Living In Dubai - The Facts You Must Know 2024

Dubai is a city that has a population of over 90% expats! With its massive rule changes and wide scope of amenities, it is truly a dreamland in the cluster of Arab nations. Life in Dubai is not just how you see it on the screen; there is more to it.

living in Dubai

Living In Dubai – The Advantages & Drawbacks

Yes, moving to a different country, especially a vast cultural and advanced country like Dubai, can be daunting. The critical setting of this barrier is the lack of in-depth knowledge of the locality, way of life and cost of living in Dubai. In 2020 the UAE introduced various changes in the rules and regulations, thus paving the way for expat residents. To ensure you are fully aware of the basics of the lifestyle in Dubai, as well as the key elements to consider like: tax, education, cost of living, residency process, ongoing changes etc, we have given a detailed guide for your convenience.

The United Arab Emirates, on the whole, is what many consider Dubai, but the very first thing to get in mind is that Dubai is just one of the 7 major cities or states that make up the UAE. The UAE also includes Sharjah, Umm Al Qaiwain, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, and the capital Abu Dhabi, which are each independent cities/states that have different rules. In this write-up, you will know all the details on what to expect as Dubai expats and every benefit the luxe Dubai lifestyle offers.

Just like every other country, Dubai also has its own set of benefits and setbacks. Before you go ahead and move to Dubai, here are some advantages and drawbacks you must know.

Advantages Of Living In Dubai

living in Dubai with family

There are many advantages to living in Dubai, and the very first thing that comes to mind is the number of experiences you can have. If you love to have fun and keep yourself entertained, Dubai is the place! The city is always happening and boasts a plethora of exciting destinations and events that keep your social life in check.

The malls in Dubai are enormous and cater all kinds of luxury brands, infact Dubai is home to the largest mall in the world “ The Dubai Mall. This mall holds up to 1300 outlets, 150 luxury brands and over 200 restaurants. Dubai is the hub for private beach clubs, sports clubs, pubs and gathering destinations, making your social life more diverse. Some of the most popular beach clubs in Dubai include: Riva Beach Club, Barasti Beach Club and BTME Beach Tennis Club.

The food in Dubai is soo diverse and, most of all, exceptional! As Dubai is a city of expats you can find every type of cuisine with an authentic taste and look. If you don’t like going around hunting for various cuisine on every corner, you can relish international delicacies all in one place at the Global Village.

The climate in Dubai is simply awesome, except for the summers, which are hardly 3 months. The days are mostly clear and less cloudy, with a chill breeze enhancing the look of the waterbodies and skyscrapers. The winters in Dubai are also not extreme.

Dubai is Hub for international business and tech, making it a wide ocean filled with massive opportunities for growth. The living standard in Dubai is high, both in the city hub and suburban areas.

The education system in both the school and colleges in Dubai is of an excellent standard. Dubai boasts schools with various curriculums, from IB to American, British, International and Indian syllabuses.

Whatever you earn in Dubai comes to you as a whole, as the government has not implemented any tax on the income. Only 5% vat is applicable, and the 30% tax on alcohol has also been lifted earlier this year.

Compared to other GCC countries, Dubai is tolerant of various beliefs and does not force the rules of Islam on the expats in Dubai. The crime rate is shallow in Dubai, as every nook and corner of the city is under surveillance.

You can count on the Dubai public transportation system to get anywhere; most of all, it’s cheap.  Even when it comes to buying cars, they are much cheaper in Dubai. You can also opt for cars from the Dubai free zone car markets, which sell a wide range of used luxury and nominal cars at reasonable prices.

The Drawbacks Of Living In Dubai

living in Dubai drawbacks

It can be a huge headache to get a driving permit and license issued, especially regarding expats. The tests are rigorous, and the traffic rules are very strict. You will also need permits to reside and work in Dubai.

From the beginning of June till the mid of September, the summer heat is simply unbearable. Many people stay indoors during this time, and the electricity bills can skyrocket, as they need to run nonstop.

It can be quite the journey if you need to travel anywhere around Dubai on the roads. Including the traffic in peak hours, the roads in Dubai have long roads with fewer cuts to change lanes, making travel journeys longer.

The rent and school fees are costly. The living cost is also high, and the way of living or expenses can be closely compared with major cities like New York or London.

When in Dubai, Seize Every Opportunity For Success

Given that you land a job that pays you well, you have a budget in check according to your lifestyle choices and area of residence. Let’s get into a few facts on the cost of living in Dubai as well as the other expenses that might come by.

