The United Arab Emirates is a monarchy comprised of seven emirates, Abu Dhabi (the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. Sheikhs govern each Emirate; they form the Federal Supreme Council; one serves as President of the United Arab Emirates. Approximately 9.9 million people live in the United Arab Emirates as of 2020.
Abu Dhabi’s Emirate has 31.2%, meaning over two-thirds of the UAE population lives in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
Why the UAE?
The United Arab Emirates has long been a popular destination for ex-pat individuals. In 2018, they made some improvements to their residency programs. Previously, only two-year permits were offered, but there are also monthly and quarterly options available, which will benefit many people who want to live in the UAE.
With a suitable skill set or investment, 5 and 10-year visas are offered.
The UAE strives to create an atmosphere friendly to entrepreneurs, investors and those with specialised talents. Dubai has created a high tech living environment; yacht parties and fine dining are also options in this area. You’ll be able to enjoy lavish apartments too!
Things You Need To Know Before Moving To Dubai
While there are plenty of attractive elements that make the United Arab Emirates a desirable place to live, the culture and climate are quite different, and you may need some time to familiarise yourself with those changes before making a move.
The climate is subtropical, and it’s hot year-round. Generally speaking, there are no days below 20 degrees Celsius; and because of that, it can be considered paradise by sun lovers. Despite this, consider whether you would like sunshine all year round or not when making your decision. Air conditioning is a necessity for those who want to avoid the heat.
The UAE is an Islamic state that operates according to Muslim traditions. It is common for some public regions to have designated areas or facilities for women, such as public transport, fitness centres and banks.
Much of the heritage and culture in the UAE is shaped by its connection to Islam. This rich heritage can be seen no better than in Abu Dhabi. The impressive Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque attracts visitors from all over the world, enriched through their experience there.
Sharjah was named ‘the cultural capital of the Arab world’ by UNESCO and is renowned for its authentic experiences.
The Arabic language is the official one in the United Arab Emirates, but there’s a large population of English speakers here. That’s because it has such an established ex-pat community – around 75% of people speak both languages! The UAE is truly a melting pot for different cultures and languages.
Way Of Life
Every country around the world is different. Each has its laws, values, rules and way of life, and Dubai is certainly no exception to this. Contrary to popular belief, whilst a certain standard of behaviour is expected. This isn’t as restrictive as people think it is, but there’s still a set way in which you should behave.
Avoid swearing, making rude hand gestures, and picking fights. These types of things are not tolerated in public and could get you into trouble.
Generally, it is expected that people in public places should cover their shoulders to their knees as a sign of respect.
Drinking alcohol is restricted to hotels, restaurants, and bars or clubs owned by hotels. But don’t think the country’s Islamic heritage means you can’t let loose in Dubai! Behave respectfully and never drink and drive.
Local laws and customs
It is against the law for unmarried men and women to cohabit, but the local police do not seek out couples who live together. However, it’s still important to remember this.
Breaking the law will have serious consequences, including imprisonment and the death penalty.
Ex-pats usually acclimatise and embrace these customs and laws reasonably quickly. Still, it’s helpful for you to be aware before you arrive so that you don’t experience culture shock when you get there!
Thanks to its vast ex-pat population, UAE’s culinary scene is broad and populated by many international cultures, making it a delight for food lovers. The city has restaurants that serve Greek cuisine and Japanese and Middle Eastern dishes to its inhabitants.
If you’re looking for a colourful and mouth-watering variety of cuisine, UAE will surely be able to satisfy you. As you might expect from a country with 650km of coastline, seafood is one popular option on menus across the nation.
There is more to Emirati cuisine than just fish. Middle Eastern countries such as UAE also eat a lot of chicken and lamb every day.
Vibrant spices and herbs like cardamom, saffron, thyme and turmeric help elevate those delicious flavours. There is also a heavy emphasis on hearty sides like rice and potatoes.
The UAE national dish of Kabsa is rice heavy fragrant dish that mixes lamb or chicken with mixed vegetables and all those fantastic herbs and spices!
