Immigration to United Arab emirates

Living and Working in United Arab Emirates

A Emirati man with the national bird of UAE, in Dubai. The Falcon is a symbol of force and courage. United Arab Emirates (al-ʾImārāt al-ʿArabīyah al-Muttaḥidah) or Emirates, is located in the middle east on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. United Arab Emirates is mostly desert land surrounded by the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The total land area of U.A.E is 83,600 km2 (32,278 sq. miles). It shares borders with Oman and Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) has a population of 10.17 million as on January 2023, which is a 0.89% increase from 2022.

The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is run by a federal government and the local governments of the seven emirates. The UAE comprises of seven emirates, which are Abu Dhabi (the Capital), Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. Each emirate has different rulers and are descendants of the founding Sheikhs of the UAE. Dubai is the most popular emirate in UAE and is home to more than 200 nationalities. It is estimated that out of the total UAE’s population 88% residents are foreigners or expats.  Dubai is the most popular tourist destination with modern skyscrapers including the 828 metres Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world and Rub’al Khali, the largest continuous sand desert in the world. Dubai had approximately 14.36 million international visitors in 2022, which was almost 90% increase during the previous year. This growth enabled Dubai to surpass global and regional tourism recovery levels, contributes to the goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 initiated by the Vice President and the Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to integrate Dubai’s status as one of the world’s top three cities for travel and business. Dubai aims to become on the happiest countries in the world therefore it has a minister of state for happiness and well-being. Dubai is the commercial capital of UAE and is ranked the second-best-country to do business in the world for expats. The quality of living, state-of-the-art infrastructure & communication, security, global exposure, tax-free, good education and multi-national business opportunities all gives reasons to why you would like to immigrate to UAE.

Traveling information

Flag of UAE - Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
Flag of UAE

There are some basic requirements passengers must fulfill to enter United Arab Emirates. International covid-19 vaccinated travelers must present the vaccination certificate containing QR code but do not need to present negative RT-PCR report, however those not vaccinated must present a negative RT-PCR test result which is taken 48 hours before the travel begins or a recovery certificate if they were infected with Covid-19 within 30 of travel dates. Since the Pandemic the UAE has opened its doors to most of the countries, however, there are some other bans on some countries as per latest government policies. So it is advised to check the immigration policy of your country in UAE before you make travel plans. Once you are in UAE either on work visa or other visas, you must make sure you know all the rules and regulations as UAE puts visa Ban on defaulters. To find out the most common types of visa ban in the UAE, please refer edarabia.com

How to reach UAE

Flight:

You can reach UAE from popular destination of the world as there are almost 10 international airports that offer connectivity to destinations in Europe, Africa and Asia. Direct flights for Dubai are from countries like USA, UK, Pakistan, Australia, Germany, Italy and Saudi Arabia and India, etc. Indirect flights are from USA, Brazil, Germany, Canada, etc.

Etihad Airways is one of the national flag airline carrier of the UAE and is established and owned by the government of Abu Dhabi. Emirates Airline is the second national Flag carrier of the emirate of Dubai, UAE and one of the busiest in the world, it operates 153 Boeing 777 aircrafts serving flights all over the world. Emirates flies to approximate 158 destinations in around 85 countries. There are two other airlines Flydubai, which is a low-cost carrier and Air Arabia which is also low-cost and based in Sharjah. The main international airports of UAE are Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport, Sharjah International Airport and the Dubai World Central or the Al Maktoum International Airport.

Sea: Tourist and expats can enter UAE by sea route also. Several international cruise liners have UAE as a stop on their itineraries. Sea ports like Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal, Zayed Port; Port Rashid, Dubai and Port Khalid, Sharjah receives ships, cruises and boats from all over the world. From India there are cruise ships which help you to reach United Arab Emirates.

Road: Roads of the United Arab Emirates are connected to the neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia and Oman. You can travel by private car or by public transport operated by the government companies. There are many crossing points on the borders, some are exclusive to GCC citizens.

Travel within UAE:

Land: You can have your own car on the roads or can easily find a cab to roam around the cities. Other options are also open like metro, monorail, bus, rental cars, buses, etc. Bus services are quite limited, local municipal bus system runs between Dubai, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi only.

Air: You can travel by flight, however, inter-city air travel is very limited to limited cities including Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Charter flights are also available within the UAE.

Water: Ferry services are available are some coastal ports like Al Ghubaib and Dubai, also from Jebel Al Dhanna port to Delma Island in Abu Dhabi. You can also find water taxi service like Abra boats runs from Deira to Dubai and vice versa.

