So you're moving to The United Arab Emirates
A recent HSBC survey ranked the UAE as the third best place in the world for expatriates. High scores given for financial opportunity, lifestyle, and children's successful integration contribute to the UAE's place as a comfortable place for foreign assignees and their families.
Well, before you start here are our 10 top pieces of information for expats:
- Despite higher living costs, tax free salaries and the vast oil wealth are a huge pull on expats with 65,000 British expats and 45,000 Americans living in the Middle Eastern State.
- The UAE is a sub-tropical desert climate. It gets extremely hot in the summer with daytime averages above 40°C (113 °F)
- A valid passport and visa are required for almost all visitors to the UAE. Business travellers must hold a passport that is valid at least six and tourists' passports must be valid for a period of at least three months from date of arrival. There is no information on immigrant visas
- As a major expat hub there are many languages spoken in the UAE; English is widely spoken among business people and in expat areas but the official language is Arabic.
- The Muslim calendar follows the lunar cycle, and is 10 or 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. Year One is based on the Hegira, Mohammed's flight from Mecca to Medina, rather than the birth of Christ. Therefore, 2013 on the Western calendar equals the end of 1433 and the beginning of 1434 on the Muslim calendar.
- The UAE is a federation of seven autonomous Emirates. Its estimated 2014 population was nearly 9.5million of which 87% are expats, making UAE nationals a minority.
- The Burj Khalifa, in Dubai is the tallest man-made structure in the world, at 829.8 m, however it will soon be over taken by the Kingdom Tower in Saudi+ Arabia which is due to measure 1,000m.
- The UAE’s currency is the Dirham (Dh) which is made from 100 fils.
- The UAE is extremely rich in oil and the majority of its economy is based around exporting oil and gas.
- The UAE has experienced a greater level of civil unrest since the Arab Spring, however this is usually contained within the residential districts of natives.