Globaleye Relocation Guide
A Guide to Living and Working Overseas
ABU DHABI OVERVIEW
More and more expats are moving to Abu Dhabi in search of the same tax‐free wealth, less the constant commercial
frenzy, found in nearby Dubai. Once a desert outpost dependant on pearling and palm gardening, the city and its
surroundings have grown tremendously in the last decade and have now emerged as an attractive destination luring
foreigners from around the globe.
Work opportunities are many in the oil‐rich emirate, the UAE’s largest in fact, and many of the same high points that have
encouraged expats to relocate to Dubai are present and accounted for; including a thriving expat community that greatly
outnumbers the local population, a vibrant lifestyle with lots of opportunities for shopping and entertainment, and an
extremely safe environment where crime and theft are rarities.
That said, life in Abu Dhabi tends to unravel at a slower pace than in Dubai; and the city is often characterised as being
more family friendly and better suited for those looking to settle down and stay awhile. Not to mention, the UAE’s capital
is less built up and boasts broader patches of greenery.
Abu Dhabi has a hot arid climate. Sunny blue skies can be expected throughout the year. The months of June through
September are generally hot and humid with maximum temperatures averaging above 35C (95F). During this time,
sandstorms occur intermittently, in some cases reducing visibility to a few meters. The weather is cooler from November
January – minimum average 12 C, maximum average 24 C. August – minimum average 26 C, maximum average 42 C.
Cost of living
As is the case anywhere the individuals’ cost of living in Abu Dhabi is highly variable; the opportunity to live a life of
opulence exists, as does the chance to get by cheaply and conveniently.
Accommodation, automobiles, and for those with kids – schooling, compromise the bulk of the expenses, while food,
clothing and entertainment are generally affordable, depending on your tastes.
Though rental rates have declined slightly since the peaking in 2008, expats should anticipate their largest expense to be
housing. Utilities are reasonably priced in Abu Dhabi, as they’re subsidised by the government. However, they’re
nonetheless for an expats account, so be prepared to pay, especially if you plan to keep a garden and an air‐conditioned
Flat sharing is a good solution to exorbitant rental rates, but do be careful of renting a room in a villa that’s been divided;
this is illegal in Abu Dhabi.
Emirati Dirham (AED or Dhs).
The official language in Abu Dhabi is Arabic, spoken widely among the native Arab community. The high concentration of
expatriates from the Indian subcontinent has made Hindi, Urdu and several other languages from the region like
Malayalam also fairly common.
English of course is the unofficial official language, even though Arabic is the official business language. Most of the official
documentation is in Arabic, and some applications like educational and marriage certificates are accepted in this language
Road signs, street names and other public signage are always displayed in both Arabic and English.
Country Code ‐ +971
Area Code ‐ 4
Phone networks in Abu Dhabi are:
Property rentals usually require 12 months’ rent up‐front, although some landlords will accept 6months and properties
rented through Khalifa committee may accept rents from as little as 4months at a time. Added to this you will usually need
a property agent to help you locate your residence and they typically charge 5% of one year’s rental payable upon signing
Property prices average around AED 40 000 for a one bedroom apartment, AED 70 000 for a two bedroom, AED 90 000 for
a three bedroom and AED 140 000 for a four bedroom apartment anywhere near the city. You will typically pay an extra
AED 5000 for the upper floors of the building (better view and less street noise) and a similar amount for underground
parking (street parking can be a big problem in some areas). Some apartment blocks, but not many, have gyms and pools
at the top of their buildings. It is always sensible to check how well they are maintained, especially if you have children. For
three bedroom and/or older villas you may be able to pick one up for AED 90 000. Four beds typically cost AED 120000 and
a modern Villa with a decent size garden will probably set you back at least AED 180000. As you move further away the
prices do come down and off the island there are more reasonably priced villas, some with beautiful gardens, and some
newer residential areas being built in “A” and Khalifa “B”, but from there you will be looking at a decent commute to most
Although Abu Dhabi hosts a wide range of palates and ethnicities, there isn’t much variety when it comes to cuisine. Indian
food is relatively cheap, and there are a few Chinese chain restaurants with reasonable prices. Hotel restaurants are usually
the most expensive. The city is home to all manner of fast food like McDonalds and Hardees, but there is little call for most
people to eat at those places.
