This comprehensive relocation guide will teach you all you need to know about living in Dubai. Tips on finding new housing and jobs, how to set up bank accounts and health insurance, and the average cost of living are all provided below.
Living in Dubai – Quick Stats:
Before moving to Dubai, here’s a snapshot of some basic statistics you should know:
- Total population: 2.8 million
- Total size: 1,500 square miles
- Capital: Dubai
- Currency: Dirhams, also symbolised as ‘Dhs’ or ‘AED’
- Total number of ex-pats: 7.8 million
- Expats from the US: 50,000
- Expats from Australia: 16,000
- Expats from the UK: 240,000
- Official languages: Arabic, but English is widely spoken
- Weather: Dubai gets very hot in the summer months and drastically cool at night. From May to September, temperatures can touch 54°C (129°F) and in winter the temperature at night is usually from 10 to 16°C (50 to 61°F).
- Biggest cities: The city of Dubai can be distinguished from Dubai the Emirate; Dubai is the largest city within the Emirate of Dubai
- Customs: Dubai is a Muslim city and the customs and etiquette might be slightly different than what you’re used to at home. While in public you should dress modestly, refrain from being drunk or disorderly, and keep displays of affection such as hugging or kissing to a minimum so that you keep out of trouble with the local law enforcement.
- Average salary: Dhs 15,000 a month for a teacher, Dhs 25,000 a month for an architect, Dhs 35,000 a month for a project manager, Dhs 25,000 for an engineer
1. Figure Out The Legal Requirements to Move to Dubai
It is critical to ensure that all of your paperwork is in order before moving to Dubai. If you are a British citizen, you must have a passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry. To enter the nation if you already have a residence permit, your passport must be valid for at least three months. If you are travelling from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, or most of Europe, you can receive a visa on arrival. You should also ensure that any supplementary documents, such as marriage licenses, bank statements, or diplomas, are certified before entering the country.
There are a few different types of visas that will allow you to stay in the country for an extended or permanent period. If you do not have a job before coming, the long-term multiple visit visas will allow you to stay in the nation for 90 days with the option of reapplying after that period. If you have a job lined up, your employer will usually handle all of the paperwork for your work permit and visa. This can be done either before entering the country or after crossing the border to alter your visa status from visiting work. If your circumstance is unusual, you should consult the Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
For a work visa, you’ll need an updated passport photo of yourself, and you’ll probably have to pay a charge to change your visa status. If you intend to bring your family with you, Dubai will also require proof of a monthly wage of at least Dhs 10,000 before you can receive admission permission for your loved ones.
Remember that you will require a sponsor to enter Dubai, whether for a short visit or a permanent migration. This might be your hotel or tourism company, your future workplace, or a friend or family member who is a permanent resident of the UAE.
Citizens of Australia, the EU, the United Kingdom, and the United States can visit Dubai for 30 days without making prior preparations. Your passport will be stamped with a 30-day visit visa once you disembark from an aircraft.
A residency visa is required to extend your stay beyond the duration of this visa. This can be accomplished through an employer, a family member who already resides in Dubai, or by completing certain other requirements. There is also an investor residency visa, which allows you to acquire a three-year visa provided you invest Dhs 70,000 (£14,500) in a UAE company and pay a Dhs 300 fee.
Requirements for Students
Students in the UAE are required to have a student visa, which is usually valid for one year. It is renewable on an annual basis through their program of study. Students must produce a passport, pictures, a letter of acceptance to a UAE educational institution, and, if applicable, a tenancy agreement. Applicants for this visa may also be subjected to a security check and a medical examination for tuberculosis, HIV, and hepatitis B or C.
2. Make Sure You Can Afford The Cost of Living in Dubai
In most cases, the cost of living in Dubai is far lower than in cities such as London or New York. Here are some basic living expenses in Dubai: Dubai product or service Estimated cost:
- Dhs 6.89 per gallon of fuel
- Dhs 7,300 monthly rent
- Dhs 30 average restaurant meal
- Dhs 35 cinema ticket
3. Set up Your Finances in Dubai
Opening a bank account in Dubai is an easy process. There are approximately 45 commercial banks in the UAE to select from. There are also a few bank branches from places such as London, Germany, and China. A checking account must be opened by a resident, but some banks allow non-UAE citizens to create a savings account. You must also bring copies of your passport, any residency or work permits, and a letter confirming your income if you currently have employment.
4. Find a Job and Get to Work in Dubai
Working in Dubai may be financially profitable regardless of where you come from. Because there is no personal income tax, net income is often substantially larger than in other countries. In a Muslim country, Friday is the weekly day of rest, and several businesses operate from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday as their weekends.
Working hours are decreased to six hours during the holy month of Ramadan; however, a typical work day is from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. It is advised to look for work before arriving in Dubai, as much new staff are recruited via headhunters or recruitment agencies abroad. If you haven’t already found work in the country, here are a few English-speaking websites to help you:
- UAE Recruitment Agency
- Caterer Global
- GoToGulf, a job board for the Gulf countries, especially Dubai and the UAE
- Gulflancer, an online job recruiter for the Middle East
5. Get a Place to Live in Dubai
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When you move to a new nation, it might be difficult to locate a place to live. Many Dubai firms may give housing or include extra living expenses in their contracts for new hires. It is also not uncommon to buy rather than rent a home. If you’re renting, many apartments or condos will come equipped, but it’s not difficult to discover a property that doesn’t have furnishings. Most landlords will need you to pay either six months or a full year’s rent in advance, so plan accordingly.
The areas of Jumeirah and Dubai Marina are more expensive, and rental property is competitive because they are close to the beach and extremely sought. The Arabian Ranches also have an excellent reputation for well-built residences that might be at the top end of the market. There are several less pricey districts, such as The Lakes, The Meadows, and The Springs. And if you’re willing to commute on the legendary Sheikh Zayed Road, the UAE’s longest roadway, there’s always room in the suburbs.
6. Make Sure Your Healthcare is Covered in Dubai
There are public hospitals in Dubai that provide free or extremely low-cost services to locals. To be treated at one of these hospitals, you must obtain a health card, which is accessible from the Department of Health and Medical Services.
Employers in Dubai are required to offer health insurance coverage for their employees, and sponsors must obtain insurance coverage for their resident dependents. If you don’t already have insurance through your employer, you’ll have several options.
7. Learn the Language
The official language of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates is Arabic. The majority of citizens, however, speak English. Because of the large
number of foreign visitors, Hindi, Chinese, and Urdu are also regularly spoken. There are free online programs available if you want to brush up on your Arabic. Learners frequently use Duolingo or Madinah Arabic. Local language classes are also available at universities and schools throughout Dubai.
Here are the important emergency contacts in Dubai:
- Dial 999 for ambulance and police, or 997 for fire emergencies
- For visa issues, dial 8005111 to reach the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai
- British Embassy in Dubai
- US Embassy and Consulate in the UAE
- Consulate General of Canada to the UAE in Dubai
- Embassy of Ireland in the UAE
Dubai is unlike any other city in the world, with visitors from all over the world. There’s a lot to think about when relocating to another nation, but it’s well worth it if you’re seeking f new adventure.