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How to move to Dubai

The population of Dubai is more than 2.7M people with 89% of them being expats from different countries across the globe. Since the Emirate has already become the global center of the Middle East, many foreign nationals are considering relocating and employment in Dubai. This is facilitated by an increase in jobs, some of the highest salaries in the world, a high level of healthcare, as well as a high standard of living in general.
Published on october 22, 2021
In any case, moving to another country can be quite a complicated process, so it’s important to consider all the nuances and differences between Dubai and the expat's home country. In this article we will look at important elements such as medical insurance, education, how to move your pet, nuances regarding moving with children and obtaining a driver's license. In general, we will cover all the main points that a foreign national needs to know when moving to Dubai.

Preparation for relocation

An expat needs to think through all the details of their move to Dubai in advance in order to avoid stress and unforeseen situations. For example, it is important for a future resident to decide on the right type of visa and prepare all the necessary documents for obtaining it. It is also necessary to remember the peculiarities of moving to Dubai with children and animals and consider the issue of transportation of furniture and other necessary valuables to the UAE.

Documents and visas

There are several types of visas for moving to Dubai: employment visa, investor visa, retirement visa, student visa and a dependent visa. Each type of visa has specific requirements for their obtaining, however there is a list of general documents you will need that applies to all types:

  • Education certificate
  • Passport (with at least six-month validity)
  • Passport-size photos
  • Health certificate from medical examination centers in Dubai
  • Emirates ID
  • Entry permit/visa

Employment visa

In order to be eligible to work, you need to find an employer who will be willing to pay all the associated costs of the paperwork for employment in Dubai and begin the process of obtaining a work visa. This process begins the moment you are in your home country, where the employer can start the process of applying to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emirates (MoHRE) on your behalf for a work permit. The minimum age for employment in the UAE is 18, and the country has no other restrictions, except that after the age of 65, the company must pay a higher fee for the employee, and the employee must apply annually to the MoHRE for a work permit.

Once you have moved to Dubai and received permission from MoHRE to work, your employer must apply for your employment visa within 60 days at the Emirate's General Directorate of Residency and Alien Affairs. This is followed by the processing of an Emirates ID card and other employment cards. Each visa is issued for 1-3 years and can be renewed before it expires.

The residence visa is proof that the employee is sponsored by the company in which he or she is employed. In most cases, the entire process of obtaining a work visa, health insurance, Emirates ID and Labour Card falls under the responsibility of the employer. The labour card should always be carried with you, as the labour authorities can check this document at any given time. If the company has not taken on the costs or responsibility of obtaining a work visa for an employee, then its price will depend on the level of qualification of the employee. The approximate fee is AED 7K (USD 1,9K).

Generally, the relevant documents for employment visas include an education certificate, the contract of employment or a copy, a certificate of non-criminal record and a two-month work permit from the employer. Residents can also apply for probationary work permission from the Ministry of Labour and will be valid for up to three months.

Note: Individuals with specialised talents, researchers in the fields of science and knowledge (doctors, scientists, inventors) and creative individuals in the field of culture and art, are entitled to apply for a 10-year golden residency visa in the UAE. All categories of applicants must have a valid employment contract in a specialised field of priority in the UAE. There are also additional conditions such as the mandatory accreditation of scientists by Emirates Scientists Council, patents, world awards for achievements or discoveries, among many more. This long-term visa will also have unrestricted renewal status and will apply to immediate family members of the applicant.
Investor visas
The investor visa in Dubai is divided into four types:

  1. A 6-month multiple-entry visit visa, which is renewable for another 6 months before expiry. During this period, investors can explore the local property and business markets in the country. Moreover, they can initiate the documentation process for their residency visas.
  2. 3-year visas are for those who have invested a minimum ofAED 1M (USD 270K) in one or more residential property(s) in Dubai. The real estate must be freehold, mortgage-free and purchased in areas where ownership of a property for foreign nationals is allowed. Moreover, the investor has to have an income of AED 10K (USD 2,7K) per month, and he/she can’t spend more than six months consecutively outside the UAE.
  3. 5-year visa. To get this you need to invest in Dubai real estate of at least AED 5M (USD 1.3M). It can be a single property or several at once, but their total value must not be below the specified amount. The property cannot be purchased with credit or a mortgage, and it cannot be resold within three years.
  4. 10-year visa. The requirements are the same as the 5-year visa, except that the total property valuation should not be less than AED 10M (USD 2.7M). The investment doesn’t only have to be in residential real estate but can also be partially (up to 60%) in the development of a business or startup.
There are a couple of important factors to consider:

