Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 59 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
First of all thanks to members who have posted their experiences.....a lot of good information is available here already. Some of them are dated, and hence the reason for this new thread.

I am an Indian citizen living in the US for 10 years now. I have a job offer in Dubai and i am looking to move in mid July :p (I know its hot!!!). I have a US drivers license, IDP issued from AAA in the US, Indian Passport, no Green card for US. My questions are shown below

1. Driver License in Dubai- I have many years of driving experience in US and India. Looks like I have to take 16 classes and then the practical tests. Reading through some of the older posts it seems like there used to be a wait list to get into these classes... is this still the case?? I do not mind paying a little extra to get in front of the line, hence looking for recommendations on which official school to get in touch with. Also anyone with recent experience, could you please share the details of the cost involved for expedited classes and tests??

2. Shipping Car to Dubai - I am taking one of my Cars along with me to Dubai along with my furniture and other indispensable items. Once the Car reaches Dubai, if I do not have a Dubai License by then, how will I get it registered??

3. Bank account and Money transfer- Not sure how long it takes to open a Bank account since I may not have a residency visa stamped on my passport for a while. I also may need to wire transfer between accounts in the US and UAE- is this easy to accomplish and a done thing in Dubai???

4. Converters for Electrical/ Electronics appliances- I am taking a lot of items that are rated 110V (TV, DVD, Home Theater etc..). Are converters available in Dubai that steps down the 220 V to 110V?? How much do they cost??

5. Renting a car- I am looking at renting an SUV (Prado for example) until the time i get my License upon which the company will lease a vehicle to me. How much do u think a Prado would cost to rent these days?? Also suggestions for the best places to rent a car??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,518 Posts
1. Yes, there is still a wait for the classes but you can pay a little bit extra to jump the queue. There are only 5 driving schools who are legally able to offer driving lessons, hence your choices are limited to them. There have been a couple of recent threads about this topic, including the positive and negative experiences of some posters - if you do a search, these threads should come up.

2. Without a driving license, you cannot register the car and without a residency visa, you cannot take driving lessons and get a UAE license. Check the specs on the car - the harsh temperatures will most likely blow your A/C if they do not conform to UAE specs and it's not going to be fun to be stuck in traffic with no A/C.

3. It takes a few days from when you meet with the bank rep to when you have an account and bank cards. If you residence permit is not ready, most banks will accept a letter from your employer confirming that it is in process. You will most likely get a savings account only, which is then converted to a current account once you have your residence permit. You can also use one of the money exchange places to transfer funds as well - no account needed.

4. Sorry, do not know.

5. If you enter on an employment visa, you cannot rent a car, even with a IDP. As you hold an Indian passport, then you will need an employment visa as you cannot get a visa at the airport. I'm afraid it's going to be taxis and metro until you get your UAE license sorted. It is cheaper to buy a 4x4 than to rent. Once you have your license, just rent a normal car until you are settled and then get a 4x4 if you still want one but typically it will be in excess of AED 4k per month to rent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Maz25... Not sure what my company wants me to enter in from a Visa category perspective...hope it's tourist layer converted to RV.


Saint Ari, I was on a student visa converted to H1B then applied for green card which makes me eligible for extensions on my H1 beyond the maximum of 6 years on H1. I am not interested in hanging on for the next 5 years to get a Green card, not worth it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,518 Posts
Thanks Maz25... Not sure what my company wants me to enter in from a Visa category perspective...hope it's tourist layer converted to RV.

I would imagine that it would be an employment visa. Working on a tourist visa is very much illegal and will buy you nothing but legal troubles if you are caught.

India is not one of those 'privileged' countries whose citizens can swap their visa status in country, so very likely that they will apply for the correct visa for you from the very beginning, which unfortunately will prevent you from renting a car until you have a UAE license.

On the bright side, taxis are plentiful and cheap. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Maz. I have a call with the HR person today. Will need to get some clarity on this Visa issue. I am hoping atleast my wife will be on a tourist Visa until my RV is stamped. She can drive me around on her IDP
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Bumping up- Does anyone have the answer to

Converters for Electrical/ Electronics appliances- I am taking a lot of items that are rated 110V (TV, DVD, Home Theater etc..). Are converters available in Dubai that steps down the 220 V to 110V?? How much do they cost??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,891 Posts
Bumping up- Does anyone have the answer to

Converters for Electrical/ Electronics appliances- I am taking a lot of items that are rated 110V (TV, DVD, Home Theater etc..). Are converters available in Dubai that steps down the 220 V to 110V?? How much do they cost??

