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Living In Dubai As An Expat

Living in Dubai as an expat means living in a city with one of the lowest crime rates in the world, with an accelerating GDP economy growth rate, with absolutely zero income tax, and with such top-notch healthcare that tourists are traveling to the UAE simply to seek medical treatment.

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Dubai is a one of a kind place, and if you’re an expat or digital nomad considering moving there, this article is designed with you in mind. Our team at Pacific Prime has helped over one million clients secure international health coverage, so we know the globe.

We have written this article to introduce you to some of the key factors that make life in Dubai unique as an expat. We’ll discuss things like luxury entertainment, climate, healthcare, international travel, the state of the economy, and more.

After this read, we highly encourage you to check out our posts about what to expect when living in Dubai and our summary of the cost of living in Dubai.

What It’s Like Living In Dubai as an Expat

Expats living in Dubai have the unique opportunity to indulge in a highly advanced, technologically superior, lavish city scene that is accustomed to foreign visitors and residents. Expats will love the rich lifestyle, grand entertainment and shopping opportunities, and the superb healthcare.

Tallest Building Worldwide: Burj Khalifa

To help you figure out what it’s like living in Dubai as an expat, we’ve broken down a few key points we thought were worth highlighting about your future experience in Dubai.

Here are those reasons why many expats are moving to Dubai:

  1. Luxurious Lifestyle
  2. Low Crime Rate
  3. Dubai Climate
  4. Perfect Home Base for International Travel
  5. No Income Tax
  6. Phenomenal Health Care
  7. Flourishing Economy
  8. Unparalleled Shopping

You can also read our blog posts about what it’s like living in Dubai as an American, Canadian, and UK citizen.

Luxurious Lifestyle for Expats in Dubai

Expats living in Dubai can experience a luxury lifestyle to the extreme with a world-class infrastructure, a vibrant social scene, an exceptional quality of life, and a widely expanding economy. Expats can enjoy the taste of luxury hotels and resorts, private yachts, priceless jewelry, and more.

Some of the most popular luxury experiences in Dubai for expats include:

  1. Golfing on some of the most pristine golf courses
  2. Take a private yacht cruise
  3. Attend the Dubai World Cup for horse racing
  4. Dine in luxury restaurants, such as the Burj Al Arab hotel
  5. Go on a luxury desert safari 

Low Crime Rate in Dubai

Dubai has one of the lowest crime rates in the world with no more than 33.7 major crimes committed per one hundred thousand people according to the 2022 Dubai Police Report. There were less than 10 thefts and less than 1 murders reported per one hundred thousand people in the same report.

Expats are drawn to Dubai because they know it will be a safe place to live. Women, children, and the elderly feel safe enough to walk alone through the city both day and night.

Expats Love the Dubai Climate

Expats are drawn to Dubai’s sunny climate with its cool months ranging from October through March. Dubai gets very little rainfall, and it is always predictably warm and dry. This weather, and its location by the beach, makes it the perfect destination for sun seeking expats.

Perfect Expat Home Base for International Travel

Dubai is situated only a short flight away from Europe, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region of the world. This makes Dubai the perfect home base for expats who have interest in seeing more of the world while living in the UAE. Dubai’s international airport can help expats get where they want to go.

Dubai's Za'abeel District, UAE

By living in Dubai, you have easy access to the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea.

Dubai Has No Income Tax

Because Dubai has no income tax, employed expats who live there will be able to boost their savings and enjoy the benefits of having more pocket money to splurge. This optimal tax situation has brought a wide diversity of expatriates and digital nomads to the United Arab Emirates.

Phenomenal Health Care in Dubai for Expats

Pacific Prime’s cost of living report ranked Dubai as the fifth best city in the world in terms of healthcare facilities and services. Dubai is also ranked as the number one most popular destination for medical tourism. Expats and tourists alike are swarming to the exceptional healthcare in Dubai.

With some of the best hospitals in the world located in Dubai, it’s no wonder that expats want to settle down there. With Dubai’s healthcare law that makes health insurance mandatory for all residents, expats will want to become familiar with their insurance options.

Read here to learn all about the healthcare system in Dubai and how expats are seeking medical coverage.

If you’d like to speak to an insurance expert, reach out to us at Pacific Prime and we are happy to answer all your questions. You can also take a look at some insurance quote estimates on your own by comparing a number of insurance providers’ plans side by side.

Dubai’s Flourishing Economy Attracts Expats

The United Arab Emirates is reported to have had $409 billion of GDP in 2021 and $442 billion of GDP in 2022. These steady economic growth statistics highlight that the UAE and Dubai are strong global hubs for business, trade, and investment. Many expats are moving to Dubai for these reasons.

The above GDP reports come from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, D.C.

