Moving to the UAE: a relocation checklist

When you’re moving to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, there are a lot of things to take into consideration. We have put together a relocation checklist for the United Arab Emirates, to help you prepare for and plan your international relocation.

Moving your belongings

It is important to sort your belongings before any international relocation. Even more so when moving to the UAE. You may have some items you wish to keep in storage, either in the UK or in a worldwide storage facility. You also need to consider what you can and can’t take into the UAE, see more information here. As a Muslim country, there are restrictions on certain items and your belongings will be inspected.
Cadogan Tate offers international removals, including packing and transporting, as well as secure storage. The shipping time can range from 5-7 weeks for sole use containers, to 9-11 weeks on a shared container service. Our team will advise you on shipping times depending on the service you have selected.
The UAE customs and checks may add another fortnight onto the shipping times. This is why it is essential that you get prepared months in advance. Find out more about how we can help.

Arrange accommodation

Most expatriates moving to the UAE opt to rent at first, to get a feel for the various neighbourhoods and the lifestyle. Many of the more luxurious apartments are only available to rent, but they do offer long-term leases. These often come with additional facilities, such as parking, a gym, a swimming pool or communal gardens. They may also have a cleaning service or on-site security. You will need a security deposit to secure the property.
Rents are sometimes paid monthly, but usually they are payable either upfront for a year or through a set number of payments over the course of 12 months. Paying more upfront can save on fees. You should also check what utilities and services are included, and what you need to arrange separately.

Consider school options

If you are moving to the UAE with children, it’s important to secure a school place early. Many choose to enroll their children in an international school, often one which follows the curriculum of their home country. School places are limited due to high demand, so it’s worth researching and applying as soon as possible.

Transfer your driving licence

In April 2017, the UAE brought in new laws regarding expatriate driving licences. Your UK driving licence can be converted to a UAE driving licence through a simple and quick process. You will need your passport, residence permit, original driving licence, a passport photo and an eye-test certificate. You can get an eye test at most opticians for free or a small fee.
In Dubai, the licensing process is handled by the Roads & Transport Authority; in Abu Dhabi, it’s the Traffic and Licensing Department. You will need to fill out an application form and pay any relevant fee.

Visas and Emirates ID

Your employer will arrange your work permit once you have accepted a role in the UAE and signed your new employment contract. This temporary permit is only valid for 60 days, so as soon as you get to the UAE, your employer will need to arrange for your permanent residency visa on your behalf.
Once you have a residency and work permit, you can apply for an Emirates ID card. You can also sponsor your partner and any children to get their own residency permits and ID cards.

Arrange healthcare

Health insurance is mandatory in the UAE, so most employers will offer it as part of your employment package. Check what your policy includes and whether it covers just yourself or your family too. You may need to take out your own more-comprehensive policy to cover you and your family’s healthcare requirements.

Prepare your documents

Some documents will need to be attested – legally stamped by various authorities – before they can be used in the UAE, including the documents required to apply for residency. This may include marriage certificates, birth certificates and degrees. Usually, the documents need to be originals and not copies. You first need a solicitor to stamp and verify the document.
This can be done in the UK or, if you’re already in the UAE, the British Embassy in your emirate can help with finding a legal representative. The documents will then need to be legalised by the correct authority in the country of issue.
This is usually the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the UK. Finally, they need to be legalised in the UAE, which can be done at the UAE Embassy in the UK or at an office in your emirate if you’re already in the UAE. It’s best to have your paperwork in place well before your move, this will give you time to visit the Embassy and iron out issues should you have any.
The UAE has strict rules that must be respected, however, the Emirates are very comfortable places to live for expats. The booming economy, excellent climate, good education and healthcare standards are just a few of the attractions.
Moving to a new country can be a daunting experience that is why Cadogan Tate’s international removals team Is here to help you every step of the way., including the specialist moving to UAE service, click here.