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Moving to Dubai from USA

Monday, March 27, 2023
A woman looking at the buildings in Dubai while taking a walk

Dubai is currently drawing a huge expat crowd from around the world. About 80% of the population of Dubai are foreigners. It is known as “The City of Gold” due to its growing economic structure, culture, and lifestyle. Therefore, it is no wonder that many Americans are moving to the United Arab Emirates to live in an ever-growing city of Dubai. But, what do you need to move to Dubai from the US? Well…

How to Move to Dubai from the US

Cityscape of Dubai with white sandy beach and sea and modern buildings in the background

When it comes to moving across the seas to Dubai, you would have to make sure that all your moving preparations are up to scratch. As well as that all your papers are in order. Furthermore, there is a lot of planning that goes into immigration and moving to the UAE with a strong focus being on when to make the move. It is a strong suggestion that you move during off-peak (not during summer).

Apply for Your UAE Visa

Man with headphones listening to a new language he’ll get exposed to while holding up his passport

When moving to Dubai from the US you would have to obtain an UAE visa to live in the city of Dubai. However, it is fairly simple to apply for one and you can check out which type of visa you will need by visiting the UAE immigration website. However, you can apply for a visa at the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC, in person. As well as to make sure that you have the following documents updated, and with you: 

  • A valid passport that was authentic six months before the moving date.
  • Proof of funds.
  • If you are married to someone from Dubai, then you will need a marriage certificate to show that you are sponsored by your spouse.
  • If you are moving to Dubai for work purposes, then you will have to get an invitation letter from the company based in the UAE that you will be working for. This is a sponsor as well. Plus, the duration of the visa is subject to the terms of your contract.
  • No Objection Certificate from parents which included their photos to use as identification for minors.

When you apply for your UAE visa you would have to make sure that you have the correct paperwork for it. Furthermore, the visa application may be processed within about three working days. The most common visas in the UAE that are applied for are work permits or residence ones. However, if you are merely visiting the country for less than a month then you would not have to apply for a UAE visa.

Accommodation in Dubai

Close up of women’s hands in the shape of a heart looking at buildings in Dubai Marina

Knowing where to live is an important aspect of moving as you know. But, what you may not know is that Dubai can be a bit strict when it comes to who you live with, more than where you live. For one thing, it is against the law to live with someone from the opposite sex unless they are a member of your family, or you are married to them. Therefore, if you are planning to live with your partner, you may consider marriage.

Other UAE Laws You Must Know

While we are on the subject of laws in UAE, there are some that you have to take note of which you may have not known about for living in Dubai as an American. Outside of not being able to live with the opposite sex, it is also illegal to display public affection except for holding hands between married couples. Homosexuality is illegal, as well as being drunk in public. Plus, wearing clothes that are considered to be too revealing is against the law as well as the use of swear words or rude hand gestures.  

And, driving under the influence is illegal, as is taking photographs of people without their permission. But, this is a standard around the world.

Taking Medicines to UAE

Female health care worker holding up and looking at medicine while inspecting the content of the bottle

Dubai, as well as the rest of the world, are waging a war on drugs. This is also connected to the types of medications you can take with you from the US to the UAE. Therefore, it is highly important that you research which medicines are illegal in the UAE. If you have a prescription, then you would have to get approval from the MoH (UAE’s Ministry of Health) that you can bring it across the border.  

But, if there are any illegal medicines on you or in your luggage, it will result in jail time. If you do not have a prescription, you may want to consider getting one. Likewise, you can try to see what medicines in Dubai you can use instead of what you have in the US. You must speak to your doctor, and ask them to make a list of the ingredients of your current medicines.  

Regarding healthcare, foreigners have to have a private health insurance scheme that is according to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) legislation. While the citizens are covered under the Government-funded healthcare insurance scheme. 

Move to Dubai Smoothly

Average Salary in Dubai and Cost of Living

An american man and woman standing side to side confused while discussing laws in UAE

While there are several reasons to uproot your life, the major one usually falls into job opportunities. This is linked to the cost of living as well. However, let's look at the average salary of residents in Dubai. Dubai uses the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) as its currency. And, the average salary per month as of July 2021 is about 21, 500 AED. This is about $5, 853. 

As for the cost of living in Dubai, it can be on the pricey side. Looking at the accommodation, a one-bedroom apartment that is located in the city center of Dubai can fetch you about 5,528 AED while outside of the center it is lower at 3, 687 AED ($1, 505 and $1, 003 respectively).

