Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What is the dress code for men and women?

The dress code in the UAE is much the same as it would be in your home country. But a healthy respect for the local customs should be maintained. You will see plenty of people wearing shorts, T-shirts, skirts, etc.  Clothing doesn’t have to cover arms and legs, but should be somewhat modest as a sign of respect for the local sensibilities.

Zayed University has a dress code in respect for the culture of the UAE community. We require that our faculty and staff present a professional appearance at all times.

Female employees are expected to wear dress pants/trousers or dresses/skirts which are on or below the knee. Blouses or jackets, which cover the arms to the elbow, are appropriate.

Male employees are expected to wear dress pants/trousers, business shirts (long-sleeved when the weather permits) with a tie. Preferably jackets should be worn when the weather permits, although they do not have to be worn throughout the day. Sandals are not appropriate with male western business attire.

When and how can I get a mobile phone?

Two types of mobile phone service are available in the UAE - prepaid and monthly account.  You can purchase a prepaid SIM card for your mobile phone as soon as you arrive in the UAE but you will have to wait until your Residence Visa has been finalized until you can set up a monthly account.

Mobile phones themselves are available in the airport duty-free shops, supermarkets and electronics store

Customs and Shipping

What types of items can I not bring into the UAE?

Inappropriate items are those which may contain a pornographic or sex-related connotation (this can include art) or which may be anti-Islam or pro-Israel. Books, magazines, videos, CDs, DVDs may be subject to censorship. Items that are confiscated may be returned to you if they are deemed acceptable. Be sure to obtain a receipt for any items retained; you will need the receipt to reclaim the goods. If the items are not deemed acceptable, you may be given the option of abandoning them or sending them back to your home country. Luggage arriving with you will also be subject to the same type of inspection.

Will my luggage be checked by Customs?

Customs has the right to inspect all luggage.

How do I get my shipment once it arrives in the UAE? What is the process?

Used personal belongings (accompanied or unaccompanied) are exempt from customs duty. Collecting your shipment basically involves the following steps:

  • Presenting the shipping documents to the customs office
  • Paying a fee
  • Having your shipment inspected by an inspector
  • Finishing off the paperwork

Click here for more information.


What documents do I need to bring with me?

Go to our section on Important Documents to learn more about the documents to bring with you and to send in advance of your arrival.  For safety we recommend you bring them in your carry-on luggage.  Plus, a number of these documents are needed the first day of Orientation so keep them in an easy to get at location. 

How do I get documents attested?

Many of your documents require attestation by a UAE Consulate prior to your arrival.  This can take some time so start the process early.  Instructions on attestation can be found here.


Should I buy or rent a car?

To rent a car in the UAE, you must have one the following:

  • an International Driving License

  • a UAE driving license (or a temporary UAE driving license) OR

  • a driving license issued by a GCC country

If you enter the UAE on an employment visa, you will not be able to drive or rent a car until your residence visa has been finalized.  Nor can you buy a car until your residence visa has been finalized and you have a UAE driving license.

Individuals, such as your spouse, if entering the country on a visit visa, can rent a car on arrival with an international driving license or a UAE or GCC license.

Whether you buy or rent a car is up to you. Both are readily available. Buses and taxis are plentiful. However due to large distances and convenience, most people do drive.

Well-known car rental chains such as Budget and Avis have offices in the UAE and offer daily, weekend and monthly rates. There are also a large number of car dealerships and used car dealerships. Prices for new vehicles are typically a bit cheaper than in North America.

Before leaving the UAE for good, you may want to cancel your UAE driving license.  If the license expires while you are out of the UAE and you return to the UAE and apply for a new license, you will have to pay a fine before being able to apply for the new license.

How much car insurance do I need?

Fully comprehensive accident insurance is recommended. Rates are usually in the area of four to seven percent of the listed value of the car. The exact rate will depend on the age and model of the car as well as your previous insurance history.

What should I do if I have a traffic accident?

If you have an accident, do not leave the scene of the accident. Contact the police. If no one was hurt and vehicle damage is minor, drivers are recommended to move their vehicles to the side of the road to avoid blocking traffic. Otherwise, the vehicles should not be moved. When the police arrive, have your vehicle registration card, driving license and insurance papers ready for them and follow their instructions. They will ask for your view of what happened, and then decide who was at fault.

Can women drive?

Absolutely! Women of all nationalities drive in the UAE

Can I use my current driving license in the UAE?

If you are a resident (have obtained a Residence Visa), you must obtain a five-year UAE driving license before you can drive.

Residents from the following countries can usually obtain a UAE license without having to take a driving test:  UK, most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, and Canada.

Canadian passport holders will have to obtain a letter from their Embassy or Consulate prior to applying for a UAE license.

If your driving license is not from one of the countries mentioned above, you will have to undergo a driving test.

What is the driving like?

In the UAE, vehicles are driven on the right side - the same as in the United States and Canada for example, and roundabouts are common. Seatbelts are required and mobile phones are prohibited while driving (unless you have a hands-free set).

