23 Things Expats Should Know Before Relocating to Dubai

Last updated on May 23rd, 2018

For many, Relocating to Dubai is the dream lifestyle. Thousands of expats every year from around the world gets attracted to Dubai due to luxurious lifestyle, highest paying jobs, Peaceful and tax free environment.

Generally, It is considered that all of the Dubai growth is based on the Oil. However, This is not the truth. Everyone should understand that Dubai is not an Oil-rich state and its Economy is totally based on Trade. And all of this is possible due to the vision of HRH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Under his vision and directions many of the landmarks and projects have been constructed.

Things Expats Should Know Before Relocating to Dubai

Due to these lack of information we thought to make a list of things Expats should know before moving to Dubai. Here we are listing 23 main things.

1. English a Common Language

Dubai Language

Though Arabic is the official language of Dubai. However, due to multi-cultural society you may don’t have to learn the Arabic before relocating to Dubai. So its more important that you learn to speak good English instead of Arabic. Even for many days, you may not hear any word of Arabic in Dubai.

2. Peaceful City

Dubai Safest City

According to world economic forum (WEO) Dubai is one of the safest city of the world and is ranked third in the list (Abu Dhabi has now become the most peaceful city in the world). Due to life security, economical activities and best law and order situations, Dubai is the safest and best city to live in the world.

3. No Taxes

Dubai Tax Free

Dubai offers zero tax environment. Easy business policies and tax-free environment, Dubai has become one of the most attractive places for expats to relocate and start their business.

4. Controlled Media

Dubai Media

Due to strict laws, Electronic, Print and up to some extend Social media is controlled very much. Twitter and flicker were once blocked (Now unblocked), YouTube is running with many filters. Thousands of websites are blocked in Dubai. It is not a good idea to talk about local politics on the air. Anything against Royal family, Sex and Politics is strictly prohibited on any Media.

5. Construction

Dubai Construction

In 1991, There was only one skyscraper in Dubai, The World Trade Center. Now there are more than 200 skyscrapers in Dubai which are more than 100 meters in height. Construction is something that never stops in Dubai. It is an idea that Dubai has 15%-25% of world’s cranes working in Dubai. Due to extremely high temperatures in Summer, working hours of construction workers changes. They start their work early in the morning even before the dawn and halts from 10am-4pm. And then restart till late night.

6. Traffic Jams

Dubai Traffic Jam

According to the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Vehicle density in Dubai is the highest in the region and one of the highest in the world. There are 540 cars for per 1,000 people on Dubai’s roads. The number of cars in Dubai has doubled in last 8 years. An average annual vehicle increase is 8.2% in Dubai which is also one of the highest in the world. So if you are planning to relocating to Dubai, You must prepare yourself for regular traffic jams, especially in peak hours. Dubai authorities are working hard to encourage people to use more and more public transport for commute.

7. Alcohol

Alcohol in Dubai

As alcohol is Haram/prohibited in Islam, It is illegal and is a crime to consume alcohol outside or at public places. However, good news is that there are many hotels and restaurants in Dubai with the license to serve alcohol legally. Without a license it is illegal and you could face heavy fines.

8. Women Only Areas

Women Only Areas in Dubai

As mentioned above Dubai is one of the safest countries in the world for both genders. But there are still many Women only areas in Dubai. And you should know these before relocating to Dubai. Like Ladies Taxis, Ladies Buses, Metros and Beaches and Hotel Resorts.

9. Month of Ramadan

Month of Ramadan in Dubai

Dubai is an Islamic state. Therefore like any other Islamic country in the world. The holy month of Ramadan is very important and sacred. In Dubai, working hours are lessens to 6hrs and eating/drinking out during the fastening time is prohibited.

10. Politics

Politics in Dubai

UAE is consists of 7 emirates and each emirate is governed by a President, Prime Minister. Both President and Prime Ministers are elected by the Kings. So mostly they are from their own Royal families. Because of the Kingdom, there are no party politics in the whole UAE. So anything against the government is considered against the Royalties which is strictly prohibited. Current President of Dubai is HRH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

11. Dubai is not an Oil Rich State

Dubai Oil

Unlike the general opinion, Dubai economy is not based on Oil. Basically Dubai is not in rich of Oil. Dubai income is purely based on trade.

