Starting a new life can be daunting, mainly when you are not used to the new country. However, a city like Abu Dhabi is one expat call home with a lot properties for sale and for rent. Living in Abu Dhabi, the largest city in the emirate, comes a lot of opportunities for ex-pats. Most ex-pats who move to this city and have lived for over five decades find it very interesting that they only prefer to go visiting their home country.


Disclaimer: Though tourists may benefit from reading, this guide is basically for new ex-pats who want to know the real deal about making Abu Dhabi home.

1.    Apartment search

Searching for apartments in Abu Dhabi is as easy as ordering order. There are several reasons why ex-pats decide to move to another condo such as cost of rent, change of jobs, nearness to amenities, nearness to spouse place of work and other personal reason. The best place to find a new apartment is on Here, you can choose the most comfortable apartment by filtering out your needs. Other websites include, and so on.

2.    Job search

The stress that comes with job hunting is known to affect individuals both physically and mentally. Luckily, Abu Dhabi has several websites for jobseekers to apply for jobs. Most times, ex-pats are called for an interview online or in the office, which doesn't take so much time. Therefore, job search in Abu Dhabi isn't stressful after all. In addition to this, there are many courses, and workshop ex-pats can take before they finally get a job in Abu Dhabi. One of the places that offer free workshops is On a side note, various top companies in Abu Dhabi could boost a person's career, for instance, ADNOC, Al Noor Hospital Group, Move One, Olive Group, Taaleem and so on. Ex-pats who work in these companies have different work experience, learn what it's like to be among the top companies and grow in their careers.

3.    Resident visa and Emirates ID

To get a UAE residence visa, you will need to be a legal business owner in one of the zones mentioned below, have a job or be a student. The process of getting a residence visa includes providing your information such as passport copy, passport picture, information on your religion and marital status to the necessary institution. Usually, you will have to exit the country (if you obtain this student visa or employment visa while in the country) and enter the country with the new visa status and its referred to as entry permit. It doesn't stop there, other procedures in obtaining the residency visa include doing some medical fitness test to be sure you are eligible to be a resident of the UAE and the application for medical insurance and EIDA. Once completed, you can become a resident of the UAE with medical insurance and the visa is stamped on your passport, this is called residency stamping. The validity of a resident visa is two years for employees and three years for business people.

4.    Cultural diversity

Ex-pats find it interesting to mingle with other ex-pats from other cultures. Ex-pats in Abu Dhabi are continually experiencing the variety of culture in terms of language, cuisine, attire, accents, greetings and so on. Abu Dhabi, a city that a preserved its culture has been emerging cultural sites to make its residents learn more about the culture and heritage of its city, how amazing! Therefore, this provides the opportunity for ex-pats to learn about the culture of others and vice versa. However, in the initial stage of moving the Abu Dhabi, most ex-pats experience culture shock by finding it extremely difficult to communicate, eat and mingle with others from a different nationality.

5.    Dining

Live in Abu Dhabi is described as "a bit of this, a bit of that". Ex-pats are always looking forward to trying some new cuisines in different restaurants. The good news about this is with a few dirhams, and you can eat to your fill. However, this may be bad for those who usually have allergies and don't know what may cause allergies since they are trying new food. It is advisable always to ask what the ingredients are before ordering food.

6.    Travel

Abu Dhabi is close to countries like Ethiopia, India, Oman, turkey, and so many others. Therefore, ex-pats can go on vacation to one of these countries for a different experience or visit home for those who live in neighbouring countries, however, ex-pats who don't earn a high salary or don't have the luxury of time for this may not benefit from the opportunity. 

7.    Tour the city

Abu Dhabi is so large that it gives ex-pat a reason to make touring the city part of a fanfare. Ex-pats choose to have a staycation in one of the other regions away from the fast life of Abu Dhabi city. These different regions are more serene, family-friendly and less expensive.

8.    Starting a business

If your goal is to start a business in the capital city of the UAE, there is vital information you need to know to equip yourself of a prospective future business-wise.

- Know the kind of business you want to start.

- Obtain a license: for a start-up company, you can obtain an LLC license by calling 800 555. You can also visit the business section on the Abu Dhabi e-government page

Besides, there are places to open a business; Free Zone (you might not need a local sponsor for the companies in Free Zone areas), Onshore and Mainland, and they have different rules.

- Get an office space.

- Find and Local sponsor.

As an ex-pat, you will need to have an Emirati partner to register a company in Abu Dhabi. However, when profit is shared, the Emirati gets a higher share of the profit.

- Get a lawyer to facilitate the necessary legal aspect of the business.

