This is not a complete guide to setting up in Dubai but one that gives an overview of many of the financial, and some of the legal, issues of which new residents need to be aware.
Your ability to live in the UAE is linked to employment and it is impossible to rent a property (apart from on a short-term basis) without a residency visa and accompanying identity card. These will be provided by your employer or as part of the package when you set up a trade licence if you wish to have your own business. You also need these to buy a car, get a UAE driving licence, get medical insurance or get an alcohol licence – a legal requirement for residents if you want to buy alcohol anywhere and or keep alcohol in your home. Co-habiting is illegal.
The rules can vary between emirates, although the main legal issues are correct for all, but this guide is mainly for Dubai residents.