The crime rate in the UAE is low by comparison to other countries, so it’s safe and one of the world’s top travel destinations.
The security risk of terrorism is considerably lower in the UAE than in other parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Even so, Britain’s Foreign Office and America‘s State Department still consider this a potential threat.
It is essential to stay vigilant and maintain security awareness. Make sure to monitor local developments, following the advice from the authorities that live there. You exercise caution in areas frequented by foreigners (commercial and tourist locations).
The UAE Economy
Before oil was discovered, the UAE relied on the fishing and pearl industries. The country invested their money from exports into education, infrastructure, and healthcare! In 1962, their first exports of oil began.
The UAE Government has been working on diversifying its income lately, and it’s had a lot of success. The booming construction industry has created business opportunities and an exciting tourism sector. Along the skylines, you can see many investments in skyscrapers, making them into breathtaking cities with heights that’ll make your jaw drop!
The UAE is considered an ex-pat’s paradise because of the great amenities, high salaries and per capita income.
Work & Opportunities
The UAE is experiencing a boom in various career sectors due to the rapid development that’s taking place. Particularly, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are seeing significant growth.
Sectors are seeing colossal job availability rise in construction, financial services, tourism, media, marketing, telecommunications, engineering and IT. Now among the leaders in net migration rates, professionals from a diverse range of industries are looking to make a move there, thanks to wages and benefits that rival those offered anywhere else. And because it has no income tax, this country is more attractive than ever before!
The length of the workweek and when it starts can vary depending on what kind of business you have. The weekend is over Fridays and Saturdays, with a new working week beginning Sunday.
Cost Of Living
It is important to remember that the cost of living largely depends on where you live and what lifestyle you lead. Rental prices are high in some popular areas, but it’s possible to rent quality accommodation for much less if you move slightly out.
Advocates also say that Dubai’s tax-free living is one of the best places to live in the world. This saves people a lot of money. Salaries go untaxed, food and everything else goes untaxed as well.
The healthcare system in the UAE is of fantastic quality. Medical facilities are modern and easily accessible, even to those in public hospitals that offer good quality care either for free or at a very low cost.
Of course, many expatriates choose to opt for private medical insurance, which ensures you get the best care in excellent facilities.
Shopping & Entertainment
Restaurants, Nightlife, Shopping and Hotels Shopping are a national pastime in the UAE, a country known for its high-end and middle-market malls that house stores from around the world and its old-school souks still looking much like the mock historic market on display in Dubai Museum.
You can find high street brands worldwide standing side-by-side in shiny air-conditioned mega-malls while old school souks still look like mock historic markets on display inside Dubai Museum.
The Dubai Mall
The UAE’s most concentrated designer boutiques are here, with the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo next to it and an Olympic-sized ice rink. The Burj Khalifa is just a few steps away from this place as well.
With more than 1,300 shops, including anchor department stores Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdale’s, finding your next favourite shoe shouldn’t be difficult! Walking through the million-square-foot retail space will be a workout. To make it easier on yourself, download the Dubai Mall app and pack comfortable shoes or else buy a pair in-store.
When you visit Dubai, the Ancient Egyptian-themed mall Wafi City is a must. The pyramid shape and hieroglyphics are incredible, not to mention the nightly light show at 9.30 pm. Along with many other stores like restaurants and supermarkets, there’s also a souk inside it, making for a great shopping experience! A visit to Petals Home Interiors Boutique is also highly recommended if you’re looking for some home décor pieces or furniture as well.
Mall of the Emirates
The Mall of the Emirates (the one with the indoor ski slope) is a self-styled shopping destination with 520 brands, including big names like Harvey Nichols and more high street-focused British brands. It also has a Sheraton hotel and Kempinski hotel, just in case you’re too tired to shop after
Nightlife in the UAE is something that cannot be missed. For example, Dubai’s clubbing scene has radically evolved from the 90s and now offers much more for party animals. Parties are restricted to star hotels since liquor licenses enable them to serve alcohol in their lounges, bars, and clubs. It is essential to know what you’re allowed before going out though- while world-class bars and clubs aren’t new among partygoers, it is also important not to break any laws before heading out on your nighttime adventure!
