• published on 8/2/2023
  • 4min

Checklist before moving to Dubai

When deciding to move to Dubai, there are many factors to consider before relocating. To make things easier, here is a checklist to cover before moving to Dubai.

Checklist before moving to Dubai

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a highly sought-after destination for expats seeking to relocate, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi ranking being standout destinations in the region. An HSBC survey reveals that the UAE is ranked as offering the best lifestyle for expatriates due to various factors, including the high quality of life and the ease of settling in the country.

In this article, we will provide a checklist to ensure you have a well-prepared and smooth transition to your new home in a vibrant city like Dubai.

Do your research

Understanding the local customs, traditions, language, and social norms will not only ease your transition but also help you embrace and appreciate the unique aspects of Dubai's culture. By conducting comprehensive research, you can make informed decisions and assess whether Dubai is the right fit for your desired way of life.

Some guides to help:

Get your paperwork done in advance

As you prepare to relocate to another country, you will be faced with the essential task of handling various administrative duties.. Some important points to note:

  • Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months to even enter Dubai as a tourist

  • Tourist visa: If you are entering Dubai on a tourist visa looking to find a job, make sure to plan your stay accordingly, as you may incur heavy fees should you overstay your 30-day visa limit

  • Work permits/visa: If you have already secured employment, make sure that you obtain a work permit or visa that will allow you to live and work in Dubai. Your company should normally sponsor your visa and handle the paperwork for you, but it is always best to check with your employer to confirm the details.

  • Driving license: For those who drive and are planning to get a car in Dubai, you will need to change your driver’s license in Dubai. Visit the RTA Driving License Centre, pay the required fee, and provide the necessary documents to complete the process. Remember to carry your original driving license with you.

  • Vaccination: Find out if you require to take any specific vaccinations before flying to Dubai, as you may need to undergo a health check when you reach the UAE.

Get your moving costs in check

Moving your household items, furniture, and personal belongings to Dubai entails expenses that should not be overlooked. Consider factors such as the volume of items, distance to be covered, and any additional services you may require, such as packing and unpacking assistance.

Depending on your circumstances and preferences, you may choose to rent or buy a property in Dubai. If renting, be prepared for costs such as security deposits, agency fees, and initial rent payments. If buying, account for expenses like down payments, property taxes, legal fees, and registration costs.

Start a savings plan and set up your banking

According to Numbeo, Dubai is 35% less expensive than New York but is still not considered cheap. Be sure to research the costs of items that you would normally purchase in your daily life in Dubai and start making a financial plan on how to best spend and save your money after moving.

Also, you will need to set up a bank account in Dubai, but you can only do that after getting your residency visa. Opening a bank account may take some time, so it’s best to prepare any necessary documents in advance. It’s also recommended to look up any international banks there so that you can stay with the same bank when you open a new account.

Research on local schools

When relocating to Dubai with your family and children, one of the most critical considerations is researching and selecting suitable schools. The city boasts a diverse educational landscape, including international, private, public, and specialised institutions. You will be able to find out online about the different types of schools in Dubai, their school fees, and their waiting lists.

Consider your social circle

Dubai's multicultural environment offers a unique opportunity to engage with individuals from various nationalities and backgrounds. Reach out to friends or acquaintances who are already living in Dubai, and they might offer invaluable guidance as you navigate your new lifestyle. Explore expat communities and groups on social media platforms like Facebook to enrich your social network.

Building connections with like-minded individuals who understand your journey can provide insights to help you settle more smoothly. Whether it's recommendations for local services, advice on navigating bureaucracy, or simply having someone to share experiences with, a strong social circle can provide a sense of belonging and support.

Settle your flight tickets early

Booking your tickets early will allow you to take advantage of lower fares, providing potential savings that can be allocated to other aspects of your relocation.

Additionally, by settling your flight tickets early, you minimise the stress and uncertainty associated with last-minute bookings. Dubai is a popular destination, and flights can fill up quickly, especially during peak travel seasons.

Get a health insurance plan

Last but not least, stay protected with a health insurance plan for yourself and your family. This will give you peace of mind when moving to another country, and at the same time fulfil the legal requirement of having health insurance when living in the UAE.

Learn more about the healthcare system in the UAE

APRIL offers MyHEALTH Dubai, the most flexible international health insurance plan in the market. Visit our page to find out how you can craft a health insurance plan that is completely tailorable to your needs.