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UAE: Introduction & Key Facts

This section gives you an overview of this ever-growing expat destination. You can find information on the people, languages, and economy of the UAE — as well as some tips on how to handle the scorching heat of this Gulf country’s harsh desert climate.

The other parts of this guide give you lots of detail on issues like visas and permits, housing, transportation, and working in the UAE. Before you dive in, this section provides you with a general, quick-fire introduction about the UAE — a country that houses a large number of expats, making it one of the top three countries with the highest percentage of expats, and the one with the highest net migration rate.

Hot and Humid

The UAE is renowned for its sizzling temperatures and high humidity levels, especially in the daytime during the summer, so it is no surprise that almost every building and facility in the country is fitted with air conditioning. The year’s hottest months are July and August with temperatures reaching 45°C, so sunscreen is your best friend throughout the day to avoid any sleepless nights dealing with bad sunburns. Bringing an extra layer is always useful, though, to cope with the air conditioning and not expose your body to the abrupt change in temperature. The sun is at its harshest around midday, so if you want to take part in outdoor activities, early mornings or evenings are your best bet. From December to March, the weather is more bearable, with a few spells of rainfall here and there with January having an average minimum temperature of 15°C.

The Emirates That Form the UAE

The UAE is made up of seven different self-governed emirates of varying size. Abu Dhabi, the federal capital of the UAE, is the largest of the emirates, covering 87% of the whole country. With a large expat population and much to see and do in the emirate, you are sure to feel at home in no time. The second-largest emirate is Dubai, located on the eastern coast and bordering the Sultanate of Oman. Sharjah is a culturally significant emirate to the north of Dubai. The city of Sharjah was awarded the title of Cultural Capital of the Arab World by UNESCO in 1998. Ras Al Khaimah is a largely mountainous emirate with more rainfall than the others, meaning it has a good agricultural output. Fujairah is the only emirate to be located entirely on the east coast of the UAE and for this reason, has an important port. Umm Al Quwain may be the least populated of the seven emirates, but it has a successful fishing industry as well as many attractions for tourists. The smallest of the seven emirates is Ajman, located in the north of the UAE.

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