Congratulations! You have decided to live out the dream and become one of the 240,000 UK expats currently enjoying the searing sun, exciting career opportunities, and famously lavish lifestyle that Dubai offers. You will understandably be keen to book your removal and relocate as soon as possible, but it is crucial to properly plan your move over to Dubai, since there are laws, customs, and requirements to consider that differ from the UK.
Continue reading as we outline what you need to consider before moving to Dubai and what it is like to live there.
Before you can complete your move to Dubai from the UK and become a citizen, you will need to obtain a United Arab Emirates ID card. This will be provided to you upon receipt of your residency VISA application, part of which includes a blood test. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months from the date of your arrival, and certain prescribed medications have to be approved by the authorities before you are allowed into the country.
Because of its location at the edge of the Arabian Desert, Dubai boasts an average of 342 sunshine-filled days per year. Unlike the UK, there are only really two seasons – summer, between the end of April and October and winter, the remainder of the year. The summer can be seriously scorching, temperatures regularly reaching upwards of 40°c with hot winds and high humidity levels. You should not expect a grey, wet and miserable winter like here in the UK, as even during these winter months, temperatures rarely drop below 20°c.
Living costs & accommodation
There is no point sugar-coating the facts here – Dubai is a notoriously expensive place to live. This by no means makes living a comfortable life an impossible task however, as there are high salaries and some very lucrative perks for UK expats in Dubai. The most beneficial of these is the fact that the UAE Government takes no tax out of your individual earnings, instantly leaving you with much more money in your pocket. There is also no VAT charge on most goods and services, though high living costs can negate some of these additional savings.
Rental costs can be expected to account for around 30% of your income. A house in the popular UK expat communities of Dubai Marina or Jumeirah Beach Residence can set you back around £20,000 to £29,000 a year, but you can halve this by looking around the Umm Seqeim and International City areas, both of which have been named amongst the 10 best places for expats moving to Dubai from the UK.
Below are examples of outgoings for you to consider when making your move to Dubai:
- Bills (electricity, gas, water, and heating) – £145 – £190 per month
- Internet – between £57 and £190 per month, depending on speeds and features
- Medical insurance – £4,000 per year average
- Fitness club or gym membership – between £770 and £1250 per year
- Mobile phone contract – between £29 and £190 per month, depending on model and extras
- Eating out – between £10 and £25 at a decent restaurant
Local laws & customs
Dubai is rated as a very safe place for UK expats to live, regularly named among the top 10 safest in the world thanks to its exceptionally low crime rates. However, it is important to understand that this comes in part from strict laws that are seen as very different to those in the UK. Serious or violent crimes, although rare, can still be punished by the death penalty. Being unaware of a law is not accepted as a viable reason for breaking it, so you should familiarise yourself before arriving to avoid fines, imprisonment or even deportation.
Public behaviour is heavily monitored, and you can be fined around £2000 for swearing or making an obscene gesture in public. If you are a woman, you will need to be especially conscious of what you wear in public. Out of respect for Muslim UAE culture, avoid wearing anything exposing the tops of your arms or shoulders, and skirts should at least cover the knees, or you are likely to be fined or arrested. Public displays of affection are heavily frowned upon and there have been arrests made in the recent past following people kissing in public. To consume alcohol, either at home or in a bar or restaurant, a UK expat will need to acquire a liquor licence. Recipients need to be a Dubai resident, non-Muslim and over 21 to qualify.
During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, taking place yearly between April and May, many laws are tightened and enforced more strictly. Eating, drinking, and smoking becomes strictly limited to between sunrise and sunset.
Public transport is widely available and affordable. The Dubai Metro system is considered one of the most modern and cost-effective in the world, with unlimited monthly travel setting you back only around £67.
Opening a bank account
As a UK expat living in Dubai, you can open a current account upon presentation of your passport, a signed letter from your employer, your UAE ID, your VISA, and a utility bill as proof of address.
Removals to Dubai from the UK
Now you are up to speed with some of the essentials to consider as a UK expat moving to Dubai, it is time to arrange your dream move! This is the perfect time to consider our cost-effective and high-quality removals to the UAE.
At Matthew James Global Relocations, we have over three generations of experience relocating UK expats to their dream life in Dubai. We offer door-to-door removals, customs clearance assistance and much more, to ensure your move is as easy and hassle-free as possible! Contact us today for a quick, free, and no obligation quote.