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5 things to consider before moving to Dubai in 2021/22

Are you planning to move to Dubai this year or later next year? The city is attractive for many people, offering fantastic job opportunities and exciting opportunities to spend your free time experiencing new things. But moving to a new city requires a lot of care and attention, as you need to deal with a lot of things. What are the main things to consider before moving to Dubai in 2021/22?

1. Get the right visa

You must have a UAE residence visa if you want to live in the city. The visa is valid for two years if your work takes place in the private sector and three if you work in the public sector. Renewing the visa is also an option and it’s not too difficult to do. 

The visa will cost and it’s a good idea to get your company to sponsor it. Make sure you check with the company that they are willing to do so before you accept your job offer. For the residence visa, you’ll need to go through a health check which includes things like blood tests. 

Companies usually require a valid passport for at least six months, color photos and your medical test results before they sponsor a visa. You might also need to provide additional proof of identity. Visas can usually be obtained within two to three weeks but if you are applying without a sponsor, the process might take longer. 

You can apply online, which makes the process a lot smoother. More information and the application can be found on the UAE government portal

If you are hoping to bring your family to Dubai, you can apply for their visas once you have received your residence visa.

2. Get health insurance

Health insurance in Dubai is mandatory. If you want to get your visa, then you need to have health insurance. It’s a good idea to think about what kind of health insurance you want and need before you start organizing everything else. 

Employers are by law required to provide their employees’ health insurance. You should check with your employer about this. They may only offer the basic level cover, which is called Essential Benefits Plan3. You could require a higher level of coverage so it is worth looking into health insurance in Dubai and comparing different options. Additional health insurance can guarantee you are fully protected and covered.

Furthermore, Dubai employers don’t have to provide cover for your family. Therefore, you might need to arrange it privately for your family. There are plenty of good family health insurance options available in Dubai, however.

3. Start looking for accommodation

Many Dubai employers provide, or at least help, their foreign employees with accommodation. If accommodation is arranged by the employer, then you don’t have to worry about it.

If you are looking for accommodation privately, it’s important to understand livings costs in Dubai and learn a little about the different neighborhoods in the city. You should focus on finding accommodation close to your job or schools if you have children. Dubai traffic can be a bit of a nightmare so you don’t want to have to travel to work for hours. However, do note that accommodation in the city centre can be expensive. For families, Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim are the most popular areas. Expats in general also tend to like Dubai Marina. For a fancy place to live, check out Dubai’s International Financial Centre.

It is a good idea to recognize that in Dubai, accommodation is often paid upfront for the whole year. Some landlords do accept different, more flexible payment options but you should be aware of this. Make sure to also register your tenancy online to ensure you can benefit from your tenant’s rights. 

4. Get a bank account

You can open up a bank account once you have your residence visa. It is a good idea to open up a bank account as soon as you can. It will make many other tasks, such as paying for accommodation and sorting out utilities a lot easier. Dubai has a range of banks available and many international banks also operate in the city. 

5. Join expat communities

To help you out with the move and to get accustomed to the new city, an expat community can be a rich resource and help. The good news is that there are many great expat communities in Dubai. You can find communities based around business groups or connect with people from your home country. There are even communities for expats built around specific sports. Look for one online and on social media and join up! You can make new friends and get help with many issues from buying foods to opening up bank accounts, for example.

Dubai is a wonderful place to live and moving into the city isn’t that difficult. Just focus on the above things and get them sorted out as fast as possible. And remember to enjoy the new city!

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