You’ll be hard-pressed to find a city that’s more ambitious than Dubai! After all, the city is home to the world’s tallest building, the world’s biggest mall, the world’s biggest aquarium, and even the world’s biggest horses! As if all that weren’t enough, Dubai officials have their sights set on turning the city into the business capital of the Middle East, complete with a financial district that rivals Manhattan’s. It’s all proof that, in Dubai, people don’t just dream – they dream big!
In keeping with Dubai’s ambitious spirit, the geography in and around the city has something for everyone. Since it sits right on the southern end of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai has beautiful beaches and waterfront views that are ideal for luxury homeowners.
Dubai also offers freehold properties for sale and for rent for everyone and for people with any taste. Even if you can’t afford a massive villa, there are plenty of luxury apartments that will give you a beautiful view of the sea. Or, if you’re just coming to visit, there is a near-endless array of five-star hotels that line the coastline.
Dubai’s population has nearly tripled since 1995. By the end of 2011, just over 2.26 million people called Dubai home. Thousands more move here every month – mainly to take advantage of the ever-growing business opportunities. There are also plenty of people who move here just to enjoy all of the beautiful sights and culture that this vibrant city has to offer!
No matter why you decide to call this city home, you’ll quickly notice what a hub of activity Dubai is. Especially as more and more new construction goes up, there are always gourmet restaurants, outdoor cafes, trendy bars, funky coffee shops, and cute boutiques to check out.
Officially, Dubai is considered a constitutional monarchy, and the Al Maktoum family has been in power since 1833. The royal ruler of Dubai is also the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister. Much of Dubai’s day-to-day governmental issues are handled by the Supreme Council of the UAE – a group that holds power in all 7 Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ajman). They handle issues related to education, defence, federal laws, foreign affairs, and communications. Dubai’s laws can also be created by the Federal Council of Ministers – an assembly that works under the Supreme Council.
Dubai was ranked 9th among top ten tourist destinations in 2011 according to the study report by MasterCard. All of Dubai’s residents are joined by the millions of tourists who come to visit every year. Dubai is one of the most visited places in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Officially in 2010, Dubai hotels hosted 8.3 million guests and 9.1 million guests and tourists chose their vacation and business destination to Dubai in 2011.
The constructional boom in Dubai has made it one of the most desirable cities to live in the world. The city has promising business opportunities, luxury malls, best restaurants and appealing recreational places. However, all this development took place over the span of fifty years. The history of Dubai is centuries old.
Archaeological findings have proved that the humans populated this area in the Bronze Age. During the fifth and sixth centuries, Jumeirah was considered an important trade route in the region. Sixteenth century was marked with the Portuguese interest in this area’s trade routes which became the cause of European influence.
The area became a “Trucial Coast” in 1820 when Britain signed a treaty with the rulers. Bani Yas tribe, (the descendants of which are still ruling Middle East) is said to have settled at Creek in the year 1833. Fishing, pearling and trade became the chief occupations of the residents of Dubai creek. During the 1870’s Dubai was the leading trade port of the Gulf region which brought Iranian traders to the emirate in 1902.
The twentieth century was the beginning of a new Dubai, the Diera side of Dubai creek attracted business men from far and wide.
Dubai investment saw its dawn with the discovery of oil in this area during the 1950’s. In the next decade more Indians and Pakistanis populated the area. When oil was discovered in Dubai’s oil field in 1966 Sheik Rashid (the ruler) used the oil profits for development projects in Dubai. It was during this bout that good roads, schools and hospitals were built in Dubai; latest communication networks were laid down in and around the city. Dubai International Airport was renovated with a new terminal building. The world’s largest port was also built at that time; welcoming traders from all corners of the world.
The reason why Dubai attracted world’s attention was the unrivaled infrastructure, no taxes and flexible/friendly conditions for emigrants. All these factors contributed to the business development of Dubai with investors from Asian, African and other continents. Tourism also thrived during that time period.
The rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai always wanted to have a confederation of emirates; in 1971 Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman and Fujairah became the “United Arab Emirates” (Ras Al Khaimah also joined in 1972).