Cost Of Living In Dubai

 The cost of living in Dubai mainly depends on the size of your family, your lifestyle preference, and the area you reside. No matter what expense you have to go through, except the government changes, you have an expensive option and an affordable option. Here is a list of expenses we will discuss.

  • Groceries
  • Education
  • Fuel & Transportation
  • Rent
  • Entertainment
  • Working In Dubai
  • Places
  • Climate


living in Dubai grocery expense

Grocery shopping in Dubai might differ so much from your hometown. Along with locally grown produce, most of the groceries you find in Dubai markets are imported from various parts of the world.

This means you will get a mixture of regular and exotic produce, ranging in price from low to high. If you were to buy any product that comes specifically from your hometown, you could find your grocery bill higher than expected.

Another thing to keep in mind is the place you shop! You can go for premium organic produce markets or supermarket chains like Spinny’s or Waitrose, which can be high on the bill, or choose affordable supermarkets like Lulu, Union or Carrefour, which offer a load of discounts and offers regularly.


The cost of utilities varies from person to person, depending on the usage. In Dubai, the climactic conditions mainly affect your water connection and electricity cost, otherwise known as DEWA.

During the summers, your A/C usage will be quite high as it’s extremely hot, whereas you wouldn’t even turn the A/C on during the winter. Other utilities like TV, Mobile and Wifi plans are mainly offered by two service providers: Du and Etisalat.

The internet and call packages are high compared to other countries, and the basic packages start from AED 150, depending on the calling minutes and data usage. You can also use free Wi-Fi, which is available in most public places and transport when outdoors.


Rent is the main factor determining the average cost of living in Dubai. There are many residential spaces in the market, from studios to normal apartments, hotel apartments and even independent villas, available in different budgets.

The area you live in also plays a role in the rental expenditure! For instance, areas like Barsha, Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, and JVC are well-established and expensive. Old districts like Deira and Nahda or suburban areas like Mirdif, Reem and Silicon Oasis are pocket friendly.

Cost Of Single Family Of Two Family Of Four




Studio In Deira Or Nahda

AED1500 – AED2500

1Bhk Apartment In Deira Or Nahda

AED2500 – AED3500

3BHK or 2BHK In Deira Or Nahda

AED4500 – AED6000

Studio In Marina Or Jumeirah

AED4000 – AED6000

1Bhk Apartment In Marina Or Jumeirah

AED5000 – AED6000

3BHK or 2BHK In Marina Or Jumeirah

AED10000 – AED15000

Grocery AED500 AED1000 – AED1500 AED1500 – AED2000
Utilities AED750 – AED1000 AED1000 – AED1500 AED2000 – AED2400
Total AED6750 – AED10000 AED9500 – AED12500 AED18000 – AED25400


living in Dubai education costs

The schools in Dubai are some of the most prominent and top class school in UAE. Parents have a variety of curriculums to choose from, starting from British, American, Indian, International and IB etc.

Schools with IB, American and British curriculums can be quite expensive and cost from AED4000 to AED 10000 per year. The Indin schools in Dubai have a lower tuition fee and can cost anywhere from AED2500 – AED5000 per month. However, certain expenses like uniforms, field trips, stationery and other school events can increase the monthly school expenses.


There is no limit to entertainment when it comes to Dubai! You can take yourself, your loved one or your family for a dining experience in high-end restaurants and affordable eateries that both sell good food.

Dubai also has various tourist attractions like the Museum Of The Future, Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall, Cinemas, and even an Underwater Zoo, which is currently being revamped.


It is mandatory for every resident in the UAE to have health insurance. If you are working at a company and it is sponsoring you, they are liable to provide you with health insurance. Some companies even provide insurance for your family; if that is not the case, you must purchase medical insurance for your family as well.

The medical insurance premium varies from plan to plan, but the basic plans will cost you AED500 per year. Comprehensive insurance can come up to AED5000 per year. You can also opt for family health insurance plans that cost around AED15,000.

If you employ a house helper, you are also liable to provide his / her medical insurance.

Fuel & Transportation

Petrol prices in Dubai and the cost of buying a new car are comparatively lower than in other countries. Still, with the traffic and hot summers, Public Transport is the best option.

Dubai has a working and well-connected network of trains, metros, tramps, ferries, taxis and buses. If you still want to save time and fuel, staying at a location closer to your workspace is better. Speaking about workspaces, let’s learn the facts, rules and tips for working in Dubai.