The UAE is among the richest countries in the world, so expats moving to Dubai know the economy of their new home is stable, reliable, and booming. The UAE is focusing on making strategic partnerships and trade agreements globally and on doubling its gross domestic product (GDP).

Unparalleled Shopping in Dubai for Expats

In Dubai, expats get to shop in the largest shopping mall in the world called the Dubai Mall. This mall has over 1,200 retail outlets, over 200 international dining options, and a number of entertainment and leisure attractions. Many of these stores include luxury shopping and dining.

Dubai's Iconic Burj Al Arab, UAE

Expats and digital nomads who move to Dubai can explore the following entertainment attractions in the Dubai Mall:

  1. If you’re in for some spooky entertainment, visit Hysteria, the first haunted attraction in its region.
  2. Dubai Ice Rink is an Olympic-size ice rink anyone can skate on.
  3. Reel Cinemas is a movie theater with THX-certified speakers and 26 screens.
  4. If you love the stage, buy tickets for Dubai Opera, Dubai’s only multi-format performing arts theater.
  5. Sky Views Observatory provides a sweeping view of Downtown Dubai from 720 feet off the ground.

Expats can explore these popular stores in the Dubai Mall:

  1. Bulgari was founded in Rome and features rare gems and exquisite jewelry creations.
  2. Cartier designs watches and jewelry and can do personal engravings or embossings.
  3. Chloe is a luxury Paris fashion paradise with principles of femininity, freedom, and confidence.
  4. If you’re looking for exclusive Swiss watches and jewelry, visit Chopard Boutique.
  5. Christian Louboutin has a prolific collection of men’s and women’s shoes, handbags, and small leather goods.

Expats can taste delicious meals and treats in these dining venues at the Dubai Mall:

  1. Angelina is a luxury brand, prestigious patisserie and tearoom.
  2. To taste high-quality Italian food, check out Eataly.
  3. Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet offers casual dining and a specialty grocery experience.
  4. Classic American desserts like red velvet cake and banana pudding are sold at Magnolia Bakery.
  5. For home-made comfort food, try Markette.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do expats like living in Dubai?

Many expats like living in Dubai because it provides them access to unparalleled entertainment, shopping, and dining, a stable economy, a larger salary due to no income tax, and exceptional healthcare treatments and facilities. If Dubai doesn’t seem right for you, there are other options in the UAE.

Can you live in Dubai as an expat?

Dubai is a growing hub for expats, digital nomads, retirees, and the like. So long as you apply for and receive a visa through the United Arab Emirates government, expats are welcome to live in Dubai. 

Are there any drawbacks to living in Dubai?

One drawback to living in Dubai is there is a law requiring all residents to have health insurance. This isn’t uncommon to many countries, but it does require a little extra planning before you move. Having health insurance, though, protects you from costly medical fees. There are brokers to help.

Is it cheaper to live in Dubai or the United States?

In Dubai, residents spend USD $1,975 a month on average on living expenses. In the United States, residents spend $2,317 a month on average on living expenses. Due to these estimates, it is cheaper to live in Dubai than in the United States.

How much does health insurance cost in Dubai?

In 2022 in Dubai, health insurance for individuals cost USD $5,687 on average. In 2021, the average was USD $5,269. These estimates come from Pacific Prime’s 2023 Cost of International Health Insurance Report.

Conclusion

If you’re planning on living in Dubai as an expat, there will be something for you in the city between their beautiful beaches, clean golf courses, and shopping outlets. If you’re still looking to find a job in Dubai or to figure out the best tips for moving to Dubai, read these other blog posts.

If you’re not sure if Dubai is the right city yet, discover the best places to live in the UAE as an expat.

When you’re ready to begin planning your health insurance when you move international, reach out to our insurance experts. As an insurance broker, we don’t charge our clients a penny. Instead, we earn commission through our partnership with insurance providers.

Because of this, we are able to offer you free advice without any hidden fees or payments, and we aren’t biased toward any one insurance provider. We can help you compare a number of insurance plans from a number of insurance providers until we find the right policy for your needs and budget.

Contact us today, and we can start to help you prepare for Dubai!

Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Serena Fung is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, a global insurance brokerage and employee specialist serving over 1.5 million clients in 15 offices across the world. With 2+ years of experience writing about the subject, she aims to demystify the world of insurance for readers with the latest updates, guides and articles on the blog.

Serena earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, Canada. As such, she is an avid advocate of mental health and is fascinated by all things psychology (especially if it’s cognitive psychology!).

Her previous work experience includes teaching toddlers to read, writing for a travel/wellness online magazine, and then a business news blog. These combined experiences give her the skills and insights she needs to explain complex ideas in a succinct way. Being the daughter of an immigrant and a traveler herself, she is passionate about educating expats and digital nomads on travel and international health insurance.
Serena Fung