Moving to Dubai From US
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Considered one of the safest cities in the world, Dubai has truly proven to be a haven enveloped with nothing but utter wonder and beauty.
The city’s triumphant and sudden rise as the powerhouse of the economic and business activities in the UAE has earned it its nickname, ‘The City of Gold.’ Its Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world), coffee museum, palm tree-shaped islands, and a spectacular culture (a fine mix of western and eastern customs), truly prove that this city lives up to its nickname.
All these certainly attract expats from all over the world to this young but sophisticated city. It is from these expats, that you, a US citizen, who is literally blown away by the wonders of this city, emerge from.
But what’s not to like about Dubai when everything seems exciting and sophisticated? You, like anyone else, would suddenly be tempted to consider moving to Dubai from USA–which is certainly a good idea!
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As a US citizen, you do not need a visa to move to Dubai. You will only need to ensure that your passport is valid for six months before your departure.
Once you arrive at the airport, you can apply for a visitor visa which could cost about $51. To obtain a visa to Dubai, you will need the following documents:
- a valid passport that would remain authentic six months before your departure,
- proof of financial stability (proof of funds),
- a marriage certificate (if you are married and sponsored by your spouse),
- an invitation letter from a hosting company in the UAE,
- a No Objection Certificate from parents with their photos for identification.
If you are moving to Dubai from the US, you can apply in person at the UAE Embassy in Washington, D.C. with all the required documents. You should, however, expect your visa application to be processed within three working days.
Cost of Living in Dubai vs US
As a US citizen planning on moving to Dubai, you will most likely be interested in what the cost of living in Dubai is, which is quite understandable.
A comparative analysis of the cost of living between San Francisco (California) and Dubai shows that Dubai is 30% cheaper than San Francisco, California. While this analysis is valid, the overall living expenses could significantly depend on your lifestyle and choices.
If you prefer to eat out or go to the cinema, that could pose a minimal threat to your pocket, thereby causing your living expenses to slightly shoot up. However, as with every country, expect the prices of some items to be excruciatingly more expensive than they cost in the US.
Nonetheless, here is a more in-depth analysis of the average monthly cost of living in Dubai vs the US without rent.
Average Monthly Expenses
United States ($)
Family of four
Jobs in Dubai for Americans
The majority of expats relocating to UAE are moving for work purposes. Certainly, the young job market of the UAE appreciates workers with good pay and a tax-free income.
However, with 47-48 working hours per week and the working days starting from Sunday to Thursday, you might find it a little different from what you had in the US.
But with time, you will get acclimated to it. So, to enjoy your stay in the City of Gold as a worker, you need to understand what jobs are available to you as an American. Here is a list of jobs and their average monthly salaries.
- Psychologist – 21,488 AED.
- Information Security Analyst – 24,200 AED.
- Electronics and Communication Engineering – 45,000 AED.
- Radiation Therapist – 59,200 AED.
- Accounting Manager – 32,400 AED.
- Sales Manager – 37,400 AED.
- Academic Advisor – 23,700 AED.
- Events Manager – 13,900 AED.
- Pharmacist – 11,800 AED.
- Software Developer – 19,500 AED.
UAE Tax System
The UAE is considered a tax-free country because it doesn’t place any levy on income earned in the country. You only get taxed on your income when you are a tax resident of another country.
This means that if you are a tax resident of the United States, you will be taxed for every income you earn in the UAE. However, even though the UAE is considered tax-free, it is not always true.
Even though there are no income taxes in the UAE, there are a plethora of taxes that are levied on a regular basis. As an American moving to Dubai from USA, you should know that you will be taxed 10% municipal tax on hotel and entertainment.
This means that whenever you book a hotel or pay for a meal, 10% municipal tax will be added to your bill. Also, there are corporate taxes and other indirect taxes on alcohol.
If you purchase alcohol with a legal liquor license, you will be taxed 30%. However, if you choose to import alcohol from another country into Dubai, there is a 50% tax attracted. It’s important to note that these taxes aren’t much. And as you may already know, so many skilled workers come to the UAE, particularly Dubai because it is almost tax-free.
That’s why workers in the UAE are given the privilege to enjoy their salaries without any significant amount deducted as they don’t pay income tax in the UAE (and there seem to be no plans of the taxation system of the UAE changing anytime soon).
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Life in Dubai for Americans
As an American, life in Dubai would be so much different from what you had expected. First off, you would have to learn to avoid swearing or giving people the finger.
You would also have to learn to dress decently (all sensitive body parts covered) and avoid showing affection to your partner on the street. That’s how different life is in Dubai. However, this is much expected as the city, like other Emirati cities, is governed by Islamic laws.
