Life In UAE; 20 Things To Know About UAE
Living in the United Arab Emirates is absolutely an experience like no other. From tax-free incomes to a wide range of nationalities as well as its unrivalled nightlife, the UAE has plenty to offer. Besides, this amazing Middle Eastern country is a land where the sky is always blue. Here are 20 amazing things to know about living in the UAE. Read on to the end…
- The UAE has a minister for happiness and wellbeing. It aims to become a top country in the world in terms of happiness!
- The UAE is famous as a land where weather and beaches are incredible.
- Everything in the UAE is truly gorgeous from the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, to the man-made islands off the coast of Dubai. The UAE has plenty of natural beauty too, including the largest continuous sand desert in the world that is called Empty Quarter (Rub’ al Khali).
- You will be in good company as an immigrant to this beautiful country. While the population of the UAE is around 10 million, nearly 88% of its residents come from abroad. This means the UAE is home to a variety of cultures, food and religion, and better still, you won’t be alone!
- There’s almost no tax in the UAE. The government introduced VAT on most of services and goods in 2018 at the low rate of 5%. But that’s it…you can keep everything you make!
However, these are only a few things you will enjoy in the UAE. There’s also more…
1. How do the individual emirates differ?
The UAE is comprised of 7 emirates with Dubai and Abu Dhabi being the most preferred ones to live and work. Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the UAE including most of its population, and also 87 percent of its land. While Dubai is the region’s commercial capital as well as the stunning business hub of the country.
Abu Dhabi is home to the largest place of worship in the UAE in the shape of Sheikh Zayed Mosque. It also has the biggest economy in the country. It is interesting to note that GDP of Abu Dhabi was $250 billion in 2018. It was more than Vietnam, Egypt and Portugal- and it is just one emirate!
Meanwhile, GDP of Dubai is $108 billion. When you consider that fact alongside Dubai’s man-made islands, and the emirate’s spectacular skyline. This is why the International Airport of Dubai is the third busiest in the world.
2. Don’t ignore the other emirates
Although Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the most desirable cities in the UAE, the other emirates also have their unique features, and are worth visiting-not least for their instagrammable places!
In addition to Ajman, that is a mostly agricultural area, there’s Fujairah with its stunning mountains and picturesque countryside. The emirate also boasts the Al Badiyah Mosque that was built more than 650 years ago. And it is still in use!
Besides, you can enjoy the enjoyable water activities such as water skiing, windsurfing and diving in Fujairah.
Ras Al Khaimah is also another emirate in the UAE that you can take a sea-and-sun-themed trip to. The emirate has the longest zipline in the world as well as a 64km of beach coastline that are truly amazing!
3. What is healthcare like in the UAE?
Healthcare services are of highest quality in the UAE. It should be said that there are more private hospitals than public in the country with both being great in terms of healthcare service. However, private medical cover is mostly for those who aren’t Emirati national.
4. Make sure you can afford the move
Living in the UAE is not cheap. For example, renting a 3BR flat in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is more than 5,000 AED. Also, there are other expenses for food and beverage. If you come from a big city like Los Angeles or London, then you’re prepared for living in the UAE. Just make sure that your style of living matches your monthly salary.
Nevertheless, it should be said that tax-free income in the UAE will help you afford to live in this beautiful country!
5. Drinking is allowed in the UAE!
As long as you respect the rules, the UAE can be a dream place to live in. First of all, you should keep in mind that the weekend is on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday is the first day of the workweek.
In spite of the fact that the UAE is an Islamic country, you are allowed to drink in some places. There are a large number of restaurants and bars in this amazing country in which you can freely drink. Women can also enjoy ladies’ night, usually on Tuesdays, while there are plenty of brunch options with unlimited food and drink. However, there are some rules in this regard that you should follow.
You should pay attention that the legal drinking age in this country is 21. Besides, it is illegal to drink alcohol on the street. In addition, there is a zero-tolerance approach to consuming drugs. It can lead to imprisonment or deportation.
