Dubai is a city that is expanding at a rapid rate. It’s a vibrant international metropolis with a tropical climate that can provide an enjoyable and exciting experience for expats from around the world. Despite being a modern 21st century city it’s a place where tradition still features highly and to be able to start a new life there, expats must leave themselves open to learning and respecting a new culture. Read our smart guide on what you should know before moving to Dubai:
Dubai is an Arab emirate
While Dubai is fairly liberal, it’s important to remember that it’s still an Arab emirate. The Islamic religion impacts every aspect of Muslims daily lives and the call to prayer occurs five times a day. This can mean that non-Muslims may have to wait to continue their business until Muslims return from prayer. During the holy month of Ramadan there are shorter working hours and most restaurants will be closed during the day or serve a limited menu.
Other religions are allowed to be practised in the city and there are Christian churches and a Sikh temple located in Jebel Ali however, there is a strong warning that no evangelisation will be tolerated across the region.
It’s important to be aware that modest dress is to be expected in all public places. The minimum requirement is being loosely covered from neck to elbow to knees. Drunkenness, drug use, dishonest behaviour, bad language and public displays of affection are all criminal offenses. The raising of the third finger hand gesture is considered offensive and could land you in prison. It’s also important not to argue or raise your voice to a policeman or any state official.
Renting property in Dubai
The bad news is that purchasing a house in Dubai tends to be difficult because of the restrictions on foreigners owning property. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to rent a property and there are plenty of affordable options in the many sections of the city. The busy Dubai Marina is popular with expats, whereas Deira an Burj Dubai are traditional areas. If you are prepared to go further out, the Arabian Ranches and the Green Community Jumeirah, Al Wasl, Al Safa and Umm Seqeim offer luxury residential accommodation.
One of the things that attracts expats to Dubai is the quality of the accommodation. New high rise flats and serviced apartments are available in the city and they come fully furnished and are serviced as part of the rent; short-term leases are also available for this type of accommodation.
Dealing with landlords
It’s important for anyone considering moving to Dubai to be aware that annual rents on apartments must be paid in full and up front. Some companies will cover this for their employees and then deduct amounts monthly from their wages. Estate agents can be difficult to work with and it’s important to either consult a property lawyer or to carry out your own research before the move. Often good deals can be found through networking within the expat community and by word of mouth.
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