10 Things You Must Consider When Moving to the UAE

Moving from another country to the UAE can be an overwhelming experience. Not only do you have to cope with the feelings of nostalgia, but all the tasks you have to handle in a short period of time can make the process stressful. However, you can easily avoid hassles, delays and extra expenses by following these simple steps to organize your move.

1. Only pack the necessary items: As the first step, make a list of all items that you need to take with you. The rule of thumb is to leave behind anything that’s expensive to ship and can be bought easily when you reach your destination. Since shipping costs are calculated based on volume, this usually includes bulky inexpensive items of furniture, such as beds and large clothes cupboards.

2. Book a reputable moving service: By picking a reputable and experienced moving company, you can avoid delays, hidden charges, and losses. It’s a good idea to select an international moving company with an FIDI certification. You can easily shortlist suitable moving companies by checking their reviews on ServiceMarket. In addition, you can get free quotes from multiple movers in the UAE online in just a couple of clicks. You may consider buying transit insurance to protect your belongings while they are being transported.

3. Sort out your paperwork in advance: Many people face delays because they move to the UAE unprepared. Make sure you have all the required documents ready before your move. To apply for your residency visa, you will have to get many of your documents attested including but not limited to educational transcripts/degrees, marriage certificate/agreement (if you wish to put your spouse under your sponsorship for residency visa), birth certificates of your dependent children etc. Starting this process before you move to the UAE will save you time!

4. Give the necessary notice period: Moving to another country involves severing many of your previous connections and affiliations. You should inform your landlord, current employer, kids’ schools, and bank in advance. You will also need to get all utilities disconnected. It’s a good idea to write down a full list of all the people and companies you need to notify, and the required notice periods for each so that you don’t forget anything important.

5. Set up a bank account before landing: Not many people know that they can start the process of setting up their UAE bank account, before they arrive. Doing so enables you to immediately start managing your finances when you arrive. HSBC offers diverse on-arrival services1, including meeting you at the airport, guiding you through the immigration process and a porter service to help you with your luggage. HSBC also provides you with a free mobile phone line (SIM Card)2 and an array of discount offers to help you settle in.

6. Pick the best way to transfer money: A lot of expats wonder what’s the quickest and most affordable way to transfer their money. It’s a good idea to open an account with the same bank in UAE and your home country, as you may then view all your accounts online, see live exchange rates and transfer money faster and at any time. You won’t need to physically go to an exchange house to exchange the money and you will know that the transfer is secure. HSBC is one of the few banks in the UAE that allows you to do all of this and also you can transfer money online in as little as 6 seconds3. In addition, fee-free transfers are also available for some currencies. This makes it a great option if you plan to send some savings back to your home country on a frequent basis.

7. Shortlist schools for your children: It’s always a good idea to finalize schools for your kids in advance and then pick a residential area near their school. Be sure to do so as soon as possible since many of the popular schools in the UAE have long waiting lists. You can increase your chances of finding a seat for your child in a good school by applying to multiple schools in the UAE. KHDA’s website is a great place to start your research as they have all UAE schools listed with details such as their curriculums, school ratings and facilities.

8. Find a suitable accommodation: Begin by figuring out whether you want to rent or buy a property in the UAE. This decision depends on your budget, requirements and duration of stay in the UAE. Check out this guide to find out more about this process. Some employers arrange for temporary accommodation while you initially sort out your residency visa and get settled into your new job. If this is not part of your package, you might have to arrange for a temporary accommodation by yourself.

9. Understand your cash inflows and outflows: You might have to face huge expenses such as paying your rent upfront in just one or two payments, school fees, etc. when you move to the UAE. So, it’s necessary to have a clear understanding of what your cash inflows and outflows will be. Doing so will make it easier for you to be prepared for possible shortfalls.

10. Would you need a personal loan? Moving to another country can put a lot of financial pressure on families, which is why some expats apply for personal loans soon after arriving. You can consider applying for a personal loan to4 pay for your kids’ school fees, buy furniture and appliances for your new home, and for your rent payments.    

1 These services are arranged through Marhaba an independent company, and is only available to our HSBC Advance and Premier customers. If your family is flying with you, please advise us so we can arrange a family package – If your family is flying separately charges will apply. Marhaba terms and conditions apply.
2 The complimentary mobile SIM Card is provide through Du. Du terms and conditions apply.
3 Global Transfers is only available for HSBC Advance and HSBC Premier customers and are effected instantly (typically within 6 seconds from submitting the required information) for supported currencies. For a list of supported currencies (which may change from time to time at our discretion without notice), please click here. Exceptionally, in circumstances outside of our control, it may not be possible to effect your transfer through Global Transfers, in which case you should contact Customer services on 800 4420 to effect your transfer.
4 Residency visa and Emirates ID are required to be able to apply for a personal loan.

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