How to immigrate to UAE

UAE invites foreigners or expats to visit for holiday, for living and working, and to setting up a business. For any of these reasons you require a visa or a work permit (labor card) in advance as the case maybe. However, citizens of some countries can get a visa on arrival, the rest must obtain a visa. To see the list of countries eligible for visa on arrival, click here. The revised golden visa regulation in the UAE for 2024, which is both simplified and extended encompasses all visa categories. It grants a 10-year validity to all visas offered by the UAE, including those for scientists, skilled professionals and exceptionally talented individuals.

Types of Visa for UAE:
• Transit Visa
• Tourist Visa
GCC (Gulf cooperation council) residents e-visa
• Five-year multiple entry visa
• Job Seeker Visa
• Investing in the UAE – following categories
a. Company shareholder visa
b. Golden visa for real estate investors
c. Golden visa for entrepreneurs
• UAE residence visa has following categories
a. Company-sponsored visa
b. Sponsored by family visa
c. Golden visa
d. Green Visa
e. Student visa
f. Retirement visa

To know everything about visa for UAE, apply visa online, know the latest visa fees, please log on the website : emirates.com/english/, enter your country of origin and put Visa and Passport in Search.

People

Citizens of United Arab Emirates are called Emiratis. Emirati culture is a blend of Eastern Arabian, Islamic and Persian cultures with a blend of Indian, East African, with western culture. Out of the total population around 10% are local Emiratis and the rest are expatriates and immigrants from all around the world. The Expat population in UAE as on 2023 is 9.0 million according to the research done by GMI (global median insight). The large number of immigrants are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Iran, Egypt, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China and around 17% from other countries.

Islam is the main religion of the United Arab Emirates with around 76.9% of the population. Other religions that are practiced here are Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and others. The literacy rate is 98% in the UAE as the founder of UAE believed that education is the way forward to create a prosperous society. The Emiratis are not just happy, but very happy people. They are modern yet hold high values to their traditional. Most of the government jobs are done by emirates and fewer by qualified immigrants. A large number of Emiratis work for the state-owned companies and private industries. Each and every company and business is owned and run by local as law requires.

Emiratis have a modest clothing culture which also that suites the climate. Covering the whole body except the feet, face and hands is modest clothing sense in UAE.  Traditional dress for men is the Kandura (Dishdasha), an ankle length white shirt. It is usually white in color, best suited for the desert heat, however, the Kandura are worn in brown, black or grey color during the winter months. The Ghutra, a traditional headdress worn by men is made of cotton, decorated with white and red checks. It is secured with Agal (the ring placed on Ghutra).

Abaya is the most common and traditional dress worn by Emirati women. It is usually simple black in color, loose-over garment. They cover their head with a rectangular headscarf known as the Shayla (hijab), which is either wrapped around the neck and pinned at the shoulder. The other traditional women wear is Gishwah, Battoulah, Jalabiya or Kaftan.

Job offers in UAE

Some of the high demand jobs are Executives, Accountant, Teachers, hospitality staff members and Manager. There are several websites available on the internet help you to get your dream job in Emirati or foreign company in the UAE. On these websites you can search and apply online, plus you can create your profile which is an easy process. Most of the employers, job vacancies and expats are in Dubai as a result many job seekers are drawn to this city in search of a better lifestyle. The most popular portals are:

Getting a job in United Arab Emirates is will be easier if you read, write, understand English or Arabic and with the help of your network of international professional contacts. Many multinational companies like Al Fardan Exchange, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, DAMAC Properties, DU, Dubai Airports, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, keep searching for qualifying candidates in United Arab Emirates.

To get a job in UAE you will need a work visa which will expire after a period of time but can be renewed. There are several categories of Emirati visas but for the employment purpose, choose work visa only. Candidates must verify the job offer letter given by the employer. ECR Passport Holders must go through e-Migrate as per the Government of India’s instructions. To get assurance about the employer company’s genuineness some documents must be submitted, such as:

  • Offer letter issued by the employer.
  • Entry permit given by the Immigration Authorities.
  • A copy of Passport, etc.

For more information please visit: cgidubai.gov.in, edarabia.com

Economy of UAE

The economy of the United Arab Emirates is the fifth largest economy among the Middle Eastern Countries. The GDP was US$503 billion in the year 2022. UAE economy is depended on the revenues generated from products like petroleum and natural gas. Tourism is one of the bigger elements in terms of non-oil sources of revenue in the UAE. Humungous construction sector, blooming manufacturing base and the service sector are also contributing to the economic growth of the United Arab Emirates. Products exported by the United Arab Emirates are Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Re-exports, Dried Fish, Dates. Main export partners are India, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Singapore, Thailand, etc. Goods imported by UAE are Machinery and transport equipments, Chemicals, Food. Main import partners are Mali, China, India, USA, Saudi Arabia, Germany, UK, Japan, etc. According to a report, the GDP growth will slow down in the year 2023 and the non-oil sector will grow faster. Oil production is projected to be slower in the year 2023 compared to the year 2022.

