First month in the UAE: Driving licence, buying a car, places of worship

Your head has stopped spinning from the move, so what do you need to do now?

Arabian oryx antelopes are pictured in the UAE desert with the Dubai skyline in the background. AFP
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The flurry of things to do immediately after landing has started to calm down, but there are still a number of things to get organised in order to get your new life in the UAE under way.

By now, your visa should be sorted, but what else do you need to know?

Driving licence

Many people in the UAE can get around on public transport for the first few months while they get their new lives in order. Public buses and metro lines are well maintained and affordably priced, meaning many need never drive at all.

But if you would like to get behind the wheel, there are some things to take into account. If you are from a select number of countries then all that's required is to transfer your home licence to a UAE licence.

If you are not from one of the listed countries and need to take your test again. Here's a complete guide to getting a new driving licence in the UAE.

Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai offer a Golden Chance option where – as long as you pass the theory test – you can go straight to the practical without having to take the required lessons. If you fail this then you will need to take the mandatory lessons before taking it again.

Buying or renting a car

Buying or renting a car in a new country can be daunting, but knowing some tips and tricks before making a purchase should help.

Many new arrivals will choose to first rent a car as they get used to the roads, and hiring a car is a great way to first explore the country.

Buying a used car has traditionally been seen as a cheaper alternative to obtaining a new model off the production line.

Prices can vary throughout the year, with Ramadan deals being particularly popular, but it's important to not fall victim to any financial mistakes when making the big purchase. Here are five financial mistakes to avoid when buying a car in the UAE.

Electric vehicles are an increasingly popular option. Here's our map of EV charging stations in Dubai.

Cars can be a big financial purchase, so make sure you keep your car safe during the summer heat.

Making friends

It can be daunting living in a new country where the only people you know are your colleagues, but we've got a handy guide to making new friends. Whether it's joining a netball or rugby team, or downloading an app, there are plenty of ways to meet people in the Emirates.

Finding a place of worship

For those looking for a mosque in the UAE, you can be assured there is always one nearby. Here's our list of 20 of the most architecturally impressive mosques to visit.

The UAE is committed to religious tolerance and hosts various houses of worship. Here's our list of temples, churches, and synagogues in the Emirates.

Furnishing your home

Once you've settled on somewhere to live, you'll likely want to furnish your home.

Here's our comprehensive guide to buying furniture in the UAE, including second hand and budget options to high end and luxury pieces.

See you soon...

We hope this has helped you feel more at home in the Emirates. When the time comes, make sure to check out our next guide: Living in the UAE: Settling In

Previous guides:

Before Moving to the UAE

Just Arrived in the UAE

Updated: September 11, 2023, 12:58 PM