6. A little different yet enjoyable!
As well as some restrictions for drinking, there are some unusual restrictions in this country that you should know. You should pay attention that swearing, gossiping (both in real life and on WhatsApp), carrying food with poppy seeds, raising money for charity without a license, or taking photos of people without their permission can put you in jail.
In addition to facing a five-figure fine, you may be forced to leave the country. Although there are some restrictions in the UAE, people from all around the world come to this amazing country because of its unique features and tremendous benefits!
7. How is life in the UAE for foreign women?
While it is safe to walk the streets all the time, if you are a woman in the UAE, that comes with some conditions. You won’t need to wear a hijab, but make sure that your clothes are suitable for work or in the public-unless that place is the beach.
Apart from these restrictions, living in Dubai or other emirates in the UAE, as a woman, is much the same as life in the west. You can drink, you can drive, and you can move around the country alone without any trouble.
8. What’s it like working in the UAE?
If you’re moving to the UAE for work, you are most likely to choose Abu Dhabi or Dubai. This is because the majority of jobs are found in these two emirates. Also, most of the positions are taken up by men because they make up the large majority of population and also workforce.
Unlike the past, the UAE’s economy is no longer reliant on oil. Real estate, trade and government agencies contribute to the country’s economy. Above all, tourism is booming, especially in Dubai. It is interesting to note that Dubai was the 4th most popular tourism destination in the world in 2018, according to Mastercard.
But immigrants in Abu Dhabi or Dubai have typically come to the UAE to work in finance, accounting or IT unless they are working for a multinational company like AstraZeneca, Microsoft, DHL, FedEx, Marriott or Hilton Worldwide, which all have offices in the UAE.
When it comes to working in the UAE, there are plenty of bonus features. As well as the tax-free income, many companies also offer their employees contributions towards their kids’ school fees, a housing allowance, medical insurance, and even free air tickets back home.
9. Do you need to learn Arabic?
Learning some Arabic will make it easier for you to bond with colleagues and locals. As with any country, learning some of the language shows you respect to the country and its people. However, English is widely spoken in the UAE, and almost everyone can speak English. So, not knowing Arabic will not bother you in this country!
10. How should I start living in the UAE?
If you’re a citizen of countries like US, UK, Canada and Australia and Ireland, you can get a free 30-day visa and extend that for another one month during your stay. If you are looking to something a bit more long-term, you need a sponsor in that case.
Your sponsor can be anyone living permanently in the UAE. However, if you’re moving for work, your company will sponsor you. Your sponsor will apply for a 30-day residency on your behalf, before extending your stay while you’re in the country. All you need to prepare is a copy of your passport – your company should take care of the rest.
Your sponsor can also help you bring your close relatives like your spouse and children to the country. Also, make sure to get an ID Card through government website, as everyone living in the UAE is required to have one.
11. Move your belongings to the UAE in the least stressful way possible
After you’ve done all of that, you will need to bring everything you own to your new home in this paradise-like desert. Firstly, you should know the average international shipping rates. Then, choose the most suitable option.
12. How is living in the UAE with a family?
Once your spouse and kids have joined you in your fresh start, you will want to get your family settled in as soon as possible. As earlier said, English is widely spoken in the UAE, and that will pave the way for you…
As in many cultures, family is highly respected in the UAE. It is also an easy way to bond with locals and other colleagues. In terms of education, it should be said that the UAE provides your children with a lot of international and private schools– and if you’re worried about your children having to adapt to a new curriculum or suffering a culture shock, don’t sweat it.
Moreover, nearly half the total of schools in the UAE offer the British curriculum, while 34 schools offer American system.
Your family will be able to learn all about the Emirati culture (including getting used to hearing the call to prayer six times a day), but will still be able to enjoy western traditions. Easter and Christmas are proudly celebrated in the UAE, complete with Christmas trees and mall Santas.