For more information please visit: zawya.com &  en.wikipedia.org

Renting and buying of real estate for foreigner’s

Renting:

Renting is possible for expats and foreigners in United Arab Emirates. Even though rentals are pricey, still it will be feasible for a foreign resident if they want to reside for short term. There are several types of houses available for rent in the UAE, which you can choose as per your need and budget. There are several websites on the internet showing the preview of the house with rent as well. Some websites are mentioned below:

UAE rental contracts are usually for one year which includes the hefty fine if it is broken. Landlord also requires three months’ rent as upfront deposit. It is suggested that it would be good for foreign nationals to arrive and check a property on its own before signing a contract or lease.

Buying: 

United Arab Emirates has become an attractive place for buying property among foreign residents. However, the prices are raising high day by day due to the new residency and visa policies. Prices are also fluctuating due to the popularity of the location, entertainment and commercial hubs.

Costs like mortgage deposit, registration fee, Land Department fee, brokerage fee, mortgage arrangement fee and property valuation fee is 31 to 32% of the property value. Home ownership requires a minimum down payment of the net price of the property. Apartments, townhouses, villas valuing for less than AED5m requires a 20% down payment and a property value above AED5m requires a 30% down payment.

For more information please visit: www.internations.org , www.arabianbusiness.com

Climate

The climate in UAE is a hot desert climate. It is hot and dry in summer and mild in winter due to its position near the line of the tropic of Cancer. UAE has four seasons – summer, spring, autumn and winter season.

Spring: This season dwells from March to April and has temperature from 17°C to 34°C.

Summer: This season starts from the month of June and ends in the month of August in UAE. Days are extremely hot with hot winds and high humidity. Dubai’s temperature during summer is slightly milder due to the close proximity to the sea, than the other cities in United Arab Emirates. However the increased humidity makes the weather unpleasant in summer. Rainfall is also a factor during the summer season, as well as there are frequent dust storms because of the windy conditions. The temperature goes above 40°C in the daytime and decreases till 24°C in night.

Autumn: This season is just like summer with a slight difference in the temperature; however the temperature goes down in autumn. It stays from the month of September to November. The average temperature fluctuates from 28°C to 38°C.

Winter: This season starts from the month of December and ends in February. The weather is cool and rainy but sometimes you might also experience some sunny and mild days in this season. This time is considered as perfect for outdoor activities. Also there are strong thunderstorms with winds and lesser temperature. In the mountains it is as cold as you might also come to see a snowfall. The average temperature is from 14°C to 25°C. 

For more information please visit: seasonsyear.com

Languages

The official language of United Arab Emirate is Arabic. Arabic language is spoken by more than 80% population of UAE. It is used in educational institutions and government offices. There are also some other languages spoken by immigrants like Hindi, Malayalam, Filipino, Urdu, and English. English is widely spoken mainly in the urban areas but is widely known and understood even by the Arabs. English is the primary language in the UAE and knowing this language is must especially when applying for most local jobs. It is suggested to take a tour guide with you or an Arabic speaking friend to help you communicate in the rural areas or the areas where people don’t speak English. It is always helpful either learn the language or learning some basic words especially when greeting people. The word “”As-salaam ‘alykum” means “peace be upon you” is the most common phrase that you will hear when people meet each other. The word “Shukran” means “Thank You”.

Traffic

Driving on UAE road is possible for foreigners and expats with a valid international driving license. The legal age of driving in UAE is 21 and above. The driving license is initially valid for two years for citizen, GCC residents and for foreigners. After that you can renew it which will be valid for ten years for the locals and GCC residents and five years for international citizens.

Traffic congestion is common on the roads of major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. To avoid congestion do not drive during the rush hours which is from 8 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 7 pm. Seatbelts are mandatory for both the driver and passengers. Breaking traffic rules can get you to pay a hefty fine and four black points. Drunk and drive is prohibited, violators will have to pay the fine decided by the court or jail term.

Speed limit is 80 km/h and exceeding this limit will cause fine of AED 3,000 with twenty-three black points. The city Dubai has the “white points” system to encourage its drivers to follow the traffic rules and regulations. People get rewarded by the Government by the white points if they:

  • Do not violate any traffic rule in Dubai or other emirates.
  • Do not incur Salik and parking fines
  • Do not face traffic prosecution case for a one year.

