Life in Dubai
The United Arab Emirates, sometimes simply called the Emirates, is a country in Western Asia at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf.
UAE is a monarchy that consists of a federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi (also the capital), Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharijah and Umm Al Quwain.
You will notice that most foreigners will relocate to Dubai, as this is the place that has most to offer.
If you want to relocate here there are couple of options.
Traditionally, you could only get 2 or 3 year visa. This was available by forming a company, investment or simply by getting a job here.
Recently they introduced 5 and 10 year visas and a permanent residency program.
Even though, you will probably never be able to get UAE citizenship, permanent residency is a huge change that happened.
In the past people usually didn’t consider UAE as a place of their permanent home. They would consider it as something temporary, as a place where they came to work or do some business. However, with the new laws around permanent residency this is going to change.
So what is life like in Dubai?
First of all, think about the weather. Dubai is in a desert so the weather is hot all year round. Winters might not be crazy hot like summers, but this is the place where you’ll enjoy sun all year. This is very appealing to lots of people.
Some people describe Dubai as Vegas with a beach (and without gambling).
Dubai is definitely a touristy place. You will see some attractions that put Dubai on a world’s map of top tourist destinations. For example, you have the indoor skiing, you have the huge aquarium, massive shopping malls, the tallest building in the world, one of the most iconic hotels in the world (where we stayed this time) Burj Al Arab, the dancing fountains, beautiful gardens and a lot lot more. You can go bungee jumping, sky dining, shopping, partying, try desert safari, ride a camel or shop in the most exclusive stores in the world. Dubai is a modern new city that offers almost anything you can imagine. Here you will find all the famous North American restaurant chains and brands.
Even though UAE is a monarchy, you will notice massive diversity in people. There are people from all over the world.
They put a lot of effort to provide amazing service in Dubai. If you want to be spoiled and treated like royalty you should definitely try their hotels and high end restaurants. Nobody does as good service as they do it here (exactly the opposite of Eastern Europe where the service is bad for the most part).
By world standards costs can be considered reasonable.
Rent and real estate prices are reasonable, taxis are reasonable, hotels are very good value for the money.
When it comes to banks you should consider that in a muslim country banks are against the interest rates, so there is no environment for loans as there is in North America.
Lots of people consider Dubai as an awesome place for families. It’s very safe. Also, they are bringing some of the best health care professionals in the world here. Back at the time people would go abroad to get the medical treatment, now it’s the opposite. Foreigners are coming to UAE to get a medical treatment.
One thing that is a big disadvantage is internet limitations. Lots of websites are blocked, web calling doesn’t work (WhatsApp, Viber and similar) which can cause lots off issues if your business is related to IT. Also, phone plans are not that good but they are quite pricy.
Even though this is an extremely modern place that offers so much, you still have to be aware that this is a muslim country and that you will need to obey certain rules if you want to live here.
For example, being drunk in public is unacceptable. Yes, you can go out to night clubs you can drink, but being drunk on the street can get you fines or even prison.
Before relocating here we advise you to take a look about the rules so you can be sure that you are always acting appropriate. Note that some things that might be normal and acceptable in your country might be considered highly disrespectful here.
Another big advantage of Dubai and Abu Dhabi is that they are massive hubs with lots of flights to and from here. They have fantastic airlines, we will be free to say that these airlines are the best in the world. It’s an unimaginable level of luxury. With them you will travel like never before.
What we would like to advise you if you are considering relocating here as a business owner is that you check tax treaties between your country and UAE. You might end up in a situation where your home country doesn’t accept the fact that UAE is zero tax country, so they might still tax you. This is something you have to consider, especially if you are from Canada or Australia.