From the culture shock to the lifestyle, there are bound to be many aspects of life in Dubai that expats planning a move there may wonder about. Here are answers to some of the most 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. A person will need their own visa to visit an unmarried partner in Dubai. 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 the country of origin. Those from Europe, Australia and the US do not have to take the test. Instead, these new arrivals must go to the Roads and Transport Authority with their existing licence, passport and resident permit. There they will be required to take an eye test before being issued with a UAE license. Prior to receiving their residence permit expats may drive a rental vehicle using a license from their 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 (NOC) is needed in Dubai whenever an expat applies for a bank account, telephone, liquor licence, to buy a car, or for any immigration-related business. The NOC is also required if an expat wishes to change jobs from one private company to another. The letter comes from one's sponsor/employer and there should be copies in both English and Arabic. It is best to ask for these as soon as one arrives 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. Eating out is affordable, almost anything and everything can be delivered to one's 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 say that it’s an experience like no other. With temperatures reaching 50ºC (98ºF), 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 holidaymakers 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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