What to do before moving to Dubai

Buying property in Downtown Dubai and other promising communities of the emirate is not only of interest to investors, but also for expats who plan to move here permanently.

Dubai has a lot to offer foreigners. Futuristic skyscrapers, landscaped beaches, high salaries and low taxes are just one of the many reasons why they decide to migrate here.

To help future expats organize their lives in a new place and prepare to move, AX Capital experts have prepared the following list of key recommendations:

Get an Emirates ID to invest in real estate in Dubai

Emirates ID is a national identity card issued by the Federal Identity and Citizenship Authority (ICA). By law, all citizens and residents of the UAE, locals and expats, must have this document, carry it with them at all times and provide it to the appropriate authorized body upon request.

In fact, Emirates ID is a plastic card with a chip of a high level of protection and reliability, which contains basic data about a person (name, date of birth, gender, photo, nationality, fingerprint and a unique number of 15 digits).

However, the document does not act as a passport. In addition, not only adults, but also children, including newborns, must obtain a certificate. It has an expiration date:

  • if you are a citizen of the UAE – 5 or 10 years;
  • if you are a GCC citizen – 5 years;
  • if you are an expat – 1, 2 or 3 years (depending on the duration of the visa).

Note! Only authorized authorities have access to the encrypted information stored on the ID-card, and only they can change/correct it.

The owner of the certificate is obliged to report any changes in his data within a month and submit a corresponding request.

To get an Emirates ID, you need:

  1. Submit an application through the official website of the FAIC service or the ICA UAE Smart mobile application, or contact an authorized Typing Office or Customer Happiness Center. After that, the applicant will receive a message where the place and time of the meeting at one of the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) centers will be scheduled.
  2. Next, you need to pass the Medical Fitness Test – a basic medical examination at an authorized medical center, including an HIV test and an X-ray of the lungs for the presence of tuberculosis. The cost of the examination is approximately AED 320.
  3. If an HIV infection is detected, the applicant will be immediately deported from the country, and if tuberculosis is detected, a certificate will be issued for obtaining only an annual visa and undergoing a course of mandatory treatment.
  4. After receiving the results of the medical examination, it is necessary to print out an application for an ID-card, after which, with a passport and a valid visa, come to an appointment, where the applicant’s fingerprints and palm will be scanned, and a photo will be taken.
  5. After that, the applicant can track their ID status online, through the application, or by messages sent from the service. If everything is fine with the documents, then within ten working days he will be sent a card by mail to the specified address.

Get insurance

The UAE has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Like most other countries, it offers public and private schemes.

By law, all residents must have a level of health insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum benefits set by the Dubai Health Authority. The employer is responsible for health insurance. The law also states that an employer must not deduct funds from an employee’s salary to provide health insurance.

In Dubai, health insurance is a requirement.

Expats who fail to complete their policy on time will face monthly fines. In addition to having to pay AED 500 a month, the government will stop renewing their visas until they prove they have health insurance.

Open a bank account to purchase property in Dubai

Foreigners with a resident visa can open any account: just fill out an application in the application or on the bank’s website. Non-UAE residents will be required to come to the branch in person, provide more documents and prove compliance with the strict requirements of anti-money laundering legislation.

Clients over 18 years old or 21 years old can open an account, depending on the bank and banking product.

Accounts are opened in UAE dirhams or foreign currencies – dollars, euros, pounds. The dirham is pegged to the US dollar. The list of documents required to open an account can be found in the following table:

With a resident visa Without a resident visa
International passport with a pasted resident visaInternational passport
UAE resident e-ID (or a copy of the application for issuing a certificate)Statement from the bank account of the country of residence (for the last two months)
 Proof of address of residence (utility bills for the last few months indicating the payer and address)
 Written justification for the purpose of opening an account

For some banks, proof of income is important: an extract from another bank, a salary certificate or from a tax office will do.

In practice, it is difficult for a non-resident to open an account in the UAE. Banks are afraid of violating anti-money laundering laws.

Banks either refuse clients without a resident visa or impose additional conditions: an increased minimum amount on the account, opening an additional investment account or deposit for several years.

Learn the basics of Arabic

Dubai offers a multicultural population of many countries and a wide range of international companies, so most shops, hospitals, restaurants and other establishments can be found with English-speaking staff. There are also private schools with English-speaking teachers.

However, to truly integrate into the local community and feel at home, expats should learn at least the basics of Arabic.

By understanding how to greet other people, thank, apologize, say goodbye and ask for help, foreigners will be able not only to cope with various difficulties that may arise in the process of adaptation, but also make new friends and acquaintances faster.

Here are some basic phrases that expats in Dubai may find useful:

  • marhaba – hello;
  • maasalama – goodbye, peace be upon you;
  • kaif halak – how are you;
  • shukran – thank you;
  • naam – yes;
  • la – no;
  • afwan – sorry;
  • bikam haada – how much does it cost;
  • ein al – where is located.

Find the right housing with the help of real estate agency in Dubai

Finding a home is a major challenge for any expat. Dubai offers a huge selection of residential units, from modern apartments in high-rise complexes to luxury villas in gated clusters.

The local real estate market is ready to satisfy buyers with a variety of preferences and financial capabilities.

A wide range of amenities can be found in virtually every community in the city, including nightclubs, shops and international restaurants, as well as a large number of international schools, kindergartens, pharmacies and hospitals.

To get assistance with the selection of the optimal residential property, support at all stages of the transaction and high-quality after-sales service, contact the highly qualified specialists of AX Capital.

The agency catalog contains a wide range of Dubai real estate in various configurations and price categories from the most reliable developers in the Middle East.

Also, the company’s clients can count on assistance with a number of other issues, including opening a bank account, obtaining a visa, managing real estate, etc.


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Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram

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