The fun thing about Abu Dhabi is that everywhere, literally from tiny falafel shacks to the cushy hotel restaurants to Burger
King, delivers to anywhere in the city. Delivery is quick and reliable, and usually doesn’t cost extra.
Public transport is available and economical. Buses cost a single Dirham and private taxis are roughly the same per minute;
still, most that have relocated to Abu Dhabi prefer to use a car to get from point A to B.
There are no trains in the UAE apart from Dubai’s metro service.
Taxis in Abu Dhabi are clean, well maintained, air‐conditioned and metered. Women are expected to sit in the back unless
the driver is female. If they do not, their intentions maybe misconstrued. Drivers speak some English although they may
not know the way to locations that are off the beaten track. It is important that you know the nearest landmark to your
The bus service runs daily from 5:00am to midnight during the week and until 2:00am on the weekend. Various fares make
the public transport affordable and comfortable.
As with most buses in the UAE, the front rows of seats (2 rows of 4 facing sideways) are priority seating for ladies. Males
occupying those seats are required to give up their seats in the event of a lady standing.
Dollar rent a car
+971 2 635 2676
Al Rawda Arjaan by Rotana From 250 AED per night (£43.15)
Old Airport Road
PO Box 5821
+971 2 403 5000
From 275 AED per night (£47.68)
Opposite Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
PO Box 95219
Abu Dhabi Capital Centre
+971 2 813 1999
Centro Al Manhal by Rotana
From 350 AED per night (£60.40)
PO Box 109595
+971 2 811 5080
Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi
From 350 AED per night (£60.40)
PO Box 72898
+971 2 652 0000
American International School Of Abu Dhabi: http://www.aisa.sch.ae/
29th street of Airport Road (opposite Pepsi‐Cola Plant)
PO Box: 5992
+971 2 444 4333
The International School Of Choueifat: http://www.iscuae‐sabis.net/Pages/Schools/Dubai/
PO Box 21935
+971 2 446 1444
The British School Al Khubairat: http://www.britishschool.sch.ae/
PO Box 4001
+971 2 446 2280
Al Ruwafed Private School: http://rawafedschool.com/dotnetnuke/
P.O. Box 7334
Khaleej Arabi St. Between Traffic light 9 and 11
Girls’ School: +971 2 666 2663
Boys’ School: +971 2 666 9108
Islamia English School:
Defense Road, oppositie to Lebanese Flower.
PO Box 2157
+971 2 641 7773
The Cambridge High School: http://www.gemscis‐abudhabi.com/
PO Box 27602
+971 2 552 1621
Al Salamah Hospital: www.alsalamahospital.com
Hamdan Bin Mohammed St
PO Box 2419
+971 2 671 1220
Ahalia Hospital: www.ahaliagroup.com
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street
PO Box 46266
+971 2 676 5525
Corniche Hospital: http://www.cornichehospital.ae/en/contact‐us/
Corniche Road, behind the Sheraton Hotels & Resort
PO Box 3788
+971 2 672 4900
UAE Emergency Contact Numbers
Electricity and water:
Abu Dhabi Government Information Service:
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority :
Abu Dhabi Electricity & Water Authority:
Depart of transport Abu Dhabi:
Residence Permit Process
Employment visa timings may require more or less days than expected depending on UAE Immigration and other
government offices involved during the process.
