Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of living like in UAE?

This all depends on how you live. Historically, Western expats used to be on generous packages that would include housing, schooling and travel allowances. This is becoming less common. Eating out can be as expensive or affordable as you make it, while groceries are slightly more than Europe, purely because there is very little ‘home grown’ produce in the UAE. Accommodation is on level with most major cities around the world but you do get more for your money in Dubai than, say, New York or London. School fees are expensive – on a level with high-performing private schools in the UK. There are also lots of social things to spend your money on in Dubai, like sports, beach clubs, bars and restaurants. While living is tax-free, the cost of living and ‘hidden extras’ do add up.

How much would accommodation cost?

It fluctuates quite a bit, depending on the economy at the time, but in general accommodation is the biggest individual item you will have to shell out for. Rents are renewable annually and mostly payment for the full year will be payable upfront. For a two bed apartment in a good Dubai suburb you would expect to pay on average around AED150,000 per year and a 3-bed family villa would cost on average AED240,000. Depending on budget, there are cheaper and more expensive accommodation in other areas of Dubai and the UAE. Please check out dubizzle.com and propertyfinder.com.

What are the sponsorship and visa requirements?

All expatriates must be sponsored to live in the UAE, meaning a company or UAE national must take responsibility for an expat’s behavior when living in the UAE. For anyone in employment, your employer will automatically offer this, and most husbands earning over a threshold monthly salary can sponsor wives and children to reside in the UAE. You will need to show your visa for everything such as connecting a mobile phone, opening a bank account or obtaining a drivers license.

Can I convert my driver’s license to a UAE license?

Licenses from any of the following countries can be converted immediately without the need for re-taking of tests.

Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

You can drive on an international license until your residence visa has been finalized, and you are able to apply for a UAE license. For licenses from any country not on this list, you are required to pass a UAE driving test before you can drive.

Would my relocation costs be covered? If not, how much would it cost to relocate to UAE?

This all depends on the seniority of the role, and from where you are recruited. Most employers state whether they are looking for local hire or overseas hire. Most overseas hire candidates can expect reimbursement for relocation. For more information on cost and considerations check out these links:

Is there a dress code in the UAE?

The UAE is a Muslim country but is extremely tolerant of other cultures and religions. However out of respect for the culture and the Islamic beliefs, women are advised to wear more conservative dress in public places like shopping malls or local souks. covering shoulders and legs to below the knee. This is particularly important during the holy month of Ramadan.

What is the dress code for business in the UAE?

This all depends on the position you’re in, the dress code is pretty much the same as what you would wear to work in your job back home. Emirati’s wear their kandoura or abaya. A shirt/suit is advisable for a job interview

How hot does it get in the UAE?

Temperatures can rise to 50 degrees C during the summer so air conditioning is a must in all buildings. The months of June – October, the locals tend to take themselves indoors and the beach or outdoor parks are only visited early morning or in the evenings. It is essential to stay fully hydrated during this time as the heat can prove quite exhausting.

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