias). You need to contact with the schools you like to ask for an appointment. The best schools do have waiting list. Do not get desperate, you will always find a place although you need to wait around a year and a half in the waiting list. To push the school you really like, when you pay the admission fee you can offer to pay a whole term in advance. Make sure the school has support lessons, especially if your kids have some problems or they do not speak English, some may have it but they charge it separately.
It is good to come in advance to Dubai to see the houses and visit the area you would like to live in, the school…but if you cannot do it, get ready and be patient. Once you are here and always with your Passport in your bag, tell the taxi driver to take you to the mall, especially in the Mall of the Emirates and in the Dubai Mall you have it all, banks to change money, and the two telephone companies of Emirates (DU and ETISALAT) to get a phone card. The Malls are huge (centros comerciales) but they all have information services and have maps.
Once you have the visa then you need your ID (identification card at Emirates). Go also to the traffic department (RTA), there you can get the driving license (carnet de conducir). You will need to register in a driving license if you are not from, USA, Canada or Europe or any other country that does not have an agreement with Emirates, like for example everyone coming from the Latin-American countries. You can live without driving license but sometimes is not easy to get a taxi in the first hours of the mornings or after 6 o clock at the beginnings of the weekends (Thursdays and Fridays evenings).
Very important, weekends are Fridays and Saturdays, Sunday is a working day.
Cars and gas are cheaper than some other places of the world and you have a wonderful second hand market. To stay focused on the roads, you must know where is Abu Dhabi and where is Dubai (opposite directions). Sheik Zayed Road is the main road. If you drive always use a map. There are a lot of “rent a car” companies, if you get on line you can have prices to compare. Do not get worry if they push you too much the horn, which is a cultural way of advising the traffic lights are green or hurry up, nothing personal, really! You must be alert…most of the drivers in Dubai come from countries where they drive in the opposite side of the road.
Go to your Embassy and register, they should give you all the information you need.
Open a bank account. Bring dollars or euros, it is easier to open a bank account without the residence visa. If you are married open a joint bank account.
You will need a certificate from your sponsor or company to contract the television/internet, before going to the office (you have DU at MediaCity in Dubai) take all these documents: visa, Passport, dewa contract, house contract…they will ask you for everything.
If you did not decide to hire a container to bring your furniture (some people do bring their own car) you must know you have so many furniture shops in all these big malls, but especially you have the cheap one, IKEA, in Dubai (Festival City) and in Abu Dhabi (in Yas Island) and some worthy places if you need something more personal all over Dubai, for example, in Al Quod close to Al Barsha, Exotica or the warehouse of Marina furniture shop with Asiatic furniture, in this area you will find garden shops, lamps shops, decoration shops… If you like the modern style you have The One, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn (country side style…) and classic ones with almost everything like Home Center, Home’r Us…You can find beautiful details in Lafayette at Dubai Mall and some special shops like O’ de Rose in Al Wasl Road or Comptoir 102 close to the big flag in Jumeirah Beach Road. The household items, from washing machines to tablecloths, you can find them in Carrefour or Geant, but if you want something special go to Harvey Nichols or Create & Barrel… Art items can be found in Al Quod, Bastakiya or D.I.F.C. (you have a lot of Art Galleries) and traditional items in Bur Dubai or Global Village, this last place is a big Expo, open from November to March and something like an ´´expo”.
Think about doing two or may be three things (if you are lucky) in the mornings. You will need a month to settle, you can keep looking at shops and buying ”little” things, take your time. Make a priority list and relax if you do not want to loose your health….and call any contact you may have, everybody living here can be a great start.
You can have a lot of help with maids, gardeners, you have a lot of agencies which can help you with domestic helpers. If you live in a villa, they will go to offer their services and some of them can give you even recommendations (what I always ask for), in the buildings you can always ask the security but make sure they have recommendations. Usually they announce themselves on internet and in the supermarkets.
Children are an important chapter but apart from schools and nurseries, you must check in advance extra school activities because some of them have waiting lists and others exist in your school but you need to book in advance, remember they must have time to play and adapt themselves to the neighborhood and new situation, and may be looking for too many activities when you do not even know the city is not the best recommendation.
When you start doing all these procedures you must always be alert and I recommend learning by heart your way to work and if you have children, the way to school. Dubai Explorer map saved my life!
If you need professional help for doing all these procedures write to us to firstname.lastname@example.org, we will work hand on hand with you, with native english and native spanish speaking guides.