Moving to Abu Dhabi

 

 

All expats are looking for a place where the skies are blue, the economy thrives, and an outstanding quality of life is offered. Millions of expats have found just these things in the Middle Eastern city of Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the UAE (United Arab Emirates), a country with a population of 4,104,695, of which only 20% are Emiratis. In Abu Dhabi, expatriates make up 74.4% of the population - all of whom are striving for a better life or seeking a new beginning in this city of skyscrapers and lofty dreams. 

Geography, Demographics and Economy 

Abu Dhabi is a T-shaped island located on the northeastern part of the Persian Gulf. It is connected to the Arabian Peninsula mainland by means of the Maqta and Mussafah bridges. Some of its suburbs such as Khalifah A, Khalifa B, and Raha Beach are found on the mainland. 

The climate is hot and arid; expats are assured of sunny weather most of the year. In the months of June to September expect a few sandstorms, but between November and March the temperature cools down.  

Abu Dhabi has about 860,000 inhabitants, 25.6% of whom are UAE nationals and the remaining percentage is composed of expatriates. Most expatriates are migrant workers from countries such as India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the UK.  

The capital city of UAE is the wealthiest emirate, with a GDP per capita of 63,000 US Dollars and its citizens have over 1 trillion dollars invested worldwide. Its economy continues to thrive, and even registered an impressive per capita income growth of 9% in 2006. 

Visas and Permits 

Obtaining visas and permits are part and parcel of moving to another country.

If you are a citizen of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member-country, you are an exception to the rule and you do not need a visa to get in to Abu Dhabi; all you need upon entry is your passport proving that you are a citizen of a GCC member nation.  GCC member nations are United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Qatar.  

Nationals of most European countries such as Italy, Austria, and Greece and some Asian countries such as Malaysia, Brunei, and South Korea will be granted a single visit visa free of charge upon entry to UAE.  

If you are not a citizen of the countries exempted from visa requirements, then you need to obtain one and find a sponsor to apply for one. Sponsors may be a hotel or tourist company, airline or airline handlers (for crew members), organizations based in the UAE, or relatives or friends who are residents of the UAE. The sponsors normally apply for a visa on behalf of the applicant.  

If you would like to stay for more than three months, you may want to apply for a multiple-entry visa, which is valid for six months and costs about 1,000 AED (Emirati Dirham). The validity of this visa is non-renewable. German citizens may apply for a visa, with no need for a sponsor, valid for one to two years for a fee of 1500 AED. US citizens on the other hand may apply for a visa, free of charge, with a validity of one to ten years, for as long as they have a sponsor.  

You can click here for further information on securing a visa.  

What to Pack 

There are a few essentials you must have before you go this sunny city. It is imperative that you bring summer clothes made of light fabric, but keep in mind that Abu Dhabi is a Muslim city, and you must respect the conservative culture.

Make sure to have your sunglasses on your carry on luggage and you might want to bring a jacket or two for the cooler, windier evenings and to use as cover-up for more revealing outfits.  

Considering the climate, skin moisturizers and lip balms should be part of your handy kit to avoid any skin dryness and unwanted lip chapping. A set of handkerchiefs is most helpful, especially for shielding your eyes and mouth from the blowing sands.    

There are a number of shipping companies that can help you haul the rest of your belongings like Bishop's Move (http://residential.bishopsmove.com/). For further listings of UAE shipping and removals companies check this site: http://www.yellowpages.ae/.   

If all the essentials are safely packed, then you are most welcome to join the thousands of expats whose dreams are coming true in the thriving city of Abu Dhabi.  

 

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