  • The real estate must be for residential purposes only and totally ready for occupancy (must not be under construction).
  • In case of a partnership, the minimum share of each individual should be AED 1M/5M/10M (USD 270K/1,3M/2,7M)
The required documents to obtain the investor visa include the title deed, contract of sale and purchase, passport copy of the property owner, current visa copy (tourist or visit) and photographs (passport size).

This type of visa provides advantages such as an Emirates ID card, driver's license and family/dependent sponsorship. An important nuance is that if you invest in real estate off-plan, you can get a visa only after the completion of all construction work. Also, the bearer of the visa is not allowed to stay outside the emirate for more than 6 months in a row. The renewal cost for an investor visa directly depends on the type. For example, a 3-year visa can be extended from AED 13K (USD 3.6K) to AED 15K (USD 4.1K).
Other Types of Residence Visas
  • Retirement visa - available for expats over the age of 55. You can obtain this visa if you invest in real estate in the UAE of at least AED 2M (USD 544K) or have savings of at least AED 1M (USD 270K) and an income of AED 20K (USD 5.5K) per month. A retirement visa is renewable and costs AED 2.2K (USD 600).
  • Student visa - is available to international students at colleges and universities in Dubai who are at least 18 years old. Such students must receive a letter of admission to the UAE educational institution. The student visa allows you to stay in the country only during your studies. The cost of this document in Dubai can be as much as AED 3K (USD 816).
  • The Freelancer Visa is a new type of visa that is issued for 1 year with the possibility of renewal and allows foreign nationals to enter and work remotely in the UAE for foreign employers. The cost of the visa is AED 1.1K (USD 287) plus the cost of medical insurance with valid UAE coverage, along with the processing fee per person.
  • Dependent visa. Since 2019, foreign nationals of any profession in Dubai are able to sponsor visas for their families. Previously only listed professions could apply for a dependent visa. The applicant must be over eighteen years old and earn a minimum salary of AED 3K to AED 4K (USD 816 to USD 1.1K) per month plus accommodation. This visa can be applied not only to expatriate’s family members but also to domestic workers such as nannies, drivers, housekeepers and so on.
Note: Obtaining a student visa in the UAE is sponsored by accredited universities/colleges. In the case of other types of visas such as investor, retirement and dependent, foreign citizens pay all the costs themselves.

How much money is needed?

Before moving to Dubai, an expat is recommended to independently study the information regarding the residential areas of the emirate in order to get a rough idea of the rental market. After collecting the information, the next important step is to find an experienced realtor or real estate agency, which can help one open a bank account, look for suitable real estate options and sign a tenancy contract. The professional help will save time and effort of the expat when searching for property and passing all the necessary procedures.
Emirates ID
It is obligatory for all UAE residents to apply for an identity card with 15 digits - an Emirates ID. The applicant must fill the eForm at one of the approved typing centres or through the online portal on the website of Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC). For expats, the registration fee for Emirates ID card is AED 100 (USD 27) for each year of residency validity for all age groups, plus AED 70 (USD 20) for service fees. People of Determination and people who are subject to the Social Security Law are exempted from the registration fees for Emirates ID card.
Medical examination
Expats in Dubai have to undergo a medical examination in order to qualify in applying for a visa. The medical test consists of two parts: a blood test and a chest X-ray. The medical screens patients for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Syphilis, Hepatitis B & C and Tuberculosis. The price for a regular medical examiner in Dubai is AED 320 (USD 90).
Housing rental
The most common type of rental housing in Dubai is a long-term lease. The tenancy contract is concluded for a period of one year and in the future can be either extended for the same period of time or terminated.

