Moving to Dubai

Below you will find some useful information when moving to Dubai, such as how to find accommodation, importing goods and so on. Additionally, you can request up to 5 free quotes for a move to Dubai. This can help you settle in and make your relocation that little bit easier.

Moving to Dubai

What to expect when moving to Dubai?

Before moving to Dubai, its best to read up on what changes you will experience so you can prepare for it.

In today’s media, the Muslim faith has been discussed and criticized about due to some events over the years by people who are meant to be following this beautiful religion. I’m not going to discuss about what the Muslim religion really is but if you’re debating or nervous about moving to Dubai because of this, don’t be. Yes, Dubai is a Muslim city, but it is filled with different cultures by the millions of expats living there, plus the locals, who all live peacefully. Yes, you will have to adapt to the culture of the locals and the laws they have, but that’s part of the package when moving to any city. Change doesn’t have to be bad, if you embrace it and see how the locals live and what they do, you can learn a lot from them and use their techniques and implement them into your everyday life.

As Dubai is a Muslim city, there are many mosques located all over the city. The call to pray which happens 5 times a day can be heard due to the call being amplified. This can be unexpectedly loud especially in the morning so be aware that for the first few weeks, you’ll be waking up early on the weekends. Slowly but surely, it will just become background noise.

Dress code

You will see a lot of men impeccably dressed in white dishdasha or khandoura and women in abaya and hajab. These are the national dresses which is why you will see a lot of people, especially the locals wearing them. alongside the traditional Arabic clothing, you will see conventional outfits ranging from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan to some African nations.

Due to the different culture and religion that is in Dubai, a dress code has been put in place to respect these. The most important thing you need to know is whilst in public areas, you should have everything from your shoulders to knees covered. The beach has a more relaxed environment with men being able to be topless and women able to wear beach bikinis. Whilst at home, you can wear anything you like but as soon as you leave your home, remember you are an expat and in order to make your stay here an enjoyable one, show some respect and watch what you wear.

The Heat

As well as the visual changes you will experience, you will also obviously see and feel a difference in the weather. Their climate is nothing like the UK. Their hottest days can reach up to 43 degrees while their coldest days are around 20 degrees, which is basically our summer. Sun cream is a must, even when you’re inside. A lot of brits who have moved to Dubai or even go to holiday can’t handle the heat and don’t protect themselves properly from it. We just aren’t used to this kind of heat, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Your best friend will be the air conditioner so make sure when you’re looking for a house/flat, check it has one and it works. Over time, you will acclimatize to the hot sun, but just remember to stay safe in the heat and if the locals don’t go outside, I highly recommend you do the same.

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Finding a place to live

Type of accommodation

When you are looking for a place to live in Dubai, the location and type of accommodation can make a vast difference in price. If you’re there for a few months, there are potential shared housing however, it is frowned upon if there are males and females sharing a house. There are a number of estate agents you can find online to help you look for your perfect home.

The best advice you could get is from your employer. They live there; if they’re an expat themselves, then they have probably been in the same situation. They may even provide accommodation for you. After a few months of living there and getting to know the city, you can always move to somewhere you prefer. Before moving your family out there and committing everything to the new job, test the water. Try to settle in alone, obtain all the necessary permits and paperwork and if you feel this is the place you want to live for the next 6 months, a year or even longer, then bring your family out and hopefully they’ll have a smoother exchange of lifestyle. Before you purchase a house, try and gain a complete understanding of the rules when it comes to buying property or land.


Depending on what you want and how much you have financially, Dubai has a number of neighborhoods that may be the right one for you.

Jumeriah and Dubai Marina are located near the beach however they are extremely expensive. Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) offers a central location and is fashionable. The Arabian ranches don’t offer a location as great as the other two but they have an extensive community with a reputation for nicely designed homes, which is why are the at the expensive end of the spectrum.

If you are looking for something a little cheaper that still offers a nice community, The Lakes, The Springs and The Meadows has characteristics that families could find appealing. The Um Suqeim district is located near the buzzy areas of Dubai, but at a lower price than the others which could be good for someone who is moving on their own and doesn’t know anyone in the city.

Education in Dubai

For those who have children, finding the right school will be one of your top priorities. The education system in Dubai is very good however most are private schools and cost a lot. Try and find out what their cultural and religious beliefs are because you don’t want your child in a school that they may not enjoy and be pushed to something you don’t agree with.

