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Checklist for moving to the UAE

Whether you're moving to Dubai, Abu Dhabi or another city within the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there's a lot to think about. Putting together a checklist of all the things you need to do can help.

Check your passport is valid

Before you book any flights or accommodation, check your passport as it'll need to be valid for at least 6 months when moving to the UAE. Renewing your passport can take a while depending where you live in the world, so getting this sorted early on can be a big help.

Apply for work permits and visas

You'll need to obtain a UAE residency visa and/or work permit. If you've already secured employment, the company may sponsor your visa application and handle all the paperwork involved. It's always best to check with your future employer what they'll cover and be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to get any documents you may need together. 

Find out if you need any vaccinations or a health check

You may need to undergo a health check at a government approved facility when you first move to the UAE. This is the check for any communicable diseases or conditions. It's worth speaking with a healthcare professional before you move to see if any vaccinations are needed and to discuss any medication you may need. 

Set a budget for your moving costs

Aside from your flights and initial accommodation, there may be other costs that you want to prepare for. If you're planning to move furniture or other household items, you may want to look at some international moving companies. It's also worth looking at transport costs for when you arrive.

Check out the airline you're flying with to see how much you'll need to pay for any extra baggage. 

Start building up your savings

Building up some money for the move or for start-up costs when you arrive in the UAE can be useful. Once you've outlined your budget, set yourself some savings goals to work towards. Make sure your goals are realistic and achievable.

If you feel you may not be able to save enough to meet your savings target, look for any areas where you may be able to cut back in terms of your current spending or your planned costs once you move.

Sort out your taxes

Depending on how taxation works in your current country, you may need to let your tax office know you will be moving overseas. It can be a good idea to do this early, just in case there are any tax payments you'll need to make that you haven't accounted for.

Look up the local schools

If you're moving to the UAE with children who are in school, take some time to look up the local schools. You'll be able to find out if there are any waiting lists you need to join and any school fees you'll need to pay. 

Set up your banking

You'll need to have your residency visa before you can open a bank account in the UAE. You may also be asked for some other documentation, including your passport, proof of address and a letter from your employer.

Make sure to take some time to get your documents together. Opening a new bank account may take some time so it's also worth making some preparations. You may want to look into international bank accounts so you can access your money and stay with the same bank.

Explore more: Setting up your finances in the UAE

Gather other key documentation

There are some key things you'll want to arrange before arriving such as accommodation and an international driver's licence if you plan to drive. Get a record of any documentation you may need such as rental references or school reports so that you're not trying to coordinate from overseas once you've moved.

Consider travel insurance for your move

A fully comprehensive one-way travel insurance policy can cover you during your move. You may need to take out a policy with a travel insurance company that offers expat insurance.

It's a good idea to take out your travel insurance when you book your flights to cover you if anything were to happen.

And finally

Alongside the excitement of packing and arranging the move, make sure to tie up any loose ends in your home country. This can include paying final bills or redirecting your post.

Explore more

Find out everything you need to know about moving to the UAE with our guide.

Top things to consider before you arrive to get your finances ready. 

All you need to know about exchange rates when converting money into other currencies.