Relocating To Dubai: A Snapshot Guide To Making The Move

ADG Legal


ADG Legal
I have now been in Dubai since 2nd September 2023 and whilst it is only approaching six months, it remains a completely different lifestyle to the one I experienced in England.
United Arab Emirates Employment and HR
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I have now been in Dubai since 2nd September 2023 and whilst it is only approaching six months, it remains a completely different lifestyle to the one I experienced in England.

In the lead up to arriving, I drafted a checklist of everything I thought I needed to do to make the transition as smooth as possible. However, there were some steps that I had overlooked and which I hope anyone reading this article will acknowledge prior to boarding the flight to the UAE.


This can be the hardest step when looking to relocate overseas, but any move relies solely on this (in my opinion). Dubai is an expensive city – the rental market has skyrocketed since Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the large abundance of Russian citizens who have escaped Russia to now call Dubai home.

Finding employment in Dubai is difficult, particularly as an expat in an industry such as Law where the market is so competitive. Since securing my position with ADG I have had countless messages on both Linkedin and Instagram asking how I was able to achieve my goal.

The key is finding a company/firm who you 100% want to work for and not applying to 20+ companies just for the sake of hoping one offers you a role so you can make the move to Dubai. This involves time and research as a position is not just going to drop in your lap. From the outset, ADG were the only firm I wanted to work for given not only did they understand how newly-qualified I was in England having worked in different areas of Law, but they are also a firm who believe firmly in employee satisfaction and adopting a work/life balance – something which would seem unheard of in the UK.

Moving to Dubai with purely savings is unwise given these can be wiped out within months. Unless you have significant savings at your disposal to cover living expenses whilst also having money to enjoy your life, it is recommended that you do not make the move without employment secured and an agreed (comfortable) salary able to match your lifestyle.


As discussed earlier, Dubai is regarded as an expensive city and it is all too easy to become engrossed in the 'Sunday Brunch' and boat party scene on a regular basis. The temptation of experiencing a beach club on a Saturday afternoon and having dinner on the Palm Jumeirah that evening is something many would be unable to turn down, however, is it worth breaking the bank?

Dubai has an abundance of places to eat and drink without spending excessively and activities for those with families. If you have the finances to afford the luxuries referred to above, then such destinations on a regular basis are there to be enjoyed. However, not everyone is in such a fortunate position, and within 6 months, they are booking their flights back home because the expenditure has become unsustainable to warrant remaining in Dubai.

Budgeting may seem an overused phrase, and it is easy to ignore, however, it is fundamental!


Securing an apartment was without doubt the biggest challenge I faced with relocating to Dubai. Two months before I flew here, I was constantly messaging real estate agents via Whatsapp asking to arrange viewings upon my arrival. However, each agent asked that I 'get in touch closer to the time' given there was a very real possibility that the apartment could be gone within 24 hours. For anyone moving to Dubai in the near future, please take this onboard and save yourself the hassle of trying to make appointments from your home country as it is a fruitless exercise. Nonetheless, you should spend time identifying the areas you wish to live in ahead of arriving.

For those not intent on driving in Dubai, being in close proximity to public transport is vital. The Metro and Tram link here is the best I have ever experienced anywhere to date, with Metros and Trams running every 3 and 6 minutes respectively and costing the equivalent of $5 USD per day from Dubai Marina (where I live) to downtown. Taxis are also very cheap – with a 30 min journey costing the equivalent of 10-15GBP compared to 40-50GBP I would pay back in England.


You cannot open a bank account in Dubai without Emirates ID – a UAE Government-issued identity card for UAE citizens and residents. In turn, this also applies to securing a rental apartment. You will not be able to sign your tenancy agreement unless you have both a bank account open and are in possession of your Emirates ID, nor will you be able to take out a mobile phone contract.

In short, the Emirates ID is used:

  • As a travel document for UAE citizens to travel within the GCC (Gulf Coorporation Council – Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE).
  • To pass through the eGates and smart gates at Federal Authority For Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security of several airports within the UAE.
  • To vote in the elections of the Federal National Council.

Your employer will assist in helping arrange your medical and taking you to the relevant government department in order for your Emirates ID to be finalised and despatched to you thereafter.

In terms of opening a bank account in the UAE, your employer should be able to assist with arranging an appointment for a representative of the bank to come to your place of work. In my case, I bank with Emirates NBD, who were very efficient. Within a 15-minute appointment, I was shown the online banking app and my debit and credit cards were requested to be despatched to my office within 48hrs together with a chequebook.


Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the only two Emirates of the UAE which have laws for mandatory health insurance. In Dubai, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) passed legislation in 2023 which made health insurance a legal requirement for every person residing in Dubai.

Employers or the sponsors of visas are legally required to provide health insurance coverage with the minimum benefits stipulated by the DHA to the employee or the sponsored individual/s. However, it should be noted that it is not mandatory for the employer or sponsor to take out coverage against family members/dependants of the employee.

15 Feb 2024

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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