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Bringing Family to the UAE

Camels in the UAE

My family’s big adventure started when I was hired by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) in April 2014.  I would be moving my family nearly 8,000 miles away from their home and everyone they knew.  My husband and 16 year old son could not wait for the adventure to begin; my 12 year old was a bit more reserve.


ADEC advises families to come after the teacher is settled and has their own visa.  However, the teacher can request that the family travel with the teacher when the teacher initially travels to the UAE.  This is a simple request made to Nirvana (the travel agency that will send the flight information to the teacher).  If families are brought over with the teacher at the same time ADEC will arrange everything.  ADEC will also arrange for all flights if the teacher’s family waits and comes over once the visas are processed.  

Golden Ticket

We decided the best thing for our family would be for them to come over after I was settled and their visas were processed.  I was one of the lucky ones who got their “golden" ticket in the first group and I flew out August 21, 2014.

This decision (to bring family at first or to wait) is a hard one and teachers will have to go with what works best for their family.  I have heard other teachers say they wish they hadn’t brought their families out at first and others who have said they would have never made it without their families by their side.  It is a personal decision and teachers will just have to weigh the pros and cons.

ADEC will tell you that it will take anywhere from 4-6 weeks before your family will join you.  In my experience (group one) it took 8 weeks to get my visa (and passport) back.  This meant that the earliest my family could join me was late October.  In reality my family did not join me until early November. 

Residents Visa

Once they were here they had two weeks to get all of their paperwork done.  My husband needed to get his medical check done and everyone had to apply for their residents visas.  There is a lot of running around and a lot of paperwork to do no matter what.

If your family comes with you initially then every 30 days, until the teacher gets their visa, the family members must make a “border run”  to renew their 30 day UAE tourist visa.  The border runs are relatively easy, but they do cost money.  (85 dhs per person (US$23), plus the cost of getting to the Oman border.)  There are many people who will help you with this process for a fee.  Families that came in group 1 ended up with 3-4 border runs.

Teach in Abu Dhabi.