Moving to Ras Al Khaimah? Here are some tips before you go

Moving to Ras Al Khaimah? Here are some tips before you go

Planning in advance and checking the cultural ins and outs before you move will always stand you in good stead.

Considerations:

  • Visas
  • Explore
  • Education
  • Culture & Customs
  • Finances
  • Healthcare & emergency services
  • Driving

Moving to a new country is a big deal with sorting visas and houses and transports. But the transition doesn’t have to be too stressful as long as you plan in advance and sort out all of the documentation before you go.

The process of moving to Ras Al Khaimah is pretty much the same as that of moving to Dubai, but whilst there is a standard set of rules for the UAE, each emirate enforces these rules in their own way making for some diversity.

Visas

There are different visas available for the move to RAK, but the first thing you will need to do is find a job so that you can obtain the Employee Residence Visa, this will make the process much easier for you as your employer is able to aid with the application process.

Firstly, you will need to have a job lined up in the UAE before you are eligible to apply for residency, your employer will be able to take care of all of the paperwork and al you will be required to do is have a medical test to check that you are fit for work. Your employer in the UAE will act as your sponsor so he/she will have to pay a 5000 dirham deposit for your visa but the actual cost of the visa itself is not too extreme, around DH120 for a year or DH360 for three years. The UAE embassy, which is based in London, would be a good port of call with regard to your visa application as they are experts in the field.

Explore

It would also be a good idea to explore your new home before you apply to stay there permanently. If you are a British passport holder you are eligible to stay in the UAE for 30 days without a visa so spending a few weeks out in RAK to make sure that it is the perfect place for you is a good idea. This also gives you the opportunity to liaise with your new employer and explore the area so that you can pick the perfect place to live and see what amenities and facilities are available to you before you go.

Education

If you are moving to Ras Al Khaimah with your family, you can rest assured that your little ones will still get a high level of education with the emirate being home to schools with British and American curriculums, which are some of the most highly regarded. The RAK English Speaking School has children of primary and secondary age and teaches the national curriculum so children will be getting taught in the same way that they would in the UK.

Culture & Customs

Don’t forget that the UAE is a Muslim country, so the rules and regulations there are a lot different to those in theUK. As you would expect, customs and traditions differ so things that we come to expect over here that are totally frowned upon over there. As a guideline I’d say don’t pack your sausages in your suitcase as pork products are not allowed and you’d probably find it a bit difficult to explain at customs. Other items such as pornographic and pirate material, whilst easily accessible in theUK, are banned in the UAE and you don’t want to find yourself getting into trouble before you’ve even landed and settled in your new home.

Alcohol consumption is also viewed differently in Ras Al Khaimah.  So whilst you might enjoy a trip to your local on a Friday evening, the cultural aspects are a little different over there and you will only find alcohol being served in hotels and you will need to apply for an alcohol license in order to purchase alcohol from the shop.

Finances

Sorting out your finances is tough enough in this country, let alone in completely different continent but again planning in advance will make this process a lot easier for you. There are a number of banks in Ras Al Khaimah, the first one that springs to mind would be RAKBANK, which is the national bank of Ras Al Khaimah. But there are also other branches throughout the emirate including the National Bank ofAbu Dhabi, Dubai Islamic Banks and Commercial Bank International. However, some UK banks have started to introduce expat accounts so check in your local branch before you go.

One important thing that you need to check out before hopping on that RAK plane is your tax and national insurance contributions as there are loopholes in the system that mean you could still be eligible for contributions whilst you live abroad. The best thing to do is call HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to see what advice they can give you but it would definitely be more beneficial to do this before you go. If you are thinking of being in Ras Al Khaimah for a long time, you may also want to set up some form if pension or saving scheme as there is no such thing in the UAE and it will provide you with more security for the future.

Healthcare & emergency services

Just because Ras Al Khaimah is still developing, that doesn’t mean that it is necessarily behind in the times. When you move there it will be like a home from home, and that includes property and healthcare. RAK has its own schools and colleges of medicine and dentistry and if you should fall ill in your new home, RAK Hospital is a state of the art and award-winning institution. In terms of emergency services there is also the RAK police department and the Emirates Fire & Rescue Company has a Ras Al Khaimah station.

Driving

If you’re going to sell the car that you have in the UK but still want the option of driving in RAK then that is fine. Tourists can drive on an international license but as a resident you will need to obtain a UAE drivers licence and you need to do this within 30 days of undertaking your residency and as a UK citizen, you can transfer your current license over to RAK.

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