Abu Dhabi Find Wonder Need To Know

Need to know

Relocating to a new place can be both exciting and daunting. From how to find a job and discovering the perfect school, to making the most of your down time, we’ve got your A-Z of Abu Dhabi covered

What would you like to know?


Do I need a visa to live in Abu Dhabi?
Relocating To Abu Dhabi

Getting a residence visa

Abu Dhabi is an incredibly family-friendly place to live, and dependents of those working here are encouraged to come and take advantage of its world-class education and healthcare - and fantastic lifestyle

Anyone living in Abu Dhabi requires a residence visa, which is provided for the employee and their dependents by the employer.

When is the weekend in Abu Dhabi?

Days of the week

Abu Dhabi's work and school week runs Sunday to Thursday, with the weekend falling on Friday and Saturday.

As the holy day, Friday tends to be slower-paced, with many businesses opening later in the day.

What is the weather like?

Abu Dhabi's climate

Abu Dhabi has a dry, sub-tropical climate. Blue skies and high temperatures can be expected for most of the year. Temperatures range from a low of around 13C (50F) on a winter's night, to a high of around 42C (118F) on a summer's day. From November to April, the emirate experiences near-perfect weather, with daytime temperatures averaging at around 24C (75F).

How can I find out about public services for people with disabilities?

Services for people with disabilities

Abu Dhabi prides itself on being an inclusive society. In 2019 it hosted the Special Olympic World Games, which saw 7,500 athletes from all over the world compete in locations across the emirate. As a result, there has been a marked improvement in public services for people with disabilities.

How can I get a driving licence?

Getting a driving licence

While visitors can use an international driving licence, residents wishing to drive in Abu Dhabi will need to apply for a UAE diving licence. If you already have one from your country, most nationalities can easily transfer it to a UAE one once you have your residency permit. However, some nationalities will need to take a UAE driving test. 

How can I get around?

Public transport

If you're a non-driver, there are plenty of other ways to get around the emirate.

Taxis are reasonably priced and plentiful, and can be flagged down at the roadside or booked by phone by calling 600 535 353. A fleet of modern, air-conditioned buses also operates around the clock.

Are there any public holidays?

Public holidays

Abu Dhabi enjoys several religious and public holidays, the longest of which are Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha (both usually around three days).

Can I bring my furniture to Abu Dhabi?

Bringing belongings

You can ship your items to Abu Dhabi via air or sea container, which can be arranged from your point of departure.

Alternatively, there is a wide selection of furniture shops selling well-priced home items - as well as several online groups that buy and sell second-hand furniture.

Can I bring my pet to Abu Dhabi?

Bringing pets

Abu Dhabi’s pet community is lively and active, with many families bringing their pets (mainly cats and dogs) from overseas.

Pets imported or brought to Abu Dhabi must not be classified as endangered species or subject to the terms of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna).

Where can I dine out?

Dining out

Abu Dhabi's dining scene is rich and varied, with around 400 restaurants offering cuisine from all over the world. In accordance with Islam, all meat is halal. Alcohol is served in hotels across the emirate, and sold in specially licensed stores.

Is meat halal?

Halal produce

All meat produced or imported into the UAE is halal.

Is alcohol permitted?


Alcohol is permitted in almost all hotels in Abu Dhabi, and can be purchased in authorised stores by those holding a liquor licence.


What is the healthcare like?

Healthcare in Abu Dhabi

The UAE was rated best in the Middle East and 10th in the world for healthcare in 2018, according to Bloomberg’s Health Care Efficiency Index. 

Partnerships with Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins have seen state-of-the-art hospitals open in locations across the emirate.

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) owns and operates 12 government hospitals, accounting for more than 2,600 beds, which are available to anyone with a health card.

Will I need to arrange my own health insurance?

Getting health insurance

Health insurance is required by law for everyone living in Abu Dhabi, and is usually arranged for employees and their dependents by their employer as part of the residence visa process.

