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More useful tips to ease you in to your new life in Dubai.

In the souks and outdoor shops bargaining is expected. Don’t be afraid to ask for the best price, then bargain all over again. Bargaining in department stores is less acceptable, although it is worth to ask for a discount.

Dress very conservatively when visiting a government office, this means no shorts or bare arms. Sandals are acceptable.

Electrical Sockets:
The voltage in the UAE is 220-240 Volts, 50 Cycles. The socket type is the same as the three pin British system. The prongs are square. Some products are sold in the UAE with two prong plugs and you will need to buy adapters which are available in hardware stores and many supermarkets.

In the UAE mail is not delivered to a street address. Rather it is delivered to post office boxes. You can apply for a P.O. Box through the central post office (insert address).

Skype and I-Tunes:
These will need to be downloaded from your home country. In the UAE there are restrictions based on music, video and chat content. If you want to have your choice of music and video selections and chat/talk on Skype abroad it is necessary to download the program on your computer prior to departure.

Mobile Phone:
Once your residence visa has been processed, you can apply for a permanent mobile telephone account. In the meantime, you can use a prepaid (Wasel) mobile phone card available from Etisalat offices and some electronics and telephone stores.


You should keep a photocopy of your passport with you at all times for the first few weeks, just in case as you will need it for many logistic activities.

Tipping practices here are much the same as the rest of the world. An increasing number of restaurants include a service charge on the bill. Tipping is typically 10%.


It’s hot, especially during the summer months so ensure you drink plenty of water. Most people drink bottled water, which is available in vending machines or in any local store. It is important to know that in apartments and villas/homes you need to turn on water heat switches in order for water to be heated. During the summer months it is also best to take showers in the morning as water temperature run hotter as the day progresses.


The UAE is four hours ahead of UCT (Universal Coordinated Time – formerly known as GMT). There is no altering of clocks for daylight saving in the summer, and so when Europe and North America loses an hour, the time in the UAE stays the same. During this period the time difference is one hour less, for instance when it is 12:00 in the UAE it is 09:00 in the UK instead of 08:00 during the winter.

Social and Business hours:
Social hours differ greatly in Dubai, with some people working a straight shift (usually from 08:00 to 17:00 or 09:00 to 18:00, with an hour for lunch), while others work a split shift (working from 09:00 to 13:00, then taking a long lunch break before returning to work from 16:00 to 19:00). Government offices are generally open from 07:30 to 14:00, Sunday to Thursday and the private sector office hours vary between split and straight shifts.

The majority of larger shops and shopping centers are open throughout the day and into the evening, generally closing at 22:00 from Sunday to Wednesday and at 24:00 from Thursday to Saturday. Only the more traditional, smaller street traders are still closing for three or four hours in the afternoon. Finally, most of the fast food restaurants as well as petrol stations are open 24 hours a day.

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