Payments for the rental of property are often made by a single cheque which can result in the tenant receiving a discount on rent if paid in one go. Such a form of rental payment is also a form of security, because the tenant won’t want to vacate the property before the ending of the tenancy contract. A single cheque is dated on the day the keys of the real estate are handed to the tenant.

Since the amount for paying rent can be quite large, the most common type of payment in Dubai is through three-four cheques throughout the year of the tenancy. Therefore, at the time of signing the contract, the resident needs to have the necessary amount in their bank account to pay for the rental for the first three months. In addition, expats need to take into account the percentage commission of the property agent, a deposit of 5% for unfurnished apartments and 10% for furnished units (calculated from the annual rental price).

There are additional expenses for the EJARI, DEWA (utilities) and internet fees. The EJARI is a system that regulates the tenancy contract between lessors and tenants in Dubai. Registration of a tenancy contract with an EJARI costs AED 220 (USD 60) at the typing centre. Registration of the contract with EJARI via the app costs AED 172 (USD 47). 

DEWA activation charges:

  • AED 100 (USD 27) for connecting electricity and water (small meters)
  • AED 300 (USD 81) for connecting electricity and water meters (large meters)
  • AED 10 (USD 3) for registration
The price for a basic home internet package in Dubai constitutes around AED 300 (USD 81) per month, whereas a premium package can costs more than AED 1,000 (USD 272).
Bank account opening
The minimum balance when opening a personal or business bank account in Dubai should be AED 3K (USD 816), however a minimum balance is not required to open a salary account. A personal account can be opened within 1-3 days at any bank in the Emirate, while the approximate period for opening a company bank account in the UAE is from 2 weeks to 2 months (it depends on the type of organization).

Additional costs may include account balance letter - AED 50 (USD 13), a release letter - AED 50 (USD 13) and a no liability certificate - AED 60 (USD 16). A chequebook is issued for the first time for free, but if this is lost, the cost of obtaining a new one will constitute AED 25 (USD 7).

Features of moving to Dubai for citizens of the US and European countries

Citizens of the US and those from European countries are subject to the same requirements for moving to the country as all other citizens. Expats passports should be valid for a minimum of six months after the visa is issued.

Advance visa arrangements are not required for the passport holders of Andorra, Republic of Ireland, Ukraine, UK, Vatican City and the US in order to visit the UAE. Expats can visit the immigration service at Dubai International Airport and their passport will be stamped with a free 30‑day visit visa. In the future, this visa can be extended no more than twice for the same period. The extension of this document will require the payment of certain fees which amount to AED 850 (USD 230) each time.

The passport holders of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland can obtain a multiple-entry 90‑day visit visa that's valid for six months from the date of issue. Citizens of above-mentioned countries can also apply for a pre‑arranged visit visa if their 90‑day visa on arrival has been fully utilized.

For a longer stay in the country, it will be necessary to apply for a visa: employment visa, investor visa, retirement visa, student visa or dependent visa. It is also necessary to have a medical examination to complete the visa process.

How to ship belongings to Dubai

Possible property shipping methods to Dubai include air freight and sea freight. There is no need to transport furniture from one country to another, because expats can rent furnished apartments in Dubai. Moreover, foreign nationals can buy furniture and essentials in the city’s home stores like IKEA, Pan Emirates, Home Center, The One, Dwell and so on. Expats can also purchase second-hand furniture on portals such as ExpatWoman.com, UAE.Dubizzle.com, CashConverters.ae and UAE.Souq.com.
Air freight
Air freight is the fastest transit mode. The time of air cargo transportation to Dubai from countries such as the US and the UK constitutes approximately 2-4 days.

Estimated air freight shipping costs from the US to the UAE:

  • Minimum - USD 75
  • +99 lb - USD 2.95 per 2.2 lb
  • +660 lb - USD 1.90 per 2.2 lb
  • +2,200 lb - USD 1.80 per 2.2 lb
Estimated air freight shipping cost from the UK to Dubai constitutes GBP 1.57 per 2.2 lb plus GBP 45 per shipment.
Sea freight
The cheapest method of moving things to Dubai is via sea freight, but shipment can take some weeks to arrive. The cost of shipping personal goods depends on the weight, chosen transport method and combined size of the consignment. The duration of the sea freight to Dubai from countries such as the US and the UK constitutes approximately 16 to 28 days.

