About Us

More about Abu Dhabi

Here at ADA, we like making people feel at home. So we've put together a straightforward guide to moving to Abu Dhabi, and feeling at home in the Emirate.

Welcome to the UAE (United Arab Emirates)

There's no place like home, and there's no place like the UAE. It is a young and exciting nation. It is not only one of the world's fastest growing countries, it is the diversified market in the Gulf and a haven for tourists. But that's not all. It has one of the highest living standards in the world. There is no other place like it. It blends the old with the new in a unique way. And we know you'll enjoy it immensely.


The UAE's capital is Abu Dhabi. There are 6 other emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. The creation of the UAE happened in December of 1971, the current Ruler and President of the UAE is Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

In just over 40 years the UAE has transformed itself into a regional powerhouse. Oil dependence has now subsided thanks to the diversification of markets and industries.

Take a more detailed click here

 

Here is a useful and practical guide on things you will you need help with when you first move to the UAE, as well as what you can do when you're a little more settled.

 

1.1 Need to Know

1.2 It's Religion and Language

1.3 It's Currency

1.4 Home services & Utilities

1.5 Health Insurance, and Health in General

1.6 Banking

1.7 Postal Services

1.8 Shopping

1.9 PublicHolidays

1.10 The Holy Month of Ramadan

1.11 Respect

1.12 Accommodation in Abu Dhabi

1.13 Schools and Education

1.14 Help around the House

1.15 Bring Your Pets

1.16 How to Move Around in Abu Dhabi

1.17 Buying and Renting a Car

1.18 Food Glorious Food

1.19 The Media in Abu Dhabi

1.20 Things to do

1.21 Emergency Numbers

1.22 Liquor Licenses

1.23 More Useful Sites to Check Out

 

 

1.1 Need to Know

Foreigners make up nine tenths of the population of the UAE. The Indian population is the biggest, but Arabic is the official and national language of the UAE. Apart from Arabic, English is widely used as a second language. English is widely regarded as the language of business, yet sometimes in an official context, Arabic is used, like in governmental institutions, even though English is spoken by nearly all Emiratis. By the way, everything official, like legal documentations, are nearly all verified and attested in Arabic. You might want to get documents like wedding, birth and degree certificates - which are essential when you're having children, employing nannies and for other reasons. It's a good idea to contact your local UAE embassy before you come over, and see what to say about what you should have attested.

There's so much more about the UAE to tell, but we're going to give you some more useful information about moving to the UAE, and what to expect when you get here.

Living in the UAE is a great experience. There's everything you'd expect to find in the West, while enjoying the hospitality and culture this region has to offer.

As we've stated before, the standards of living are some of the highest on the globe, starting with housing.


1.2 It's Religion and Language

Though Islam is the official religion of the UAE, the emirate of Abu Dhabi is known to be more liberal, and therefore other faiths aren't only welcomed, they are practised also.

Just like anywhere else in the Gulf, Arabic is the official language in Abu Dhabi. Legal documentation must be in Arabic, like university diploma, birth certificates and marriage certificates need to be translated into Arabic for approval and processing. You can visit any of the authorised legal translation centres to translate the required documents into Arabic. The translated document needs to be verified and attested by your embassy as well as by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We recommend you do this before moving here. It will save you time and money. You can do this by calling or by visiting you're nearest UAE Embassy or Consulate in your country.


1.3 It's Currency

The dirham (pronounced deer-ham) is the official currency of the UAE. The prefix is written as AED or Dh.The dirham is index linked to the dollar with the official exchange rate Dh3.671 = US$ 1.00.


1.4 Home services & Utilities

Once you're in your new home, you'll need a phone, TV services and other such facilities. There are two national carriers, ETISALAT and Du . They both offer competitive packages, for various needs. It's easy to get a new mobile and landline as well as TV packages and internet, etc. - often from the same supplier. This initial agreement made by you and the supplier will usually take place in their main shops, and this will mean that your passport, visa and utility bills have to be presented at the same time. The international dial code for UAE is +971.

The official water and electricity provider for the whole Emirate of Abu Dhabi is Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA ).

Water, gas and other such utilities are obtained by heading down to your local supplier and opening an account. You will need to take your rental agreement and passport with you.

It is useful to keep receipts, as you will need it in several government related transactions such as registering for your parking in Abu Dhabi.

Domestic supply is 220 volts. Sockets suitable for three-pin 13 amp plugs of British standard design are the norm. Appliances purchased in the UAE will generally have two-pin plugs attached.

Some homes have central gas supply and others need to buy individual gas cylinders.


1.5 Health Insurance, and Health in General

Private and government hospitals, clinics and centres all exist in the UAE. ADA will be providing you with a medical insurance card as soon as you join us. However, for your family you will be only made available once you have completed your probationary period successfully.

Almost all hospitals have emergency rooms and several pharmacies across the city, open 24 hours.


