Frequently Asked Questions about Dubai

My boyfriend has been offered a job in Dubai, will he be able to sponsor me for a residence permit?

No. The UAE does not recognise unmarried unions. If you wish to join him in Dubai, you will need to acquire your own visa. This can only be done by being sponsored by an employer or, in some cases, by purchasing property. Also keep in mind that under UAE law it is illegal for unmarried couples to live together.

Can I drive on an existing drivers’ license when I arrive in Dubai or must I take another test?

This depends on your country of origin. Those from Europe, Australia and the US do not have to take the test. Instead you must go to the Roads and Transport Authority with your existing licence, passport and resident permit. There you will be required to take an eye test before being issued with your UAE license. Prior to receiving your residence permit you may drive a rental vehicle using your license from your home country. A comprehensive list of who is exempt from retaking the test is available from the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.

What is a No-Objection Certificate?

A No-Objection Certificate is needed in Dubai whenever you apply for a bank account, telephone, liquor licence, to buy a car, or for any immigration related business. You also need the NOC if you wish to change jobs from one private company to another. The letter comes from your sponsor/employer and you should have copies in both English and Arabic. It is best to ask for these as soon as you arrive at your place of work in order to avoid delays later.

What is the average expat lifestyle in Dubai like?

This really depends. It used to be that because of generous employment packages Western expats could live the high life in Dubai. Most people lived in large villas, had domestic help, drove expensive cars and still had plenty of money to spare. Now those packages are becoming less and less common, and many expats are downsizing considerably. However, Dubai is a great place to live if you can afford it. Eating out is affordable, almost anything and everything can be delivered to your home (groceries, mobile phone credit, DVDs etc.) and there is no shortage of things to do, including golf, water sports, scuba diving and even skiing.

Exactly how hot does it get in Dubai?

Anyone who has lived in Dubai in summer will tell you it’s an experience like no other. With temperatures reaching 50ºC, the heat is stifling and air-conditioning is essential. Restaurants close outside dining areas, many expat families escape to their home country for the summer months and the rest simply stay inside. For holiday makers the weather might be a treat; for those who have to live and work in such extreme heat, it can become exhausting.

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