The Dubai Guide

Just look at the contrast from 1991 to 2005. I wonder if anyone has a more recent picture from the same helicopter 😉

Dubai in 1991 Dubai in 2005

Step #1 in Dubai – Getting into the U.A.E

The first thing to remember while getting in to Dubai (asuming you have a ticket and a visa – depending on your nationality and the privileges the U.A.E gives to it), is that if travelling on Emirates – your ticket should have an “OK to board” tagged to it on the Emirates airline system. Disclaimer – I do not know if this is needed on all airlines and I do not know if it is needed in ALL countries. I will narrate how it worked for us:

My wife was coming on a visit visa, Indian national, travelling on Emirates airline. As soon as you approach the counter for check-in for the flight, the attendant will mark your visa for “Check OK to board”. The guy/girl behind the check-in counter will then check the Emirates system to see if you are indeed “OK to board”. The way this works is that the travel agent should check if all your papers (essentially the visa) are in order and then sends the “OK to board” into the airline system. If it is not loaded into the system (as was the case with my wife), you have to get the fax numbers for Emirates in Dubai and then fax them the visa from the airport for them to put the instruction in. Every Emirates flight from India to Dubai, there are a number of people arguing with the check-in team about the “OK to board”. Imagine what a shock it is when you realise they are not going to allow you to board the flight!!!

Step #2 in Dubai – Getting acco

After my initial post on getting into Dubai… the next issue to tackle would usually be finding accomodation for yourself. Not to deny that at this stage a number of things start happening simultaneously, almost all of which are also counting on your residence visa to be stamped onto your passport… but let’s deal with finding a house and renting it for now.

The first thing to do is get a number of brokers on the job. Points to be noted:

a) Most brokers hardly have time (circa 2007) and are doing you a huge favour

b) Try to know where you would want your house to be, hopefully even the size and the rent you’re willing to pay

c) Have as many of the papers ready as possible, as the broker and property manager want the deal closed yesterday (when you do find something you like)

– Resident visa/permit

– Cheque book for brokerage/deposit/rent

– Letter from your employer (If I remember correctly)

Once you have all these brokers working for you, it is advisable to see at least 3-4 places everyday till you find the best combination for yourself. Many buildings will be family only, and apparently some areas are best left alone. The thing is, Bur Dubai and Marina etc should be the costliest… I know about Bur Dubai (the golden sands area) and it is so as it’s in the heart of Dubai. Whether you wanna go left or right, you’re in a very central place. Of course, if budgets demand it… you can get a cheaper place in Deira.. lesser in Ghusais and then moving in to Sharjah etc. Also, one has the option of going towards international city or away from Bur dubai in the direction opposite to Deira on Sheikh Zayed road along Al Barsha etc… rents should get cheaper as you go farther away. Obviously localities like Jumeirah, Marina, and the upcoming Downtown Dubai have their own spiralling costs and lifestyles.

5 Responses to “The Dubai Guide”

  1. […] The Dubai Guide […]

  2. Ramesh Natarajan said

    Useful post for many people who intend to come to Dubai. Many Indians don’t do enough home work before they come to Dubai and get shocked with the high cost of living! The Dubai expats yahoo group also gives lot of tips about the cost of living etc.


  3. Purshotam said


  4. Furqan said

    To enroll “Ok to board” in Emirates system, we need to fax the online visit visa copy to Emirates fax # +971-4-2032990 or/and email otb@emirates.com. When visiter will check in from their country airport the Emirates counter will have electronic “ok to board” entry in their system.

  5. Azim Arshi said

    how to get confirmation that ok to board updated or not on ticket

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