There might not be many things that pop up in your mind when you think of the United Arab Emirates, but what if it involves having a great family vacation?
There are quite a few beautiful places to visit in this country. Some of these are Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain, as they offer lots for both adults and children alike (not just families). Activities range from relaxing at the beach or visiting an amusement park.
The most popular ones amongst locals seem to be Ice Land Water Park, Al Khaimah, and Dreamland Aqua Park, all within Umm al-Quwain Emirate! Both the latter lies close enough near Dubai, so going there on a day trip may also occur well into your itinerary.
The UAE might not be the first thing you think of when talking about its natural beauty. But this could not be farther from the truth. Places like Wasit Wetlands Centre and Al Zorah Natural Reserve are perfect for spotting unique indigenous wildlife in Ajman. Those who prefer their sightseeing done underwater should check out Fujairah and Al Aqah Beach. And a rocky outcrop called “Snoopy Island” delivers some phenomenal diving conditions around it as well!
Visiting and Moving to the UAE
There are 2 visa types in UAE
1. Short-Term Visas (Tourist or Visit Visa)
2. Long Term Visas (Residence Visa)
1. Short Term Visa’s
This type of visa can only be obtained if sponsored by a person, such as a relative or an institution. The sponsor will apply for the visa with all required documents and supporting material.
This tourist visa can be used for 30 days, and its tour operating companies or hotels issue it. It cannot be renewed.
UAE airport transit visas are issued to people passing through UAE airports. They must be sponsored by an airline operating in the country and can last up to 96 hours, though visitors also need a valid ticket for their onward flight. There is no charge for this permit.
Multiple Entry Visa
If you are a businessman frequently visiting the UAE and have been dealing with reputable companies, then this option can be an appropriate choice.
This multiple visa is valid for six months from the issue, but each visit must not exceed 30 days. The visitor needs to enter UAE on a visit visa and get multiple entries visiting while there.
2. Long Term Visas
For those entering the UAE to live, a residence visa is required. Permanent residents are issued one-year renewable residency visas that allow their parents to receive special approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on entry into the UAE. If a resident stays outside the country for more than six months, their residence permit becomes invalid.
Residence by Real Estate Investment
There are a few requirements if you are looking to gain your residence permit through real estate purchase in the UAE.
Before you apply for residence in the UAE, buy a property located in a freehold area. These are the only kind of properties that count when applying for residency.
The real estate investment you are interested in should not be less than AED 1 million (US$272,242). This can be under joint ownership with a spouse, or if it is through a company/group, your investment portion must still meet the criteria of being at least AED 1 million.
If the value of a property you previously purchased exceeds AED 1 million, this will not qualify as an investment for residency. The UAE only considers your initial purchase price and does not consider the current worth.
As there are no loans or payment plans available, you must pay the money in total, and you can’t use a gifted property. You will need to show that you have already made the purchase. Third, your real estate has to be habitable and complete; buying land or a property under construction won’t count towards your residence permit.
UAE Citizenship Program
10-Year UAE Residence Visa for Investors
- If you’re interested in applying for a 10-year UAE residence visa, you’ll need to invest at least AED10 million publicly.
10-Year UAE Residence Visa for Special Talents
Specialists in science and knowledge like doctors, scientists, inventors and creative people in cultural or artistic fields are eligible under these terms. Employers must substantiate a legitimate job contract with residents who fall under these categories, all of whom will be required to occupy their position for at least five years after the authorities have approved residency. Spouses have also been included in this directive as well as children.
5-Year UAE Residence Visa for Investors
If you’d like to apply as an investor, the property investment should have a minimum gross value of AED5 million.
5-Year UAE Residence Visa for Entrepreneurs
If you’re an entrepreneur with an existing project worth AED500,000 and have been approved by an accredited business incubator in the UAE, then you might be eligible. Under this category, a six-month multi-entry visa is granted that can be renewed for another six months at any time if needed. You can extend your visa to your spouse, children, partner and three executives under this category.