During the tenure of late Sheikh Zayed (the first president) of UAE, the country emerged as one of the world’s richest republics with more than US$ 17,000 annual GDP.
The city of Dubai is developed on the idea of “jet powered globalization”, this idea grabbed people from far-off areas to Dubai. Being the “Air Hub” of Middle East, Dubai is an important stop for all international flights. Daniel Brook writes about Dubai in his book “A History of Major Cities”, a brief excerpt of which is as follows:
Through a parallel strategy designed to lure multinational companies, Sheikh Mohammed successfully turned Dubai into the global business hub of the Middle East. In the early 1980s, Mohammed had breathed new life into the languishing Jebel Ali port by declaring it Dubai’s first “free zone.” The term was something of a misnomer. Free zones in many countries were simply areas where companies were exempt from taxation. But in Dubai, there were no corporate or income taxes to begin with; the government was funded largely with the profits of state-owned enterprises, oil revenues and sin taxes on alcohol.
The 1980’s and 90’s were the years, Dubai invested in becoming one of the alluring tourist destinations of the world.
Dubai real estate industry saw its bloom when in May 2002, a decree was issued according to which expatriates were granted rights to buy property freehold.
Today real estate companies are selling Dubai freehold properties to both the locals and the foreigners. Construction development projects also include a huge investment from international market.
The Dubai economy has radically changed in the past three decades and has become a highly diversified, dynamic and rapidly flourishing economy. It is the second wealthiest economy in the Emirates after Abu Dhabi. Being a strategic location, and regional hub in the Middle East, Dubai has a great attraction for international investors, multinational enterprises and business houses. But don’t ignore its tourism. Dubai is one of the top tourist attractions too. Let us discuss the multiple aspects of Dubai economy in depth:
Dubai’s Economy Major Contributors:
Of course UAE is a major oil producing country, but Dubai does not have as many oil resources as other Emirates have, such as Abu Dhabi. Nearly 95% of Dubai GDP (Gross Domestic Product) are non-oil based. The major contributor of the Dubai economy is its tourism, which is above 20% of its GDP. Dubai only produces that much of oil resources required to support and upkeep its infrastructure for trade, tourism and production.
Dubai Real Estate is also one of the major economic contributors in Dubai. The infrastructure of Dubai is changing rapidly. Skyscrapers, ports, hotels, and many other buildings are being constructed here day and night.
To promote specific industries, the government has set up industry specific tax free zones in the city. This has not only motivated the local investors, but also attracted the foreign investment in the region. Consequently, development has also been made in information technology and communication industries besides the traditional industries. Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City have significantly revolutionized the shape of IT industry in Dubai.
At the beginning of the last decade of the 20th century, there were only a few hotels in Dubai. Since the commencement of the first seven star hotel, Burj Al Arab Hotel project in 1994, there has been a great deal of development in the hotel industry too. Now, there are dozens of world class luxury hotels in Dubai.
Why Invest in Dubai:
The massive investment in Dubai is accumulating tons of billions of dollars each year and the figure is getting larger and even larger. But what makes Dubai Investment so much attractive locally and internationally? Here is the answer:
Dubai is the heart of the Middle East and has a very vast population in the neighborhood, nearly 1.5 billion in the Middle East, Gulf, Central Asia, CIS, Africa, and the Asian sub-continent. It is rapidly growing not only in population, but also in trade volume and business activities. It is easily accessible by more than 120 shipping lines, and 85 airlines. All these things have made Dubai a strategic location.
Free and Open Economic System:
The government of Dubai has adopted a wonderful policy to attract the foreign investment. The maximum possible benefits are being provided to the private investors and regulations are kept to minimum. Absence of direct taxes on corporate profits or personal income, cent percent repatriation of capital and profits, no foreign exchange controls, trade barriers or quotas, least amount of custom duties (4%) with many exemptions and the stability in exchange rates have attracted Millions of investors across the globe.