9.    Planning and budgeting

The easiest way to have some savings is by planning, budgeting and saving. Ex-pats should have a bank account once they get a job or when they have the opportunity to do so. Apart from saving cash, there's an app that helps you minimize how much you spend for instance, is an app that helps ex-pats save which most ex-pats attest to its usefulness. It makes it easy to plan leisure time and how to have fun.

10. Places of attraction

A vast majority of ex-pats visit the various places of interest in Abu Dhabi. Expat ensures their mental health comes first as this can lead to a positive and happier mindset to work. Most of the frequently visited attractions in the regions of Abu Dhabi include:

  1. Grand Mosque
  2. Al-Ain Wildlife Park and resort
  3. LIWA Oasis
  4. Warner Bros World
  5. Emirate Park Zoo

And so on

11. Weather

Most few ex-pats find it extremely difficult coping during the summer. It gets scorching during the summer therefore always plan to use sunscreen, shades, an umbrella and anything that help during the summer. New ex-pats need to be aware of the weather changes and how this may cause some minor allergies.

12. Skill development

It is always good to learn something new either a language, a hobby or a skill. Developing a talent can play a vital role in your role at work, help you get a new job and so on. Families also decide to enrol their kids in centres for skill development, especially during the holidays. Some centres include, and so on. Adults however, can search for training centre both in Abu Dhabi or online.

13. Family life:

There is a whole segment for ex-pat couples in Abu Dhabi.

- Firstly, finding love in Abu Dhabi is such a beautiful thing but tying the knot in Abu Dhabi is even better- a truly memorable experience. Having the best day of your lives graced by friends, families and well-wishers isn't as difficult as you might think. However, most residents decide to go home to get married and come back to Abu Dhabi for the honeymoon. Having an excellent rite of passage on the day of your choice begins by knowing the rules and regulations involved and khalas! You can start your new journey with the love of your life.  

  1. Bride and Groom should be over 18 years of age.
  2. There should be two witnesses during the traditional wedding.
  3. One of the couples should be a resident of the UAE.
  4. The intending need to undergo a medical test.
  5. Documents needed to get married, Full birth certificates, Passports, Photocopies of your resident permits, UAE pre-marital certificate, A certificate stating your marital status (divorced, single or widowed) sworn in your home country or the UAE at your consulate and the UAE Foreign Ministry.

  • Due to the busyness most ex-pats attest to, it is crucial to take some time to work on your marriage. Ex-pats are known for going on staycations in some of the most exotic hotels when they have an opportunity to do so. This method is the most intimate way of finding joy in marriage. Other things ex-pats do are; attend events together both in the schools of their children or public events for adults.
  • First-time parents can get the best health care service in some of the best hospitals in Abu Dhabi, where they will care for you from the moment you know you are expecting till the baby is born.
  • Secondly, couples considering adoption in Abu Dhabi can do so by visiting this page
  • Enroll your children in the most prestigious schools where they can get a first-class education.
  • In the case of an extreme reality such a divorce, it is essential to note that there are various reasons couples may seek to get divorced. However, the government of Abu Dhabi has made it mandatory that couples seeking a divorce must undergo a series of intensive counselling sessions known as the 'reconciliation programme'. This initiative usually undergoes two to four months and close monitoring by the government six months after the programme. There are some counselling sessions available for ex-pats to attend, such as nayaclinics, and others. These sessions have greatly improved the marriages of several couples over the years.

14. Rent a car

Do you want to feel free to go around this authentic city? What most residents do is save up to afford to rent a car, especially if their salary doesn't give them the luxury of buying a car. While using a taxi or other meaning of transportation to move around, if you plan on renting a car in Abu Dhabi, then it is vital to know the process of renting a car.

  • Firstly, there are a few car rental services such as and
  • Renting a car coming in two options; long and short term.
  • It is the most convenient way of getting around Abu Dhabi without the hustle of looking for a taxi or waiting for the bus.
  • To finalize this process, there has to be a rental agreement between the driver and the rental company. This process includes Insurance, Roadside assistance, Breakdowns and recovery, Replacement vehicle and Servicing and maintenance.
  • Most of their services are affordable.
  • Avoid extra costs involved in fines, accidents, early cancellation of contract and mileage.
  • Finally, documents you needed to rent are scanned copies of your: passport, passport visa page, Emirates ID, Valid driving licence and a refundable deposit.


Finally, ex-pats need to know the rules and regulations in the city. There may be times that being ignorant of them can lead to unwarranted fines or prosecution. Therefore, be alert, ask questions and always be patient. Always be cautious of your dressing especially, when going somewhere new, avoid using provocative and demeaning words, avoid public display of affection and so on.

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