There are converters available about everywhere. Suggest using a surge protector after the converter to make sure you dont fry anything just in case. The price depends on the wattage you need. For a small converter that will run most appliances in the kitchen, expect like 100 to 125 dirhams. I keep one on my counter and switch the appliances out as needed. Larger one for something higher wattage will obviously run more. I got my large one from the usa as I dont trust quality control on the cheaper ones and the big quality ones were about double priced for the same size from the usa (same as the small size about double the price). I would avoid getting the cheap no name brand. They weight a great deal, so if you are not shipping household and would be shipping it as cargo on a plane which is weight based, would suggest just buying it here.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,204 Posts
Richdufai: Have you been to Dubai before? I must warn you that it does not quite live up to the hype, especially if you've been living in the States for the last 10 years. Please be prepared for a huge culture shock. Things work a little differently out here, especially if you're Indian. Just thought you should be made aware of this. Perhaps, once you're living here, the 5 year wait for the green card just might be worth it.

Sorry to sound so negative but just wanted to share this with you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,665 Posts
I second Pamela's comments. I would rather stay in the US until you become a GC holder or even a citizen. Where would you go if anything happens to you in 3 years....

Something to think about
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Richdufai: Have you been to Dubai before? I must warn you that it does not quite live up to the hype, especially if you've been living in the States for the last 10 years. Please be prepared for a huge culture shock. Things work a little differently out here, especially if you're Indian. Just thought you should be made aware of this. Perhaps, once you're living here, the 5 year wait for the green card just might be worth it.

Sorry to sound so negative but just wanted to share this with you.
Thanks Jynxgirl...will get some branded stepdown's before i leave the US. I am using a container shipping service, so weight is not a concern.

Pamela,
Thanks for your frank advice, really appreciate it! Let's say that I have been forewarned about this culture shock thing many a time by true friends who have lived there. I say the following with a pinch of salt, but my opinion about people leaving their home countries to work as expat's is that they are screwed over wherever they are if they are working for a company. In Dubai it may be the in-your face racism, culture or lack there of. In the US things are different, but there are a hell a lot of problems here as well. Let me give you a few details. It is not what it used to be a few years back especially for people who work in the IT sector. 12-14 hour work days, work on weekends, career hitting a wall until you have a green card, no mobility while 'in the green card process'- between jobs or even leaving the country to visit friends and relatives back home, senior positions protected by locals, spouses not being able to get work visa's, constantly shelling out money for Immigration fees/Visa renewals, the parent company constantly creating issues for the lack of knowledge about immigration procedures, people getting stuck in home country consulates for 3 months for 'Name check', Airport trouble- special screening for anyone who looks south Asian (I am in consulting and I travel a lot domestically- first hand experience). I could go on and on, but you get the point. I know Dubai is not a walk in the park, but if i am going to take crap because I am an Expat, it does not matter where I take it from. In this case it will be a whole new load of crap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I second Pamela's comments. I would rather stay in the US until you become a GC holder or even a citizen. Where would you go if anything happens to you in 3 years....

Something to think about
:) not worth it even for a minute. But thanks for the advice. If something happens it will happen and people have to find a way forward ans so will I. I am an Indian citizen and always will be. Things are getting better back there as well.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
My limited experience!

Hi!
I have also moved to dubai recently and therefore, would share my limited experience. Hope its useful!

First of all, like everyone else has commented, this place truly is a cultural shock. But if you dont fight with it and rather enjoy the ride....you will not find it difficult here. I have worked in US, UK, South East Asia before coming here.....and I assure you....this place is different.....but try to appreciate the culture, and you will surely enjoy it. Although making friends is not easy. People tend to stick to their particular communities. Firstly, because its human nature....and secondly, not everyone finds it exciting to understand other cultures. I for one and still in the process of making friends and still figuring things out......But overall, people are nice.

3. Bank account and Money transfer- Your bank account is opened in three working days. But you need your residency permit for it. In case you need to wire transfer, you can ask your employer to give you bearer cheque. This cheque can then be encashed and you may then take it to any exchange. The exchange will charge a nominal fee and wire transfer these funds to your account. Since you will give them cash, it will not take them more than few minutes to finish the transaction.
Please dont wire transfer from the regular banks. You will get a bad exchange rate. Also, please take few employment letter copies from your employer on the first day itself. You will need it for many things. :) including opening the bank account. There are other privelages from the bank which you can avail. Since, I have worked in a bank (both in India and UK) for a while, I know a bit of these nuances. If you want, I can put you in touch with the relevant people in these banks. Also, I would suggest going for Emirated NBD bank. It has branches and ATMs everywhere.

