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Moving to Dubai

Moving to Dubai? Find out about the visa process, school lists, and other important information to make your move seamless.

Moving to Dubai

Moving to the UAE

Moving to a new country is a big deal. There are numerous things you need to consider before leaving your home country and starting your life as an expat, in Dubai or any of the other Emirates. Below is some information on the visa application process, entry requirements for Dubai, and important information for if you are moving to the the emirate with your family.

For any additional information, especially when it comes to the insurance you will need here, or if you have any questions, make sure to speak to one of our advisors today.

Necessary documents for entry to Dubai

Before you can enter Dubai and activate your employment visa, it is vital that you have the necessary entry documents attested and notarized in your home country. Documents you may be required to have to enter Dubai include the following:

  • A valid passport
  • Passport sized photographs
  • A copy of your sponsor’s passport
  • Proof of compliant health insurance (more on this below)
  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Divorce papers
  • Employment contract
  • Power of Attorney certificate
  • Education certificate
  • Professional certificate

Please note here that when you’re in Dubai, it’s important to have your identification documents with you at all times (e.g. your passport/ national identity card) and entry/resident visas.

Visa application

You must apply for a visa if you are moving to the Dubai, and are not a citizen of any of the GCC countries. To live in Dubai, you will need to have a residency visa, which will take some time to apply for and have validated. If you are only going to be staying in Dubai for a short period of time, you can instead get a visit/ tourist visa instead, which will permit you temporary entry into the Emirate.

If you’re going to be an expat working in the Dubai, your employer will be responsible for sponsoring your residence visa. If you have any dependents (e.g. spouse/ children), you will need to sponsor their residence visa. Please note that health insurance is required in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai before you are issued a visa. In all cases, an employer is responsible for arranging their employees’ insurance coverage. In Abu Dhabi, employers must also arrange coverage for certain dependents, although in Dubai they are not required to do so. As such, expats in Dubai will need to secure health insurance for their dependents.

As an expat, to be eligible for a residence visa and work permit you must:

  • Be no younger than 18 years old and no older than 60 years old
  • Have a passport valid for at least six months and with two free pages
  • Pass a medical examination
  • Have a job, or a job offer in Dubai
  • Must have applied for, or be in the process of applying for your Resident ID Card

If you have family members (e.g. spouse and children) who are moving to the Dubai with you, you will need to prove that you earn a monthly salary of at least AED 4,000 or AED 3,000 with an accommodation allowance. If you’re a female teacher, engineer, doctor, or other medical professional looking to sponsor your husband, the same minimum salary requirements apply. However, if you work in another profession, you will need to make a petition to the immigration department and have a monthly salary of at least AED 10,000 or AED 9,000 with accommodation allowance. Parents can sponsor sons up until the age of 18, or up until 21 years old if they are a student studying at a college or university. Daughters can be sponsored as long as they remain unmarried.

You can contact us for any queries you may have regarding the Visa process, or get in touch with the Dubai Immigration Department directly. The Immigration Department is also known as the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs.

Mandatory health insurance

In Abu Dhabi and Dubai it is a legal requirement for all residents to have health insurance. Click here to learn more about these regulations and how they may affect you.


One thing to note if you are moving to Dubai with your family is that the waiting lists for schools for your children can be long. The earlier you apply to join the waiting lists, the better chance you will have of securing places for your children in top quality schools. In Dubai especially, there are exceedingly long waiting lists, and the quality of schools can vary dramatically.

Make sure that if you have young children, you apply for their school places as soon as possible.

Living in Dubai

Click here to see our guide on living in Dubai, including information about family laws, healthcare, and maternity.

Pregnant in Dubai

The process of having a baby as an expat in Dubai involves mounds of bureaucracy and paperwork. Click here to find out all you need to know about the pregnancy process and local requirements.

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