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Moving to Abu Dhabi

As an expat moving to Abu Dhabi, you’ll experience a life full of variety in the second largest city of the UAE. However, before you rush to prepare for Abu Dhabi, read our InterNations Expat Guide to make sure you’ve done your homework concerning visa options, work permits, and transportation!
Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the biggest mosque in the UAE.
  • Prepare for hot weather and a desert-like climate and beware of the unpredictable sandstorms in the summer.
  • Expats from 34 countries can get their visa on arrival in Abu Dhabi, but others must apply in advance so check with your local embassy.
  • Public transport is affordable and easily accessible in Abu Dhabi and there are even specialized forms of transport for woman and children only.  

Moving to Abu Dhabi gives you the chance to fully appreciate this emirate’s diversity. Due to its combination of modernity and tradition, you get the chance to learn about its culture and to enjoy great leisure activities during your free time.

Expats will also experience an emirate proud of its time-honored customs. Camel races and dhow sailing, as well as different cultural events, make moving to Abu Dhabi the beginning of your journey into the cultural heart of the UAE.

From Desert to Oasis

The destination is the northeastern part of the Arabian Gulf, with Abu Dhabi City located on an island 250 meters off the shore. This place has a beautiful coastline and two bridges connecting it to the mainland. On the Corniche promenade, you can go for a walk, ride your bike or take in the breathtaking view.

The emirate itself borders Oman in the east, Saudi Arabia in the south, and Dubai in the northeast. Expats moving to Abu Dhabi can visit some of the islands along the 600 kilometers of coastline, with sandy white beaches and turquoise water surrounding them. You get to experience a diverse landscape with beautiful sand dunes, the legendary Rub Al-Khali (Empty Quarter) and the sabkha (salt flats) by the coast.

Another important sight in Abu Dhabi is the garden city of Al Ain, located on the Omani border near the majestic Hajar Mountains. With its oases, Al Ain offers expats moving to Abu Dhabi a greener environment than any other place in the country.

The Climate in Abu Dhabi: Hot and Humid

The summer months in Abu Dhabi are rather hot and humid, with maximum temperatures at over 40°C. Adding to this, there are unpredictable sandstorms in summer, sometimes even affecting those moving to Abu Dhabi City. However, the winter months from October to March are fairly cool in comparison (around 15°C), with hardly any rainfall at all before February.

Visa Requirements for Abu Dhabi

For expats moving to Abu Dhabi requirements vary greatly, depending on their country of origin. Nationals from GCC countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or Saudi Arabia need not expect any bureaucratic obstacles. Expats from other countries, however, need to secure a visa before moving to Abu Dhabi.

If your passport contains a stamp from the Israeli immigration authorities, showing that you have recently been to Israel, it is probably wise to get in touch with your nearest UAE Embassy or Consulate. Ask whether this might cause any difficulties for you. It shouldn’t be a problem for most tourists, visitors, or expats, but it can’t hurt to be on the safe side.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Antoine Mariaux

"Thanks to InterNations, I've received very useful tips about the Emirates and expat life in Abu Dhabi."

Maria Loura

"The idea to connect expatriates in Abu Dhabi is just fantastic! Have been looking for such a platform for a long time."

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