Before you can move to the UAE and establish Dubai residence, you have to get a residence visa unless you are a GCC national. Your employer, if you have one, should have your visa application waiting for you at the airport when you arrive, in which case your passport will get a residency visa stamp in it more info on this can be found at the Dubai Residency and Naturalization Dept.
If your family is coming with you, you have to get a family Dubai residence visa. With this visa, you can sponsor your spouse, children, or parents if they are coming to live in the UAE with you in a house, apartment or what have you. The only way you can qualify for a family residence visa is if you make more than Dhs 4,000 per month.
If you do not have a job already waiting for you in the UAE by law, you can get a visit visa that can be transferred to a residence visa when you find employment or it can be re-issued if you leave and come back after finding employment.
You are going to need to buy or at least find a Dubai residence and property for you to live in if your employer has not taken care of that for you and this is something you have to do right away. How much you have to pay to live in the UAE depends on the city you live in and where exactly in the city you live. The following are some examples of rent (not sale price) for Dubai properties (as of September 2005):
• Completely furnished flats or apartments with one bedroom - Dhs 6,250/month
• Unfurnished flat with two bedrooms - Dhs 80,000/year
• Unfurnished flat with three bedrooms - Dhs 95,000/ year
• Luxury villas - Dhs 100,000/year
Dubai real estate landlords in the UAE will want a full year's rent prior to letting you move in but may accept several post dated checks instead of one check. People who want to acquire (and later sell) Dubai property can do so by owning freehold property there.
If you have an American or European driver's license, it is easily transferable into a UAE driver's license.
Most people use cars and taxis to get around Dubai. You can make a small car investment for around Dhs 90 per day (US $25). You may get a better rate on a weekly or monthly lease. If you are looking to purchase a car, you should visit a used or new car dealer in Dubai.
If you need a Dubai residence phone line, a mobile line, and/or an Internet connection, you have to visit the closest Etisalet, the only telecom company in the UAE. You will have to bring a copy of your passport, Dubai residence visa, and your lease for your home.
You are billed monthly based on usage for property utilities including water, gas, and electricity. The electricity in the UAE is 22/240 volts so any US appliances will have to be connected to an adapter. You can connect your utilities at the local utility office as long as you bring your lease and a deposit, which is refundable in the amount of Dhs 1,000 to 2,000. If you live in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, you can drink the water but elsewhere you will need to drink only bottled water.
Your apartment building may come with an antenna you can use to hook to your TV or you may have access to a satellite dish that you can connect to a receiver and then to the television.
It is hard to say what the exact Dubai residence cost is. It depends on many things including where you live, who pays your rent (you or your company), if you have to pay for school for your children, and how much you spend on utilities and food.