The UK to Dubai port-to-port transport estimated shipping cost varies from GBP 1,900 to GBP 2,400 and depends on the size of the cargo and its specific destination. These moving costs are for a three-bedroom house in a 20 ft container and for a four-five-bedroom house in a 40 ft container.

The estimated sea freight shipping cost from the US to Dubai starts from USD 900 (for 20 ft containers) to USD 2K (for 40 ft containers).

Features of moving with animals

According to the legislation of the UAE, all pets (dogs/cats) imported into the country must obtain an import permit issued by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) before entering the country. The permission is valid only for 30 days and all pets must be imported into the country exclusively as manifest cargo.

It is necessary to issue a veterinary passport, to chip a pet, to administer vaccinations against rabies, and to determine the titer of antibodies of the rabies virus in the blood serum of the pet thirty days after vaccination, before importing an animal to the UAE. The owner of the pet is obliged to treat the pet for external and internal parasites at least 14 days before the trip.
It is forbidden to import fighting breeds of dogs into the UAE: all kinds of Pit Bulls, Japanese Toes, Wolf-Dog hybrids, all kinds of Mastiffs, Rottweilers, American Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Doberman Pinscher, Chow Chow, Boxer, Perro de Presa Canario and any mixed breeds of the above-mentioned dogs.

It is also forbidden to import cats and dogs under the age of four months into the UAE. Each person with personal registration of documents for the import of animals into the country has the right to import two pets only. If a specialized service for the transportation of animals was engaged in the registration of documents, MOEW allows the import of up to five animals per person.

Required documents include:

  • Notarized copy of the pet owner's passport.
  • Permit to bring the pet into the UAE.
  • Original card with all vaccinations/vaccinations or pet passport including microchip number, complete description of the pet (from breed, colour, sex and date of birth to any other distinguishing characteristics). In addition, if the animal has been vaccinated, a description of the vaccine type, manufacturer, lot number and date of vaccination is mandatory.
  • Valid original official health certificate from the exporting country.
  • Original rabies vaccination certificate.
Note: The official website of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment provides a list of low- and high-risk countries for infestations. A list of all vaccinations and immunizations for cats and dogs can be viewed in more detail here as well.

Moving with children

There is no age limit for a child to move to Dubai with his/her parents. If an expat is planning to move with children to Dubai, then it is necessary to take the below factors into account:

  • The expat will need to sponsor his/her family, so the minimum salary must be AED 3K - AED 4K (USD 816 - USD 1.1K).
  • After arriving in Dubai, the expat has a 60-day window to apply for residence visas for dependent children.
  • If a period of dependent child visa expires, an expat has only 30 days to obtain a new one.
  • Expats can sponsor daughters until they get married. The age limit for sponsorship of sons is 18 years. If the son is studying in the UAE or abroad, the age limit constitutes 21.
  • Single women can sponsor their children in Dubai if they provide a no-objection certificate from the father.
Required documents for a UAE family visa include a certificate from the employer, registered tenancy contract, latest utility bill, marriage certificate attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in both their home country and in the UAE, attested birth certificates of children, passport copies and photos of those being sponsored, medical clearance certificates and a copy of the employment contract. It is necessary to prove an existing marital relationship by submitting an attested marriage certificate in Arabic or translated into Arabic by a professional translator and notarized in order to sponsor the wife.

Note: The entire data verification process can take up to one month and cost is AED 2K (USD 545).

Expats who have over the age of 18 have to pass a medical examination at government-approved health centres in Dubai in order to obtain a family residency visa. All applicants are tested for two communicable diseases: HIV and pulmonary tuberculosis.