Political and Economic Stability:
The presence of sound political system and strict regulations, has helped Dubai achieve economic stability and growth. The government of Dubai has also developed a comprehensive set of legal framework to ensure the protection of the investors’ interest too.
Low cost advantages are also one of the reasons of the high volume of foreign investment in Dubai. Many a cost advantages (such as low labor cost, operational cost, real estate, cost) have kept the cost of doing business very low.
Perfect Conditions for Local and International Trade:
The level of consumption and production of both luxuries and necessities is really very high in Dubai. Furthermore, the absence of trade barriers has helped many multinational enterprises to host their headquarters in Dubai. Dubai is also a major re-exporting center in the Middle East.
Dubai’s Economy on the Whole:
Overall, the Dubai economy is highly diversified. It has attractions for everyone, and everything contributes to its economy significantly. Not only its mega commercial centers, information technology industries, tourism, and real estate have a lion’s share in its diversified economy, but also its beaches, mega shopping malls, picnic spots, and hotel industry have earned it a significant amount of GDP each year.
The second wealthiest Emirate of UAE after Abu Dhabi, Dubai is a rapidly developing city as a regional commercial hub and tourist attraction. It is one of the top destinations not only for the tourists, but also for the professionals, business owners and researchers. However, you need to fulfill some visa requirements before you come to Dubai.
Keep on reading, this write-up explains each and everything you need to know about Dubai visa and its requirements.
Who Requires a Visa?
- GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia do not require any visa to travel to Dubai.
- If you are the residents and not the national of the GCC countries, you are not required to obtain visa prior to coming to GCC. You can obtain visa upon your arrival in Dubai from the approved authorities at the airport.
- There are 46 countries, whose residents do not require a visa prior to coming to Dubai. However, they need to obtain visa upon their arrival in the UAE on the airport from the government authorities.
Citizens not belonging to these countries are required to obtain visa before they travel to Dubai.
Types of Visas:
There are chiefly two types of visas, including visitor visas, and work visas.
How to Apply for the Visa:
You have the following options to apply for Dubai visa:
- Online Application:
186 countries of the world can now apply for the visa to the UAE online. In this method, the visa can be obtained without getting passport stamped. The entire process is carried out online. However, your passport must have the validity of at least six months. The applicants must also have booked flight tickets.
- Other Application Methods:
The applicant must apply himself for visas, however, your friends and family members in Dubai can also apply for your visa on your behalf. Typically, you need to submit an application on a prescribed form in writing along with many supporting documents.
Required Documents for Visa:
Document requirements vary with the type of visas. However, following are the typical documentation requirements for each type of visa:
- Application: An application must be submitted in black and white on a prescribed form.
- Photographs: Applicant’s 3 to 4 passport size color photographs are required to be annexed with the application form.
- Passport: Certified copies of the passport with at least six months remaining validity is required.
- Copies of Academic Documents: You may be asked to furnish the copies of your all academic documents. Mostly these are required in study visas.
- Proves of Financially Sound: In some cases, you are required to produce the certificate of financial soundness. For this purpose certified copies of your bank account records may be required. You may be asked to produce the copies of the return ticket as well at the time of applying for the visa.
- Medical Insurance Documents: In some cases, you may be asked to provide your medical certificates or international medical insurance documents.
- Misc. Documents: Some other documents such as driving license, zero criminal record report, etc. may also be required in particular cases.
General Rules and Regulations and Conditions for the Visa:
- Non-refundable visa fee must be paid in full at the time of submitting application.
- If you are coming to Dubai to stay with one of your friends or family members, they may be required to deposit a refundable security of different amounts varying with the type of visa.
- Work visas must be sponsored by the local business owners offering the job to the applicants.
- Do remember some visas are not extendable.
- It is your responsibility to carry all your visa documents with yourself while you are travelling in Dubai.
Relaxation in the Visa Requirements:
If your family members live in Dubai or you have a close relation with the residents of Dubai, your visa requirements may be relaxed.
