Advice for expats in Dubai. 17 tips you might want to know about

  • Publish date: Friday، 16 November 2018 Last update: Thursday، 25 February 2021
Advice for expats in Dubai. 17 tips you might want to know about

Many new comers to Dubai ask what it is like to be moving and living in Dubai. Here are 17 things you need to know from an expat. 

Advice for expats in Dubai. 17 tips you might want to know about

  1. Make sure you negotiate a good package (salary, housing, schooling, health insurance, transportation and home ticket)
  2. Take your time to find the location to live in. Whether you plan to purchase or rent your property, you have many options but make sure it is central to your work, shopping, schools...
  3. Google Maps can't keep up with construction in Dubai. Be prepared. Before moving and committing to a residence, research the area, the buildings, the services and traffic. Construction noise can be frustrating.
  4. Even if you are an occasional alcohol drinker, make sure you obtain an alcohol license. This applies only to non-Muslims. This keeps you safe in buying or drinking alcohol.
  5. Be tolerant and respectful to others. Race and religion are respected by all. 
  6. Watch out for the "BLINGS". Dubai is known for its luxury lifestyle. Don't get sucked into the materialism. You can have an amazing lifestyle without overspending. There are many free activities instead of spending money in a mall.
  7. Respect the call of prayer when in public. It is a sign of respect and locals are proud of their religion and will appreciate any gesture you show as a sign of respect. 
  8. Emiratis are very proud and modest. Yes, they do drive fancy cars and live in beautiful homes, but they are also aware that you are a "guest" and such you are expected to obey the rules. 
  9. Educate yourself with local customs. Don't stare at people, and if you meet a Muslim lady she might not want to shake your hand if you are a man, do not offer your hand, wait for her to offer, if she does not, simply smile and all is well.

    Advice for expats in Dubai. 17 tips you might want to know about

    Plan your vacation in the summer. You will experience reasonable temperatures from October through April.
  11. Profanity is illegal! Do not curse. This also applies to flipping your finger, it is illegal.
  12. Do not film others without their permission. Drones require a license - easy to get but you must only fly drones in approved locations (limited). 
  13. Dress appropriately. Signs in public places such as shopping centers will advise you to cover your shoulders and your knees.
  14. Be involved, find out about different organizations that do things you enjoy doing, that care for causes you are interested in. Be it abandoned pets or Ramdan Fridges, there are many things that will keep you busy.
  15. Travel. You are in the Middle East. You are at the cross roads of Asia, Africa and Europe. Emirates Airlines has an amazing network of destinations.
  16. Visit the landmarks. Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, The Grand Mosque, The Safari Desert...
  17. ENJOY it! You are the envy of your friends, colleagues and family members. Dubai is a wonderful place with many opportunities! So make the most of it!

This list is not full, only some observations from an expat who moved here 8 years ago.

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