Schooling in the UAE requires some obligatory documents, which are necessary to prove the authenticity of a child’s education and to establish his/her academic performance. The list of usually required documents includes:

  • Passport and Visa. At least two copies are needed of the passport and residence visa of the child. Parents will be asked to provide one copy of the residence visa, passport and Emirates ID.
  • Transfer Certificate. This document must be issued on the official letterhead of the child’s existing school, properly signed and stamped by the principal or a signatory of the school. The Transfer Certificate must be attested by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education and UAE Embassy of your country and should not be more than three months old.
  • Birth Certificate in English or Arabic. Expats can get a translation of a birth certificate of his/her child from the embassy or consulate.
  • The latest medical report of the child with a vaccination record copy and the medical form, which was issued by the child’s existing school.
  • School report. Expats need to provide a copy or the original of the most recent school report, in accordance with the schools requirements.
Basic Guidelines:

  • When entering FS 2 or KG1, the child must be at least 4 years old at the beginning of the school year.
  • Unlike in the UK, there is no staggered enrollment for young children in the UAE.
  • It is worth preparing a certificate of transfer from the current school in advance, as well as getting a permit to enter (outside Dubai the cost will be AED 490 (USD 135), obtaining this in Dubai is AED 1.1K (USD 310) plus the status change of AED 640 (USD 175).
  • Many schools in the British education programme (grades 10-13), the American programme (grades 9-12) and the IB Diploma programme may be full at the time of your move. It is worth applying online in advance to the school you are interested in. If there is a shortage of space, you and your child will be placed on a waiting list.

Cost of living

Monthly living expenses without rent for a single person (including food, clothing, healthcare and transportation) constitute approximately AED 3.4K (USD 939), while expenses for a family of four is around AED 12K (USD 3.2K).

  • Renting. The average rent for 1-BR apartments in Dubai ranges from AED 30K (USD 8.2K) to AED 50K (USD 14K) per year. In central areas, rental prices for 1-BR apartments in Downtown Dubai, Business Bay, DIFC, Al Wasl, Al Quoz or Jumeirah start from AED 40K (USD 11K) and for 3-BR apartments from AED 90K (USD 25K). The lease of 1-BR villas in the popular district of JVC constitutes AED 75K (USD 21K) per year and 2 and 3-BR villas are around AED 100K (USD 27K) per annum.
  • Food. Most of the food on the supermarket shelves in the UAE are imported and prices can be quite high.The average grocery bill for a single person is in the region of AED 480 (USD 132). Accordingly, for a family this amount can be doubled or even three times higher.
  • Educational institutions. The average cost of nursery education in Dubai ranges from AED 10K (USD 2,7K) to AED 50K (USD 14K) per year. In relation to the schools in Dubai, expat kids can attend both public and private schools and parents will need to pay fees regardless of which type of education institution they select. The annual tuition fee in public schools in Dubai constitutes up to AED 6K (USD 1.6K) per year, while the average international school fees vary from AED 13K to AED 64K (from USD 3.5K to USD 17K) per annum.
  • Public transport. It is recommended that expats draw up a single transport card for Dubai - NOL Card, which can be used for intra-city public transport and taxi fares. There are several types of NOL Card: Red, Silver and Gold. The cost of a Red NOL Card is AED 2 (USD 0.5), a Silver and Gold one will cost AED 25 (USD 7). For any ride, there must be at least AED 7.5 (USD 2) on a Silver Card and AED 15 (USD 5) on a Gold one.
  • Rent/buying a car. If you want to rent a car in Dubai, the minimum price is from AED 30 (USD 8) per day. The starting rental price for a small car, such as a Kia Picanto constitutes AED 50 (USD 14) per day. In addition, you will need to pay a security deposit, which is from AED 1K (USD 274). If you consider buying a car, a new Toyota Corolla 2021 will cost about AED 72K (USD 20K) + additional costs to register the car AED 420 (USD 115) and AED 220 (USD 60) for opening a traffic file.
Price comparison in Dubai and Washington, DC:

  • Rent prices in Dubai are 37.12% lower than in Washington, DC.
  • Groceries prices in Dubai are 41.63% lower than in Washington, DC.
  • Consumer Prices in Dubai are 23.47% lower than in Washington, DC (without rent).
  • Restaurant prices in Dubai are 10.80% lower than in Washington, DC.
Price comparison in Dubai and London:

  • Rent prices in Dubai are 29.79% higher than in London.
  • Groceries prices in Dubai are 24.70% lower than in London.
  • Consumer prices in Dubai are 6.61% lower than in London (without rent).
  • Restaurant prices in Dubai are 1.96% higher than in London.