For more information: u.ae/en

Currency

The Dirham is the Official currency of the United Arab Emirates. Symbol used for the currency are Dh (singular) and Dhs (plural). The Dirham is subdivided in 100 fils. The bills and coins are minted and printed in the Central Bank of the UAE. Exchange rate of the dirham for the USD since 1997 is of 1 USD = DHs 3.6725, which translates to Dh 1 = 0.272294 USD. Some bills and coins of Emirati currency are rarely used nowadays but still legal and are in circulation.

The bank notes come in nine denominations which are:
Dhs5, Dhs10, Dhs20 Dhs50, Dhs100, Dhs200

Rarely used bank notes are:
Dh1, Dhs500, Dhs1,000

Coins are in six denominations which are:
25 fils, 50 fils, Dh1

Rarely used coins are:
1 fils, 5 fils, 10 fils

Payment Transaction

There are various different ways to make payments in United Arab Emirates. As a developed country, economic market has bloomed way before than the developing countries in the world. Cash and cards are accepted all over the country, moreover online transactions can also be done in places like malls, supermarkets and small shops. There is approx. 90% of the population using online payment methods in UAE, which are:

  • E-wallets
  • Bank Transfers
  • Debit Cards
  • Credit Cards

PayCEC, PayPal, Stripe, Google Pay, ApplePay, etc. are the best payment gateways in United Arab Emirates and are chosen by many local merchants and consumers. All the UAE payment methods require merchants to develop a secure and better functioning payment gateway like PayCEC to be able to accept UAE payments and protect merchants / customers from virtual theft and fraud.

For more info visit: paycec.com

Cost of living in UAE

United Arab Emirates is one of the expensive country in the Middle East and cost of living here is pricey than seventy percent of countries in the world. Major cities like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah are expensive than rural areas. Average living cost in United Arab Emirates also depends upon your lifestyle or your current situation, like whether you are working or a student. Cost of living varies from city to city and also if you are staying alone or with your family.

The average monthly expense for a single person is approximately 10,900 Dirham and the monthly expense with family of four people will be 17,500 Dirham. Food is cheap compared to housing or dining. If you are staying in a city where you can go by bicycle or by walking to your university or office or live in a city with a good public transport system, then your cost of living will be much lower. Emirates like Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah is cheaper to live than Dubai and Abu Dhabi. When it comes to rentals, Umm Al Quwain is the most affordable for middle income people. The city is more peaceful with slower pace of life as compared to other Emirates. There are many lower housing options in Sharjah and is more conservative location. If you prefer a reasonable quiet and laid-back lifestyle with low housing costs, then Fujairah is the best option.

Here are some products mentioned below, so that you will get a clear idea of the cost of living:

ProductQuantityAmount in (Dh) (Dirham)
Whole Fat Milk1 lit6.00
Eggs12 (a dozen)14.00
Tomatoes1 Kg (2 lb.)5.03
Chicken500 grams (1 lb)15.00
Dining (Lunch)Full meal40.00
Fast food mealCombo30.00
Bread2 loaf4.47
Internet8 mbps (1 month)348.00
Cleaning helpHourly41.00
Public transport ticketMonthly89.00
DoctorShort visit285.00
Movie TicketsFor 292.00
Utilities (heating, gas, electricity)1 month, 2 people in (900 sqft) flat754.00
Utilities (heating, gas, electricity)1 month, 1 people in  (900 sqft) flat546.00

To find out the latest cost of commidities in UAE, please visit: expatistan.com

Apartment Rent

The city of Dubai and has the expensive apartments followed by the capital city Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in United Arab Emirates. Fully furnished one-bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost you approx. 5,820 Dirham and same apartment, outside city will cost approx. 4,100 Dirhams. A furnished studio apartment of 2 to 3 bedrooms in the city centre will cost you approx. 9,650 Dirhams and outside the city it will cost you approx. 7,200 Dirhams. Taking the help of colleagues and friends in finding accommodation will be of advantage.

There are many websites to help you get your accommodation. You will also get an idea of the cost of monthly rent in the below mentioned site. Property showing websites also mentions prices under the display of their apartment so that you can choose as per your need and comfort. While talking to the landlord take along the real estate agent or an Arabic speaking friend with you so that the conversation will be clear and easy as not many Arabs are fluent in English. 