4. Converters for Electrical/ Electronics appliances- Convertors are easily available. Dont worry about it at all. Get into any grocery shop or a supermarket....you will find it easily available. However, when I was in US, I bought one of those black universal convertors at walmart for $10. You might wanna keep it with you so that you can use it for the first /second day till you get time to go and shop for another one.
Also, at many places, the electrical points are the universal ones (both flat and round pins can go in em). So, you will not have much trouble.... (I hope!!) These convertors also have surge protector.

For your remaining points.....even I am figuring them out.....

Godspeed!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Hi!
I have also moved to dubai recently and therefore, would share my limited experience. Hope its useful!

First of all, like everyone else has commented, this place truly is a cultural shock. But if you dont fight with it and rather enjoy the ride....you will not find it difficult here. I have worked in US, UK, South East Asia before coming here.....and I assure you....this place is different.....but try to appreciate the culture, and you will surely enjoy it. Although making friends is not easy. People tend to stick to their particular communities. Firstly, because its human nature....and secondly, not everyone finds it exciting to understand other cultures. I for one and still in the process of making friends and still figuring things out......But overall, people are nice.

3. Bank account and Money transfer- Your bank account is opened in three working days. But you need your residency permit for it. In case you need to wire transfer, you can ask your employer to give you bearer cheque. This cheque can then be encashed and you may then take it to any exchange. The exchange will charge a nominal fee and wire transfer these funds to your account. Since you will give them cash, it will not take them more than few minutes to finish the transaction.
Please dont wire transfer from the regular banks. You will get a bad exchange rate. Also, please take few employment letter copies from your employer on the first day itself. You will need it for many things. :) including opening the bank account. There are other privelages from the bank which you can avail. Since, I have worked in a bank (both in India and UK) for a while, I know a bit of these nuances. If you want, I can put you in touch with the relevant people in these banks. Also, I would suggest going for Emirated NBD bank. It has branches and ATMs everywhere.

4. Converters for Electrical/ Electronics appliances- Convertors are easily available. Dont worry about it at all. Get into any grocery shop or a supermarket....you will find it easily available. However, when I was in US, I bought one of those black universal convertors at walmart for $10. You might wanna keep it with you so that you can use it for the first /second day till you get time to go and shop for another one.
Also, at many places, the electrical points are the universal ones (both flat and round pins can go in em). So, you will not have much trouble.... (I hope!!) These convertors also have surge protector.

For your remaining points.....even I am figuring them out.....

Godspeed!
Thanks for the excellent info! Hope you can share your Driver License experience once you get to it......For me that is a priority like for many others who are new to the Middle East. Making friends is not a problem in my case since I already know a lot of people who live there. I may get in touch with you, since you offered, about the Banking related details when I get there :) About people staying together in groups, it is very much the case here in the US as well(I have lived in the East, Mid-west and Western parts of the US) barring a few exceptions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Thanks Jynxgirl...will get some branded stepdown's before i leave the US. I am using a container shipping service, so weight is not a concern.

