LIVING IN DUBAI: Everything You Need to Know (2021 update)

LIVING IN DUBAI: Everything You Need to Know (2021 update)

Living in Dubai, the essential kit

Do you want to live in Dubai? We'll walk you through the basics of what there is to know about settling and working in Dubai.

Moving to Dubai could certainly become one of the most exciting experiences of your life. That said, you have to know how to do it right, understand the main advantages and the differences with France. We will give you practical advice for your installation and little instructions for work, taxes, education, health, and more.

Dubai Marina

[Living in Dubai] – What expats like:

  • Dubai is renowned for its dynamism and its unique quality of life! It is, therefore, the ideal destination if you want to enjoy a good social and professional life.
  • The weather is fine all year round and the climate is really ideal during the period from October to April. The days are hot under a totally blue sky and rocked by calm and warm waters.
  • Socially speaking, life in Dubai is always full of great surprises in a thriving and diverse setting. About the many hotels, restaurants, private clubs, beaches, gyms, bars, and nightclubs, you have a wide range of choices for your accommodation and evening outings.
  • The schools are excellent in terms of standards and quality of education in Dubai, and their number is increasing every year.
  • Most of the big companies are headquartered in Dubai! This multiplies the opportunities on the spot.
  • The income is not taxable in Dubai. You can therefore earn a large salary and easily repatriate funds to your home country.
  • Dubai Airport has three terminals that can accommodate up to 70 million international passengers. Which makes the Emirate one of the most accessible destinations in the world.
  • Shopping in Dubai is just amazing. From remarkable malls and boutiques on the beaches to back-alley markets, when shopping or just window shopping in Dubai, you have a wonderful experience.
  • The crime rate is extremely low, Dubai is one of the safest places in the world.
  • Alcohol is permitted in licensed restaurants, clubs and bars. Expats can buy alcohol duty-free but to be able to buy it in town you need a license under certain conditions.
  • Taxi rides are not expensive in Dubai, for more comfort you can use VTC.
  • Gasoline is really very cheap, around 46 euro cents per liter.
  • Having a home help is very common in Dubai.

[Living in Dubai] – What expats dislike:

  • You have to have licenses and permits for everything! And it is not always very easy to navigate through the administrative formalities of the United Arab Emirates, especially since they change regularly. So we strongly advise you to get information directly from the Embassy located in Paris.
  • In Dubai, couples are not allowed to live together if they are not married.
  • Summer in Dubai can become unbearable, from June to September, temperatures can exceed 45 ° with humidity up to 95%. Fortunately, the local facilities were designed to cope with this period.
  • Road traffic is quite strenuous in Dubai, namely the directions of Sharjah and Jebel Ali in both directions.
  • The cost of housing and schooling is very expensive.
  • The working hours exceed 35 hours, we work more than 8 hours a day and often 6 days a week, because overtime is very frequent in Dubai.
  • There are construction sites everywhere in Dubai. The constructions are frantically high here and there, it can quickly make life stressful.

After weighing the pros and cons, here are our practical tips:

[Living in Dubai] – The formalities

Visas & procedures

The visit visa is issued automatically on your arrival for a validity of 30 days or 90 days. But if you want to settle for several years, you need to get a residence visa. In Dubai, managers of free-zone companies, employees, and their families easily benefit from a residence and work visa valid for 3 years, renewable. Indeed, a company domiciled in free zones not only allows to do world trade but also gives the right to reside in the United Arab Emirates for several years.

Here are the procedures and the documents to be provided for any visa application:

  • A copy of the diploma
  • A bank statement with a minimum account of AED 75,000
  • A flex-office: proof that you have an office in Dubai, AED 5,000 per year at least.
  • Compulsory medical examination and fingerprinting

It is important to understand that not only do you need to be well informed about the procedures to follow but you must also check regularly with the immigration services because the formalities often evolve in Dubai.