A lot of the schools, especially the private ones, follow the English national curriculum, which can enable your child to take their GCSE’s and A-levels. The only problem with certain schools in Dubai is that some are quite expensive with prices £1,500-£20,000. If you are moving out there for work, always ask your new employers for advice or even help with the school fees. Dubai is a great place for your children to make friends from around the world and experience something really unique, just make sure you look around before you decide on what school you want your child to attend.

Education in Dubai

Dubai’s public transport

Although driving in Dubai is the most convenient way of getting around, there have been recent improvements on public transportation by the government, and they are continually investing in it to make sure it meets the demands of the millions of people living here as well as the many tourists Dubai brings every year.

Here is a list of the most popular methods of transportation in Dubai:


The metro is a modern state-of-the-art, fully automated rail system that is driverless, clean fast and very efficient. It is the best way to get around for your first few weeks to get to know the city with stops located in popular areas like the Burj Khalifa and the Mall of the Emirates. In order to keep it clean and presentable, you are not allowed to eat or drink on the metro, if caught, you can receive some heavy fines.

  • Buses
  • Tram
Type of transportPrice
TaxiInitial fee: 6 AED (£1.20)

1.60 AED per km (£0.33)

FerryGold Ticket: 75 AED (£15.00)

Silver Ticket: 50 AED (£10.00)

Water Taxi One stop: 50 AED (£10.00)

Per hour: 400 AED (£67.00)

The best thing to get to maximize your use of the public transport is by getting a Nol card. This smart card allows you to use a number of forms of public transportation like the metro, bus and the trams. There are many advantages of using a Nol card, one being that there is no need to carry cash, instead you can top it up and off you go.

What you’re not allowed to bring into Dubai

Like most popular destinations, Dubai has strict regulations, yet they are quite straightforward and expected. The usual things like narcotic drugs, ivory and forged currency are banned and could get you arrested. However, UAE are somewhat strict with the medicine that you can bring in to the country. Some brits have been arrested and sentenced to jail for bringing prescribed pain killers into the country or even just having it in your system. Therefore, before sending a container to Dubai, get a letter from your doctor notifying why you need the medicine. The ministry of Health’s drug control department publishes a list of what you cannot bring into the country, so it’s best to have a look before going there.

Is Dubai actually Tax-Free?

To all of you wondering, yes! Dubai is tax-free with lots of advantages for those who live and work there however, there are situations where it will be mandatory to pay some form of tax.

 Tax resident

If you earn an income in Dubai but are a resident elsewhere, you may be taxed due to where you live. For example, if you live in the UK but have some properties that you rent out, you will declare this income on your British tax return and possibly pay tax on it if your overall earnings are above the nil rate band for income tax. If you are also working out in Dubai for 6 months, and are still a resident in the UK, you will most likely be subject to British taxation.

 Indirect tax

Your income may be tax free however when paying for products or services, tax is still alive and kicking. Any hotel you visit, a 10% tax charge will be added to your bill. Alcohol is also taxed heavily. You are required to pay 50% to bring it into the city and 30% you want to buy it to drink at home; this is one of the main reasons why people buy it illegally.

Where can I get Health insurance?

Public healthcare in Dubai is thought of providing a very high standard due to the emirates healthcare system is quite advanced. The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) was first created in 2007 to oversee UAE’s private and public healthcare facilities.

In the emirate of Dubai, employers are required to provide health insurance coverage for their employees, however if you are moving there for retirement then your best option is to apply for a health card from UAE’s Ministry of Health (MOH); with this, you will be able to receive care at a public facility.

These sites provide more information related to health insurance:

Healthcare in Dubai

How to open a Bank account when moving to Dubai?

Before moving to Dubai, especially if you’re going there to work, companies will prefer you to open a bank account in Dubai. It is in fact, very similar to opening one in the UK.

When you go to open your account, remember to take:

  • Your passport
  • A letter of no-objection from either your sponsor or employer

Depending on which bank you choose, you may also require:

  • A copy of your visa
  • A document showing your employer’s name and the amount of your salary
  • An Emirates ID card, or a copy of the application you submit to get one
  • A recent utility payment receipt or signed rental contract to confirm your address

Every bank requires different documents so check on their own sites so you bring the right documentation.

Get up to 5 quotes when moving to Dubai

Dubai is a great city with a lot to offer. At first you may find it hard, but that always happens when you move to a new country, so don’t shy away from it, embrace it and grasp every opportunity that Dubai has to offer you with both hands. With the information provided, you should be able to settle in and begin to acclimatize to your surroundings, but before that make sure you have the right mover to transport your personal belongings to your new home. Receive up to 5 free quotes by trusted and quality moving companies. By filling out this form, you can save up to 40%.