13. Is there a lot of family-friendly entertainment in the UAE?
The UAE has the best in entertainment. It offers a large number of fun activities being suitable for all members of the family. For instance, Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi holds a Formula One Race every year. Besides, football and cricket are highly popular in the UAE, and camel races are must-see attractions in Abu Dhabi or Al Ain- especially since they often feature robot jockeys.
In addition, the stunning natural surroundings of Fujairah beach or Liwa in the Empty Quarter are perfect for camping.
14. Is it too hot in the UAE?
Depending on the area you live, temperatures can go up to 45°C in the summer, but also can go down to a more manageable 10°C in the winter. In Dubai, the temperature barely drops below 15°C all year round, and has been famous to hit 49°C. This can make summers a little bit tough, but thankfully, you can find air conditioning everywhere – including bus stops that is amazing!
The sun-kissed weather of the UAE does also mean that you and your family can visit the pristine beaches at any time in the year. That’s right: whenever you fancy it, you can try some watersports, go and work on your tan, and build sandcastles. Just don’t forget your sun cream.
15. The UAE has its own unique flavors
Prepare yourself for brunch. We told you about the plethora of brunch choices in the UAE earlier, but it deserves to be mentioned again. It is to make sure you’re ready for the concept of double or even triple brunch. That’s right – some people repeatedly jump from one brunch to another once Friday and Saturday roll around.
Another thing you should know is about the national fruit of the UAE: dates. This country produces more than 530,000 metric tons of fresh dates every year. So, you will see them incorporated into many local recipes, and also being sold everywhere.
16. Get ready to explore global cuisine
Apart from regional specialities, you’ll also have access to every type of dining experience, from fish and chips to high-end food. In addition, as pork is available in a special section of most supermarkets, don’t worry about ham hocks or bacon being forbidden in Islam.
As the UAE has one of the most diverse populations in the world, it is home to all the dishes you would expect to find in a big city – French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, and so on – while also satisfying true foodies’ appetites with high-quality Middle Eastern and Arabic cooking. Immerse yourself in the Abu Dhabi and Dubai lifestyle, and see what real curry, falafel, and hummus taste like.
17. You’ll be living in an Islamic country
The state religion of UAE is Islam. Islam impacts every aspect of life in the country – from a variety of laws to the six times a day you’ll hear the call to prayer.
When it comes to relationships, drinking, and clothing, the people around you in the UAE may have different cultural expectations. Some of these differences are enshrined in law. The legal system in the UAE incorporates Sharia Law meaning that offences like insulting Islam can get you flogged, deported or worse.
18. Ramadan will affect you, no matter what your religion is
You should prepare yourself for the month-long fast of Ramadan every year. During this month, everyone is banned from eating, drinking or smoking in public. This is one of the most important things that you should know about the UAE. BUT, don’t worry it isn’t an obligation for you. It is actually an enjoyable unique custom among Muslim people. You’ll enjoy it too!
Also, during Ramadan, you can join in as people break their day-long fast at the incredible night markets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. As well as delicious food, you can enjoy a smorgasbord of fashion, art and fun.
19. Is the UAE a safe place to live?
According to a US government report from December 2018, the UAE has the lowest threat level possible. And in the opinion of hundreds of Numbeo users, the level of crime is at its lowest across the UAE!
In 2018, the government of UAE reported that the rate of premeditated murders was down to 0.3 per 100,000 people. It reflect the highest levels of safety in the UAE making it one of the best places to live on earth.
20. So who should move to the UAE?
As previously said, the UAE houses dozens of different nationalities from around the world. It is actually a highly welcoming accepting place for any individual. Everything in this country from tax-free incomes to natural beauty, and from highest levels of happiness to the most lucrative jobs turn it to a paradise, literally.
You should bear this fact in mind that as long as you respect the laws in the UAE, you will live a wonderful life in a paradise-like place!