The new entry conditions

At the time of writing, the borders of Dubai are open. Visitors will be required to complete a Health Declaration Form and Quarantine Form, which must be printed, completed and handed over to Dubai Health Authority staff upon arrival. Visitors will also need to download and register their contact details on the Covid-19 DXB App, according to the ODCE.

In addition, visitors should purchase international health insurance before traveling.

The passport must also be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into the United Arab Emirates.

[Living in Dubai] – Accommodation in Dubai

The Port

Dubai is a big city with ultramodern and luxurious architecture. You will certainly find a home to your liking there. Villas or apartments, furnished or unfurnished, the type of accommodation varies according to your choice. If you prefer to live in beautiful neighborhoods, beaches or skyscrapers, you can look around La Marina, Le mirdif, The Arabian Ranches, Business Bay, Jumeirah Lake and Downtown Burj Dubai.

You will have to take into account the lifestyle you want to enjoy, the position of your accommodation in relation to your workplace, access to the different places that interest you such as the beach, shops or clubs, the distance from schools. and health services. These are important factors that will help guide your research in order to acquire or rent an apartment. Click here to find out how buying an apartment in Dubai goes.

[Living in Dubai] – Working in Dubai

The job market in Dubai is one of the most open in the world, driven by strong competitiveness in a cosmopolitan universe. But English is required for most of the most interesting business sectors, such as hotels, restaurants, tourism, the luxury industry, IT and new technologies.

There is no minimum wage in Dubai, the legal working time is 48 hours per week with the right to leave for 30 days per year. In certain sectors of activity, priority is given to recruiting locals, particularly in travel agencies, real estate agencies, banks, and insurance companies. If you want to work in Dubai, you must have a sponsor, it is a guardian who can be an individual or a company that takes the criminal responsibilities for your legal offenses.

It's up to you to find the job you like in this real melting pot where dreams sometimes come true. Last little thing, weekend days are Friday and Saturday, so Sunday is the first day of the week.

[Living in Dubai] – Company Creation in Dubai

Companies from all over the world have started to establish their presence in Dubai. From leisure and entertainment to banking and construction, companies from various fields have opened their branches in Dubai. Whether you are looking for an international fashion store or a world-class restaurant with exotic cuisine, you are sure to find it in Dubai.

There are several advantages to starting a business in Dubai. One of the main reasons is that Dubai's economy is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Then, like in any other emirate, Dubai is a tax haven for foreign investors. Dubai is also known to be a welcoming environment for entrepreneurs. His government has designed trade policies that encourage entrepreneurs to set up businesses in Dubai. It has also put in place a lot of incentives to help start-ups thrive and grow. In addition, the emirate consistently ranks in the top ten on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index.

Whether you are looking for business ideas, settling in Dubai is easy and affordable today. The cost of registering a company depends on the type and size of your business. To get off to a good start and get help, it's a good idea to work with a company formation specialist in Dubai.

[Living in Dubai] – Education in Dubai

With a cosmopolitan population, Dubai is committed to ensuring quality international education. For expatriates, it is advisable to register their children in several establishments because the waiting lists can sometimes be very long. But if you are a resident of certain housing developments, your children will be prioritized on the list. This is an advantage to be taken into account. There is no shortage of private schools in town, from nursery schools to universities, following the international baccalaureate program, it should be noted that the Arabic course is compulsory from the age of 4 shortly. the school system matters.

Private schools in Dubai are financially more affordable compared to British or American schools. They are all equipped with a swimming pool and gym, and the days start at 8 am and end around 3 pm and lightened during the period of Ramadan, the first day of class is Sunday and Thursday the last of the week. The school year is divided into three terms: fall, spring, and summer.

Nurseries accommodate on average babies aged 12 months, you should plan an annual budget of around AED 30,000 for kindergarten although the fees vary depending on the establishment of your choice. Some primary schools administer entrance tests. There are the advanced courses, the SAT, the IGCSE, the GCE or CBSE, the International Baccalaureate from secondary school. Dubai's graduate schools testify to the excellence of the international educational model, one of the best in the world. There is Dubai International Academic City is home to the largest universities and faculties dedicated to higher education and intellectual development. Special schools are also available for special educational needs, such as for children with dyslexia or ADHD.