With such a mix of nationalities, driving techniques can also be mixed as well, resulting in some problems. To counteract speeding, radar cameras are quite common, as are speed bumps. In general, traffic rules in the UAE are much the same as in your own home country.


Does the University provide transport to and from work?

You will be responsible for your own transportation to and from Zayed University. Most people drive, but many employees arrange for taxis, a private mini-bus or carpool.


How do I find the campus locations?

We have campuses in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.  Maps can be found here.

Quality of Life and Activities

What is the cost of living?

Cost of living in the UAE is fairly reasonable and is comparable to other big cities around the world. Housing in Abu Dhabi city and Dubai is typically expensive and continues to contribute to increasing costs of living. Goods vary in price from the very inexpensive items in souks, to more expensive items in electronics shops.

What is the quality of life?

The quality of life in the UAE is very high. The environment is safe and clean; the selection of goods is high; and recreational facilities and events are plentiful. Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have numerous beautiful beaches offering water sports. Both indoor and outdoor recreational activities are available and with such a mix of cultures, many cultural events take place throughout the year.

What types of facilities and activities are available for men, women, and children?

It is almost impossible to be bored in the UAE whether you are an indoor or outdoor buff.
World-class hotels and recreational centers offer everything from gourmet restaurants and cafes to sporting facilities. Movie theaters and indoor game centers are also common in the many shopping centers.

Beaches, dune driving, camping, hiking, rock climbing, snorkeling, snow skiing, ice skating, horse riding and and scuba diving are just some of the activities you can enjoy in the UAE

The UAE also welcomes many world class performers and events. Some of these events include: shopping festivals, golf tournaments, rugby, horse racing, opera, ballet, music concerts, marathons, etc.


Should I register with my consulate?

All foreign residents should register with their Embassy or Consulate. Foreign government offices maintain a current list of patriots and their contact numbers. The Embassy or Consulate will be able to contact you for social events, general announcement, or emergencies.

Is it safe in the UAE?

The UAE is a very safe country with a crime rate of 1.5%. However, as in all big cities, a healthy degree of caution should always be exercised.


What about schooling for my children?

There are a large number of international schools in the UAE, however, they often have waiting lists - so contact them early.  Teaching standards are usually high and schools have excellent facilities and extracurricular activities.

Most schools will require proof of your child’s previous academic records and a letter from the school in your home country outlining your child’s education.

What about schooling for my college-age children?

A number of English language universities/colleges exist in the UAE Universities are typically affiliated with American, Australian or European universities and offer degree and diploma courses. The American University in Dubai, The American University of Sharjah, and The University of Wollongong are accredited, and offer undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Travel to the UAE

Who will arrange my flight to the UAE?

Human Resources will arrange your flight to the UAE Human Resources will also arrange flights for family members who will be accompanying you or joining you later (to take up residence with you in the UAE). Flights will be direct (or as direct as possible).

Can I ask for a layover?

We cannot book flights with layovers unless unavoidable or as specifically requested by the employee at his/her expense.

Who pays for the flight?

Zayed University pays for the flight for you and any family members taking up residence with you in the UAE (a spouse and up to three dependent children).


How long will it take to process my residence visa?

An employee’s residence visa can take up to ten days to process. An employee will arrive in the UAE on an employment visa which will later be changed to a residence visa. A residence visa entitles you to work in the UAE and is valid for three years. Once you have a residence visa and Emirates ID, you can sponsor your spouse and any dependent children who will be residing in the UAE

If your family members accompany you to the UAE at the same time, they can enter the UAE on a visit visa which will later be transferred to a residence visa. This usually takes up to three weeks. If your family members arrive after you, it is best if they arrive after you have received your residence visa. Family members can then enter the UAE on a residence visa.

Will I be able to leave the UAE while my residence visa is being processed?

Once you arrive in the UAE on an employment visa, you cannot leave the country until your residence visa is stamped in your passport. The same applies to family members. However, if a family member needs to leave the UAE before this time, the processing of their residence visa can be delayed until their return to the UAE

What to Bring and What to Buy

Can I buy alcohol and pork in the UAE?

Most five star hotels in the UAE serve alcohol in their restaurants and bars. After receiving a Residence Visa, non-Muslims can apply for a liquor permit which allows them to purchase alcohol from licensed liquor stores for consumption at home.

Pork is available in some supermarkets.

Should I bring my computer?

You will be a given computer at work. Teaching faculty will be issued a laptop computer which you can also use at home. Computer accounts for email will be set up by the time you arrive on campus.


What about spousal employment? Can women work? How can one go about finding employment?

Job advertisements are published in the local English mewspapers, and there are a number of employment Web sites devoted to the UAE market. Your spouse should also consider registering with some of the numerous recruitment agencies.

Zayed University

Am I allowed to photograph University students?

Taking photographs of students is prohibited. Only students whose parents have signed a release form can be photographed.

Am I allowed to photograph University buildings or official events?

Yes, photographs of University buildings or official events are allowed provided there are no students in the photograph.