Life in Al Ain: Part 4 Officialdom

It’s a good idea to be prepared before you visit any official/government department here in the UAE.  Rules change frequently, and just because your colleague needed only the original of a particular document last week, doesn’t mean that you won’t need a photocopies as well as the original today!  There are photocopying machines in most centres, but they can have a queue so it’s quicker to make your own beforehand.It’s worth taking original documents plus two copies of each of these

a) For almost anything:
Original passport, copies should be of the main page, and if you have your residence visa, that one too. (Ladies- if you are here on your husband’s sponsorship it’s an idea to have a copy of your his passport and residency too if you are going to a department on your own).
Your UAE ID card if you have one (you should always carry it in any case)
6 passport sized photographs

b) Residency and residence
If you haven’t got your residence visa, then your offer letter/contract of employment
Attested marriage certificate and kids’ birth certificates for anything to do with visas
Your residential rental contract, which should now be attested by the Municipality (Tawtheeq).

c) Vehicles
If your visit is about vehicles, your home country driving licence, unless you have your UAE one in which case just use it

d) Anywhere official
A huge reserve of patience!


GPS – N24 12.377, E55 45.678
This is where you arrange for your mobile phone sim card, house phone/tv/internet. There are Etisalat kiosks in most of the malls, but generally these are for straightforward transactions, so we always go to their main office to arrange or change services.  Du also offer telecoms services but they are less popular than Etisalat.

SEHA – Health Exam

GPS – N24 13.979, E55 43.900
A basic health check is required for processing of your visa, a blood test which checks for AIDS, Hepatitis etc, and an X-ray for TB.  Pay for a fast track service – costs you 100aed extra but saves you waiting for hours in line.

EIDA – ID card

GPS – N24 14.179, E55 44.007
At the time of writing, the first step in the process of acquiring your ID card is to visit a typing office – these are listed on the EIDA website.  Once you have done this and got your receipt in hand, you must then make your way to the EIDA office, where they will stamp your receipt – this serves as a temporary ID card until your one arrives.

Department of Residence and Foreigners Affairs

GPS N24 14.440, E55 43.876
Your employer will take care of your visa, however you may have to do the legwork for your spouse/children. If they offer to take care of your family’s residency formalities too – then let them!
Al Ain Distribution Company 


GPS – N24 14.434, E55 44.013
To arrange your electricity and water supply you have to visit one of their offices – the co-ordinates are for the one in the Municipality block.  Details of others in their downloadable customer guide.

To get your account set up, you may need to have your rental contract attested and if so, you need to go to the

Main Municipality Building

GPS – N24 14.327, E55 44.267
There’s a typing centre inside this building as well as a bank and all the usual departments.

Emirates Post

GPS –  N24 13.193, E55 45.506
The main post office, nightmare to park near here, unless it’s a Friday morning (when it and all other businesses are closed!)

GPS- N24 14.131, E55 43.905
This is a very quiet office, with easy parking.

Once your residency visa has been processed, you can now buy a car, and as part of this process you will need to visit the Al Ain Traffic Complex – GPS N24 11.708, E55 43.726.  Abu Dhabi Police website here

Driving License building  N24 11.588, E55 43.359
Separate section for ladies – much quicker and quieter.
Car Test and License area N24 11.407, E55 43.265
A bit like the British MOT but somewhat faster and slimmed down.  It’s also possible to get your car tested at some smaller, outlying test stations.  Once you get your car’s pass certificate, and your driving license, ID card you can register a car in your name.Hope this info will help some of the Al Ain newcomers get through the tricky admin during the early days of their Arabian adventure!Please note that all my photos were taken on a Friday morning, when the various departments were shut.  The images you see on google earth have also been shot on Fridays!Part 1 – shopping
Part 2 – Hotels
Part 3a – Leisure and Recreation
Part 4 – Officialdom 
Part 5a – A Different World Part A
Part 5b – Local WeddingsBonus –  Further Resouces

And for information on the Industrial Area – Sanaiya


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