Many people need Consular assistance because they do not check in properly when they first get here. Don’t let it be you! Remember, if you’ve just arrived in the UAE there’s lots of paperwork that needs to be completed to ensure you stay legal. Take time to read this advice provided by the British Embassy.

Residency Visa

Your employer is responsible for obtaining a residency visa for you and your family. This may take some time and you will need to surrender your passport temporarily. You cannot travel out of the UAE whilst your visa is in process. You will need 6 months validity in your passport to obtain a residency visa and travel around the region.

Health Insurance

All medical services (except emergency) must be paid for in the UAE so make sure you have adequate medical insurance in place when you arrive. If this is not initially provided by your employer you should consider travel insurance from the UK until your employer’s health insurance commences. Bring vaccination certificates and children’s health records (red books).

Emirates Identity Card

This is mandatory for all UAE residents. This website information on how to get one. Tip: have plenty of passport photos available for registration.

Driving Licence

Driving in the UAE on a UK driving licence is only allowed if you are a non-resident of the UAE. Therefore once you receive your residence visa you must immediately obtain a UAE driving licence. British nationals with a UK driving licence can apply for an automatic driving licence transfer in the UAE. For more information see for Dubai or;jsessionid=1kx9Z4RVFD2SqX2B6Nz8xm019npk2L908VdvwxmCJkzSvhJv3sFy!-1950722446!-1270639001!1496895861128

Abu Dhabi

Please note that once you have a UAE licence your UK driving licence becomes invalid so any cars hired in the UK or elsewhere in the world should be hired on your UAE licence.  Once you return permanently to the UK you can get a new UK licence.

Alcohol Licence

A alcohol licence is mandatory if you wish to consume or purchase alcohol. You can apply for this once you have your residence visa. For Abu Dhabi apply online at for Dubai apply on-line or at a local For other Emirates, contact the local authorities for more information. Remember drinking and driving is illegal here.

Salik Tag

If you are driving in Dubai you will need a Salik Tag, More information on Dubai’s road toll collection system at

Legalisation of your Documents

Legalised and translated marriage and birth certificates may be required by sponsors and immigration. The British Embassies in the UAE do not provide any legalisation services. Further information can be found on our pages.

Attestation of documents e.g certification of passport

The British Embassies in the UAE do not provide this service but a list of lawyers who specialise in UAE and UK laws and who provide notarial services are available on our website:

Educational certificate (UK)

Sponsors may require your school records and/or degree certificates. To have your UK educational certificates legalised, follow this guidance


Importing goods such as pork products and pornography into the UAE is illegal. Videos, books and magazines may be subject to scrutiny and possibly censored. You require prior permission to bring in weapons, ammunition, body protection and related equipment (like cleaning kits, gun belts,) however small the quantity and whatever the intended purpose.

Prescribed Medicine

Some prescribed and over the counter medicines available in the UK are considered controlled substances in the UAE and can’t be brought into the country without prior permission from the UAE Ministry of Health. If you arrive in the UAE without this permission and the required documentation the medication will not be allowed in and you may be prosecuted under UAE law. For further information and specific queries contact You can find a list of registered and controlled medicines plus details on import regulations at


Finding a new home is an exciting time when arriving in the UAE. If you are thinking of renting a property you may be asked to sign a non refundable lease so consider your options, especially if you are on a probationary period. You may be financially liable for the annual rent.

Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

UAE Residents are able to open a local bank account. Visit for more information. It is important to note that bouncing a cheque is illegal in the UAE. If a cheque is presented without adequate funds to cover the amount you will face criminal and civil charges. After you have served your jail sentence you will not be able to leave the country until the funds have been paid in full.

Travel Advice

For information on staying safe and avoiding problems when living in the UAE please see  Remember to sign up for on line travel alerts.

Emergency Contact Numbers

Police: 999, Ambulance: 998, Fire: 997

For important UAE Numbers:

Read more:

Choosing A Community To Live In Dubai

Do I Need a 4×4 and Other Newbie Questions

Which Expat Tribe Are You?

The Truths of Being a British Mum in Dubai