Moving to Dubai

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debudubai

New member
I'm relocating to Dubai in the next few weeks. Freezone company is setup.

For those that have done the move, any practical tips to share?

Examples:

- For the initial period, is a hotel preferred over a serviced apartment or hotel?
- Sim cards: any particular preference for Du, Virigin or Etisalat?
 

coollemur

New member
Hi.

It’s a nice city, but scorching hot this time of year - be prepared. Lots of cheap deals around though.

I hope you have good agent to assist you with the residency, banking, etc., because it would be a nightmare otherwise.

A hotel apartment would be my first choice, best of both worlds. It’s hard to rent an apartment when you’ve just arrived and buying real estate is something I wouldn’t advise until you have more knowledge of the city.

Virgin is the cheapest usually, Du is decent price with okay service, and Etisalat has the best coverage, especially if you head out into the desert. Etisalat is the most expensive though, however, I like their roaming deals. I’d say Du if you are permanently in Dubai and don’t travel much, otherwise Etisalat.
 

debudubai

New member
Hi.

It’s a nice city, but scorching hot this time of year - be prepared. Lots of cheap deals around though.

I hope you have good agent to assist you with the residency, banking, etc., because it would be a nightmare otherwise.

A hotel apartment would be my first choice, best of both worlds. It’s hard to rent an apartment when you’ve just arrived and buying real estate is something I wouldn’t advise until you have more knowledge of the city.

Virgin is the cheapest usually, Du is decent price with okay service, and Etisalat has the best coverage, especially if you head out into the desert. Etisalat is the most expensive though, however, I like their roaming deals. I’d say Du if you are permanently in Dubai and don’t travel much, otherwise Etisalat.
Super helpful. Thank you.

I'm working with a good agent (so far!). Everything is setup and except for banking which I'll need to deal with onsite.

Any insight on VPN usage, VoIP?

If I've understood correctly Skype and similar are blocked but accessible via VPN.
 

coollemur

New member
Super helpful. Thank you.

I'm working with a good agent (so far!). Everything is setup and except for banking which I'll need to deal with onsite.

Any insight on VPN usage, VoIP?

If I've understood correctly Skype and similar are blocked but accessible via VPN.
Great! VPN works fine for VoIP. Skype, WhatsApp, etc. all blocked for voice and video.
 

coollemur

New member
What's the best way to approach international calls to a landline?

Any other major sites that are blocked to be aware of? (appreciate this is a broad question)
Flexi minutes on your mobile plan allows you to call most countries. It’s not too expensive.

Most blocked sites are ones the average person won’t visit - they block sites with malware, phishing, etc. So only one affecting the average person is likely pornography.
 

debudubai

New member
Hello,

I also moved to Dubai for freezone company set up. Best tip I can give you is to have a good agency to deal with. I worked with Emirates Setup and they handled everything from A to Z, which included setting up the company bank account and getting a rental apartment (tenancy contract is also needed for the bank account).

However, If you still don't have an apartment, I recommend a hotel apartment until you figure out how to move next. Now that EXPO is over, the rates are acceptable most places.

Regarding sim cards, my go to is Etisalat because of how convenient their packages are - I have no experience with others.

Good luck!
Awesome thank you.

It seems with the apartment, it can become a catch-22 situation. You need a bank account for the apartment, but in order to open the bank account you need a tenacy contract?
 

coollemur

New member
Awesome thank you.

It seems with the apartment, it can become a catch-22 situation. You need a bank account for the apartment, but in order to open the bank account you need a tenacy contract?
Your agency should be able to help with the bank account. Many ways to prove address without a contract. Landlords want to be paid by check in the UAE.
 

debudubai

New member
Your agency should be able to help with the bank account. Many ways to prove address without a contract. Landlords want to be paid by check in the UAE.
Thanks. It's part of the package so they'll be assisting. But it's always just great to hear "real world stories" and what actually works and different perspective, rather than just relying on your service provider and nodding along.
 

coollemur

New member
Thanks. It's part of the package so they'll be assisting. But it's always just great to hear "real world stories" and what actually works and different perspective, rather than just relying on your service provider and nodding along.
I agree. It’s just that if you take some things as you see, it doesn’t make sense. It’s natural to come to Dubai thinking things work somewhat similar to where you’re from, but then it’s completely different.

