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Healthcare and Housing in Abu Dhabi

If you are thinking of living in Abu Dhabi, don’t forget to do your homework! This InterNations article on Abu Dhabi helps you to take the hurdles which you might come across during your expat assignment. Find out more about expat life in Abu Dhabi, e.g. healthcare and housing.
Abu Dhabi, a former pearl diver settlement, is home to 900,000 people.

Healthcare in Abu Dhabi

According to law, all UAE nationals and residents have to receive health insurance through their employer or sponsor. UAE nationals enjoy special benefits in form of full medical coverage provided by the state. Emergency healthcare is free of charge in all public hospitals, including for visitors to the UAE.

By means of government investments, the UAE has been able to improve its healthcare system during the last few years. At the moment, the government covers the majority of healthcare costs. However, various initiatives to further privatize this sector have been launched. There are already many private hospitals and medical facilities with excellent doctors and an international staff.

Healthcare Facilities

More and more primary healthcare centers open their doors all over Abu Dhabi to cater to the needs of all patients. They are walk-in clinics, offering integrated services 24/7. Public hospitals collaborate with these centers to offer specialized care and transfer patients to different units when needed.

Aside from primary healthcare centers, there are various types of medical facilities in Abu Dhabi offering different services:

  • Ambulatory Care Clinics: Patients can visit these facilities without prior appointment. Abu Dhabi has a comprehensive network of ambulatory care clinics offering primary and specialist care 24/7.
  • Family Medicine Clinics: These facilities have been open since 2009 and have often developed out of primary healthcare centers. Patients benefit from the advantages of trained staff and modern equipment but can be treated by their personal family physician at the same time.

Many of the facilities mentioned above also function as educational institutions to train medical and science students. For a useful search tool for all kinds of medical facilities available in Abu Dhabi, please see the website of the Abu Dhabi Government.


In Abu Dhabi you can find a wide range of high standard hotel apartments, residential apartments and villas. While foreigners were generally not allowed to buy property, in 2005, three years after Dubai, Abu Dhabi’s ruling family opened the market to international buyers. Prices are currently declining on Abu Dhabi Island as people seek out newer communities.

The classified sections of local newspapers are the first places to look when searching for rental property. Popular newspapers and classifieds include the following:

  • Al Ittihad (Arabic)
  • Gulf News (English)
  • Al Waseet classifieds (Arabic)


Registered brokers and Abu Dhabi Commercial Properties can assist with the search as well. These options make sense especially for those expats who do not know their way around Abu Dhabi yet, who are not fluent in the Arabic language or who have no contact or acquaintance to translate for them.

Most expats look to rent an apartment. Between 2013 and 2014, however, Abu Dhabi experienced a sharp rising of house prices due to the lift of a rent cap. Although it now appears that this increase has slowed down, be aware of over-priced properties. As of 2016, the yearly rent for an unfurnished, 2-bedroom apartment can range from 140,000 AED to as much as 220,000 AED, depending on the area you want to live in. The island of Al Reem provides slightly cheaper housing, with similar apartments going for 110,000 to 130,000 AED per year. The villas available in the Al Reef development are popular with families.


Utilities are activated by the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company (ADWEC). They provide the whole emirate with water and electricity. Once the supply has been activated, tenants receive a monthly bill, according to usage. This, just as any other mail, will be delivered to a P.O. box at the nearest post office. Residents can register for a private or a public P.O. box, with varying requirements.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Antoine Mariaux

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