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Get a residency visa
Get a mobile phone connection
Register with DEWA
Hire domestic help
Manage pets
Learn some basic Arabic
Buy gold jewellery
Check for the yearly city climate
Get a UAE licence
Get information on used cars
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Get a residency visa
Through your company - The vast majority of companies will organize the visa procedure on your behalf, sorting out the necessary paperwork and making the necessary payments. This means that all you have to do is take the medical, which involves paying a trip to a hospital to take a blood test and a chest scan. Providing the tests come back clear, you should have your visa within three months of arriving. If you leave your job in the first year, your company may charge you for the visa.

Arranging your own visa - If the company which is taking you on does process your visa application for you, you'll need to head to the visa section of the Department of Naturalization and Residence. Here you'll need to provide: an application from (available on site); your passport; three passport sized photographs; your original entry permit if you have one (if you come from one of 33 states including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and many EU countries, you'll be able to enter Dubai on your passport, without the need for an entry permit); your original medical check-up document; a copy of the valid commercial license and copy of the valid establishment card (get these from your work) and an original receipt from the Ministry of Labour (labor card-again, get this from your work). You'll need to pay Dhs300 residency fees for a three year visa. See for more info.

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Get a mobile phone connection
Select from Etisalat or du?
Etisalat & du are the two mobile phone options currently available in Dubai. Du charges by the second and a prefix to a du mobile number is 055 (Etisalat uses 050). See for further information. Visit Etisalat at:

If you want to set up a contract arrangement, then you will need to have your residency visa. You may find your company can handle getting a contract SIM card for you. If your company has no such facility, then you'll need to head down to Etisalat HQ on Baniyas Street in Deira yourself. At time of publishing, it cost Dhs185 to set up a phone contract, which includes a connection fee (Dhs100), quarterly rental (Dhs60) and SIM card (Dhs25). You then have to pay Dhs60 every three months. You'll need to bring your passport with your residency visa in it, a copy of your passport including the residency visa page and a letter from your employer detailing your income. You'll need to fill in a form, wait in line and pay the fee.
If you lose your SIM card, you can get a replacement for Dhs50.

Paying your bill is simple: you can either set up a direct debit or pay by cash at Etisalat HQ or at one of the automated payment machines which you'll find in most mall including City Centre, Al Ghurair City, Lamcy Plaza, BurJuman Centre and Wafi City Mall.

Prepaid mobile connection
Etisalat Wasel provides prepaid mobile solution for instant communication and a convenient way of being in touch with the world.

A Wasel connection costs AED 160 for Registration Charges with a yearly renewal fee of AED 100.

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Register with DEWA
DEWA stands for Dubai Electricity and Water Association. You need to register yourself as a tenant either online at or in person with copies of your passport, tenancy agreement and deposit of either Dhs1,000 for an apartment or Dhs2,000 for a villa (which is redeemable when you end your tenancy). Both water and electricity bills in Dubai are calculated by monthly meter readings and you can then choose to either pay your bill in person or set up an online account. DEWA EBPP is the online system for bill payment; through this new system you can view and pay your DEWA bill(s) through the internet. This payment method is open to all DEWA customers in good standing.

DEWA Main Office: Next to Wafi City, Bur Dubai (04 324 4444) open daily 7:30 am - 8 pm for bill payments and 7:30 am - 2:30 pm for enquiries; closed on Friday.

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Hire domestic help
Many families and households choose to employ housemaids or other domestic help during their time in the UAE. For the most part maids originate from the Philippines, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. Skills and experience varies from individual to individual; normally you will be able to find someone to cook, clean and mind children for between Dhs600 and Dhs800 per month if you housemaid lives with you, or Dhs900 to Dhs1,300 if she does not. If you take it upon yourself to sponsor a maid, you incur the responsibility of paying for their visa, health card, repatriation ticket every two years, and most of their incidental expenses, including food.

To retain the services of a full time house help you must have a monthly salary of over Dhs6,000 and your employee must not be related to you or of the same nationality. As an employer you must sponsor your help and take it upon yourself to deal with all residency papers and other such bureaucratic matters including the statutory medical test. It's common practice to find a maid through an agency, although many people hire someone on the strength of a personal recommendation from a colleague or a friend. aims to provide a unique service in the UAE by helping employers to search for suitable maids or domestic help online. Agencies can manage their maid's bio-data by becoming a member of

Domestic help agencies
• Helpers 04 395 6166
• Home Help 04 355 5100
• Ready Maids 04 339 5722

If you decide to sponsor your own live-in help then you will have to pay for their residence visa. A residence visa for a maid costs approximately Dhs 5,000 (Dhs4,800 for the government fee, Dhs100 for the residence visa and Dhs100 for the labour card). UAE nationals will also be charged an extra Dhs1,500 for sponsoring a housemaid. The residency visa is only valid for one year and it is illegal to share a live-in maid with another household.

An alternative, and cheaper, option is to get in part-time home help. There are a number of agencies that offer domestic help on an hourly basis. The standard rate is about Dhs25 an hour, with a minimum of two hours paid work per visit.

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Manage pets
Firstly, have your animal vaccinated and its booklet or pet passport updated (in English) by a vet in your country of origin. Then you need to obtain a certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of the country from which the animal is being exported, certified by a vet over there. Book a space for your pet with your airline, although be careful to do your research before booking tickets as not all airlines will carry animals.

Dubai Kennels and Cattery (04 285 1646), the Doghouse (04 347 1807) or the Ajman Pet Resort (06 743 1629) can help you with this, as well as with customs clearance, collection from the airport delivery and boarding your pet for a short amount of time - if you require it. You can also get advice about the necessary requirements from your local vet or the originating country's local embassy. There is no quarantine for pets brought to the UAE. You need to get a UAE pet health certificate if you plan on taking your pets on anywhere with you. This can be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (04 222 8161. P.O. Box 1509, email, You need to submit a copy of the pet owner's passport, including the residence visa page along with an import application form and a copy of the pet's vaccination booklet along with a Dhs 2,000 processing fee.

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* All information correct at the time of publising - July 2007

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