Dubai has risen as a top destination for expats in recent years, and for good reason. With its world-class infrastructure, tax-free living, multicultural population, and sunny beaches, it’s no wonder so many people are considering making the move in 2024.
If you’re one of those people, this comprehensive guide is for you. We’ll cover everything you need to know about relocating to Dubai, from visas and healthcare to education and finding a place to live.
The first thing you’ll need to sort out is your visa. The type of visa you need will depend on your nationality and employment status. There are a number of different visas available, but the top 5 Most Popular Visas for Moving to Dubai in 2024 are:
Employment Visa: Sponsored by your employer, ideal for professionals with job offers in Dubai. You can apply through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA)
Investor Visa: Invest AED 2 million in property or a business, attractive for entrepreneurs and property investors. Apply through the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET)
Freelance Visa: For self-employed professionals with established businesses abroad, requires proof of income and sponsorship. You need to apply through GDRFA
Retirement Visa: Available for retirees above 55 with a monthly income exceeding AED 20,000. Apply through GDRFA
Family Visa: Spouses and children of visa holders can obtain dependent visas. Sponsored by the visa holder and requires proof of relationship. The GDRFA is also the place to go.
Remember, visa requirements and processes are subject to change, so always check the official GDRFA website for the latest updates and specific details regarding your individual situation.
You can also consult:
GDRFA Visa Services: Best for detailed information about documents, official procedures, and online applications.
Dubai Immigration Guide: Easy overview and helpful tips for general visa seekers, especially tourists.
Visa Processing Fees: Quick reference for government-approved fee costs.
Dubai has a world-class healthcare system, with both public and private hospitals and clinics. If you’re moving to Dubai, you’ll need to get health insurance. There are a number of different insurance companies to choose from, so it’s important to shop around to find the best policy for your needs.
Some of the best health insurance companies in Dubai include:
Global leader in health insurance: AXA boasts a strong international presence and extensive experience, offering comprehensive coverage for expats in Dubai.
Flexible plans: Choose from a variety of plans tailored to your individual needs and budget, including options for families, individuals, and seniors.
Cashless convenience: Enjoy direct billing at a wide network of hospitals and clinics in Dubai, eliminating the hassle of upfront payments.
Renowned for health and wellbeing: Bupa goes beyond just medical coverage, offering wellness programs, health screenings, and other value-added services.
Award-winning customer service: Bupa consistently receives accolades for its exceptional customer support, ensuring you have a smooth experience throughout your journey.
Wide range of benefits: From inpatient and outpatient care to dental and vision coverage, Bupa plans offer comprehensive protection for your health.
Expat-focused expertise: Cigna understands the unique needs of expats in Dubai, providing plans specifically designed for international residents.
Global network of providers: Access medical care from a vast network of hospitals and clinics around the world, ensuring you’re covered wherever you travel.
Technology-driven solutions: Cigna’s online portal and mobile app make managing your health insurance easy and convenient.
Locally rooted, internationally recognized: Daman is a leading health insurance provider in the UAE, offering a blend of local expertise and international standards.
Sharia-compliant plans: Daman caters to the needs of the Muslim community with Sharia-compliant health insurance options.
Competitive premiums: Daman offers affordable health insurance plans, making it a budget-friendly choice for many expats.
5. Other notable providers:
Allianz: Offers comprehensive coverage with a focus on preventive care and wellness.
MetLife: Provides flexible plans with optional add-ons to customize your coverage.
Aetna: Known for its international network and expat-friendly plans.
Remember, this is just a starting point. It’s crucial to compare plans, benefits, and premiums before making a decision. Consider your individual needs, budget, and family situation to find the health insurance that’s right for you in Dubai.
You can find more information about health insurance in Dubai on the website of the Dubai Health Authority
Dubai has a wide range of schools, from international schools to local schools. The quality of education is generally very good. If you’re moving to Dubai with children, you’ll need to choose a school for them.
Some of the top schools in Dubai include:
Global Citizenship Education: DIA fosters multicultural understanding through its diverse student body and IB Diploma Programme.
Modern infrastructure State-of-the-art classrooms, science labs, and performing arts spaces inspire learning and creativity.
Strong academic record: Consistently ranks among the top schools in Dubai for academic excellence.
Royal heritage, modern approach: Blends traditional British values with innovative teaching methods, preparing students for a global future.
Outstanding sporting facilities: Boasts impressive sports complex with Olympic-sized swimming pool and dedicated pitches.
A vibrant arts scene: Renowned for its strong music, drama, and art programs, nurturing creative talents.
A legacy of excellence: Established in 1975, JESS provides a nurturing and inclusive environment for students of all abilities.
British curriculum with a twist: Integrates Arabic language and local cultural experiences into the traditional British curriculum.
Dedicated guidance care: Emphasizes student well-being and personal development alongside academic progress.
A world-class education: Offers both the British curriculum and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.
Stunning campus: Features spacious classrooms, cutting-edge technology, and green spaces for outdoor learning.
Holistic development: Focuses on academic excellence, physical fitness, and creative expression through diverse extracurricular activities.
Remember, this is just a taste of what these exceptional schools offer. Research each one further to discover which best aligns with your child’s needs and aspirations.
As an extra tip, visit school open houses and attend virtual tours to get a firsthand feel for the atmosphere and educational philosophy.
You can find more information about schools in Dubai on the website of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA)
Finding a Place to Live
There are a wide range of neighborhoods to choose from in Dubai, each with its own unique character. Some of the most popular neighborhoods for expats include:
1. Downtown Dubai: Skyscraper views, urban chic, family attractions & retail therapy (perfect for business travelers & city lovers). Look at our listings for buying or renting a property in this amazing location.
2. Dubai Marina: Yachts & nightlife, trendy bars & waterfront strolls (ideal for young professionals & social butterflies). Discover your dream home in the heart of this incredible location! Whether you’re looking to buy or rent. Let’s explore the possibilities together!
3. Jumeirah Beach Residence: Beaches & luxury resorts, local charm & family fun (a haven for relaxation & families). Browse through our selection of exclusive properties available for rent or purchase.
4. Palm Jumeirah: Opulent villas & man-made marvels, thrilling adventures & Michelin feasts (best for luxury seekers & thrill-chasers). Discover your perfect home from our collection of exclusive properties for rent or buy.
5. Barsha Heights: Modern buzz & budget-friendly, mall delights & snow slopes (ideal for young families & value-conscious explorers).
Find your perfect fit in Dubai’s diverse neighborhoods! ️️
The cost of renting an apartment in Dubai can vary depending on the location and size of the apartment. You can expect to pay anywhere from AED 50,000 to AED 200,000 per year for a one-bedroom apartment.
Other things to consider
Culture: Dubai is a Muslim country, so it’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions.
Language: The official language of Dubai is Arabic, but English is widely spoken.
Transportation: Dubai has a well-developed public transportation system, but many expats choose to get around by car.
Cost of living: The cost of living in Dubai is relatively high, but it’s cheaper than many other major cities around the world.
Moving to Dubai can be a challenging experience, but it is also incredibly rewarding. By following the tips in this guide, you can make the transition as smooth as possible.
We hope this helps!
Start planning early. The sooner you start planning your move, the better.
Do your research. There’s a lot of information available online about moving to Dubai.
Get in touch with other expats. There are many online communities for expats in Dubai.
Be patient. It takes time to adjust to living in a new country.
We wish you all the best for your move to Dubai!