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
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.
a more detailed click 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
1.7 Postal Services
1.10 The Holy Month of Ramadan
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
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
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.
we've stated before, the standards of living are some of the
highest on the globe, starting with housing.
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
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.
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.
Home services &
you're in your new home, you'll need a phone, TV services and other
such facilities. There are two national carriers, ETISALAT
. 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.
official water and electricity provider for the whole Emirate of
Abu Dhabi is Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority
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
useful to keep receipts, as you will need it in several government
related transactions such as registering for your parking in Abu
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
homes have central gas supply and others need to buy individual gas
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
across the city, open 24 hours.
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
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
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,
, 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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
respect those on fast. Fasting can result in a change of
temperament in some people; therefore be considerate towards the
people around you.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
wear revealing or tight fitting clothes in public, modesty is
key during Ramadan. This includes when you are heading for a night
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.
swear in public. Blasphemy is frowned upon at the best of
times, but during the Holy Month of Ramadan it's particularly
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
is a link with more tips on Types of contracts for maid
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.
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
is a very useful site. Its Abu Dhabi's own transport initiative.
And gives you comprehensive information on travel within the
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
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
You'll get almost all
globalTV channels in the UAE. There are
several English language radio stations in Abu
Newspapers:You will find
newspapers in Arabic, English, French and even German in the
UAE. The English ones includeThe
Today, Emirates Business
24/7 as well as some free
publications, including 7 Days. There's
a Time Out Abu
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
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.
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
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.
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One last thing. Alcohol is prohibited in
Islam. But non-Muslims can have a liquor
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
Relocation matters are well summarized
here: My Move Abu
residents should definitely check out this
What's more, UAE INTERACT
has lots of information on the UAE, like places to
visit, things to do, etc.
full contact details of the Abu Dhabi e government
accomdation related information click
Another useful link with further links and tips and
schools and education in general
is another link to help you learn more of how to
Sponsor a maid or nanny in the UAE