With only a week left until we head off to Dubai, I thought it was time to do a bit of an update on how things have been going…
As you may (or may not) recall, our first expat experience was moving from the UK to Belgium. There were a few forms to fill in, a quick chat with the police to be had, money to be paid (not to the police of course) and a residency permit to collect, but otherwise, it was pretty smooth sailing – apart from the stupid UK tax returns (but that’s another story).
Luckily Philip’s employers (who I’m calling The Man for the purposes of this post) are helping us, as our second expat move (from Brussels to Dubai) is much more involved.
I wasn’t sure what format to write about this in, so I just decided to write it in paragraphs that are kind of organised into sections, so that I can see what we’ve done versus what we still need to sort, but also, just in case someone else is doing this move one day, they might find all this helpful (probably not though).
There has been no mucking about with this. Without a residency visa Philip and I (as British Citizens) are only allowed in the UAE for 30 days at a time. Thankfully, The Man is sponsoring him to go out there and work, it is a full-time, permanent role so they are taking care of the lot. Philip’s Visa has to come through first, before he can ‘sponsor’ me (as his wife) to join him. We did originally think that he would have to fly out first and sort his bits out before I was allowed to join him, but it turns out we can both go over at the same time, enter on a visitors visa and then our team of helpers will do the rest.
All we’ve had to do is send photographs – passport style – 8 of each, have both our marriage certificate sent to the a lawyer in the UK to be attested and also Philip’s degree certificate. If I wanted to, I could apply for a visa under my own right, but it’s tricky, I very, very much doubt that I could get one in my current self-employed state, so just for ease, I’ve chosen to enter under a ‘spousal visa’ and then we can sort it all out once I’m there.
Our movers are going to arrive at 8am, pack everything up for us and ship it over, it will take between four and six weeks for our stuff to arrive and they’ll keep it in storage for us for up to 60 days, giving us time to find an apartment. All we need to do is pack the suitcases that we’ll be taking with us on the plane. This is VERY different to our last move, when the lorry with all our stuff in, met us the very next day and all our stuff was put straight into our apartment.
This time, I really need to think about just what I’ll need for 30+ days once we arrive. Clothes, Work stuff, leisure stuff, camera equipment, paperwork, anything that we don’t want to risk shipping. On the one hand, the fact that there are so many shops in Dubai, does take the pressure off a little as if I do forget anything I can replace it, but on the other hand, I don’t want to be spending money willy-nilly, especially if I’m duplicating something that will be delivered in a months time. We’ve started going through our apartment, having a general clear-out, but other than that there isn’t really much we need to do until pretty much the day before we head out.
What neither Philip or I remembered though, was that we needed to give three months notice on our Brussels apartment. We thought it was one month (bugger), our lease is up at the end of June, we are moving out at the end of April. Just two months early, but they are sticking to the rules and we need to pay the three months rent (grumble grumble grumble)
We also need to arrange for an indpependent party to come in and check the condition of the apartment for ‘damage’ apparently this will be any dents in the floorboards, scratches in the sink etc (things that I take to be general wear and tear over three years) but no, under Belgian law, it all needs to be perfect again – we’ll have to have it painted as well of course.
We can’t sort out an apartment in Dubai until we have a visa, which means that at this stage, there is nothing that we can really do about it. We have booked a serviced apartment to stay in for the first month that we are there. Apparently it will take around three weeks for the visa and then we can start looking for our next home. We’ve started researching of course, we’ve got two areas to choose from in Dubai and we know what sort of price we want to pay, but the fun is still to come on that one.
So there you go, it hasn’t been too bad so far, saying goodbye (again) to my friends and family has been the worst thing. We have definitely taken for granted just how close we’ve been to the UK while we’ve been in Belgium and we’ve been able to go back for birthday’s, Xmas, New additions and naming ceremonies and just for a visit too. But we won’t be able to do that once we’ve moved, meaning those goodbyes have been even harder than last time.Between Skype and Facetime, we won’t lose contact and we’ve already arranged for a couple of people to visit – bit crazy seeing as we don’t know exactly where we’ll be living, but we’ll have it all sorted by then (we hope ;-)) Over the next week, there are four main things on my list to do
- Sort through the fridge, freezer etc. we can’t really take any food and drink with us this time, so I want to use up all the things we have in the kitchen before we go.
- Clear out the cellar – what started as “we’ll just put this downstairs out of the way for now” has quite frankly descended into chaos. Most of it can probably be thrown away and I don’t want to be taking a load of crap to Dubai.
- Sorting out where we’ll stay on the two nights between when they pack up our apartment and when we actually fly out – I’ve got my eye on a hotel in the centre of Brussels.
- Actually booking our flights to Dubai. As there is only one flight each day out of Brussels to Dubai, we don’t have a lot of choice, but I want to get it sorted asap anyway.
So there you have it, that is where we are at the moment.
I don’t have any suitable images for this post (well, I probably do, but I’ve just come back from the cellar I don’t have the energy to try and sort them) so I used some pics from Unsplash
instead – thanks Unsplash!