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Overseas Property Investors Guide to Living in Dubai

Overseas property investors looking to buy and start living in Dubai should be aware of the challenges they may face when moving to the dynamic middle eastern city.

Here is a short guide for UK expats to living in Dubai.

Culture

Most of the UAE’s population is Muslim and that the country operates according to Islamic traditions. This means expats would do well to familiarise themselves with local customs and expected behaviour.

Non-Muslims are not expected to follow the religion’s rules, but they are expected to respect it.

This includes being respectful in terms of dress and alcohol consumption. You should also know that unmarried couples are forbidden by law to live together in the UAE, and adultery and homosexuality are also illegal.

Weather

Living in Dubai means living in the desert, so be prepared for the sheer heat, especially in summer.

Do not underestimate the heat, which can cause constant sweating, burning eyes, dry throat, and headaches if you are not careful.

In Dubai Summer runs from June to September and this is the hottest time of the year when temperatures soar to almost unbearable levels. Many expats choose to take holidays during these months and visit their home countries.

Transport

The International Driving Authority describes road conditions in Dubai as among ‘the best in the world’ but adds that the city might be difficult to navigate.

The website also states: ‘Driving in Dubai for tourists can be tough. You should take into account the driving habits of the locals. Nobody will give way to foreigners or help them in difficult circumstances. Thus, be very attentive and always keep an eye on the road.’

The subway system can be an option if living in a central area, but many residential areas are not connected to it.

If you don’t wish to drive, then taxis and services such as Uber are widely available.

Accommodation

If you choose to rent rather than buy property in Dubai, you need to bear in mind that the annual rent n most Dubai apartments is expected to be paid in full and in advance, though some landlords are now becoming more flexible on this requirement.

There are consequences for breaking a rental contract. In most cases, both landlord and tenant are protected and bodies like the Real Estate Regulatory Agency have been set up to deal with disputes.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Dubai is relatively high, so this is something you should budget for.

However, since the global financial crisis in 2008 it has been getting steadily cheaper to live in Dubai with the government holding down the price of everyday commodities.

Bureaucracy

Licences and permits are needed for many things when living in Dubai, not least you need a permit just to live there.

Permits are also required to buy alcohol, to get a driving licence, and to get a job.

Foreign expats need a residency visa to live and work in Dubai as well as a work permit or a labour card. These are issued by the Ministry of Labour.

However, it is usual to arrange a work contract before you get to living in Dubai, and in that case your employer will normally apply for visas and other relevant documentation on behalf of the employee and will also carry the financial costs.

Dubai is an exciting and dynamic city to live in but living in Dubai will be a lot easier if you are aware of the information above.

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