Housing in Dubai for foreigners

When buying or renting a home in Dubai, all purchases, sales and lease agreements are protected at the legislative level. There is a system of transparent transactions here, due to which expats can be confident in their investments in real estate in Dubai.

In order to rent a property, a tenant has to conclude a tenancy contract with a lessor. The tenant must also provide the following identification documents: a copy of his/her passport, a valid residence visa and Emirates ID, as well as post-dated cheques covering payments for the agreed lease period. Tenancy contracts must be registered in RERA’s online portal through the EJARI system. Registration is mandatory in order to connect the utility services. Any rental disputes between the lessor and the tenant in Dubai can be regulated with the help of Dubai’s Rent Dispute Settlement Centre.

Expats in Dubai can buy real estate only in special zones designated by the government which are known as freehold areas. Such areas are located in sought-after neighbourhoods of the city like Downtown Dubai, Business Bay, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC), Arabian Ranches, Discovery Gardens and so on. As mentioned earlier, you can look at some neighborhoods or properties in advance, but without a real estate agent, you can neither rent it yourself nor buy it. In this case, an agent will be able to find the most suitable property for you based on your preferences and needs, as well as assisting with the financial component.

Due to the fact that the UAE is a country with minimal taxes, there is no income tax on purchased real estate or rental revenue in Dubai, compared with the United States, for example. There are only several commissions which are required when purchasing a property in Dubai:

  • Fees for NOC - approximately AED 500-5K (USD 136-1.3K).
  • Fees for registration (nearly 4% of the total purchase price of the real estate).
  • Commission of the real estate agent, which is up to 5% of the purchase price of the property.
Moreover, expats can obtain a residence visa by investing in property. The residence visa is not necessary when buying property, but it is necessary to have a valid passport in order to confirm the identity of the owner. Title deeds are issued by the Dubai Land Department (DLD).

Note: Expats must consider legal obligations applicable to their home countries. For instance, when buying a property in the UAE, US citizens must remember possible ongoing tax liabilities such as rental income, dividend payments and other requirements in the United States.

Taxes for foreigners

There is no income, corporate or capital gain taxes for residents and expat workers in Dubai unlike in the US and the UK. Individuals in the US are subject to federal graduated tax rates from 10% to 39.6%, while corporations are subject to federal graduated tax rates from 15% to 35%. In the UK, individuals have to pay income tax if they earn more than GBP 12.6K. And the rate for income from GBP 12.6K to GBP 50.3K constitutes 20%. There are also no taxes levied on Dubai’s residents’ international pension plans, while foreign pension plans of the US and UK residents are subject to taxation.

If expats are not tax residents in Dubai, they will have to pay their income taxes back in their home countries. In order to obtain a Tax Residency Certificate in the UAE, the expat needs to fulfill one of the following criteria:

  • To register a local company and obtain a visa.
  • To purchase the property on the territory of Dubai and obtain a visa.
  • To approve a visa on the basis of an employment contract.
However this document is not available for all expats, because the home country of foreign nationals must have a 2-year tax avoidance agreement with the UAE. For example, the US does not have such a treaty with the UAE while the UK had signed this agreement with the UAE on 12 April 2016.

5% of annual rent is added to the bill for residential tenants when renting a property in Dubai. Expats must pay 4% of a property tax if they transfer any property in Dubai to their name. There is also a tourist tax, which is levied on any visit to a hotel in Dubai for a nights stay which adds 10% to your bill.

Departure tax is charged during the purchase of an airplane ticket, which will land or take off at one of Dubai’s airports. This tax is included in the price of the airplane ticket. But members of the cabin crew, transit passengers and children under two years of age are exempt from paying the departure tax.

Value Added Tax (VAT) in the UAE is levied only at a national level of 5%, except for specific products which are harmful to human health or the environment. For example, alcohol is heavily taxed upon import into the country at 50%. You have to pay another 30% if you have a liquor license and the alcohol was bought for home consumption. Excise duties are levied from tobacco (100%), energy drinks (100%) and carbonated beverages (50%).

