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Things an expat may consider before moving to Dubai
Posted on Jan 31, 2013 by Bethany
Moving country can be an exciting adventure, but there are many things to think about beforehand. UMI looks at things to consider before moving to Dubai.
Moving country is a huge milestone in anyone's life and can be a very stressful time. There are so many things to think of, before and after the move, especially if you have pets or kids who will be moving with you. Despite Dubai being a very expat-orientated city, some things will undoubtedly be different in comparison to your native country, or where you currently reside. Everyday aspects of life such as driving licenses, addresses, international schools and utilities all can vary. Not only that, but Dubai's climate can take some serious getting used to. If this whole process seems a little daunting to you, then fear not as this article looks at all the things to consider when moving to Dubai.
Okay, so you've found a great shipping company and have set the final date, now what? Before you even do anything, you need to make sure your passports are all up to date and then book the flights, as well as accommodation. Next, you need to put arrangements in place to obtain a Dubai working visa and resident visa as these are required. Normally, you can get a work visa through your employer and you can sponsor the rest of the family, but double check regulations as sometimes it can vary depending on where you're from and the employer.
Now it's time to sort and organize. First things first is your house. Before moving, you need to decide what you will do with your current house, will you rent it or sell it? Whichever one you choose, you need to check the state of the house and arrange to have some repairs done, if needed. If you are renting out your house, then you may want to make an inventory of what you're leaving behind. If you currently live in a flat, then you need to notify your landlord that you're moving and let them know the date. You might have to discuss with your landlord what you will be taking with you and leaving behind, depending on what you own in the flat. Three months before your moving date, have a huge clear out and throw away or sell any unwanted items or furniture. Remember that the more you ship, the more it'll cost!
If you've already found a house or flat in Dubai and have arranged a moving date, then great. If not, then you need to think about where you will stay in the first few weeks. Will it be at a hotel or with friends? This decision will impact what you will pack in your suitcases too as you may have to live out of them for a week or so. Next thing to consider are bills and mail. Settle all bills before leaving such as gas, electric, water, phone, mobile, even tax. Cancel all memberships before you leave as that can be unnecessary money leaving your account that could be spent on new items for your home in Dubai. Check with your landlord or utility companies that they've received payments. If you have home insurance, then remember to inform the provider you are leaving and wish to cancel the policy. You will also need to inform your bank that your are moving country and you may want to look at the options available such as online banking, switching to an international account or closing the account. If you receive a lot of mail, then it's a good idea to arrange mail-forwarding with your local post office. You might also want to collect e-mail addresses of friends, so you can send them your new postal address or get their information to keep in touch.
If you are moving with kids and pets then there are a number of things to consider. For pets, ensure they are up to date on all of their vaccinations and make sure you've booked their travel arrangements through the airline you are flying with a few months in advance. Remember, if you're staying at a hotel in Dubai for the first few weeks, double check it's pet friendly before booking it. You'll be relieved to know that there's no quarantine for pets brought into Dubai, but there is a lot of paperwork, including an import permit and documents from your vet, so make sure you've prepared well in advance before your move date. If you have children, then you may want your move date to coincide with school term dates, so they can start soon after you've moved to Dubai. It's a good idea to find a school in Dubai before moving and once that is sorted, then inform their current school that you will be moving. Ensure you have all certificates and qualifications from their current school.
One of the most important things that you need to keep in a safe place are your personal documents. This includes medical history, dental history (for all the family), birth certificates, marriage certificates, tax forms, medical insurance policy documents, banking information, credit card documents, driving documents and any other records or history of important information. You may also want to make a 'travel folder', which contains all passports, flight tickets (if bought online and printed), travel insurance, shipping insurance documents, import permit if you have a pet, as well as packing lists. On top of keeping originals in a safe place, it's a good idea to have photocopies of all important documents and keep them as a backup. There's no harm in scanning documents either and saving them on a computer or external device. Some documents may need to be certified by an official or practitioner, so arrange this in advance. You will need some of these documents at some point after moving to Dubai, so it's better to be safe than sorry. If you wish to drive in Dubai, then you will need take your current driving license in order to be issued with a UAE license. International licenses aren't accepted, but it's not difficult to get a UAE license and is best left to arrange once you've moved.
Prior to your moving date, it would probably be a good idea to arrange medical and dental checkups for your whole family and ensure you get the names of any prescription medication your family are on. In addition to that, you may want to find out if they're available in Dubai and if not, then take a supply along with a doctors note or proof of your need for the medication. While you're there, get any other information or notes from your doctor or dentist that you might need for your future practitioners.
Remember to arrange shipping insurance before your moving date. Check this out with your moving company first as you can usually obtain shipping insurance through most moving companies. Plan what you will take in suitcases and on-board luggage, and then make a list of which items will be packed into boxes. On moving day, don't forget to name the boxes and check off your packing list. It's a good idea to keep your important documents and 'travel folder' with you during moving, as well as medication and currency. Don't forget to tie up any loose ends with friends, landlord or realtor, utility companies, bank, vet, doctor or dentist. While the moving day itself will be stressful, remember once you're on the flight to enjoy the experience as it's an exciting new adventure. As long as you plan ahead and make a master list of when you will pack certain items and when you will arrange appointments, the whole process will run alot smoother and you will be able to focus on looking forward to your new life ahead.