Required Documents for Employment Visa Application
Passport if you have worked in UAE before, residence permit cancellation copy is required
Photo – white clear background
Medical Insurance Copy
Original Attested Education Certificate if available, otherwise copies of Qualification or Training Certificates
Address & Contact number in home country
Mothers first and maiden name
Emirates ID card
Once your UAE Residency Visa is approved please fill in the e‐form at any authorized Typing Centre Documents required
when filling in the e‐form at the Typing Centres ‐ Original valid passport. Valid UAE residency permit. Registration fees: AED
100 per year. Service fees: AED 70. Then you wait for a SMS to confirm the date and place of registration. After receiving
the SMS, you will visit the service point stated in the SMS with your original supporting passport on the determined date
and time to complete photographing and fingerprinting process. A receipt will be issued as the card will be sent to you
after 3 months (approx. timing).
UAE Driving License
If you have a driving license from the approved list of countries your license is then exchanged into a UAE license if not you
must undergo training, signal and road test before you can obtain a license.
The documents you will be required to take with you when transferring foreign license to UAE license are as follows:
1. No objection letter from Sponsor.
2. Original valid license and colour copy of original valid license
3. Original passport and colour copy of original passport
4. 3 passport sized photographs
5. Eye test results (you can take an eye test at any optical stores but you are required to take the results with you)
6. Translation into Arabic of driver’s licence
7. Blood type
The process will take approximately 1 hour. Fees are AED 200 however subject to change without notice.
Generally, overseas travellers are more likely to be injured through unintentional injuries than to be struck down by exotic
infectious diseases. In fact, accidents and traffic collisions are the most frequent cause of death among travellers, so ensure
you have good insurance and if you are hiring a vehicle, ensure it is in good working order.
Copy your documents
In the unfortunate event of your luggage going missing, or your passport / wallet is stolen or lost, it is a good idea to have
copies that can help you with re‐issues. Take 2 coloured photocopies of your passport, plus visa stamps and documents,
driving licence, important prescriptions or other ID documents. Make 2 sets of the documents and keep these copies
separate from your main luggage, preferably in 2 separate bags. It is also a good idea to copy scanned or photocopied
documents to an Internet based e‐mail account. Make sure someone at home knows how to access it in case of an
Check with your medical practitioner on what vaccines are required before your travel. Due to your medical history, you
may require more than one dose, or you may need boosters for childhood vaccines. Check the latest travel advice and
travel bulletins for your destination before you depart, and also while travelling, so you can ensure you have the latest
Common diseases contracted by travellers include those which are the result of eating or drinking contaminated food or
water, or not practising safe sex, plus a number of mosquito or tick‐borne diseases endemic to tropical areas. Be sure to
take measures to avoid being bitten such as wearing light‐coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs, regularly
applying an appropriate insect repellent and staying in mosquito‐proof accommodation or using bed nets.
Taking medicines with you
Book a check‐up at your doctor or dentist, before you leave. If you wear glasses or contacts lenses, bring an extra pair of
glasses and your prescription. Persons taking prescription medications should make sure they have an adequate supply for
the trip, and/or bring their prescription, making sure it includes the medication trade name, manufacturer’s name, generic
name, and dosage. Please also be aware that certain medicines are forbidden in Dubai, such as Codeine. Please check that
any medication you are taking is legal and if you are unsure please contact us and we will check for you. Prepare a simple
medical kit of over‐the counter medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, antihistamine, antiseptic and diarrhoea medication), band
aids, thermometer, sunscreen, and insect repellent. When travelling overseas with medicine, (including over‐the‐counter
or private prescription) it is important that you talk to your doctor and discuss the amount of medicine you will need to
take. Carry a letter from your doctor detailing what the medicine is, how much you will be taking, and stating that it is for
your own personal use. Leave the medicine in its original packaging so it is clearly labelled with your own name and dosage
instructions. If you have to inject your medication, inform your airline before you travel and, if necessary, arrange a letter
from your doctor explaining why you need to carry them.
Your health on long‐haul flights
Keep important medication with you in case your luggage goes missing. To help avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT): drink
plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and whilst seated, stretch and rotate your feet and lower legs. Walking
around the cabin at regular intervals will help.