For more info visit: expatistan.com

Taxes

United Arab Emirates is a tax-free country. There are no tax implications on personal income generated from any source on individuals. However, it levies corporate tax on oil companies and foreign banks.

Excise tax is implied on distinguished items which are hazardous to human health or for the environment. As well as VAT is collected from various goods and services. Tourists can claim refund on VAT on purchases they made during their stay in the United Arab Emirates. Recovery can be done through a fully integrated electronic system which connects retailers registered in the “Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme” with all ports of entry and exit from UAE.

For more information please visit: u.ae/en/ & cleartax.in

Education 

Every year more than 80,000 foreign students land in the United Arab Emirates for study, making it one of the preferred study destinations in the world. UAE offers best education along with a rich cultural heritage and a welcoming culture. The Ministry of Higher Education regulates and administers the colleges and universities in UAE. There are eighty private universities and two public universities, hence international students prefer to enroll in the private universities. There is a vast range of bachelor’s, doctorate and master’s degree in UAE. Also some colleges are branches of international universities. Private universities offer best education and receive major financial support from the Emirati rulers to get international talents to the nation. More than seventy percent of the private universities can be found in the major cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Homeschooling is made legal in the UAE, as many expats and long-term visitors wish to homeschool their children. However, it is legal for all nationals and residents of the UAE who qualify. Homeschooling is official for students from grade 7 to 12. For grade 7 the age accepted is 14 years. For more details please visit: u.ae/en/

The cost of education in UAE depends on the duration of the academic program you are enrolled in. These institutions set their own tuition fees and scholarships or financial aids are offered only to the deserving international candidates. Tuition fee for bachelor’s degree is from approx. USD 17000 to USD 32000 and for master’s degree is approx. USD 8000 to USD 16000.

For more information: www.aeccglobal.com

Health Insurance

The United Arab Emirates has advanced health care system with high healthcare standards and also ranked as one of the most efficient healthcare infrastructure in the world. Easily accessible and modern healthcare facilities are for both the expats and resident. Most foreigners opt for private healthcare in UAE as there are many international and foreign trained doctors as well as English speaking staff, however both the public and private hospitals provide premium quality healthcare. Medical services provided in private hospitals are expensive and are worth for. On the other hand, medical treatment provided in the public hospitals is low cost to free.

Expats must pay a fee and have only access to the public hospitals if they have a health card. The UAE has a comprehensive, government funded healthcare system. Expats can take treatments from both the private and public facilities, however they have to pay for it.

For more information, please visit: www.internations.org.

Important addresses

Dubai International Airport
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 224 5555
Website: dubaiairports.ae

Abu Dhabi International Airport
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 2 505 5555
Website: abudhabiairport.ae

Sharjah International Airport
Sharjah
United Arab Emirates
Ph: +971 6 558 1111

Al Ain International Airport
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 2 505 5000
7J59+CQ4,
Website: adac.ae

UAE Exchange Metro Station (Subway Station)
Sheikh Zayed Road
United Arab Emirates

Emirates Metro Station 2 (Subway Station)
35th Street
Dubai
United Arab Emirates

Max Metro Station (Subway station)
Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Rd
Za’abeel,  Al Kifaf
Dubai
United Arab Emirates

Embassy of India
Plot No. 10,
Sector W-59/02,
Diplomatic Area,
Embassies District
United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 2 449 2700

Embassy of Bangladesh
Villa No. 46, 48
Sector 19, Zone. W31,
Al Jawwalah St Al Saadah Area,
Abu Dhabi,
United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 2 446 5100
Website: dac.gen.xyz

Embassy of Kazakhstan
44, Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum St.,
Main St. #2, Al Safaraat District,
Abu Dhabi,
United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 2 449 8778
Website: gov.kz

Embassy of Nigeria
Villa No. 642/3,
Off Arab Gulf Road,
Third Street,
Near Singapore Embassy
Abu Dhabi,
United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 2 443 1503
Website: nigerianabudhabi.org

Summary

United Arab Emirates, a country famous for its oil reserve and natural gas is a dream city for all. It is a Muslim country which follows all Islamic laws yet a true beacon of tolerance and interfaith harmony. This is a place found in every person bucket list and has much more to offer to its residents as well as for the international students and expats living and working here. UAE is a tax-free country and does not imply any tax on any kind of personal income; however, there are taxes like corporate tax, VAT and excise duty from which you can claim and get the tax refund. It is easy to study, work or live here, the only thing you need is a valid passport and appropriate visa for entering UAE. Health care is free for its residents; however, non-residents have to pay for their medical expense in the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, United Arab Emirates is one of the best countries in terms of study, work and for living a peaceful and safe life.

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