Relocating from London to Dubai: Your Ultimate Guide

Last Updated on July 10, 2024 by Vadim

Relocating from London to Dubai is an exciting venture that many are undertaking. Dubai’s dynamic lifestyle, luxurious amenities, and tax-free living make it a popular destination for expatriates. This guide covers everything you need to know to make your transition smooth and enjoyable.


Moving from the historic streets of London to the futuristic skyline of Dubai can be a significant change. The cities offer contrasting lifestyles and cultures, and adjusting to this new environment can be both thrilling and challenging. This comprehensive guide provides detailed insights into what to expect and how to prepare for your move.

Why Move to Dubai?

Dubai offers numerous benefits, attracting people from all over the globe. Key reasons include:

  1. Tax-Free Income: One of the most appealing aspects is the lack of income tax, allowing you to save more.
  2. Lifestyle: Dubai boasts world-class amenities, from luxury shopping malls to pristine beaches.
  3. Career Opportunities: The city is a business hub, especially in finance, real estate, and technology sectors.
  4. Climate: Enjoy sunny weather year-round, a stark contrast to London’s often gloomy skies.

Key Steps to Relocate from London to Dubai

Obtain the Appropriate UAE Visa

  • 5-Year Green Visa: Ideal for highly skilled workers, freelancers, investors, and business partners. Requires a 60-day work permit to complete the process in Dubai.
  • 10-Year Golden Visa: Designed for long-term residents like investors, entrepreneurs, executives, and students who meet certain criteria, including making eligible investments.
  • Other Visa Options: Work, study, and retirement visas are also available for UK citizens.
  • Application Process: Apply through the UAE embassy in London or via a sponsor in Dubai. Be prepared to take a blood test, as a positive result for HIV or Hepatitis will lead to your application being rejected.

Budgeting and Logistics

  1. Shipping Belongings: Moving your household goods can cost around £2,220 for a 3-bedroom house. Decide whether to move everything or buy essentials upon arrival.
  2. Finding Accommodation: Register with a local real estate agent to find housing, either by purchasing property in designated areas or renting.
  3. Setting Up Banking: Open a local bank account to manage finances easily. Remember that while Dubai offers tax-free income, costs for essentials like healthcare and schooling are higher.

Cultural Adaptation

  • Climate: Prepare for the hot, dry climate and lack of winter weather compared to London.
  • Cultural Norms: Adapt to the different customs and laws in Dubai, including dress codes and public behavior.

Living in Dubai

Culture and Lifestyle

  1. Cultural Sensitivity: Dubai is multicultural but retains Islamic traditions. Be respectful of local customs and dress codes.
  2. Language: While Arabic is the official language, English is widely spoken and used in business.

Cost of Living

  1. Housing: Rental prices can vary greatly. Budgeting for housing is crucial, as it’s likely your most significant expense.
  2. Groceries and Dining: While some items are expensive, you can find reasonably priced groceries and enjoy a wide range of dining options, from street food to high-end restaurants.
  3. Transportation: The metro system is efficient and affordable. Taxis and ride-hailing apps are also convenient but more expensive.


  1. Schooling Options: Dubai has numerous international schools following various curricula, including British, American, and IB.
  2. Enrollment Process: Start early, as spots in popular schools fill quickly. Be prepared for high tuition fees.


  1. Job Market: Research the job market in your field. Networking can be beneficial for finding opportunities.
  2. Work Culture: Be prepared for a different work culture, with longer working hours and a hierarchical structure.

Top Neighbourhoods in Dubai

Downtown Dubai

  • Location: Close to the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.
  • Features: Access to business centers, entertainment, and modern amenities.
  • Rental Prices: AED 25,000 for a studio to AED 60,000 for a 2-bedroom.

Dubai Marina

  • Location: Waterfront area with upscale living.
  • Features: Leisure, dining, and family-friendly activities.
  • Rental Prices: AED 40,000 for a studio to AED 80,000 for a 2-bedroom.

