10 things to consider before moving to the UAE from the US - ISS Relocations

10 things to consider before moving to the UAE from the US

Moving to a new country can be an exciting yet daunting experience, especially when it involves relocating from the US to the UAE. Proper planning and preparation are key to ensuring a smooth transition. In this blog post, we will discuss ten essential considerations to keep in mind before making the move. Additionally, ISS Relocations, a trusted relocation company, can provide expert assistance to ensure a hassle-free experience throughout the process.

Understanding the Culture and Lifestyle in the UAE:

One of the first things to consider before moving to the UAE is gaining an understanding of the local culture and lifestyle. The UAE is a diverse and multicultural society with a rich history and traditions. It is important to respect local norms, values, and etiquette while embracing the multicultural environment. Being aware of cultural differences and adapting to them will help integrate smoothly into the local community and avoid any cultural misunderstandings.

Researching the Cost of Living:

Researching the cost of living is crucial before moving to the UAE. The cost of housing, transportation, healthcare, education, and everyday expenses can significantly impact your budget and lifestyle. Comparing the cost of living in the UAE to that of the US will give you a better idea of the financial adjustments you may need to make. Proper financial planning, budgeting, and exploring cost-saving strategies will help you manage your finances effectively in the UAE.

Obtaining the Necessary Documentation and Visas:

To move to the UAE, you need to understand the visa requirements and application processes. There are different types of visas available, including employment visas, residency visas, and tourist visas. Researching and preparing the necessary documents and supporting evidence ahead of time is crucial. It is recommended to apply for visas well in advance to allow for any processing delays. Seeking professional assistance from relocation companies like ISS Relocations can ensure a smooth visa application process.

Healthcare and Insurance:

Understanding the healthcare system in the UAE is essential for your well-being and that of your family. Expatriates in the UAE have various healthcare options, including private hospitals and clinics. It is important to obtain health insurance coverage to ensure access to quality healthcare services. Researching and selecting a suitable healthcare provider and understanding any specific requirements or considerations will help you navigate the healthcare system with ease.

Education and Schools:

If you have children, researching the education system and available schooling options in the UAE is paramount. International schools are popular among expatriate families, offering curricula that cater to various nationalities. Understanding admission processes, curriculum offerings, fees, location, and extracurricular activities will help you make informed decisions regarding your children’s education. Planning and securing school placements well in advance is advisable, as spaces may be limited.

Housing and Accommodation:

Finding suitable housing and accommodation is a significant consideration when moving to the UAE. Various options are available, including apartments, villas, and gated communities. Researching popular residential areas, amenities, and proximity to essential services is important. Engaging the services of real estate agents and utilizing online platforms can assist in finding appropriate accommodation. Considering factors such as rent, contracts, and utility expenses will help you make informed decisions.

Employment Opportunities and Work Culture:

Researching the job market and employment opportunities is crucial for individuals planning to work in the UAE. The country offers a wide range of employment opportunities for expatriates. Understanding the work culture, norms, and any specific requirements or qualifications will help you navigate the job market more effectively. Researching and securing employment before moving to the UAE will provide stability and a smoother transition.

Transportation and Infrastructure:

Familiarizing yourself with the transportation system and infrastructure in the UAE is essential for daily commuting and overall convenience. The country boasts a well-developed transportation system that includes public transport, road networks, and airports. Understanding the options available and how to navigate them will make your daily commute easier.

Public transport in the UAE includes buses, trams, and metros. The Dubai Metro, for example, is a reliable and efficient mode of transportation that connects various parts of the city. Familiarize yourself with the routes, schedules, and fares of these public transport options to plan your daily commute effectively.

If you plan to drive in the UAE, you will need to obtain a local driver’s license. Depending on your nationality, you may be able to convert your existing driver’s license or need to go through the process of obtaining a UAE driver’s license. Research the requirements and procedures to ensure a smooth transition. It is worth noting that driving in the UAE can be quite different from driving in the US, so familiarize yourself with local traffic laws and regulations.

Owning a vehicle in the UAE is common, and it provides convenience and flexibility. However, it is essential to understand the process of buying or leasing a car, as well as the associated costs such as car insurance and registration fees. Research reputable car dealerships, insurance providers, and registration procedures to ensure a hassle-free experience.

Consider traffic conditions when planning your daily commute or traveling within the UAE. Major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi can experience heavy traffic during peak hours, so it is advisable to plan your schedule accordingly and explore alternative transportation options if necessary.

Safety and Security:

The UAE is known for its high levels of safety and security. The government takes proactive measures to ensure public safety and maintain law and order. Crime rates in the country are relatively low, making it a safe place to live and work.

However, it is always important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Familiarize yourself with emergency services numbers and know how to reach out for help if needed. Additionally, be mindful of any specific safety measures or precautions that may be necessary in certain situations or areas.

Social Life and Recreation:

The UAE offers a vibrant social life and a wide range of recreational activities for residents and expatriates alike. There are numerous leisure destinations, cultural events, festivals, and attractions to explore. Whether you enjoy outdoor activities, fine dining, shopping, or cultural experiences, the UAE has something for everyone.

It is important to strike a balance between embracing the local culture and maintaining connections with the expatriate community. Engage in community events, join social clubs or sports groups, and take part in cultural activities to make the most of your experience in the UAE.


Moving to the UAE from the US requires careful consideration and planning. By understanding the culture and lifestyle, researching the cost of living, obtaining the necessary documentation and visas, securing healthcare and insurance, exploring education options, finding suitable housing, researching employment opportunities, understanding transportation and infrastructure, prioritizing safety and security, and embracing the social life and recreation available, you can ensure a smooth transition. ISS Relocations, as a reliable relocation company, can provide expert assistance throughout the process, ensuring a hassle-free experience. By taking these essential considerations into account and seeking professional support when needed, you can embark on your journey to the UAE with confidence, ready to embrace the opportunities and experiences that await you.

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