1.6 Banking

Opening a bank account is both easy and painless. It does not require much documentation. When your visa is obtained, you'll get something called Emirates I.D. This, along with copies of passport and visa and salary certificate, will be needed to open an account.


1.7 Postal Services

The postal system is run by Emirates Post. Stamps can be bought at some local shops and in post offices, red post boxes marked Emirates Post are located near local shops and shopping malls.

Emirates Post also offer a courier service for both local and international deliveries, delivery times are guaranteed and packages may be tracked.

There's also some more recognised brands, like DHL ,Aramex &UPS .


1.8 Shopping

Time to shop , right? Shopping in the UAE, particularly Abu Dhabi and Dubai is of the highest possible standard. These two cities have more square feet of shopping, in the form of malls and outside stores, than most other cities around the world. UAE shopping now competes with the New York's and London's of this world. Generally, shops stay open from 10am-9pm. But this depends on kind of shop, times of the year, and their location. Malls are usually open from 10 am - 9 pm. Some shops however close at lunch time, especially the ones outside of malls and in smaller cities. During Ramadan, some shops stay open until midnight, or even past that, to accommodate the fasting that occurs during the daylight hours. There is a two-day weekend in the UAE, and its Friday and Saturday. Government offices and business close at 2.30, while other businesses stay open until 5 or 6pm.


1.9 Public Holidays

Since Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of phases of the moon, the dates for Islamic religious holidays are approximate and the precise dates are not announced until a day or so before they occur. If a public holiday falls on a weekend, the holiday is usually taken at the beginning of the next working week.


1.10 The Holy Month of Ramadan

Like the rest of the Muslim world, Ramadan is a special time for people in Abu Dhabi. Visitors will not fail to notice this difference. While the majority of stores look empty and restaurants remain closed during the day, the streets and malls at night will be buzzing with activities and liveliness.

During the fasting from dawn to sunset, non-Muslim adults show their respect to the Islamic beliefs by refraining from eating, drinking and smoking in public. Some restaurants offer delivery services during the day, but most restaurants remain closed in preparation for the evening customers who come for Iftar and remain open until dawn. However, hotel restaurants continue serving meals during the day.

Ramadan is the month of spiritual reflections and prayers for Muslims worldwide, therefore, guests in an Islamic country show respect towards Muslims by avoiding revealing clothes and by behaving discreetly in public.

To make it easier for the Muslim population to fulfil their religious duties, the government of Abu Dhabi has reduced office hours during Ramadan by two hours daily. This obligation also applies to non-Muslim employees who are employed in accordance with the UAE Labour Law.


Ramadan is a month where Muslim fast during the day and break their fast at the sunset. It is considered a month of spirituality, reflection, sharing and helping those in need. IT is worth sharing with you the top do and don'ts in this month.


Do dress appropriately. Men and women are expected to dress in an appropriate manner, not showing too much skin and making sure hemlines and necklines are modest. So watch before you step out.

Do exchange Ramadan Greetings. While meeting Muslims, it is customary to use the greeting "Ramadan Kareem" and at the end of Ramadan, during the Eid celebrations "Eid Mubarak".

Do respect those on fast. Fasting can result in a change of temperament in some people; therefore be considerate towards the people around you.

Do accept invitations. If invited to an iftar with friends or colleagues, do go along and always be on time if not a few minutes early. Remember not to go empty-handed; desserts are always a good option to offer the host.

Do smoke, drink and eat in the privacy of your home, hotel room or office. If you work in a shared or open plan office simply designate a room where the door can be closed. The point here is to be respectful to those colleagues that are fasting.

Do be aware that office hours will change which will in turn affect traffic patterns. Peak traffic will occur earlier than normal, 7am - 9am and 1pm - 3pm. An additional rush hour occurs at 8pm - midnight.

Do give to the poor and help the needy. Ramadan is renowned for its charitable nature. You don't have to spend the earth - small gestures go a long way.

Don't dance, sing or be intoxicated in public at any time. Most major nightclubs will close for Ramadan. Bars and pubs will generally remain open but will only serve alcohol after dark. Similarly, liquor stores will only sell after dark. There is also no live music and nothing above quiet background music in bars and pubs.

Don't play loud music at any time in your car, on the beach or even at home. You can play music; just make sure it can't be heard outside your car or home and use headphones on the beach.

Don't wear revealing or tight fitting clothes in public, modesty is key during Ramadan. This includes when you are heading for a night out.

Don't smoke, drink, chew gum or eat in public during the hours of sunrise to sunset. This includes while you are driving as well as public places such as malls, cinemas or offices.

Don't swear in public. Blasphemy is frowned upon at the best of times, but during the Holy Month of Ramadan it's particularly offensive.


1.11 Respect

The UAE is a safe and welcoming environment. It is an easy way of life. The summers are very hot and humid, and most people spend most of the time indoors, in the comfort of air conditioning. It's hot. There are many reasons to dress more 'liberally', shall we say. But there are more reasons why you oughtn't. Bikinis, low tops, short skirts and shorts are all good at the beach, but not in malls and public places.