Dubai is a city full of amusement and entertainment and its life is extremely mesmerizing, no matter what type of person you are, Dubai has everything for your interest. Each corner in Dubai has an endless enchantment and attraction for you. Here, you find some of the tallest buildings of the world, world class hotels, beaches and even the traditional deserts. Holidays are worth enjoying here, as there are several things to do that one really must not miss.
Let’s discuss what you have to do in Dubai:
Dubai is famous for shopping. Tourists from across the globe visit Dubai for some of the mega shopping malls. Dubai is really a paradise for shopping lovers. Here, the shopping experience is really a fun that never let you get bored. Here, some shopping malls are really big, big enough to provide each and everything you wish to purchase.
Unlike the traditional shopping malls, Dubai’s shopping malls have entirely changed the shopping experience because of unusual and outclass facilities. Mall of the Emirates has an indoor ski slope to provide its visitors the real snow and skiing right in the middle of the desert. Mall of Arabia is the world’s largest shopping malls covering the area of 10 million square feet, with a real life Jurassic Park called the Restless Planet.
Besides, there are dozens of other shopping malls as well, which are the home of world’s top jewellery, garments, and I.T. Product brands.
Visiting Dubai’s Spectacular Places:
Dubai has completely changed in the previous years. Here are so many places to visit that 30 days will be lesser to visit them all. Let us discuss some of the highlighting marks of Dubai:
Although Dubai is a city with desserts, yet it also has some beaches. There are both public and private beaches. Jumeirah and Al Mamzar are the public beaches in the neighbourhood of the emirate of Sharjah. You can also enjoy the public beach of Umm Suqeim known as Kite Beach. You can enter Jumeirah Beach park with AED 5, and if you can afford, you may enjoy the luxurious hotels’ private beaches costing from AED 250.
Dubai is the house of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khaifa. Since its opening, millions of people have visited this landmark which is 828 meters high and has 163 floors. Besides Burj Khalifa, there are more than 100 buildings in Dubai with the at least height of 180 meters. For instance, 414 metres high Princess Tower with 101 floors, 90 storey 23 Marina with 892.9 meter height.
- Luxurious Hotels:
World’s top class luxury hotels really represent Dubai and its life. Here you shall find not only the world’s first seven star hotels, Burj Al Arab, but you will also have dozens of five star hotels and restaurants in Dubai. The most famous hotels of Dubai include Atlantis – The Palm, Al Bustan Rotana Hotel, Al Maha Desert Resort, Al Maha Desert Resort, Dar Al Masyaf Hotel, Grand Hyatt Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Raffles Hotel, and many others.
- Dining and Food:
Dubai has many dining and food spots, providing ultimate delight to your stomach not only with the traditional Arabic food, but also with the food of world’s top cultured countries, including Chinese, Italian and Indian. From cheap creek food to some of the world’s most expensive food restaurants, all are there to satisfy your hunger. Not only the dining in a traditional café hall, cabins, you can enjoy eating food in the heights of the sky (Burj Khalifa) and even eating seafood in the presence of their relatives. Margaux, Pierchic, Eauzone, Majlis Al Arab, Al Hadeerah, Zheng He’s, and Hukama are some of the very famous dining spots in Dubai.
Dubai’s Top Hangout and Fun Things:
If you are a fun lover and want to experience adventurous things, Dubai has much for your pleasure as well.
- Desert Safari:
Desert Safari in Dubai, lets you experience the desert life in an unusual way. It is a package, in which you may ride a jeep in the desert, have dinner in tents with others, and sleep in the desert as well if you desire so.
- Dubai Nightlife:
Although Dubai is a Muslim country, yet subjects to some restrictions it allows the existence of traditional European nightlife.
- Hot Balloon Ride
In Dubai you can enjoy the hot balloon ride as well, and view Dubai from the heights in the sky.
- Helicopter Ride:
If you are in a hurry and do not have much time to visit Dubai’s many places or if you desire to visit all of the places from the sky, you can get a helicopter ride over the city. It will really provide you a bird’s eye view of all the landmarks of Dubai.
These are just a few spectacular things to do in Dubai, there are thousands of others as well which you may explore Dubai yourself