Pamela,
Thanks for your frank advice, really appreciate it! Let's say that I have been forewarned about this culture shock thing many a time by true friends who have lived there. I say the following with a pinch of salt, but my opinion about people leaving their home countries to work as expat's is that they are screwed over wherever they are if they are working for a company. In Dubai it may be the in-your face racism, culture or lack there of. In the US things are different, but there are a hell a lot of problems here as well. Let me give you a few details. It is not what it used to be a few years back especially for people who work in the IT sector. 12-14 hour work days, work on weekends, career hitting a wall until you have a green card, no mobility while 'in the green card process'- between jobs or even leaving the country to visit friends and relatives back home, senior positions protected by locals, spouses not being able to get work visa's, constantly shelling out money for Immigration fees/Visa renewals, the parent company constantly creating issues for the lack of knowledge about immigration procedures, people getting stuck in home country consulates for 3 months for 'Name check', Airport trouble- special screening for anyone who looks south Asian (I am in consulting and I travel a lot domestically- first hand experience). I could go on and on, but you get the point. I know Dubai is not a walk in the park, but if i am going to take crap because I am an Expat, it does not matter where I take it from. In this case it will be a whole new load of crap.
This is so true.....especially the airport screening part....I am a consultant too and was travelling after every 10 days to a new city during my stint in US. Invariably, after the first three flights, I was always picked for those ' random' checks.....when I was watching 'Harold and Kumar go to Guantanamo bay' and there was this scene of Kumar being picked for the "random checking"....i laughed my guts out...i wish I could have done that what he does....
But i guess its a bit justified also. Considering how concerned authorities in US are over internal security, there must be a strong reason why this is done. It sometimes gets onto your nerves nevertheless. I had seen a program on national geographic on how this particular scan is done and was explaining to my colleague during one of these 'Random' checks we were going thru.....the security officer was listening to me and it was amazing to see her face at that time....ha ha ha .... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,052 Posts
renting a car - An Indian colleague (lived in the US for 10 years) initially rented a car using his US license. Even after he got the Dubai Residence Visa, his rental car company (a small one) was okay with him coninuing to use the car (technically illegal, and may cause problems with insurance for the car company if there is an accident).

DL - the same colleague paid for 16 classes (that is the requirement in case you already have a 2-5 year old DL from the home country) but did not take any classes and directly took the test. He spoke with the institute a lot to get his class fees waived, but that did not work out.

Bank account - you can get an account even before getting a residence visa (I got one with HSBC). You may need a letter from the employer that the visa is under process. You will not get a cheque book without the residence visa though (which causes a problem if you want to rent a house for which you need to pay cheques)

US vs. Dubai - one can go on ad nauseum. The same colleague has resigned and going back to the US. Reasons (1) disillusonment with the region and professional ethics, (2) the bonus was not as great as he expected to be, (3) probably the most important reason - he wants to settle in the US. His Green Card is at the final stage of approval and he believes he will have very good opportunities now that he will have a GC. He is in finance though so his perspective may be different
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
Hi RichDufai, welcome to the forum, did you finalize a shipper for your personal effects, i am in a similar situation and am gathering info on shippers . appreciate it if you dont mind sharing that info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
rsinner said:
renting a car - An Indian colleague (lived in the US for 10 years) initially rented a car using his US license. Even after he got the Dubai Residence Visa, his rental car company (a small one) was okay with him coninuing to use the car (technically illegal, and may cause problems with insurance for the car company if there is an accident).

DL - the same colleague paid for 16 classes (that is the requirement in case you already have a 2-5 year old DL from the home country) but did not take any classes and directly took the test. He spoke with the institute a lot to get his class fees waived, but that did not work out.

Bank account - you can get an account even before getting a residence visa (I got one with HSBC). You may need a letter from the employer that the visa is under process. You will not get a cheque book without the residence visa though (which causes a problem if you want to rent a house for which you need to pay cheques)

US vs. Dubai - one can go on ad nauseum. The same colleague has resigned and going back to the US. Reasons (1) disillusonment with the region and professional ethics, (2) the bonus was not as great as he expected to be, (3) probably the most important reason - he wants to settle in the US. His Green Card is at the final stage of approval and he believes he will have very good opportunities now that he will have a GC. He is in finance though so his perspective may be different
Great feedback...Thanks!
US vs Dubai is something which is dependent on the field anyone is in, as you rightly pointed out. As someone who is mid management level in IT and specifically in the Consulting industry, I would advice others to stay out of the US... Things are changing in a big way with 60-70% of development being moved offshore. The issue is very specific to the US because the Offshore hours are in the night due to the time difference with India and you eventually end up working every night (and early mornings if you are in the west coast of the US) attending calls , meetings etc... Also you work on Sunday nights as well and I hate doing that.... The money you make is good, but it is not worth giving away the best years of your life to 12-14 hour work days. People who are not in Consulting may have a different perspective about the IT industry in the US, but, they need to watch their backs as well. IT is in most cases a necessary evil and always a cost center and any revenue is only indirectly associated.... The finance guys love to start and end their 5 year cost reduction projects with the Large IT departments most companies in the US have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
ash_ak said:
Hi RichDufai, welcome to the forum, did you finalize a shipper for your personal effects, i am in a similar situation and am gathering info on shippers . appreciate it if you dont mind sharing that info.
Not sure where your are moving from in the US, but you can PM me for the movers I am using and some of my friends have used.
 
1 - 20 of 59 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top