For more details, you should check directly with the establishments and institutions in order to gather as much information as possible.

[Living in Dubai] – Cultures in Dubai

With only 25% of the population originally from the emirate, Dubai is home to immigrants from all over the world. Despite this population composed of a large majority of foreigners, Arabic remains the official language and Islam the main religion. It is not uncommon to come across Gulf Arabs dressed in Dishdashas and Dubai Abayas.

Discover in a few lines the essentials of what you need to know about culture in Dubai:


Family is very important to them. They are very open and welcoming. You may be invited to join an Emirati family for some refreshment.


The majority of the population turns out to be Muslim. The Grand Mosque of Jumeirah: one of the few mosques to welcome non-Muslims on guided tours

Culture village

A village dedicated to culture located on the banks of the Creek and bringing together cultural institutions (promoting education, dance, art, music, etc.), museums, docks, souks It aims to reaffirm the history of the Middle East and explaining the rich cultural heritage of Dubai, between tradition and modernity.


The Dubai Museum located in Fort Al Fahidi which presents the traditional way of life in the Emirate. The Women's Museum located at Bait Al Banat in Deira to learn about the history of women through the ages.

Many other initiatives have been taken by companies in Dubai to improve its image as a cultural destination. Added to what we mentioned above, we can also discover the Dubai opera house and art galleries.

[Living in Dubai] – Going out in Dubai

DIFC by night

Nightlife in Dubai is rich and varied. Whatever your musical tastes or the atmosphere you prefer, you will find the ideal place that will suit you perfectly.

Among the many beautiful places in Dubai, we have selected 3 original maps to give you an idea of ​​an outing.


Relaxing on the beach enjoying the sound of DJs, Beachclubs are popular in Dubai. In particular, Nikki Beach, which is located on the island of Pearl Jumeriah. It's a very festive beach club. Lively from morning until late at night, this private beach attracts a trendy clientele.

Bars and clubs

Nightlife in Dubai is exciting with its many clubs and bars. You can go out every evening with the themed evenings and shows that are offered there. As for alcohol, you have to be 21 to be allowed to consume it, but it is different in clubs and bars.


Since most Dubai cinemas are in a mall, shopping and movie night combo is common. The latest Hollywood and Bollywood films are showing there. Particularly, it can be interesting to watch a movie under the stars, as some cinemas are open air.

[Living in Dubai] – Transport and communication in Dubai



Considering the heat and the size of the city, walking is not the best way to get around Dubai. The most economical means of transport is the metro, which is fully automated. Getting around by taxi is also a practical solution. Uber and Careem services are available if you want to use apps to book a taxi. But if you want to be self-sufficient and more flexible, renting a car seems like a good idea. The bus is another alternative for getting around Dubai. Another way to see the city from the water is by boat. And finally and in winter for short trips, cycling can be interesting.

The communications

Regarding telephone operators, Dubai has 3: DU, Etisalat, and Virgin Mobile. DU and Etisalat offer attractive internet packages. You should know that any use of a virtual private network is punishable by prison and a fine. Some websites are also blocked, such as pornographic sites, critical political content, or information that is offensive to religion. As for wifi, is available everywhere: in cafes, restaurants, shopping centers, etc.

[Living in Dubai] – Health in Dubai

Health insurance

It is compulsory and covers emergency care, visits to a general practitioner or specialist, the tests and examinations they prescribe, physiotherapy, restorative surgery, and maternity care.


It is easy to find a drugstore in Dubai even in the middle of the night. Many drugs can be purchased without a prescription. Some generalist drugs can also be found in supermarkets and department stores.

Hospitals and clinics

Dubai lists the best hospitals in the United Arab Emirates as well as the most talented doctors in the world. The standards of care offered there to comply with the standards that exist in France. One of the best places to treat a patient of any illness is arguably the Dubai HealthCare City.

If you have any questions about expatriation in Dubai, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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