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Arriving and Settling in Dubai

If this time last year, you had told me that I would be embarking on my first Ramadan experience as a newbie expat in Dubai, I would have said you’re crazy. But here I am, sitting in an air-conditioned apartment in Dubai Marina, reading up about Ramadan and how best to conduct oneself during the holy month.

Medical Assessment

The next step is to complete your medical assessment (which includes a chest x-ray and a blood test) and provide your biometric information (which includes having your fingerprints, palm print, and photographs taken) for your Emirates ID Card. I recommend paying an extra couple of hundred dirhams to use the VIP service, which is more efficient and can save you hours waiting - who wants to be hanging around government buildings on their first few days in a new city? Plus the VIP immigration service in Dubai means your medical assessment results will be ready in just three hours, instead of three days, or worse, three weeks.

We used Al Safa Health Centre to complete my medical assessment and the service was excellent. Arrive early in the morning, preferably before 9.30 am, and make sure you have your passport, passport photographs, and stamped entry visa with you, as well as the 720 AED fee for the Medical Assessment and Emirates ID Registration.

A full list of Emirates ID Authority Offices can be found here. The women’s queue, apparently, is always very quick and that was certainly the case when I visited, with the whole process taking little more than 15 minutes. The men’s queue…well that was considerably longer.

Once you have your medical results and have provided the biometric information to the Emirates ID Authority, your results will be entered into the system and a further payment of 430 AED is required. I got a little confused at this point and just handed over my money, but I assume it is for the completion of the visa. An immigration official will then review your file, ensure your online record is up to date and meets the requirements, and your passport will be stamped with the full visa. All that is left is to obtain the Emirates ID Card, which will be delivered to you within 30 days, although mine arrived in just 5.

Maybe I was lucky, but the immigration process in Dubai was simpler and more efficient than I could have imagined. And since becoming a legal resident was a rather large source of stress throughout this whole process (I did have nightmares that they would reject me and send me back to England), to have completed it within my first few days in Dubai was a weight off my mind.

Relocating a Dog

Moving the dog to Dubai…well, that was a whole other source of stress. While the process is complicated, it is possible, and I would recommend enlisting the help of a relocation agent. There are many regulations concerning the import of dogs; paperwork from the country of origin, import permits from the Dubai authorities, a health assessment, vaccinations, a microchip…the list goes on. Plus some breeds, classed as dangerous by the United Arab Emirates Government, will not be admitted into the country.

Our relocation team knew their stuff and had everything covered, effortlessly transporting our pooch from door to door. After assessing the cost of doing the move ourselves or having our agent handle everything, the extra few hundred dirhams was well worth it.

Accommodation Options

Picking where to live in Dubai is important; there are a whole host of expat communities dotted across the city, each offering something different. Whether you’re a young professional couple, a family with small kids, or a couple in your late 40’s, you will all have different requirements and making a list of what is important to you should be your first step.

Areas like The Greens, Arabian Ranches and The Meadows offer larger, detached homes, with more space and have a range of facilities within the compounds making them safe and suitable for young families. While areas such as Dubai Marina, JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence), JLT (Jumeirah Lake Towers) and Downtown (Bur) Dubai are popular with couples and professionals because they are at key points within the city, offering easy access to restaurants, bars, transport, shops and salons.


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Peter B. Krehmer

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

Suzanne Payne

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

Global Expat Guide