The Guide: A handbook for expats in the UAE


Living in the UAE can be a minefield of bureaucracy. Newcomers are often overwhelmed by the volume of forms that need to be completed, certificates that have to be obtained (or provided) and hoops that one has to jump through just to get started in daily life. With this in mind I was asked to research, write and edit a resident’s guide for the UAE to offer value-added content for the relaunch of The National’s website.

The Guide, as it became known, is divided into three sections: practical advice for day-to-day living; social tips for enjoying free time; and a final section on the heritage and culture of the UAE.

For the day-to-day living section, essential information was distilled from government websites to offer advice on everyday topics such as how to rent a property, employment rights, how to get a driving licence (including special requirements for married women), setting up a bank account and how to leave the country without any nagging red tape.

The free time section was essentially a list of local clubs, associations and popular attractions to give readers an idea of what activities were avialable.

Finally, the heritage section was taken from the archives of the Abu Dhabi Media Company (then owners of The National). It included old photos and a brief history of how the UAE was formed and its development from a fishing villages to a global hub. 

The Guide proved to be a good way of attracting visitors to the wider website and a ‘sticky’ source of information for new arrivals.

Unfortunately, in the time since I left The National it was no longer updated and has since been removed from the website.

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