Naturally, you can negotiate for a rental and then it depends on whatever you agree on. Best to start with a hotel or similar (I don’t trust AirBnB in Dubai - hosts tend to cancel on you at the last minute) if only for the reason that you don’t want to commit long-term until you know the area.
 

debudubai

New member
I agree. It’s just that if you take some things as you see, it doesn’t make sense. It’s natural to come to Dubai thinking things work somewhat similar to where you’re from, but then it’s completely different.

Naturally, you can negotiate for a rental and then it depends on whatever you agree on. Best to start with a hotel or similar (I don’t trust AirBnB in Dubai - hosts tend to cancel on you at the last minute) if only for the reason that you don’t want to commit long-term until you know the area.
I'm quite familiar with how things work (or perhaps don't work) in the Middle East, so yeah, I know :) Thanks again for the insight.
 

JackAlabama

Entrepreneur
Awesome thank you.

It seems with the apartment, it can become a catch-22 situation. You need a bank account for the apartment, but in order to open the bank account you need a tenacy contract?
No need for bank account. You can pay the 1 year contract upfront in cash and even get a better deal that way as all is paid upfront whereas otherwise the landlord has to deal with postdated 4 or more checks, which might even not get accepted due to signature mismatch etc..
 

coollemur

New member
No need for bank account. You can pay the 1 year contract upfront in cash and even get a better deal that way as all is paid upfront whereas otherwise the landlord has to deal with postdated 4 or more checks, which might even not get accepted due to signature mismatch etc..
Yeah. This is what I meant by negotiate. 1 year cash is an easy way. I’ve had my share of “signature mismatch” arguments with banks.
 

debudubai

New member
Yeah. This is what I meant by negotiate. 1 year cash is an easy way. I’ve had my share of “signature mismatch” arguments with banks.
I live in a "cashless" society, but I understand the UAE is different. Adjusting to new realities every day.

So paying a year's rent in cash, is all good? Is this common? Any questions on where the cash comes from? And this by finding a place on Bayut or similar? Any negatives with paying cash as there's no record of it other than the tenacy agreement?

Sorry for all the questions.
 

James Spader

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Elite Member
You may want to look into the service from @Fred / DLS Dubai - he is well known are recommend sponsor of this site that has been helping hundred of People from OCT already.

Using DLS Dubai and you will be in the best hands.
 

MiddleEuroAsia

opportunist
Entrepreneur
So paying a year's rent in cash, is all good? Is this common? Any questions on where the cash comes from? And this by finding a place on Bayut or similar? Any negatives with paying cash as there's no record of it other than the tenacy agreement?

Sorry for all the questions.
Yes - Extremely common.
UAE - and the whole middle east - is/are cash based society/s. Everything is/or can be done in cash, whether it's properties, cars, watches, utilities, gold...etc. No questions about the SOF, and for future problems, you will pay the cash when you sign the contract in front of a witness, so you don't have to worry about that part. and as others told you, avoid the cheques if possible, these are nightmares.
 

JackAlabama

Entrepreneur
I live in a "cashless" society, but I understand the UAE is different. Adjusting to new realities every day.

So paying a year's rent in cash, is all good? Is this common? Any questions on where the cash comes from? And this by finding a place on Bayut or similar? Any negatives with paying cash as there's no record of it other than the tenacy agreement?

Sorry for all the questions.
There is not "no record of it". You either get receipt or the landlord signs what is needed and ways being parted right thereafter all happy.
You will want that to do with cash anyway as "non final transaction settlement methods" open a can of worms literally.
Yah, common. It is how you do business in this part of the world.
 

coollemur

New member
There is not "no record of it". You either get receipt or the landlord signs what is needed and ways being parted right thereafter all happy.
You will want that to do with cash anyway as "non final transaction settlement methods" open a can of worms literally.
Yah, common. It is how you do business in this part of the world.
This preference might change in the future though. My bank contacted me and said I have 25k AED left on my deposit limit, so I asked them if that’s per day, or per month or whatever, and they said it’s until they decide to give me more. Banks are trying to get people to use less cash.
 
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