Even though Dubai is a Muslim country, expats all over the world still apply for visas to the City of Gold to enjoy the safety of this oil-producing city. Dubai is not just considered a haven, it is an actual one; that is why it is regarded as one of the safest cities in the world.
Although the UAE refuses to release its crime data, it is believed that Dubai has a low crime rate compared to most cities. While there are no major crimes in public places, there are a few petty crimes like pickpocketing and sexual assault.
But overall, the safety or low crime rate of Dubai, to some extent, makes most expatriates feel safer in Dubai than they would have ever felt in their home country. However, this safety doesn’t come for free because Dubai is an expensive country to live in.
Although it isn’t as expensive as New York, one can easily get lost in the maze of its beauty and quickly become penniless (or in this case, dirham-less)!
All in all, aside from the rules regarding the drinking of alcohol or getting drunk in public, swearing, public show of affection, dressing, taking pictures without obtaining consent, and having uncomfortable consortium with the opposite sex, Dubai has a plethora of opportunities available to expats who are alert to grasp them!
Car Shipping to Dubai
During the process of moving to Dubai from USA, you might feel the urge to move your car to Dubai. Conversely, after relocating to the UAE, you might feel like exporting your car from Dubai (however you want it).
So, here is the right way to export your car from Dubai to ensure that it gets to its final destination safely.
But first things first, these are the documents required to get this done.
- Export insurance certificate.
- Original vehicle registration card.
- A passport photograph of the person receiving the car at the final destination.
- Emirates ID or passport.
- The car license plate.
Once you have all the required documents, you can head straight to the Road and Transport Authority with your car’s license plate. You will need to pay off any outstanding bills that you owe.
Only then can you be issued an export certificate once your car’s registration has been canceled.
Your export certificate gives you the privilege to apply for a temporary export plate for your car. With this export plate, you can drive around the UAE for fifteen days to complete the shipping process.
Once all the above has been concluded, you can contact a shipping company that will help you handle all the other procedures.
So, it is important to remember that you will have to pay the shipping agent, customs, and other taxes or fees that may come up to get your car to its final destination.
Conversely, if you intend to ship a car to Dubai, you will need about USD 1,095 for a start. The cost of shipping your car to Dubai depends wholly on the brand and model of the car.
The shipping cost could also be influenced by the shipping company you decided to utilize. When all things are equal, it typically will take about 20-30 days to ship your car to Dubai.
Dubai Healthcare System
Based on the world population review 2021 ranking, the United Arab Emirates ranked 27th globally for healthcare, which is ten places above that of the United States.
This isn’t surprising as Dubai happens to rank the sixth country globally for medical tourism. This wonderful country has two healthcare systems (public and private healthcare) that are managed by the Dubai Health Authority. Public healthcare in Dubai is only available to medical cardholders, which could probably be one of the reasons why expatriates prefer private healthcare.
Private healthcare, however, requires these expats to obtain private insurance to get at least basic medical coverage.
Even with this, most skilled expats are covered by their companies, which handle everything regarding the workers’ healthcare as stipulated by the law.
However, most private health insurance doesn’t cover dental care. This is a result of how expensive dental care is in the UAE.
So, it is advisable to opt for health insurance companies that cover dental care. Also, as an Islamic country, Dubai has some clinics for women only who are treated by women health practitioners.
These women are well taken care of because there are adequate maternity services and several doctors that come from different parts of the world.
It is however important to note that although women are offered contraceptives in Dubai, they may not have the morning after pill that you are used to because most drugs are considered illegal in the UAE.
To see a medical doctor in Dubai, you would have to pay 200 AED, which is about $54. However, you may need to pay for additional tests that may be carried out.
It should also be noted that calling doctors for home visits or treatment can significantly increase the fee. Night doctor visits are another service that could lead to an increased doctor charge.
Dubai certainly has a lot to offer so many expats across the world. If you will benefit from its pool of opportunities, you will have to learn to abide by the laws of this Islamic country.
The laws might seem strange or entirely different from what you are used to in the US, but you need to understand them to live happily in the City of Gold. Ignorance of these laws is not an excuse because they could attract stiff penalties, and in some cases, a huge fine.
Being in Dubai would mean that you would try as much as possible to not criticize the Islamic religion. Of course, the weather is another thing to get acclimated to, but with patience, time, and a sincere desire to love and accept the city, you will quickly get a hang of how the system works.
Dubai is filled with untapped opportunities, be alert and reach out for them. Good luck!
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