Food, healthcare, petroleum products, bicycles, education, financial and social services and the residential property sector are exempt from VAT (with certain exceptions) in the UAE while in the UK the standard rate of VAT for most goods and services constitutes 20%. The US does not utilize a VAT system, instead, there is a sales tax: at a rate from 0% to 15%, depending on the state.

Health care

It is mandatory for all residents to have health insurance in Dubai and residency visas cannot be issued without insurance. Private insurance providers offer four main types of medical insurance:

  • Individual plans (for one person or family).
  • Family plans (families can obtain discounts).
  • Group plans (groups with more than twenty members can obtain significant discounts).
  • Traveler plans (for individuals and groups who travel to the UAE frequently).
Employers in Dubai have to provide health insurance to their employees, but they are not required to cover dependents. The average cost of comprehensive medical insurance for a family in Dubai constitutes AED 43.3K (USD 11.8K) and for families without children - AED 36K (USD 10K) per year.

Expats can have access to public hospitals and clinics only if they have a health card. This card offers basic health care coverage. The approximate health card fees constitute AED 100 (USD 27) for the age of 0-9, AED 200 (USD 55) for the age of 10-17 and AED 300 (USD 81) for the age of 18+. In order to obtain a UAE health card it is necessary to have a passport copy, covering letter from a sponsor, visa application copy, two passport size photographs and a completed application form.

Driving and obtaining a driver’s license

If an expat has an international driving license, then he/she does not need to re-pass for a license in Dubai. This applies to citizens of countries such as US, Great Britain, Australia, Austria, Turkey, Bahrain, South Africa, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Portugal, Qatar, Romania and Saudi Arabia.

If the driver's license does not fall under the international category, then the expat has to study at a driving school, pass a theoretical and practical exams and pay all the necessary fees that come with it. It will cost approximately AED at 4.5K to AED 7K (USD 1.2K to USD 2K) to obtain a driving license, presuming that you pass on the first attempt. The driving schools in Dubai offer theory classes in three languages: Arabic, English and Urdu.

Jobs and salaries in Dubai

The level of salary depends directly on the specialization and qualifications of the employee, as does the company in which he or she will be working. Some of the highest paid professions in Dubai are chemical and petroleum engineers, artificial intelligence specialists, doctors, financial analysts and CFO’s. The average salary in Dubai is approximately AED 306K (USD 83K) per year. The most typical annual salary in the emirate is AED 99K (USD 27K).

The list of highly demanded occupations in Dubai in 2021 include:

  • Chief Financial Officers (CFOs)
  • Management accountants
  • Financial analysts
  • Professionals in the sphere of artificial intelligence
  • Security analysts
  • Risk managers
  • HR managers
  • HR business partners
  • Talent acquisition specialists
  • Legal counsel
  • Paralegal
  • Legal assistant
  • Engineers (in the spheres of aerospace, chemistry, mechanics, petroleum and electronics)
  • Digital marketing managers and specialists
  • SEO managers and specialists
  • Social media managers and specialists
  • Software developers
  • Doctors and nurses
  • Teachers
  • Tour guides
  • Hotel and restaurant managers
  • Chefs
  • Cleaning and housekeeping staff

Summary

  1. Residential property can be purchased by expats only in designated areas, where an ownership of a real estate is allowed for foreign nationals by the government of the UAE.
  2. People above 55 years old who have invested in a residential property of a minimum of AED 2M (USD 545K) can apply for a retirement visa in Dubai for five years.
  3. Lessors in Dubai do not favour monthly rental payments. Rent in the emirate is usually paid in the form of single or multiple cheques.
  4. Almost all sellers of property in Dubai work with real estate agencies in order to attract quality buyers.
  5. The import of fighting breeds of dogs into the UAE is forbidden.
  6. Parents have to pay school fees regardless of the type of school their children attend. Both public and private schools in the UAE are fee-based.
  7. Expats who are tax residents in Dubai don’t have to pay income tax.

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