So you’ve secured a good job offer in Dubai, and have started to prepare yourself for moving to Dubai. Let’s get you up to speed with our quick tips for those moving to Dubai. Those tricks would help you make this transition as painless as possible. Still, always remember that Dubai is always nice on the eye, many times hard on the pocket!

1- Before moving to Dubai, bring your driving license with you

This comes handy later on as it helps skip few or all steps. You can exchange yours for an Emirati driving license right away if it was issued from a set list of countries (i.e. US, UK, Canada, etc), or at least skip some of the regular tests and shorten the needed duration to get a driving license.

2- Invest in a reliable car, with good resale value

I’d strongly recommend you taking the time to read my thorough report about the used cars in UAE with the available facts and figures. It will introduce you to a lot of facts about the cars market in UAE in general.

I’d recommend that you go for a Japanese brand (Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi), which have the best resale value in UAE. Avoid American cars like the plague, as they depreciate in value like a sinking ship. No need to warn you about European, Korean, or Chinese cars. Always check for re-sale value / cost of maintenance before buying a new car in UAE. Once you buy your first car, don’t go crazy driving like there is not tomorrow. Advanced speed cameras are all over the place, specially the mobile ones.

Mobile traffic cameras can and will ruin your days. Watch your speed limit!

Be ready to have a car accident every two years, so get a comprehensive car insurance policy. Accident rates on all of UAE roads are a bit high, but thankfully fatalities are low. It’s very easy for anyone to get a car loan and walk away with a very fast car. The consequences are obvious, some roads are like race tracks for those speed-demons. Seeing very exotic / 4×4 cars racing around or zipping through next to your lane, with unbelievable speeds, will become the new norm.

After moving to Dubai, you'll get used to similar super cars accidents

After moving to Dubai, seeing similar super cars accidents will be the new norm. Image credit Flickr / Webmonk / Fatima

My favorite car insurance company is Oman Insurance (also very expensive), but many people are singing the praise of AXA. Look for a car insurance policy with a replacement car when your car is in the repair shop after an accident. Ask for the option of having a rent car during the time your car is at the repair shop. Many insurance companies offer that (sometimes free, or for an extra fee).

3- Look for a ‘Chiller Free’ place to rent

People moving to Dubai usually get shocked when you tell them how insane electricity and water bills can get. Utility bills in Dubai can become very notorious, specially if you go for a villa, mainly during the extremely hot and humid summer. When you go for a chiller free place, you avoid paying the A/C’s hefty electricity bill. Know that Dubai Municipality charges 5% of the total rent value, and collects this 5% through the utility bills, so expect something from $80 per month in utility bills for a small studio, to over $2000 for a multi rooms villa with a garden.

4- Consider buying second-hand furniture

It’s funny, but people moving to Dubai should search for those moving out of Dubai. Search for other people moving out of Dubai, who post their stuff on online classifieds websites like Dubizzle. There are also a number of Facebook pages and groups (i.e. Second Hand Dubai) for people selling their furniture, cars, cameras, etc. You can always strike a good deal.

5 – Deal only with a reputable real estate agents

To find a flat / villa to rent, you will have to deal with real estate agents, who tend to be a nightmare to say the least. My advice to you is to never write any commission cheques to the agent until after the landlord signs the lease contract. ONLY write the rent cheque out to the landlord (or his / her registered company), not the agent. Once that happens, then give the agent his commission.

ALWAYS ask the real estate agent for his/her RERA number. It certifies that he’s an actual registered agent, and not a fraud who will run away with your money. (Unfortunately, this happens a lot.) Always register your lease contract with Ejari (, which is a must for connecting the utilities.

6 – Make sure all bills are paid before signing the lease contract

When you’re ready to rent an apartment / a villa, make sure to obtain a proof that the landlord is paying all his maintenance fees to the building management before handing over any rent cheques. If the landlord hasn’t paid the fees, you may be denied from using the building’s facilities (i.e. pool/parking/gym), or from moving in completely.

Obtain a prior proof that there’s no outstanding utility (DEWA) bills on the apartment / villa. You won’t be able to connect the premises to the utilities until all prior bills are paid in full.

7 – Landlord can’t evict a tenant without a year’s notice

Once you move in to a Dubai property, it’s very difficult for the landlord to evict you. He can’t just raise the rent beyond the RERA’s index, nor can he evict you without 12 months notice in writing, as per the law. Some landlords from hell take advantage of inexperienced expats to raise rents and/or evict tenants to get another higher paying tenant.

Need to read more tips? Make sure to read my Dubai Hacks for Visitors & Expats.

All those tips (and more ) are part of my eBook titled 101 Tips For People Moving to Dubai, available on Apple Store, Amazon, Barnes n Noble, FlipKart, etc)

About my eBook: 101 Tips For People Moving to Dubai

Buy this ebook online in the following formats: Kindle, ePub, PDF, RTF and PDB, from SmashWords. Some tips mentioned in this ebook can and will save you lots of time and money before leaving for Dubai. I’ve been living and working in Dubai since 2001, and I’ve learned a lot, the hard way, about many things that could have saved me time and money, had I known them long before.

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