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Helpful information before moving to Dubai

dubaiSome helpful information when moving to Dubai.

Living in the UAE is comparable to other major cities around the world. Accommodation is typically located in widespread central areas in high rise apartment buildings, villas (houses) and town houses. The buildings have recreational facilities, appliances and parking.

Electricity and water along with sewage are provided by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). The phone number is: 04 224-5555.

Electricity – The electricity supply in Dubai is 220/240 volts and 50 cycles. The socket type is identical to the three point British system. Adapters can be purchased at any grocery or hardware shop.

Trash/Garbage – This service is unique based on the area that you live in Dubai. For example, in areas like Arabian Ranches and The Meadows,  your garbage will be collected on a set day each week. However, in areas like Al Barsha and Jumeirah, a large garbage unit is located within walking distance and residents are required to dispose of their own garbage.

Water – Tap water is safe to drink though locally bottled mineral water is preferred. Some of the water suppliers in Dubai are: Desert Springs: 800 6650; Nestle Pure life: 800 4404; Oasis drinking water: 884 5656.

Gas – Gas mains didn’t exist in Dubai until recently and only some apartment blocks have mains gas, most of us need individual canisters which need to be purchased and connected to a gas oven via an outside tap. Keep the telephone number of gas suppliers handy and canisters can be delivered to you in less than 20 minutes of your call, anytime of the day.

Telephone – Currently the main telecommunications providers in Dubai are Du and Etisalat.
You will require a residence visa to get a land line but you can get a SIM card for your mobile phone without residency. You can either pay as you go or set up an account. Keep in mind charges within the region are quite reasonable however out of the region mobile coverage is expensive.

Internet – Note that access to some sites is restricted. Internet is typically a part of a package with Du or Etisalat. Some areas in Dubai have not been allocated optic wires which restricts internet connection. It is best to check with your provider to determine areas still waiting to be updated.

Postal Services – There are still not a lot of house addressed based mailing systems in the UAE. Most mails are delivered to the central post office and then distributed to centrally located post office boxes or to work addresses. It is however now possible to rent a personal P.O. Box in the UAE for a small fee.

Television – There is a good selection of satellite channels to choose from in Dubai or video/DVD rental stores are plentiful in Dubai. Examples: Arab Media group (AMG), E-vision (Etisalat), Orbit, Techno SAT and Star Pay TV.

Food/Drink – Modern supermarkets are prevalent in Dubai. A few popular chains are Spinney’s and Carrefour. These markets offer most items found in North America, Europe and Australia.  The stores offer a wide range of goods and prices are comparable to those in most western countries. Outdoor markets sell fresh fish, vegetables, fruits and vegetables. Western fast food chains are plentiful. In addition, Arabic, Lebanese and Indian fast food outlets are available.

Tap water in the UAE is safe to drink but most people choose to drink bottled water. Alcohol is available to non Muslims and is sold in most hotel restaurants and pubs. After receiving a Residence Visa you can apply for a liquor license which allows you to purchase alcohol in specialized outlets to drink at home, both husbands and wives must now obtain their own licences. Liquor permits can only be used in the Emirate in which they are issued.

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