STOCK Abu Dhabi skyline city
Commercial and Residence buildings in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Moving to a new city can be a daunting task, from finding the right place to live to setting up all the services in your new home. If you are planning to move to Abu Dhabi and need some help to understand the housing system, parking facilities or emergency contact numbers, here is a detailed guide that should make your move a little easier.

COVID-19 guidelines

In April this year, Abu Dhabi returned to 100 per cent capacity at public places in the Emirate. However, you need to be fully vaccinated and take regular PCR tests to have a ‘green status’ on the Al Hosn app, which is the UAE’s official COVID-19 registry. To find out more about how you can maintain a Green Status on the app, read our guide here.

This is important to note as you may be asked to show a ‘Green Pass’ on Al Hosn to access public places in the Emirate.

How do I find a home in Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi has a number of popular residential areas where you can start your house hunt. According to Abu Dhabi’s official government portal – TAMM – here are some of the popular areas in Abu Dhabi:

• Saadiyat Island
• Khalifa City
• Al Reem Island
• Al Reef

You can also check out property listings in local newspapers or through registered brokers and real estate agents. To know more about the leasing process and the documents you will need to submit when booking an apartment or villa, read our detailed guide here.

What’s ‘Tawtheeq’?

That’s a word you will hear regularly during the moving process. Tawtheeq is the process of registering a tenancy contract, and is a mandatory step that you will need to complete once you have found the right home that fits your budget.

The attestation process is the responsibility of the landlord or property management company, as per Abu Dhabi’s rental laws, however you will need a copy of the Tawtheeq to complete other processes as a new tenant.

To find out more on the cost of Tawtheeq and how you can get a copy of the document, click here.

Setting up your electricity and water connection

After your lease contract has been registered by the landlord, a water and electricity account and connection will automatically be set up for you by the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC), which manages utility services in the Emirate. This is because the two systems – signing a lease contract and getting an electricity and water connection – are linked.

Once the connection is active (which should take around 48 hours), you will receive a notification from ADDC via SMS and email.

To find out more about how you can then manage your utility account through ADDC, read our guide here.

Moving around the Emirate

While you will see a lot of people driving around the UAE, if you haven’t yet applied for a driver’s licence, you can depend on the public transportation services in the Emirate. You will need to get a ‘Hafilat’ card, which can then help you move around the Emirate using the bus network. You might also be interested in buying an e-scooter. While you do not need a licence to ride an e-bike or e-scooter, there are clear guidelines and rules for e-scooter users in the Emirate that you are required to follow. Abu Dhabi Police is also running an awareness campaign right now on the safety measures all riders should keep in mind. You can read more about it here and here.

If you want to get a driver’s licence, you may be able to convert your home country’s licence to a UAE driver’s licence in some situations. Alternatively, if you need to take classes and tests for the licence, find out how you can do that here.

What are the parking spaces reserved for residents?

When moving around the Emirate, you may notice some parking spaces having a ‘Resident permit only’ sign on it. That is because the more densely populated areas in Abu Dhabi have special spaces that residents of the area can reserve, to ensure that the space is used by residents in the neighbourhood.

In order to reserve a parking spot, you will need an annual residential permit, which is issued by Abu Dhabi’s Integrated Transport Centre (ITC).

To know how to get a Mawaqif parking permit in Abu Dhabi, read our detailed guide here.

Toll gates

The toll gate system in Abu Dhabi is called ‘Darb’. Once you start driving in the Emirate, you will also need to keep the toll gates in mind, which are located at the following bridges in the Emirate:

• Sheikh Zayed Bridge
• Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Bridge
• Al Maqtaa Bridge
• Mussafah Bridge

Your Darb account is linked with your vehicle’s traffic file number and paying the toll is quite easy as the system is online. Read more about it here.

In case of an emergency …

Being prepared for emergency situations can go a long way in determining how quickly and efficiently you respond when you or someone else is facing a health or safety crisis. We have a detailed guide on the preventative steps you should take to stay safe and protect your family from accidents, as well as the contact numbers of critical services like the police, fire department and ambulance in our guide here. You can also take a first aid course, if you want to be equipped to help people in emergency situations. The courses are provided by Abu Dhabi Police’s Directorate of Emergency and Public Safety.