Plans vary from those offering access to Abu Dhabi government hospitals and clinics, to higher tiers covering a wide network inside and outside the emirate. Some may even cover international providers, dental care and select private hospitals and health clinics.

What if I’m having a baby? What kind of healthcare can I expect?

Having a baby

Maternity care in Abu Dhabi is excellent, with a selection of government and private hospitals offering world-class medical care to expectant mothers. By law, all births in Abu Dhabi must take place in a hospital.

Women in government positions are entitled to three months paid maternity leave. After returning to work, they are entitled to two hours of daily leave for the first year after delivery to nurse their child. Women in the private sector are entitled to 45 days paid maternity leave.


How can I find a home to rent?

Renting a home

From luxury beachfront villas, to modern, open-plan apartments and community-driven developments with green, open spaces and leisure facilities, Abu Dhabi has a home to suit every lifestyle and budget.

Renting a property is most peoples' first stop when they arrive in the UAE. Rent is paid in advance for the year, usually in several pre-dated cheques.

How do I buy a property?

Buying a home

There is an increasing number of developments in Abu Dhabi that welcome foreign buyers, from Saadiyat Island's Spanish-style villas just a stone's throw from the island's museum district, to the gleaming towers of Reem Island.



How do I find a school for my child?

Finding a school

Education in Abu Dhabi is world-class, with a school and curriculum to suit everyone.

The emirate is home to a number of international education providers, including the internationally renowned Brighton College Abu Dhabi and Cranleigh Abu Dhabi.

In total, Abu Dhabi offers 15 curriculums: American, Bangladesh, British, Canadian, French, Germn, IB (International Baccalaureate), Indian, Iranian, Italian, Japanese, Pakistan, Philippines and SABIS (an education system founded in Lebanon in 1886 and now taught in schools in 20 countries).

Can I study at university level?

Studying at university

Tertiary education in Abu Dhabi is excellent, with Abu Dhabi University - which has campuses in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai - rating among the top 2.8 per cent of universities in the world.

Other universities include Zayed University, Khalifa University, The Higher Colleges of Technology, Mohammed V University Abu Dhabi, and United Arab Emirates University.

New York University opened a portal campus – NYU Abu Dhabi – in 2010, which serves as a liberal arts and science college; while Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi was awarded best University in the Middle East for humanities by Forbes Middle East Education awards 2019.

How can I apply for a student visa?

Applying for a student visa

Student visas are handled through the universities themselves. Successful applicants will need a letter of admission to start the process. Five-year visas are available to particularly high-achieving students - those with a grade of at least 95 per cent from secondary public or private schools - or a GPA of at last 3.75 from universities within and outside the country.

What scholarships are available to students?

Scholarships in Abu Dhabi

A number of scholarships, fellowships and graduate assistantships are available to students wanting to study in Abu Dhabi.

Sport & recreation

Where can I cycle in Abu Dhabi?

Cycling in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi has ambitions to transform itself into a cycling and walking- friendly emirate by 2020. In 2013, it opened Al Wathba Cycle Track, a 16-km circuit on the outskirts of the city that is a regular destination for cycling enthusiasts. Don't worry if you don't have your own bike; you can rent one on-site.

Nearer the city, the Corniche offers an uninterrupted 12km-stretch of cycling path; while Yas Island and Al Raha Beach offer an affordable 24-hr bike share scheme, with 50 stations and over 300 bikes across Abu Dhabi.

What water sports can I take part in?

Water sports in Abu Dhabi

From kayaking through protected mangroves, to Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP), diving and kitesurfing on open water, Abu Dhabi's coastal location makes it a watersports hotspot.

Don't miss the annual Al Dhafra Watersports Festival, which takes place every April, and where you can see the biggest names in sailing and watersports compete.

Where can I work out?

Sports in Abu Dhabi

Sports enthusiasts will find plenty of options in Abu Dhabi, where you can participate in almost any team or individual sport, from jiu-jitsu to touch rugby. There is also a wide selection of gyms offering every discipline from Muay Thai boxing to CrossFit.