If you have been scuba diving, don’t travel in an aircraft for at least 24 hours after your final dive.
Coping with Jetlag
Factor the effects of jet lag into your itinerary. In order to cope with Jetlag you should get a good deal of sleep before your
journey. It is also important to rest as much as possible during your flight. Planning to arrive at your destination as near to
the time when you normally go to sleep will also help with the adjustment. If you are able to plan your itinerary allow time
on arrival for adjustment or plan meetings at similar times to back home. Some people advise changing their watches to
destination time when they get onto the plane. While this helps many people, for those who are on regular medication,
such as diabetics, watches should remain on home time until you are able to adjust your medication to local times on
arrival at your destination or as suggested by your health advisor. On arrival at your destination get active as soon as
possible, as exercise has been proven to improve productivity. Adjust your meals and activities to local time as soon as you
can. Exposure to light is also a good way of naturally allowing your body to adjust. If you need to take a short nap, do, it will
help refresh you, but don’t forget to use an alarm clock or wake up call to get you up!
If you happen to lose your baggage on arrival at your destination airport, tell the airline immediately and get suitable
compensation. Agree on an amount you can spend on essential items that you will need and give them an address to
deliver the luggage to when they find it. It is wise to make a copy of your passport details and any other important papers
or vaccination certificates that you are carrying with you when you travel. Leave them in a safe place in the office or copy
to an Internet based e‐mail account. Make sure someone at home either a partner or friend knows how to access it in case
of an emergency. You will need photo identification even for air travel within the UK.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times; thieves will use many tricks to distract you ‐ wiping something off your shoulder
while an accomplice is picking your pocket, getting young children to surround you while they plan to rob your belongings.
Trust your instincts, especially when visiting countries where a high poverty rate comes along with high petty crime rates.
When not attending meetings, try to blend in with the crowd when out and about ‐ try not to look like a visitor! When
enjoying the local nightlife, guard your food/drinks and keep your wits about you. Beware of the fact that you will be an
easy target after a few too many drinks. Avoid walking home to your hotel late at night, even if it is close by. Get a taxi.
Don’t take shortcuts through poorly lit areas; it pays to trust your instincts in these situations. Keep your wits about you
when making new friends – men and women may come across very friendly indeed if you are the route to an easier life. Be
careful of telling people where you live.
Unsafe Water ‐ What to do
If travelling to more remote areas with poor sanitation ‐ only drink boiled water, hot beverages, such as coffee and tea,
canned or bottled carbonated beverages, beer, and wine. Ice may be made from unsafe water and should be avoided. It is
safer to drink from a can or bottle of beverage than to drink from a container that was not known to be clean and dry.
However, water on the surface of a beverage can or bottle may also be contaminated. Therefore, the area of a can or
bottle that will touch the mouth should be wiped clean and dry.
GLOBALEYE ABU DHABI – OFFICE LOCATION
Office 5, Floor P2, Danat A Building, Sultan Towers
31st Street, Off Airport Road (Behind Holiday Inn) Abu Dhabi, UAE
Tel: +971 2 443 8638
From H.H. Sheik Zayed Rd:
Take Eastern Rd (31st St) Exit, cross 4th Street, right turn into Danat Complex, turn left to Sultan Tower.
From Airport Rd. (2nd Street):
Turn right onto 31st St (Eastern Rd) at Holiday Inn, follow 31st St and make U‐turn before traffic light, take
right into Danat Complex, turn left to Sultan Tower
Abu Dhabi Office
PO Box 130587
Office 5, Mezzanine Floor
Danat A Bldg, Sultan Towers
31st Street (Off Airport Rd)
United Arab Emirates
T: +971 2 443 8638
F: +971 2 443 8058
Toll Free: 800 4558
Dubai Head Office
P.O Box 24592
Villa 801, Al Thanya Street
Umm Sequim 3
United Arab Emirates
T: +971 4 404 3700
F: +971 4 348 6362
Toll Free: 800 4558