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 the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Dubai.

Can I drive on my licence from home in Dubai, or must I take another test?

This depends on the country of origin. Those from Europe, Australia, the US, and selected other countries 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 licence. Before receiving their residence permit, expats may drive a rental vehicle using a licence from their home country. A comprehensive list of the nationalities exempt from retaking the test is available from the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority

Have a look at our guide page to learn more about transport and driving in Dubai.

What is the average expat lifestyle in Dubai like?

This really depends. In the past, generous employment packages enabled Western expats to live the high life in Dubai. Most expats lived in large villas, had domestic help, drove expensive cars and still had plenty of money to spare. These days, packages aren't as generous, and many expats are downsizing considerably. That said, expats will still be able to live comfortably, even if the lavish lifestyle once associated with Dubai is unreachable. Eating out is affordable, almost anything and everything can be delivered to one's home 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 confirm that the weather can be challenging to bear. With temperatures reaching 98°F (50°C), 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.

Why are there so few Emiratis in Dubai?

The low percentage of Emiratis in Dubai's population can be attributed to the city's attractiveness to expats and immigrants. Dubai's allure for expats stems from its dynamic economic growth, strategic location as a global business hub and the high quality of life it offers. The city's tax-free income policy is a significant draw, allowing individuals to maximise their earnings. Moreover, Dubai's government invests heavily in infrastructure, healthcare and education, ensuring a standard of living that is both modern and comfortable.

Why is my social media app banned in Dubai?

There is a ban on certain social media apps in Dubai that have VoIP capabilities, primarily due to regulatory and security concerns. Banned apps include WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype, Snapchat, Viber and Facebook Messenger. The UAE government enforces these restrictions to maintain control over telecommunications services, ensuring that all communication goes through channels that can be monitored and regulated. For residents and visitors looking to stay connected, there are approved alternatives that comply with local regulations, offering secure and reliable communication options.

Are there any rules about photography in Dubai?

In Dubai and across the UAE, there are specific regulations that govern photography to ensure respect for privacy, security and cultural norms. Consent is paramount; photographing people without their permission, especially women, children and families, is prohibited to protect their privacy. Additionally, it's crucial to avoid taking pictures in restricted areas such as government buildings, military installations and airports without explicit permission. By adhering to these rules, you can enjoy photographing Dubai's stunning architecture and landscapes while respecting local laws and cultural sensitivities.

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