Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: About to touch down in the UAE? While you may be excited to land in the country and explore all the attractions it has to offer, you may also be worried about how you can set yourself up in a new country.

Whether you are coming to the UAE as a tourist, or if you are planning to reside in the country, here are the top five things you should do to settle in.

1. Download the Al Hosn app.

disclaimer form on al hosn app for unvaccinated uae citizens
The Al Hosn app is the official COVID-19 registry in the UAE and is available for both Apple and Android devices. Image Credit: Supplied

While the UAE has recently eased COVID-19 related restrictions, with masks not mandatory in most public places, you still need to follow certain guidelines, such as having a ‘Green Pass’ on the Al Hosn app. The app can be used by both residents and visitors. As a visitor, you can update your COVID-19 vaccine or test records by following these steps:

1. When you download the app, you will have the option to sign in as a visitor.
2. Click ‘Next’.
3. Enter your passport number and nationality along with a mobile number. This can be an international mobile number as well. However, you need to ensure that the mobile number you provide is the same number you will submit to the immigration authority at the airport when you arrive in the UAE.
4. Review your information and tap on continue.
5. Enter the six-digit OTP (one-time-password) sent to your mobile device for verification purposes.
6. Verify your profile after arrival to the UAE.

2. Get a UAE SIM card

How visitors can get a free Sim card in the UAE
Visitors can get a Sim card from the airport or any of the phone service providers in the UAE. Image Credit: Pexels

The UAE has three main telecom service providers – Etisalat, du and Virgin Mobile. You can purchase a SIM card from any of these service providers through kiosks that are located at arrival terminals of international airports in the UAE. If you don’t have the time to pick up the SIM card at the airport, just visit a nearby mall when you have settled in and you will find an Etisalat, du or Virgin mobile store where you can purchase the SIM card. Read more here.

3. Convert some money into dirhams

Stock Dirhams ATM cash currency
Picture used for illustrative purposes only.

While you can use an international credit card to make payments at most places, having some dirhams in your wallet can be of help. Just visit a money exchange at the airport or near your hotel or place of residence to convert your home country’s currency to dirhams. To find the latest exchange rate, click here. https://gulfnews.com/gold-forex

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4. Get a Nol card or public transport card

nol card generic
For illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Supplied

In Dubai, you can easily move around the city using buses, the Metro, the tram or water transport like abras. To benefit from public transport options, you would need to purchase a Nol card. But this card is not just needed when you are using a public transport service in Dubai, it is also helpful as an alternative mode of payment when you are taking the taxi, or even shopping for groceries.

In Abu Dhabi, you would need the Hafilat card, and in Sharjah the public bus card is called the Sayer card. If you are visiting Ajman and want to use public transport, you would need to use the Masaar card.

5. Download a public transport/taxi app

Picture used for illustrative purposes only.

Finally, to get yourself set up in the UAE, it is recommended to download certain travel-related apps.

For public transport, you can download the S’hail app in Dubai, which is managed by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). In Abu Dhabi, you can download the Darbi app, which is managed by Abu Dhabi’s Integrated Transport Centre (ITC). Both these apps will provide you with all possible public transport options for a route you wish to take.

For taxis, download the ‘Careem’ app or the ‘Uber’ app to book taxis for taxi service in Dubai.

In Abu Dhabi, you can download the ‘Abu Dhabi Taxi’ app.

All the apps mentioned above are available for both Apple and Android devices.

In every Emirate, you can also just hail a free taxi on the road.

If you want to know what your driving options are as a visitor, read our detailed guide here.