By the way, displays of affection in public is often prohibited, and certainly frowned upon. UAE is very particular about public displays of affection and there have been several arrests for kissing in public.

However, the winters are wonderful and very relaxing. It is a great time to visit the rest of the country.

There are many things to photograph in Abu Dhabi, and in the UAE. However, government buildings and institutions and airports and docks are best left un-photographed. Ask permission before taking pictures of people. Some people, especially women, can see it as an invasion of their privacy.


1.12 Accommodation in Abu Dhabi

When you get here, we'll help you find a house. ADA Services and Support Section hold a list of recommended agents where ADA. We'll cover the search charges, so don't worry about that. We also have special corporate rates for hotels if you wish to utilize it at any time.

Abu Dhabi's housing is second-to-none. Both old and new, ultra-luxurious and down-to-earth, hotel apartments and villas and flats are all catered for. Expats can rent accommodation, but buying property is allowed only in designated areas.

Abu Dhabi government has a rule that no housing allowance is to be paid unless the government entity has collected proof of residence in Abu Dhabi. As such please refer to our Housing Guidelines in Appendix 1 to ensure you have the correct documents and information needed to present to our ADA Services and Support to collect your housing allowance.


1.13 Schools and Education

If you have kids, you'll find education facilities here just as good as the ones back at home. Both government and private schooling is excellent, and teachers are fully qualified to international standards in English, American and Baccalaureate forms. But beware, schooling is always in high demand, and the supply sometimes falls short, especially at the top schools. It can take one or even two years to secure a place in the top schools, so get your kids names on the list as soon as you can.


1.14 Help around the House


Almost all households have some kind of domestic help. If you don't want to look for one yourself, there are agencies here that specialise in everything from cleaners to live-in nannies. Salaries may range, depending on their nationality, experience and the contract made.

Below is a link with more tips on Types of contracts for maid help: Click here


1.15 Bring Your Pets

By the way, there are no restrictions on bringing pets into UAE except wild cats. But you will need to micro-chip all dogs and cats before their arrival in the UAE - for their safety.


1.16 How to Move Around in Abu Dhabi

Had enough? Taxis can be hailed on the streets and booked by phone. Buses run around the clock, and serve most of the city, and the country. DARB is a very useful site. Its Abu Dhabi's own transport initiative. And gives you comprehensive information on travel within the capital.


1.17 Buying and Renting a Car

You must have a residency visa to buy a car in the UAE. Some people start off by renting a car. You'll find almost all international car rental agencies at your disposal in and around the city.


1.18 Food Glorious Food

Let's talk about food. You can find almost any type and style of food in the UAE, for all pockets. Gulf and Middle Eastern food is also available in a wide variety of venues. Local seafood is a must-have.


1.19 The Media in Abu Dhabi

You'll get almost all globalTV channels in the UAE. There are several English language radio stations in Abu Dhabi.
Newspapers:
You will find newspapers in Arabic, English, French and even German in the UAE. The English ones includeThe National, Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Business 24/7 as well as some free publications, including 7 Days. There's a Time Out Abu Dhabi also.


1.20 Things to do

Why don't we head over to one of the most beautiful mosques in the world? After 11 years in the making, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was opened in 2007. One of the top sights in the country, the mosque is a stunning piece of architecture which Abu Dhabi residents are rightly proud of.

Let's go to the desert next. A number of local companies offer desert safaris at around 4 pm to 9 pm. You will be collected from your hotel and driven into the dunes. A typical tour starts with dune bashing - where you're thrown about in a 4x4 - followed by a visit to a camel farm.

Even if you're not a racing car buff, it's still worth visiting Yas Marina Circuit, which is home to Formula 1 every autumn. You can hear cars whizzing around the track from Yas Marina next door, but for a memorable experience splash out on some laps in a Yas Radical SST sports car that was built especially for the track.

The Grand Mosque and Formula 1 might get all the glory, but another attraction that you can't afford to miss is the mangroves where you can kayak day or night. It is great for the whole family. You'll see flamingos and needlefish; paddle at night through inky black waters and you'll hear chirping crickets.


1.21 Emergency Numbers

Ambulance 998 or 999
Fire 997
Police 999
Marine Emergencies 996



1.22 Liquor Licenses

One last thing. Alcohol is prohibited in Islam. But non-Muslims can have a liquor license.
Alcohol is generally only served in hotel restaurants and bars (but not in Sharjah). The licenses - available here - ought to be taken to the preferred liquor outlet indicated in the application form.


1.23 More Useful Sites to Check Out

Relocation matters are well summarized here: My Move Abu Dhabi

New residents should definitely check out this checklist

What's more, UAE INTERACT has lots of information on the UAE, like places to visit, things to do, etc.

The full contact details of the Abu Dhabi e government is: Click here

For accomdation related information click here

Another useful link with further links and tips and advises on schools and education in general

Below is another link to help you learn more of how to Sponsor a maid or nanny in the UAE

More info on car rentals