- MORGAN McKINLEY
- 103/104 Oud Metha (Citibank) Building
- PO Box 118468
- Dubai, UAE
- tel: +971 04 324 4094
At a Glance
- Government: Constitutional monarchy
- Administrative Divisions: Emirate
- Area: 4,114 sq km
- Population: 2,106,177 (2013)
- Legal system: Civil law principles, Shari'a law
- Capital: Abu Dhabi
- Dialing code: +971
- Time Zone: UAE Standard Time (UTC+4)
- Literacy: 90% (UAE)
- Languages: Arabic, English
- Currency: Dirham (AED)
- Per capita income (IMF 2010-12): $9,162 (Intl. $)
- Life Expectancy (WHO 2011 - UAE): Male: 74.97, Female: 76.69
Immigration & Visa
The UAE is in the process of implementing an ambitious country wide ID card programme, which, when complete, will require all nationals and residents to register for and carry the card. The purpose of the card is to secure personal identities and cut down on fraud and identity theft. The card will eventually replace all other cards, such as health and labour cards. Residents pay a fee that is linked to the validity of their residence visa, which amounts to Dhs100 per year. To register for your card, take your passport with your residency visa, ID card fee and a typing fee of Dhs70 to an authorised typing centre, where your application will be filled in and translated into Arabic. Then take your completed form to a registered centre, with your fee receipt, passport and residency visa, where you will be fingerprinted and have your photo taken. Once is has been processed, your card will be delivered to you for an additional fee of Dhs20. A list of authorised typing and registration centres, plus up to date information can be found on the Emirates Identity Authority and Dubai Government websites.
Banking & Tax
There are several reputed major banks in Dubai. There are plenty of ATMs around and most cards are compatible with the Central Bank Network. You may pay a small fee for using another bank’s ATM but it should never be more than a few dirhams. To open a bank account with most banks, you need a residence visa or to have your residency application under way. To apply you will need to submit your original passport, copies of your passport and an NOC from your sponsor.
Do taxes exist in the UAE? The answer is yes and no. You don’t pay income or sales tax, except when you purchase alcohol from a licensed liquor store - when you’ll be hit with a steep 30% tax. The main tax that you will come across is the municipality tax of 5% on rent and 10% on food, beverages and rooms in hotels. The rest are hidden taxes in the form of “fees”, such as your car registration renewal, visa/permit fees and Salik (road toll).
Accommodation & Expenses
Hotel and Services Apartments
Hotel and services apartments: Hotel apartments are expensive, but ideal if you need temporary, furnished accommodation. They can be rented on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Water and electricity are also included in the rent.
Standard apartments: Dubai apartments come in various sizes, from studio to four-bedroom, with widely varying rents to match. All apartments have central air-conditioning which can be expensive but is sometimes included in the rent. Top of the range apartments often come semi-furnished (with a cooker, fridge, dishwasher and washing machine), and may also have 24-hour security, covered parking, private gym and swimming pool.
Sharing a large villa is popular with young professionals for economic and lifestyle reasons. The downside is the lack of privacy and the chore of finding new housemates when someone moves out. If you are looking to share, www.dubizzle.com is a good place to start.
The villa lifestyle doesn’t come cheap, and smart villas are snapped up pretty quickly. However, depending on the location, size and age of the property it may be cheaper than some apartments, even if air-conditioning costs will be higher. Villas differ greatly in quality and facilities. Independent villas often have bigger gardens, while compound villas are usually newer and most have shared facilities like a pool or gym.
Both private and public healthcare services are available in the UAE. General standards are high, with English speaking staff and internationally trained medical staff in most facilities. Under UAE labour law, an employer must provide access to healthcare for its employees.
To avail of health services residents are required to obtain a health card. This can be obtained on the Government's website by first registering an online account, then logging into Patient Services.
Here is a list of Service Fees for health cards, in-patient bed charges, out-patient visits, and other fees.
Hiring a car
New arrivals in Dubai often find that they have no other option than to hire a vehicle until their residency papers go through. Most leasing companies include the following in their rates: registration, maintenance, replacement, 24 hour assistance and insurance. It’s best to shop around as the rates vary considerably. To hire any vehicle you will need to provide a passport copy, credit card and valid driving licence. Comprehensive insurance is essential.
Car hire companies
Purchasing a car
Buying, insuring, registering and maintaining your car are all fairly straightforward and easy to do. Much like everywhere else, Dubai’s roads are dangerous if you are not careful, so avoid speeding and pay attention at all times.Public transport consists of abras (traditional wooden boats with motors), buses, the metro and taxis.
Registering a vehicle
All cars must be registered annually with the traffic police. There is a one month grace period after your registration has expired, but after that there is as Dhs110 fine for each month the registration has expired. You will need to bring: your old car registration, your driving license, proof of car insurance for the coming year, Dhs50 for the car inspection and Dhs385 for the registration. You must also pay all outstanding fines before the car can be re-registered.
Before you can register your vehicle you must have adequate insurance. Annual insurance policies are for a 13 month period (this is to allow a one month grace period when your registration expires).