A Guide to becoming a British Expat in Dubai

If you are looking for a luxury holiday, you can’t get much better than Dubai. This impressive metropolis, located between the sea and the desert, is a shopping mecca. You can either visit the largest mall in the world, or swim in the warm clear surrounding water. However, an increasing number of visitors are deciding to stay permanently.

Dubai is one of seven Emirates in the United Arab Emirates. A large percentage of its population is made up of expats. As well as the sun and modern architecture, no income tax on your earnings and medical insurance provided by your employer, it’s easy to see why.

If you want to achieve the quality of life Dubai has to offer at a fraction of what it would cost at home, there are a number of things to consider before taking your first steps towards living in Dubai.

Firstly, if you are from the UK you don’t need to arrange a visa before arriving. You can travel to Dubai and obtain a visa that lasts for 30 days that can then be extended for another 30 days for a small fee. In order to secure a two-year visa, your employer will act as a sponsor and apply for a visa on your behalf.

Once you have your visa, the next step is acquiring a health card. If you want to become a permanent UAE citizen after this you can only get a UAE citizenship granted if you have lived there for ten years, or if you marry an existing citizen.

Finding a place to live is an essential part of the transition. There has been a recent increase in house prices. It is worth researching this before you leave, and if your employer is relocating you they can arrange this.

There are particular licences you will need as well as your visa. These include a labour card, a local drivers licence in order to buy a car (you can still rent one using your existing licence), and an alcohol licence in order to buy it.

Other than that, take a look below at some of the key things to remember in Dubai:

• The standard UAE currency is the Dirham
• The main language is Arabic, however lots of people speak English
• The weekend falls on Friday and Saturday
• You will need to get your mail directed to a PO box
• If you are unmarried, couples cannot live together
• Islam is the official state religion
• Be respectful of the culture and dress conservatively
• Learn the laws and local traditions before you go

We hope that these suggestions have given you a better idea of what to think about before making the decision to move to Dubai.

Kitty Mellow is a keen blogger and nomad working at, Travelbag, provider of Dubai holidays .