Moving to the UAE?

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Moving to the UAE

The opportunity of settling down in the UAE is certainly an exciting prospect for most expats. However, moving to the UAE might also seem like a leap into the unknown. Let us help! Our Guide gives you info prior to your move, from facts on the Emirates to detailed visa requirements.
Moving to the UAE is an exciting prospect for many expats.
  • Its strong economy makes the UAE a prime destination for international businesses.
  • Research visa permits thoroughly, and remember that you need to apply for a residence permit as well.
  • Abu Dhabi and Dubai are only two of the seven emirates – look for the hidden gems!

Expats moving to the UAE will experience a country with modern architecture, fantastic beaches, and a subtropical climate. The desert landscape contrasts with 700 kilometers of coastline. Coral reefs, sandbanks, and small islands do not only attract tourists, but they also make moving to the UAE a fascinating and exciting experience.

Expats who think of moving there should keep in mind that, despite its international and modern character, the country has traditional Islamic roots. Before doing business, you should therefore gather information on important laws and general etiquette.

A Strong Economy

Many foreign employees relocate to the UAE to work in the booming oil industry. The country’s role as a trading hub also makes for a lot of job opportunities for expats moving to the UAE, especially in construction or the financial sector. Other expatriates work in real estate. With one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, the UAE is a breeding ground for internationally operating companies.

Most expatriates moving to the UAE are headed for Dubai, enjoying the international atmosphere, as well as the advantages of its free trade zones. As the business center of the Persian Gulf, Dubai offers all sorts of luxuries and pleasantries.

Self-employed expats will soon find that outside of Dubai, it is harder for foreign companies to gain ground. There, at least 51% of local ownership is required for all businesses. Despite this attempt to place Emiratis in leadership positions, expats moving to the UAE still enjoy the benefits of a modern country with a strong economy.

Know Your Visas 

Your nationality determines the type of visa you need. Generally, there are two main categories: business and tourist visa. A tourist visa is valid for 30 days with the option to extend it for another 30 days. However, tourist visa do not include a permission to work and are therefore not suitable for expats moving to the UAE.

Not everyone needs a visa to visit the UAE. Citizens of the GCC nations of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait are exempt from this rule. Visitors from these countries need not apply for a visa at the embassy before their move. All they need to do is show their GCC country passport when entering the UAE.

Citizens from another list of countries, including all EU member states as of March 22, 2014, are eligible for a visit visa upon arrival at all UAE airports.  The webpage of Emirates Airlines contains specific requirements for a variety of nationalities.


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

Peter B. Krehmer

"There are so many expats in the UAE, but the InterNations Dubai Ramadan dinners brought some wonderful guests together. "

Suzanne Payne

"Dubai is such an overwhelming mixture of tradition and modernity that I was very grateful for all the support from other expats. "

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