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Moving to the UAE?

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Peter B. Krehmer

Living in UAE, from Switzerland

"There are so many expats in the UAE, but the InterNations Dubai Ramadan dinners brought some wonderful guests together. "

Suzanne Payne

Living in UAE, from Great Britain

"Dubai is such an overwhelming mixture of tradition and modernity that I was very grateful for all the support from other expats. "

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The UAE at a Glance

Moving to the UAE

The opportunity of settling down in the UAE is certainly an exciting prospect for most expats. However, moving to the UAE might also seem like a leap into the unknown. Let us help! Our guide gives you info prior to your move, from facts on the Emirates to detailed visa requirements.

Expats moving to the UAE will experience a country with modern architecture, fantastic beaches, and a subtropical climate. The desert landscape contrasts with 700 kilometers of coast line. Coral reefs, sandbanks and small islands do not only attract tourists, but they also make moving to the UAE a fascinating and exciting experience.

Expats who think of moving to the UAE should keep in mind that, despite its international and modern character, the country has traditional Islamic roots. Before doing business there, you should therefore gather information on important laws and general etiquette.

The Economy of the UAE

Many foreign employees relocate to the UAE to work in the booming oil industry. The country’s role as a trading hub also makes for a lot of job opportunities for expats moving to the UAE, especially in construction or the financial sector. Other expatriates work in real estate or the petroleum sector. With one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, the UAE is a breeding ground for internationally operating companies.

Most expatriates moving to the UAE are headed for Dubai, enjoying the international atmosphere as well as the advantages of its free trading zone. As the business center of the Persian Gulf, Dubai offers all sorts of luxuries and pleasantries.

Self-employed expats will soon find that outside of Dubai, it is harder for foreign companies to gain ground. There, at least 51% of local ownership is required for all businesses. Despite this attempt to place Emiratis in leadership positions, expats moving to the UAE still enjoy the benefits of a modern country with a strong economy.  

Visa Requirements for the UAE

Your nationality determines the type of visa you need. Generally, there are two main visa categories: business visa and tourist visa. A tourist visa is valid for 30 days with the option to extend it for another 30 days.

However, not everyone needs a tourist visa to visit the UAE. Certain countries such as Italy, Germany, Greece, Finland, Australia or the USA are exempt from this rule. Visitors from these countries need not apply for a visa at the embassy before their move. They will receive a valid visa upon arrival instead. However, tourist visa do not include a permission to work and are therefore not suitable for expats moving to the UAE.

InterNations Expat Magazine