12. Airport

Dubai International Airport

In last 15 years, Dubai has become the economic hub and tourists more popular destination. Resulting Dubai International Airport has become the busiest airport in the world. Dubai airport is consists of 3 terminals and each of them are as big as a separate airport by themselves. Terminal 3 is for only Emirates Airline. Terminal 1 is for budget airlines and Terminal 2 for the remaining common transport.

13. Health Insurance

Dubai health Insurance

Private Clinics and Hospitals are very expensive in Dubai. So Expats should buy Health insurance first thing after relocating to Dubai. It is very important that you get health insurance as otherwise it will be very expensive.

14. Extra Marital Relationship

Dubai Sharia Laws

Extra marital relationship in Dubai is strictly not allowed. Any intimate gesture in public like kissing, touching is consider as a crime. You many heard of many stories in recent years. So be careful and avoid these things at public places.

15. Postal Mail

Dubai Postal Addresses

This can be surprising for expat that Dubai does not have any street addresses. Authorities has assigned the postal code to every building, square and roads. If you have to go to somewhere you must know the PO Box code. Almost 130,000 buildings have been assigned codes and government is trying to code the whole city.

16. Dubai Weather

Dubai Weather

As Dubai is situated on the coastline of the Persian Gulf, its humidity remains high throughout the year. So when there is more humidity there is likely more chances of less rainfall. So its average rainfall is just 3.5 inches almost a year. The rainfall period is very small and irregular. For travelers, the best to travel to Dubai is between November-March when the day time temperature is in 20-30 degree Celsius.

17. Male Population

Dubai Population

According to the recent survey Dubai’s population has increased. And of its increased population men are more in numbers. Three out of four are men and one is women. 70% Dubai population is consist of Men.

18. Lowest Unemployment Rate

Dubai Lowest Unemployment Rate

Dubai is an economic hub. There are large number of development and construction activities are going on. People from all over the world come there for employment commitments. So Dubai comes in the top list of having lowest unemployment rate in the world.

19. Rent an Apartment is more Economic

Dubai Apartments

Whenever one move to another country, a cheap accommodation is the number one priority. So if you are relocating to Dubai you should try to get an apartment on rent instead of choosing Villas. You will get less electricity and water bills compare to Villas. Especially in Summer where temperature usually rise up to 50 degree Celsius. Apartments are always double glazed and cooled air is fed to the apartments from large a/c units, generally mounted on the roofs of the buildings.

20. More Liberal than Other Middle-East Countries

Dubai Culture

Though Dubai is an Islamic country and have some strict Sharia Laws. But still Dubai is more liberal than other Middle-East countries. Like you will be served Alcohol in licensed places, There are many night and Dance clubs in Dubai where you can have fun night every night. Women can wear anything they want (Just not to wear too much revealing clothes on public places like Bikini in Shopping Mall etc)

21. 99% Population are Expats

Expats in Dubai

According to a survey almost 90% of Dubai’s population is consist of expats. All the economic activities are organized by the world class people. They hire labor and professionals from all over the world. All the construction is done by world class architectures. All the activities of Dubai is done by expats. So almost 90% of its population consist of expats.

22. The Longest Driver-less Metro in the World

Dubai Metro

Dubai is one of the metro cities of the world with driverless metro system or computer operated metro is run across the city. It’s the Dubai’s longest route to take the passengers all across the city. Dubai Metro was the first step to make the City as the smartest city in the world.

23. Highest rate of Population Increase in the World

Dubai Population

Population of Dubai is in increasing trend. There are number of factors that are affecting its population growth. One main factor is that expats are constantly shifting in Dubai. Other factors include large number of facilities it is providing, luxurious living, business opportunities and many others.

Relocating to Dubai is indeed a dream for many of us. If we have missed anything, Please let us know below in comments.