Working In Dubai

If your current employer is relocating you from your country to Dubai, consider discussing a hike in your current salary, given the various expenses and cost of living in Dubai. If you are planning to move to Dubai and are looking for employment, you must first be familiar with the visa requirements.

You can choose online platforms like LinkedIn or Indeed to look and apply for available positions related to your field. You can either do it from your home country or enter Dubai on a visiting visa and go for interviews directly.

Depending on your stay, you can enter on a 2-month or 3-month visa. On getting selected for a job at a company in Dubai, your employer will sponsor your visa and issue a labor card.

In case you are laid off from work, or if you decide to discontinue, you will have a grace time of 30 days to find another job in your previous work visa. In case of not find a sponsor or job, you will have to leave Dubai.

Retirement Scheme Dubai

If you wonder if an expat can retire in Dubai, the answer is an absolute yes! Residents over the age of 55 can apply for this scheme and get a visa valid for 5 years. For this visa, you must also have any one of the following requirements.

  • Saving of 1 million AED
  • A house or property in Dubai worth 2 million AED
  • A monthly income of 20000 AED

Remote Work Visa

Dubai has introduced a “Remote Work Scheme” of which many aren’t aware. This scheme allows you to stay in Dubai and freelance or opt for work a home position with an employer from any company worldwide.

In this program, you can work from home or for a company abroad, but you cannot permanently apply for any job inside Dubai. You can also rent a house, bring your family, and send your kids to school on this visa. This visa will cost you around AED1000 and is valid for a year. 

New  Rules In  Dubai 2023

This year, many new rules were introduced in Dubai that profoundly benefit expats.

  • The Dubai government recently introduced a Job loss insurance scheme, which benefits all employees working in the public and private sectors. Through this scheme, a small monthly fee is paid to the government, and in return, it offers a salary compensation for 3 months, depending on the pay.

For instance, individuals with a salary of AED16000 and below are required to pay AED5 per month and receive compensation of up to 10000. People who earn above AED16000 will have to pay AED10 per month and receive a compensation of up to AED16000 – 20000.

However, employees working in free zones cannot opt into this scheme.

  • The Non-Muslim marriage scheme implemented in Abu Dhabi is also implemented in Dubai. Couples can undergo divorce without having to go through counseling. Joint custody is issued to all divorced couples with kids until the kids turn 18. And also, the minimum age for marriage will now be 21!

Rules To Keep In Mind Before Entering Dubai 

living in Dubai and having fun

  • Clothing
  • Alcohol & drugs
  • Public display of affection
  • Photography
  • Indecent acts
  • Ramadan restrictions
  • Loud music


It is mandatory to dress modestly in Dubai. Booty shorts or bikinis are only permitted to be worn in pools or beaches. Although you might find a few individuals wearing revealing clothing, the safest bet is avoiding risks.

Alcohol & drugs

 It is legal in Dubai to buy and consume alcohol but make sure to avoid getting drunk in public places as it can lead to arrest. Consumption or buying or selling hard drugs is illegal in Dubai and, if crossed, can lead to arrest, jail time, and a permanent ban across GCC.

Public display of affection

Public display of affection like hugging, kissing, or snuggling is considered an offense in Dubai. In some cases, there are even chances of getting arrested.


Dubai is filled with wonderful buildings and sightseeing places you want to take pictures of. When you do, always keep in mind to avoid clicking pictures of random people, especially women or children, as it is illegal to photograph anyone without their consent.

Indecent acts

 Calling people names, fighting, arguing or using abusive language in public is an offense. There are many cases in Dubai where such acts have resulted in arrest, fines and even jail time.

Ramadan restrictions

During the month of Ramadan, it is important that you don’t eat, drink or smoke during the daylight. You can eat in respective dining spaces or at home during this time.

Loud music

Loud music in public is not allowed, unlike in many Western countries. Loud music can only be played in places where events take place or with permission.

Living In Dubai – Final Thoughts

living in Dubai and enjoying

Dubai is a country that offers a bounty of fun, growth and exceptional lifestyle. Right from the way of living to the tech, the city has to offer, it is simply unreleasitic.

Even though you might not know the exact outcome of landing a job in this city, or envision the future, Dubai is worth giving a try. With the perfect balance of entertainment, cultural differences, and buzz, you might even start calling Dubai your home!

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