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Living and Working in Dubai

Digital Nomads eye Dubai because of the “Golden Visa” and because Dubai for many nationalities is known as a tax haven. A tax haven is a country that offers foreign businesses and individuals minimal or no tax liability for their bank deposits in a politically and economically stable environment. 

Dubai has its pros and cons like every destination in the world but it is certainly a vibrant modern city with so many opportunities. That is moving forward fast in technology, healthcare, and architecture. In Dubai, you can expect driverless metros and anytime soon now also electrical cabs without chauffeurs.

But Dubai is also a city that is divided into religions and laws. You have to read up about what you can and cannot do in Dubai before you wish to go there. Although the city is liberal when it comes to tourists it has some quirky laws that might catch you by surprise and revoke your visa and extradite you when you break them.

Dubai is great if you want to combine work and pleasure and live your life in the fast lane. 

Visas for Dubai

All applicants for any type of Visa for Dubai need to have a valid health insurance. For some, this might be a bridge too far since health insurance with international coverage can be quite expensive.

For the visa rules and regulations, I like to refer you to the official websites of the Government of the United Arab Emirates of which Dubai is part. Visa rules and requirements change a lot and it is safer for you to get your information right from the source. All links will open in new tabs, and don’t be afraid you have to test your Arabic, for all websites have an English version.

For the requirements for a work permit, you can browse this website, work permits and contracts are explained there.

For the so-called Golden Visa for digital nomads, artists, retirees, and entrepreneurs, to name a few, you can enter the country on a tourist visa first, and after entering you can create an account on this website, but before you do that you might want to read all the requirements and possibilities.

The cost of living in Dubai

Dubai is expensive, you may have guessed that from the financial solvency you need for a visa or resident permit. Especially housing costs are sky-high. And for families, it is common to have a staff to take care of daily chores around the house. So that adds to the daily costs as well. because of the heat, your aircon will be on a lot and most of your life will be in an air-conditioned environment. This will add to the electricity bill.

You can compare the cost of living more or less with living in Central London it Central New York

You have to pay your rent per year upfront and rent can be as high as 17.000US$ for a small 1-bedroom apartment. This rent does not include building and service costs, nor does it include electricity and water.

Your groceries are average prices, Alcohol is very expensive, gasoline and cars not so. In order to own your own car in Dubai you need a local driver’s license.

Schools and education are top-end in prices and although the government has put a limit on price raises for education schools come up with a lot of extras to raise their income.

Finding a house in Dubai

You may want to rent a place first and start looking for an area to rent or buy while exploring the city. It can be a wise move to live close to where you work, but houses in the city center are scares and far more expensive than outside the center.

You can find houses on online housing sites, and through real estate agents and if you are moving there because you have a job offer, ask your employer to help out, househunting can be very time-consuming in such a big city. Most companies have staff to help new employees with their search for a suitable home. If your employer sends you abroad to Dubai they may own several company houses of which one may come with the expat offer.

Public Transport in Dubai

It might take you some time to get used to the infrastructure of the public transport system. But Dubai overall is a well-connected city, you can reach every part through public transport. Busses, taxis, and a metro system will bring you to the most luxurious shopping malls, the best restaurants, and the busiest nightlife streets, but also to work, the gym, and the recreational areas.

Healthcare in Dubai

Like everything else in the city of Dubai breathes exclusiveness, so does healthcare. There are multiple private clinics government hospitals and private ones, hyper-modern dental clinics, and specialized small clinics to get almost everything healed, changed, or fixed in your body.

Dubai wants to become one of the most modern health cities in the world. And with the new healthcare system and obligated healthcare insurance healthcare is also available for everyone.

Healthcare costs may be higher than you are used to but it is the best care possible.

Lifestyle in Dubai

People move to Dubai because of the city’s lifestyle, so nobody will complain about it. The world’s largest mall is in Dubai and the city has some amazing shopping areas. But also international and national cuisine, huge cinema complexes,  theme parks, water recreation, and nightlife. It is all there.

Whether you want to go indoor snowboarding while outside temperatures soar, or visit a music festival, Dubai offers it.

It comes with a price tag, but you can be sure it is nearly perfect, bright, shiny, modern, and hip.

Tips and Facts about Dubai you need to know

Buckle up, here are some things you might not like about this international 24/7 hub:

  • They are very strongly about drugs, drugs are not allowed
  • If you lose your job you have 30 days to find a new sponsor or you have to leave
  • You can not career-hop in Dubai, there is a limit to how often you can change jobs
  • The bureaucracy in Dubai is killing
  • Between the months of June and September, it can be unbearably hot
  • Traffic is insane, the city is so busy that even a short trip can take hours
  • Adultery is a crime that can get you imprisoned or expelled from the country
  • There is government censorship of films, access to websites and apps
  • Some areas in Dubai can be a constant building site
  • If you are looking for calm, peace, and quiet, Dubai is NOT your place, the city is busy and awake 24/7
  • Avoid Malls on Friday nights, they are packed!
  • Never drink and drive, if you get caught, you face serious charges
  • Do not eat in front of other people during daylight time when there is Ramadan
  • Dress conservatively when you deal with officials and official events
  • you can live together outside of marriage now in Dubai
  • and you can drink without a license
  • if you want to go for a desert ride (on a motorcycle) (off-road) you need to pass a test first and get a certificate
  • Dubai is 1 of the 7 Emirate States in the UAE  and not only a city

Final thoughts on Living in Dubai

Living in Dubai is what you make of it. it is an intriguing country, and you can mix hyper-modern with old traditional cultural values. Hypermodern architecture and local historical buildings. Berber food with haute cuisine.

One thing you cannot do in Dubai City is live a simple life.

Although this forward-moving city is in a fast lane when it comes to technology and architecture it holds on to traditions and conservatism.

Dubai is a destination you love or you dislike. So it will always be a personal choice to move to Dubai, as it is always a personal choice to move abroad.