top of page

Key Considerations When Emigrating to Dubai.

Updated: May 16

Choosing to embark on an emigration journey is a huge decision that demands careful planning and consideration. Dubai stands out as a beacon of opportunity, drawing individuals from all corners of the globe seeking a new chapter in their lives. However, before you set sail, it's necessary to understand the key considerations when emigrating to Dubai that will shape your experience. Here are some vital aspects to ponder as you plan your move:

Legal and Visa Requirements: Understanding the visa categories, such as employment visas, investor visas, freelance or retirement visas, is crucial. Each category has its own set of eligibility criteria and documentation requirements. Research thoroughly and seek guidance from legal experts or immigration consultants to ensure compliance with the UAE's immigration laws. Something that caught me out, was the need to have your documentation attested. This includes your degree if you're looking for work, or your marriage certificate if you're planning to sponsor your husband or wife's visa.

Visa in Passport

Employment Opportunities: Dubai is renowned for its robust economy and diverse job market. Before making the leap, explore potential employment opportunities aligned with your skills, qualifications, and career aspirations. Consider networking through online platforms, connecting with recruitment agencies, or leveraging professional contacts to secure job prospects prior to your arrival. Get that CV up to date because the market can be saturated with applicants (When hiring, I've had to sift through over 300 applicants, many of which are just applying for everything, so make sure your CV clearly identifies you as a qualified and competent applicant at a first glance).

Cost of Living: While Dubai offers a lavish lifestyle and tax-free income, it's important to be mindful of the cost of living. Expenses related to accommodation, transportation, healthcare, education, and leisure activities can vary significantly. Conduct a comprehensive cost analysis to gauge your financial preparedness and ensure your budget aligns with the realities of living in Dubai. Some surprises that I came across was the cost of rent and groceries were high, whereas public transport is considerably better value than back home in London. Even Cabs are cheap. One piece of advice I would give here, is to pay attention at the supermarket, as the price of 2 seemingly identical products can vary significantly.

Dubai grocery shopping

Cultural Sensitivity and Adaptation: Dubai has a cosmopolitan population comprising of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Embracing cultural sensitivity and adapting to the local customs, traditions, and social norms are essential for a smooth transition. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the local culture, etiquette, and Islamic principles to foster mutual respect and integration within the community. You might be surprised at how accommodating Dubai is to western culture, but beware that in government buildings and during Ramadan, it is best to wear modest clothing and avoid eating in public during this time.

Healthcare and Insurance: Access to quality healthcare services is essential for a fulfilling life abroad. Research the healthcare infrastructure in Dubai, including hospitals, clinics, and health insurance options. Expatriates are typically required to have comprehensive health insurance coverage, either provided by their employers or purchased independently, to ensure adequate medical care in case of emergencies or routine healthcare needs. If you're being relocated with a company, check that the package being offered includes medical cover for your dependants and if not, make sure the cost of this is factored into your decision. Just like in any country, home insurance and car insurance will be required too.

Importance of healthcare

Education and Family Considerations: If you're moving to Dubai with your family, consider the educational options available for your children. Dubai boasts a number of well renowned international schools offering diverse curricula to cater to expatriate communities. Evaluate factors such as school fees, accreditation, extracurricular activities, and proximity to residential areas when selecting the right educational institution for your children.

Housing and Accommodation: Securing suitable housing is a pivotal aspect of emigrating to Dubai. Whether you prefer apartment living in the heart of the city or villa accommodations in suburban communities, explore your options based on preferences, budget, and proximity to workplace, schools, and amenities. Engage with real estate agents or utilize online platforms to scout for rental or purchase properties that meet your criteria. You might be surprised by what's available, from high rise apartment overlooking key points of interest, to quiet villas on the edge of town surrounded by greenery and parks.

The Meadows Dubai

Financial Planning and Banking: Establishing financial stability in Dubai requires planning. Familiarize yourself with the banking system, currency exchange rates for your country, and taxation policies in the UAE as well as any tax implications back home. If there's one thing I wish we had done before we left was to get some professional tax advice. You might be able to request this from the company if they are moving you for business purposes. It would have saved us a lot of stress and confusion. For example, in the UK there are limits to the number of days you can spend in the country once you've moved away depending on your circumstances and it can be particularly unclear if you will still have some UK income, for example, renting our your UK property, as you won't be able to submit your own tax returns to declare it. Open a local bank account, explore investment opportunities, and devise a savings strategy to secure your financial future and achieve your long-term goals to make sure the move to Dubai leaves you in a prominent financial position when/if you come to move on.

Climate and Lifestyle: Dubai's desert climate is characterized by scorching summers and mild winters, with temperatures soaring during the peak summer months to over 50 degrees. Consider how the climate may influence your lifestyle choices, outdoor activities, and wardrobe essentials. Particularly, if you're used to an active lifestyle from walking or cycling to work, the temperature gets so hight that you can barely get from your front door to your car or cab without needing factor 50 and an ice-cream. Embrace the vibrant social scene, recreational pursuits, and cultural events that contribute to the dynamic lifestyle Dubai has to offer, and make an extra effort to arrange exercise in indoor settings, especially in the summer months (April - October).

keeping active in Dubai

Networking and Community Engagement: Building a strong support network and fostering meaningful connections within the expatriate community can enrich your emigration experience. Fortunately, in Dubai, expat is the norm, so everyone knows that newbie feeling and will be more than happy to welcome you with open arms. Attend networking events, join expat groups or clubs, and participate in community activities to forge friendships, seek guidance, and cultivate a sense of belonging in your new home. I'm not going to lie, this is one of the more challenging aspects of the move, but once you get just a few connections, you'll really come into your own and start to feel at home.

Emigrating to Dubai symbolizes a journey of exploration, growth, and new beginnings. By deliberating on these key considerations and planning with care, you can embark on this transformative adventure with confidence, resilience, and a sense of adventure. Embrace the opportunities, the challenges, and the vibrant tapestry of life that awaits you in Dubai. Safe travels and best wishes for your emigration journey! If you're finding the process of emigrating overwhelming, reach out to me and we can overcome this together by assessing your priorities, clearing your thoughts and identifying and working through any concerns or worries you might be having.


bottom of page