The city of Dubai is rapidly expanding. This vibrant international metropolis with a tropical climate can provide an enjoyable and exciting experience for expatriates from France and around the world. Despite being a modern city of the 21st century Dubai is a place where tradition still features highly. Having said that, to be able to start a new life there, expatriates must leave themselves open to learning and respecting a new culture. Have a look at our smart guide on what you should know before your international move to Dubai: Dubai is an Arab Emirate being part of the United Arab Emirates. While Dubai is fairly liberal, it’s important to remember that it’s still an Arab Emirate. The Islamic religion impacts every aspect of Muslims’ daily lives and the call to prayer occurs five times a day. This may mean that non-Muslims may have to wait to continue their business until Muslims return from prayer. During the holy month of Ramadan there are shorter working hours and most restaurants will be closed during the day, or at least serve a very limited menu. Other religions are allowed to be practised in the city and there exist Christian churches and a Sikh temple located in Jebel Ali. But keep in mind, there is a strong warning that no evangelisation will be tolerated across the region. Cultural customs Make sure that you are aware of the custom that modest dress is to be expected in all public places. Minimum requirement is being loosely covered from neck to elbow and to knees. Drug use, drunkenness, dishonest behaviour, bad language and public displays of affection are all criminal offenses. The raising of the middle finger hand gesture is considered offensive and could likely land you in prison. It’s also important not to argue or raise your voice to any policeman or any state official. Renting a property in Dubai Purchasing a house in Dubai tends to be difficult because of the restrictions on foreigners owning property. However, the good news is that it’s fairly easy to rent a property and there are plenty of affordable options in the many sections of the city. Busy Dubai Marina is popular among western expatriates, whereas Deira an Burj Dubai are traditional areas. If you are prepared to go further out, the Arabian Ranches and the Green Community Jumeirah, Al Wasl, Al Safa and Umm Seqeim offer luxury residential accommodation. It is important to note that one of the things that attracts western expatriates to Dubai is the quality of the accommodation itself. New high rise flats and serviced apartments are available in the city and they come fully furnished and are serviced as part of the rent; short-term leases are also available for this type of accommodation. How to deal with the landlord An important advise for anyone considering relocating to Dubai is to be aware that annual rents on apartments must be paid in full and up front. Some companies will cover this for their employees and then deduct amounts monthly from their wages. Estate agents can be difficult to work with and it’s important to either consult a property lawyer or to carry out your own research before the move. Interesting deals can also be found through networking within the expat community and certainly by word of mouth.