Things to Know Before Travelling to the UAE for Work
Maintaining Proper Etiquette:
Be sure to remain respectful towards the culture and traditions of the country. The working week in the UAE starts on Sunday. Weekends are on Friday and Saturday. This is because Friday is a holy day in Islam. Both men and women must always dress respectfully and modestly, especially in public places. Keep your shoulders, knees and back covered at all times. It is illegal to spread misinformation online. It is also illegal to take pictures of car accidents, government buildings, embassies, military installations, and strangers (without consent). Any behavior that damages public order, such as consuming alcohol in public, publicly displaying affection, using inappropriate language, playing loud music, is against UAE law. The UAE observes a zero-tolerance policy towards consumption and possession of narcotics and drugs. Any disrespect towards Emirati culture and Islam could lead to arrests and even deportation.
Documents needed to travel to the UAE:
Your employer should have applied for a Work Permit from the Ministry of Labor before your arrival. On receiving an approval receipt for the Work Permit, the Ministry will issue an Employment Entry Visa, which will allow you to legally enter the UAE. If you were already in the UAE on another type of visa, then you must apply for a visa ‘change of status’ after the entry visa is issued. This entry visa is valid only for 2 months from the date of issue and allows you to stay in the UAE for 30 days. You must also carry a valid passport. You may also require a Police Clearance certificate, which must be legalized by the UAE embassy in your country of residence. It is also recommended that you carry a copy of your employment contract, a valid health certificate, all recruiting agency receipts, and contact information for your sponsor.
Travelling to the UAE:
The UAE has strict rules about what you can and cannot bring with you. Everyone who arrives must pass through Customs. Some items can result in fines or imprisonment. If you are unsure about anything, please declare your goods when you arrive. Certain medicines are banned in the UAE. If you must bring medications for personal use into the UAE, remember to carry the appropriate paperwork, such as a doctor’s prescription. Make sure that the prescription is translated to English for airport officials to understand it. If you have any questions regarding specific medicines, you must check with the UAE embassy in your country.
Do not carry narcotic drugs and banned medicines. Find the full list of medicines prohibited from being brought in the UAE here. Gambling tools and devices of all kinds, forged currency, certain media (books, CDs, music, etc.) and other items that contradict Islamic faith and public morals are also prohibited. For the full list of banned and restricted items, visit the official Customs Clearance website.
Employers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi must provide health insurance for foreign workers and their dependents. Employers in Sharjah, Umm Al-Quwain, Fujairah, Ajman and Ras Al-Khaimah are not required by law to provide health insurance for their employees. Insured workers can access private and public healthcare facilities in the UAE but may incur certain fees or copayment.
Getting a phone plan:
There are two main carriers in the UAE; Du and Etisalat, and both offer coverage throughout the UAE. You will need a passport and a payment plan (credit or debit card) for a prepaid card. You will require additional documentation such as an Emirates ID for a postpaid card.
Opening a bank account:
You need your original passport, a copy of your visa page, a salary certificate from your employer with a minimum salary of AED 3000 (this varies depending on the bank) and your original Emirates ID to open a bank account in the UAE. Having a bank account makes it easy and convenient to make international transfers, including transfers to your home country.