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Moving to Al Ain

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What you need to keep in mind when relocating to Al Ain…


The UAE offers a comprehensive education to all from kindergarten to university.
The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) based in Al Ain-continues to be the country’s leading national institution of higher education.


Homes in the UAE tend to be very classy and spacious. The majority are new or very recent, in fact you will not find properties older than 20 years. The city centres are dominated by apartment complexes whilst villas are found in the outskirts. Commonplace are the compounds of houses or villas often complete with their own pool and sports facilities.

If you want to rent an apartment then it is usual in the Al Ain to pay the full annual fee up front. Some landlords will accept a series of pre- dated checks which you must make sure that they do not bounce, as allowing a check to bounce in the UAE is illegal.
Many employers understand that finding a full year’s rent upon arrival in the United Arab Emirates is difficult, which is why accommodation is often offered as part of the terms of employment.
Finally, you should note that some common practices from Europe or the US are frowned upon in the Al Ain.For UAE nationals house sharing for instance is theoretically banned, (it is strictly forbidden for an unmarried couple to live together under the same roof), but more generally, it is forbidden to share accommodation with someone who is not of the same family. Having said that, this is relatively well tolerated for non-Muslim expatriates, but it can possibly cause problems with the authorities.


There are great employment opportunities in the Al Ain. The government is committed towards reasonable and fair rights for both employers and employees and salaries are tax-free. Expats working in the UAE must have valid work or residency visa. Whilst each emirate has its own rules, generally speaking, you will need a work permit, residence visa and an Emirates ID card to work and settle in Al Ain. Your employer should apply for the visas for you. Visas are then valid for up to two years.
A useful resource here is the Ministry of Labour’s website, where you can verify your contract or labour card. The ministry of labour also offers the employee protection in the form of a complaint section. Here it is possible to register a complaint against your employer for such things as late or non-payment of monthly salaries.

Bank Accounts

You must have a residence visa to be able to open a bank account in the Al Ain. This is considered as a proof of legal residence in the country. You will also need a letter from your employer stating your monthly income. Commonly you will also be required to provide a copy of your passport, your lease documents, as well as passport-sized pictures of you and your partner if he or she wishes to open an account too. You may need to deposit a certain amount of money to open the account. A substantial deposit may mean that you can open a free account, but it is possible to open an account without a deposit, just be prepared to pay around 500 dirhams per month if fees. Upon opening your bank account, you will obtain a debit card and a credit card allowing you to conduct draw cash on ATMs. However, there may be some restrictions on the amounts. You may request a check book if you want, in Arabic and English, although these are not always available for current account as most transactions in the country are made in cash.


The type of visa will be based on the length of your stay in the country. Contact the nearest United Arab Emirates Embassy to help you choose the right one.

Visitor visa:
If you come from a European country, you will get a visitor visa valid for a period of up to 30 days. This visa is free of charge.
Transit visa:
A transit visa is only valid for a maximum of 96 hours. Used for when you are making a short transit through the country. Costs vary according to your specific requirements and duration of your stay.
Visa for business travel:
If you are travelling to the UAE for business then you need to apply for a mission entry visa. This visa is valid for up to 14 days. You can obtain it at the immigration department of the airport on arrival. Be aware that fees do apply.

Cost of Living

Al Ain along with other cities in the UAE are not featured in the top ten most expensive cities in which to live. One of the biggest benefits for expats in living in Al Ain is the extremely low taxation. This has a fantastic impact on the cost of a number of items, including vehicles, electronic goods and local produce. However, expats looking for bargains on luxury goods or international brand names will be disappointed as these usually attract higher prices.
Utilities bills are also slightly cheaper in than they are in many western countries as a result of substantial government subsidies on electricity, water and gas.

Medical Care

The standard of health care in the United Arab Emirates is considered to be generally high.
The health care system is based on a network of public hospitals where free treatments are granted to holders of the "health card". This card is available at the nearest health centre once you have presented the necessary documentation.
Whilst the “Health Card” will get your treated, you would be well advised to subscribe to health insurance before you depart for the Al Ain. If you employer is not offering a comprehensive scheme (including repatriation) then contact a local or an international insurer.

Driving Licence

To drive in the United Arab Emirates, you must be in possession of either an international driving license or an Emirati driver's license, and be at least 18 years old (although car rental under 21 can be a problem).
All road accidents, even a minor scratch, must be reported to the police. If someone is injured you will automatically be arrested. If you are involved in an accident do not move your car. If you have a camera with you, take some pictures of the situation and immediately call the police. Inform them about the accident, give them your location and ask them for further instructions.


The United Arab Emirates is a tax paradise for people from all over the world. Tax is almost non-existent in the country. There is no income tax, or value added tax. but residents of Al Ain will pay some tax.

Municipal taxes
City taxes are levied in most of the Emirates on annual rental paid at 5 % for residential premises and 10% for commercial premises, whilst other local taxes include a 5% tax on hotel services and entertainment.
Other personal taxes
Don’t forget that taxes of 50% and 90% are applied to tobacco and alcohol respectively.

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