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Travel and Transport in the UAE

Visas and Migration 

In order to apply for a UAE work visa, you will need a valid passport (this must not expire in the next six months), extra passport-style photographs, health certificate, copies of your employment contract, CV of educational degrees and work experience and a Dubai sponsor with a valid trade license. 

Submitting this information will grant you entry into the UAE and allow you to live and work until your employer has filed for your Labour Card. 

Visas are valid for two to three years and must be continually renewed. Unfortunately, permanent residency and UAE citizenship are not available to foreign workers. 

If you intend to bring your family, they must also apply for temporary residency. Any child born to non-UAE nationals must apply for a residency permit through their parents within three months of birth. 

Getting Here 

The UAE is serviced by a number of international airlines. These include: 

  • British Airways 
  • Qantas 
  • Air India 
  • Emirates 
  • Virgin Atlantic 
  • Etihad Airways 

Driving in the UAE 

Both new and used cars can be bought across the UAE. Depending on the make and model you desire, prices tend to range from around 40,000 AED to over 500,000 AED. Used cars are considerably cheaper, though, it is worth checking that the dealership you are buying from is trustworthy. Vehicles are also available to rent. 

It is worth noting that drink-driving in the UAE is a criminal offence, no matter how little alcohol you consume. Offensive hand gestures and foul language are also punishable by law. 

You must drive on the right-hand side of the road and speed is measured in kilometres. 

Driving Licence 

Some foreign workers are able to swap their current driving licence for a UAE licence without having to take a test. These include residents of Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. If your licence is not in English, you will need to have it translated through a translation service such as

If you are unable to swap your driving licence or you are a new driver, you will need to complete a test with an authorised driving school. 

All drivers must undergo an eye test before they are allowed to drive in the UAE. This can be carried out in any hospital. 

All drivers must be over the age of 18. 

Public Transport 

The UAE’s public transport network is vast and reliable. Taxis are the most popular way to travel and are relatively cheap when compared with other city locations around the world. 

Buses are also an excellent method of getting around city centres and between the Emirates. The busiest networks are in Abu Dhabi, which offers 75 routes, and Dubai, which has 112. You can use Nol (Dubai), Hafilat (Abu Dhabi) or Sayer (Sharjah) cards to pay for buses, all of which are available to purchase from ticket offices, customer service centres or online. 

Dubai also operates a metro and tram system and is the only state to offer such services.