Dubai is the most cosmopolitan city in the world, with the World Migration Report estimating that 83% of the local population is composed of expats. Many of them intend on spending some of their golden years in the United Arab Emirates, while many others from countries like the UK choose to retire in Dubai.
If you are considering Dubai as a viable retirement location, this article explores some of the key factors you need to take into account.
Because it’s impossible for expats to be naturalised as citizens, retirees wishing to stay in Dubai need to apply for other types of visas and are not eligible for pensions in the country.
The first of three kinds of visas available for retirees is a Business Investment Visa, which you can avail if you have incorporated your own business or invested in one within the UAE. These are renewable every three years. On the other hand, a two-year Property-Based Investment Visa is available for those who own property or properties with a cumulative purchase price of at least AED 1 Million. Lastly, retirees with an adult child working in the UAE can apply for a Dependency Visa, which are often processed on a case-to-case basis.
In terms of climate, Dubai enjoys sunshine nearly all year round. Summers can be hot and humid, but the city’s golden beaches and numerous indoor recreational activities provide plenty of fun ways to manage the heat.
Cost of living
Compared to other retirement hotspots, the cost of living in Dubai tends to be higher, which deters many retirees with limited savings or pension funds. For instance, meals in Thailand can range anywhere between AED 5.50 (USD 1.5) and AED 55 (USD 15), depending on the restaurant. In Dubai, on the other hand, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant will cost around AED 29 (USD 8), while pricier dining options may reach AED 169 (USD 46).
Moreover, health insurance is mandatory for expats to renew their visas. Basic utilities for the average apartment will cost around AED 650 (USD 177) monthly, compared to just AED 92 (USD 25) in Ecuador.
One advantage of living in Dubai, especially for those with large investments, is that the country does not charge income taxes, and the average person’s salary is relatively high. Most families can have full-time help like live-in maids and gardeners. In addition, the security, political stability, and economic growth all contribute to a better quality of life in the UAE.
In terms of housing, Dubai isn’t exactly the cheapest option for retirees. The Gulf News reports that house prices in the UAE might soon match or even surpass those in London, with increased demand and higher inflation rates pushing prices even higher.
To illustrate, a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre costs around AED 4775 (USD 1300) per month, while larger units with three bedrooms outside of the city centre amounts to AED 6980 (USD 1900). In contrast, a three-bedroom apartment outside of Hanoi would cost around AED 1975 (USD 538) per month. Over to the west, Miami has many Adult Active Communities (AAC), who pay approximately AED 4775 (USD 1300) for rental properties outside the city centre. South of Miami, Panama’s retirement havens like Boquete and Santa Fé have one-bedroom apartments up for rent at AED 1607 (USD 437.50).
On the other hand, a major benefit of retiring in Dubai is its diverse culture. As we’ve previously discussed here on Passion for Dubai, the city is home to a hundred different languages and cultures, making every day an exciting one. English is widely spoken, especially among the expat community.
An important thing to remember is that although the city tends to have a glossy Western veneer with its skyscrapers and international vibe, the city is still an Islamic state that abides by the Sharia law. Fridays are a holy day for Muslims, which means weekends are on Fridays and Saturdays. Meanwhile, certain things like wearing revealing clothing, public displays of affection, and drinking in public should be avoided.
Although retiring in Dubai may not be for everyone, there are still many perks to settling down in this gem at the coast of the Persian Gulf.