Culture in Dubai

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Things to Consider


The culture in Dubai is notoriously strict especially for expats, and can be a shock at first when coming from a country where laws and customs are often a lot freer. Before you relocate to Dubai you should read up and become familiar with the laws you need to know.

That’s not to say you won’t have fun during your time in Dubai as there are lots of things to do in the country. From spending the day at the beach, horse racing, golf and endless shopping malls you certainly won’t be bored.


Arabic is the official language in Dubai, but due to the expatriate nature of the country English is spoken widely throughout Dubai and is the most spoken language. However, government affairs, rules and laws are all published in Arabic, so it may be worth trying to learn the basics.

You’ll find a wide range of languages spoken with Hindu, Chinese, Urdu and Bengali all commonly spoken in Dubai too.



To set up a bank account you’ll need to ensure you have a residence visa, a ‘no objection’ letter from your employer which should show your salary and what will be paid into the account, your tenancy agreement and passport.

Similarly to other countries around the world, the package each bank offers varies so make sure you do your research before applying for an account.


To drive in Dubai you need to be 18 to obtain a license. If you already hold a license before your move then you are able to transfer your driving license from another country.

In order to do so you will need the following documents; original and copy of your passport, copy of your residence permit, passport sized photo, eye test certificate, 360 AED and a ‘no objection’ letter from your sponsor.


The British are the third biggest buyers in Dubai when it comes to property, proving just how popular the country is for Brits abroad. Searching for a new home will largely be down to you, however you may find if you are relocating through employment that your company will help you to find a property through their network of connections.

Consider what you will want from the space, how long the commute is and whether a villa or apartment will work best for you and your lifestyle. Some states may require you to cover a local tax in your new home which covers maintenance expenses.


In order to live Dubai, you require a sponsor who acts as a guardian and guarantor figure during your move. This means they take on the responsibility of organising your work and residency visa, opening a bank account and signing contracts. In many cases a sponsor is usually your employer.

Working weeks can be long in Dubai, with an average of 40-48 hours put in by local workers. The typical weekend is different in Dubai too, with many companies giving employees Friday and Saturday off, rather than Saturday and Sunday.


State schools funded by the government are not usually an option for expat children as classes are often taught in the native language of Dubai, Arabic. There are many private schools suitable for expats in Dubai that teach classes in English, so do your research before you move to find the best.

When looking at education abroad consider the following; are the qualifications gained in education recognised in your home country? What happens if you relocate back home or elsewhere during your child’s educations? How do the schooling systems compare and will they be ahead of behind should a move happen?

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