Palm Jumeirah

  • Location: Iconic man-made island with luxury villas.
  • Features: Secluded, beachfront lifestyle with high-end amenities.
  • Property Prices: Villas can cost up to AED 150 million (around $40.8 million).

Arabian Ranches

  • Location: Suburban community with green spaces.
  • Features: Family-friendly with schools, clinics, and shopping.
  • Rental Prices: AED 160,000 to AED 400,000 per year for villas.

Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT)

  • Location: Views of man-made lakes and green spaces.
  • Features: Affordable with restaurants, cafes, and parks.
  • Rental Prices: Slightly more affordable than Jumeirah Beach Residence.

Legal and Administrative Matters

Visa Requirements

  1. 5-Year Green Visa: For highly skilled workers, freelancers, investors, and business partners. Requires a bachelor’s degree and minimum salary.
  2. 10-Year Golden Visa: For long-term residents like investors, entrepreneurs, executives, and students meeting investment or employment criteria.

Financial Management

  1. Banking: Open a local bank account for ease of transactions.
  2. Taxes: While Dubai is tax-free, you may still have obligations in the UK. Consult a tax advisor.

Relocation Logistics

Moving Costs

  1. Shipping: Costs around £2,220 for a 3-bedroom house. Decide whether to move everything or buy essentials upon arrival.
  2. Finding Housing: Work with local real estate agents to find rental housing or purchase property.
  3. Documentation: Ensure you have all required documents, including identification, proof of income, and residency proof.

Climate and Environment

  1. Climate: Extremely hot, dry climate with average summer temperatures over 40°C.
  2. Health Precautions: Heat-related illnesses and air quality may require precautions.

Key Takeaways

  • Plan Ahead: Thorough research and preparation are essential for a smooth transition.
  • Understand Costs: Budget for higher living costs, particularly for housing and schooling.
  • Cultural Adaptation: Respect local customs and integrate into the community.
  • Employment: Network and understand the job market in your industry.
  • Healthcare: Ensure you have adequate health insurance.
  • Legalities: Stay on top of visa requirements and other legal matters.

Moving from London to Dubai is a significant step that requires careful planning and adaptation. With its vibrant lifestyle, career opportunities, and sunny weather, Dubai can be a rewarding place to call home. Embrace the change, and enjoy the journey!

Further Reading

If you’re interested in learning more about relocating to or within the UAE, here are some essential articles that cover various aspects of the topic. These resources will help you navigate the complexities and make informed decisions.

  1. A Comprehensive Guide to Tawtheeq: Lease Contract Registration in Abu Dhabi
  2. Closing a Bank Account in the UAE: A Step-by-Step Guide
  3. How to Apply for a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) in the UAE
  4. How to Relocate from Egypt to Dubai in 2024
  5. How to Relocate from Germany to Dubai in 2024
  6. How to Relocate from India to Dubai in 2024
  7. How to Relocate from the US to Dubai: A Comprehensive Guide (2024)
  8. Leaving Dubai for Good? 8 Essential Tasks to Complete Before You Go
  9. Moving from Pakistan to Dubai: A Comprehensive Guide
  10. Notarising Your Chinese Academic Degree for UAE: A Step-by-Step Guide
  11. Relocating from China to Dubai: Complete Guide for Expats
  12. Relocating from China to the UAE: Your Top 5 Questions Answered
  13. Relocating from London to Dubai: Your Ultimate Guide
  14. Relocating from Manchester to Dubai: Complete Guide for Expats
  15. Relocating from the UK to Dubai: A Comprehensive Guide for British Expats
  16. Relocating in the UAE? Here is a Detailed Guide on How to Find the Best Movers
  17. Tax Residency in the UAE
  18. Traveling with Pets: A Comprehensive Guide to Relocating Your Furry Friends Out of the UAE
  19. UAE Overstay Fines: A Simplified 6-Step Online Payment Guide
  20. Ultimate Guide to Pet Travel in UAE: Airline Rules and Tips [2024]