Education in UAE

Happy young girl doing science experiments in a classroom

On the education front in the UAE, there are both public and private schools in Dubai. Furthermore, since 2001 expat children are able to go to public schools. Plus, public schools are free for UAE nationals as well as they are compulsory for children between the ages of 5 to 15. The fees for the schools actually range from about 13, 723 AED to 64, 093 AED ($3, 463 to $17, 449).  

However, 90% of the schools in UAE are private, therefore more expensive. There are several international schools which have rolling administration. This means that parents can apply for their kids to go to international schools any time during the academic year.  

The school system is a bit different since the school days are from Sunday to Thursday (along with the working week). The hours of school time depend on the individual schools. Furthermore, students that do not have an Arab heritage must take Arabic language classes until they are 13 years old/ in the ninth grade.

Private and Public Transportation in Dubai

Bird’s eye view of highway in Dubai

There are both public and private forms of transportation in Dubai. If you are coming from the US, then you would not have to worry about which side of the road to drive on since it is the same in both countries. Drivers in Dubai use the right-hand side of the road as well. However, the speed limits may be another story since they are quite high. Highways often have a limit of 160 km/h (99 mph). Sometimes the limit can go down to 110 km/h. Either way, it may take some drivers time to get used to the speed limits.  

Dubai is happening with public transportation as well where there are many buses and taxis driving around the city regularly. The average cost of a taxi is about 2,44 AED ($0,66) per km. Bus tickets will cost you about 5 AED ($1,36).

When it Comes to UAE Taxes

A big draw for Dubai, outside of the business lifestyle that it promotes, is that you do not have to pay income tax in the UAE. But, the downside is that you may have to pay tax back in the USA. If you are a tax resident in the US even if you are working in Dubai, and this includes renting out a property, you would have to declare your income to the US government, meaning that you would need to pay the taxes involved. It is best to research the US Embassy or the IRS to find out more information.  

Furthermore, residents of Dubai may not have to pay income tax, but they do have to pay Value Added Tax (VAT), sales tax, as well as fees on a few services such as utilities and government ones.

Women’s Position in UAE

Three women, talking and laughing while sitting outside in park in Abu Dhabi

Moving to a new country means that there will be a culture shock. But, it may affect certain types of people more than others. For example, women living in Dubai must dress modestly, as their shoulders, midriff, and thighs must be covered. Plus, if a woman would like to sponsor their family to move into Dubai, then the particular woman would have to earn 10, 000 AED ($2, 723) monthly as their salary. The minimum salary for men on the other hand is about 4, 000 AED ($1, 089) monthly.  

Regarding public transportation, the metro in Dubai has a women-and-children-only carriage. And, there are women-only queues in government buildings. Some taxis are only for women and are driven by women.

Using Shyft to Help with Your Moving Process

A smiling man holding up an open laptop and pointing to it with his hand as a solution for relocation

Moving to Dubai does not have to be a hassle at all if you have your paperwork in order as well as the helping hand of the world's first tech-driven moving platform that specializes in organizing the whole moving process called Shyft. All you have to do is go to Shyft Moving Website and fill out the form. From there your Move Coach will get in touch with you at the time that you specify.   

This is a meeting that is done using the free downloadable app called ShyftNext. It is where you will have a video call with your Move Coach to guide you through the whole moving process. As well as create your inventory list for you. This inventory list is 95% accurate, and it will be sent to you within half an hour from the end of the video call. Once you are happy with your inventory list and have made changes to it, you will send it back to your Move Coach.  

It is with this as well as your moving details that will be presented to our secure bidding platform where a network of highly skilled, and verified moving companies will bid on your moving project. These movers also handle international moves. When the bidding war is done, we gather three or more moving quotes to send your way. All the quotes are fixed and every quote is from a different moving company. You get to decide which mover you want to work with. You will also get more information about the company as well as what else they can offer you.  

It is through working with Shyft that people managed to save up to $600 on their moves. Plus, you can contact us at any time of the day, night, and even on weekends. We are on call to you to help with your move in all the ways that we can. You can also take a look at our Home and Lifestyle Marketplace. It is here that you can see what services there are available. Furthermore, all that is on the marketplace comes with a discount.  

With Shyft you can get to Dubai safely, without stress, and even have the moving company help you with customs. Therefore, contact us today to make your way to The City of Gold.