Becoming A Citizen
Becoming a citizen of a western country can take between three
to five years, while becoming a citizen of the UAE, similar
to all the GCC countries, is practically impossible even if
you have stayed there for fifty years.
Your Own Business
In the west, you could run a home business or even sell watches
in the streets. In the United Arab Emirates, if you are to
accept money from people, you have to be a registered company.
To register a company, you have the option of owning it all
in any of the government free
zones or else to have a 49% of the business and the other
51% goes to your partner, who has to be a UAE national.
Renting and Owning Property
Rent in the UAE differs from emirate to emirate
and also differs in the different areas of each
emirate. Rent in the UAE can range between Dhs.
6,000 to Dhs. 100,000 per year and the highest rent
is found in Abu Dhabi (the capital). Unfortunately,
only UAE nationals can own property in Abu Dhabi,
while GCC nationals are permitted to own property
in the rest of the UAE. They are starting to allow
non GCC nationals to own property in various areas
on the UAE, which includes Dubai, Ajman and Ras
Al Khaimah. more information...
In the UAE, the majority of local channels are government
run and as a result have very few commercials. Most people
have a satellite dish, as the local channels are insufficient
for real entertianment. The satellite distribution companies
that are available are Showtime, Orbit, and Al Awael. more
Streets and Directions
Roads in the UAE were built simply to be able to get from
one location to the next unlike in the west, were roads were
planned out in detail before their construction. Because of
this lack of planning, roads are continously being rebuilt
and modified. Because of British influence in the country,
most of the streets are connected by round-abouts. When people
give directions, they always quote known landmarks and then
given directions from that landmark.
In the west, the modes of transportation very from walking,
biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, cars, buses, subways,
and trains. In the United Arab Emirates, the most used means
of transport is by car. One of the factors for this is because
of the weather. Biking is rarely seen as you are not allowed
to ride on sidewalks and the streets don't have sufficient
regions which could be used to ride safely. Transport by train
is not possible and most likely will not be any time soon.
In Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, you will find public buses.
In the west, you get out of your car and fill up
the gas, wash your windows and then pay for the
gas. In the UAE, you sit in your car, a gas station
employee fills up the vehicle, washes your windows
and you pay him for the gas.
As explained above, to provide a service where people will
pay you money for, you will need to be a company to do so.
So you wont find a bunch of kids in a parking lot willing
to wash cars to make some extra cash. Car wash services are
available at gas stations or else at particular car washing
Be careful when drinking public water and tab water as most
of the emirates do not filter their water enough to be drinkable.
Only water in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are clean enough to drink
from. People living in the other emirates obtain their clean
water in bottles and jugs.
Stopped by the Police
In the United Arab Emirates when you are pulled over by the
police, you need to get out of your car and speak to them.
It is the opposite from what happens elsewhere.
Most of the emirates permit the buying and drinking
of alcohol and their conseption within private premises. If one is found drinking in public (Gulf News) or is drunk driving (Gulf News), they will either be fined or put in jail. If one is found possessing alcohol or drunk in the emirate of Sharjah, they will
It is compulsory for both front seat drivers to
wear seat belts and a child under the age of 10
can't sit in the front passenger seat. It is also
not permitted to drive a car while talking on a
mobile phone and driver's caught driving through
a red light will spend a month in jail.
It is not permitted for individuals to kiss publically,
and you will not find any nude beaches or communities in the
United Arab Emirates. (Gulf
As in most countries, narcotics drugs is illegal, and in the
United Arab Emirates it is illegal to bring
it into the country, sell
it, use it or grow
it in your home, etc.
Walking At Night
males, and occationaly young females, found wondering
the streets at night are sometimes picked up by
the police and spend a night in jail. This is done
to reduce the amount of crimes that happen at night
and after the night in jail, they are released the
next morning after being finger printed.
Being with the Opposite Sex
It is not permitted for a male and female to share a closed space (a flat, room, tinted car, etc) away from the sight of other people, unless they are blood relatives or legally married. According to the Islamic law governing the Emirates, offenders will be being jailed and deported, and possibly lashed. (Gulf News) This law is not implemented in Dubai.
Eating in Ramadan - During the Islamic
month of Ramadan, people can't eat, drink, or smoke in public
during the time of fasting (Sunrise to Sunset). People found
doing so may either be jailed for a maximum of one month,
or fined up to 2,000 Dirhams.