On the Up: Moving to the UAE and What to Consider

Moving to Dubai

People are flocking to the United Arab Emirates these days. With the subtropical climate,flashy lifestyle and all the travel opportunities a place like Dubai offers, it’s hard to blame anyone for upping sticks and grabbing a piece of this for a few days. Dubai tourism has grown significantly in recent years and although the city is a great tourist destination, or stopover between destinations, many people are making their stay in this international hub more permanent.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about joining this ‘nation of expats’:

The UAE is an Islamic nation, so before moving you should research how this might affect you in terms of your job, family and lifestyle. If this is very different to how you’ve grown up and what you’re accustomed to, consider spending a trial month in Dubai to see if a permanent move is right for you and is worthwhile.

Women, especially single women, could find a trial period in the UAE particularly beneficial. Spending time there before you commit to moving will allow you to become acquainted with the local laws, customs and cultural etiquette.

If you’re moving to the UAE, you’ll need a visa that allows you to work there. Visa rules can differ slightly different between the emirates, so it’s best to contact the emirate you’re relocating to and find out what the requirements are. If a job transfer is bringing you to the UAE (congratulations!), then your employer is likely to apply for the appropriate work permit and residence visa for you. Check with them first, of course,rather than take this for granted.

You’ll probably have friends planning their visits to your sunny new homeland, encourage them to look into tourist visas. If you enter the UAE through Dubai, then the Department of Naturalization and Residency Dubai will be the point of contact for all visa-related questions. Tourist visas are typically valid for 30 days, but the visa type required determines according to the type of visa required, so this needs to be researched before any flights are booked.

The UAE health care system is modern and well-equipped. Health insurance laws in Dubai have changed recently, so that all citizens, residents and visitors in Dubai must have health insurance. You won’t be granted a residence visa, or allowed entry as a tourist, to Dubai unless you have health insurance. Make sure this is something you organize before you go.

One of the biggest perks of moving to the UAE is the financial gain possible. Salaries aren’t taxed — though you may have to pay tax to your country of origin, however — so you can move there, work for several years and potentially save a fair amount. However,keep in mind the cost of living can be quite expensive. Renting an apartment or house may be pricier than you’re used to, and you often have to pay for a year’s rent up front.

If you have kids, sending them to school could cost you anywhere from a couple of thousand to dozens of thousands each year.Dubai isn’t the kind of place that you can just walk into, but with some careful planning beforehand you can really enjoy a step up in your lifestyle when you’ve arrived. The sky’s the limit in Dubai. You’ve just got to do the groundwork, or rather the paperwork,first!

Top image by cherrylet, used under Creative Commons licence.


  1. Hi there I simply adore Dubai I think it is the most exciting city in the world.I have been there on short stays four times and would love to live there permanently.However I am of a certain age- ahem- and even though I have some qualifications I have no idea how I would be able to get a residence visa.
    Love your blog !



  2. Hi Kayla! Yeah it only takes one visit to fall in love with Dubai and want to live there permanently. 🙂
    Oh I don’t know what’s gonna happen when Dubai Expo 2020 draws nearer! 🙂



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