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How To Move To Dubai: Ultimate Guide For UK Citizens

Dec 19, 2022 | Living in Dubai

Dubai offers excellent employment and business prospects, cutting-edge infrastructure, and a fantastic lifestyle. It’s one of the most dynamic cities in the Middle East and a great place to settle down if you’re willing to put in some hard work and dedication. The question remains- how to move to Dubai?

There are many things British expats need to consider before making your move. Do you want to live near the UAE embassy, in Downtown Dubai, near the Dubai marina, if you need a one bedroom apartment, luxury apartment or a house/buying property? UK expats also need to consider visa fees for a residence visa, healthcare Dubai, being non muslims as British citizens, income tax, if you or your children want to attend a Dubai British school or getting a work permit. These are just a few of the important things British expats need to consider before moving to Dubai.

Moving to Dubai from the UK is an exciting step that can open up new opportunities. Whether you’re looking for a career change or want to experience something different, this guide will walk you through all the steps necessary to make your move happen!

An image of a globe showing Dubai.

Source: Unsplash

Why Move to Dubai from UK and How To Move To Dubai From UK

Dubai is the most populous and developed Emirate of the UAE, and the city is an excellent place to live, work, and play. You will find world-class facilities, many high-paying job opportunities in various industries, and a high quality of life. Let’s quickly run through a few compelling reasons to relocate to Dubai from the UK.

International business hub

As a city known for its fast-paced business environment, Dubai is the ideal place to start or expand your UK business. Many global companies have their headquarters in the city, and it has become an international hub for many industries, such as banking, finance, technology, media, and more.

What if you are an independent or freelance professional in the UK? You can leverage the city’s excellent infrastructure, diverse talent pool, and strong business network to expand your client base and start your venture after obtaining a freelancer visa in Dubai.

Zero taxation- A Must Know When Wondering How To Move To Dubai

The UAE has a zero taxation policy right now, which means you won’t have to pay any taxes on your income. This is one of the major reasons why many expatriates from the UK choose to move to Dubai every year. It also helps businesses in reducing their operational costs and gaining more profits.

Although the UAE government will implement a new corporate tax regime to introduce a 9% corporate tax from January 2023, it will still keep zero taxation benefits for businesses with annual net profits less than AED 375,000 or businesses that operate from a UAE free zone.

Ownership and profit repatriation

As a foreign entrepreneur, you can start your own business in one of Dubai’s free zones and have 100% ownership. This means that you won’t need to partner with a local sponsor or share any percentage of your income as part of the agreement.

You will also be able to repatriate all your profits back to the UK without any taxes or restrictions. This starkly contrasts with many other countries with strict laws against profit repatriation for expatriates.

Excellent business infrastructure

Dubai is widely regarded as one of the world’s best business hubs, offering an extensive range of modern infrastructure businesses needs to succeed. This includes high-speed internet networks, international airports, advanced digital services, and more.

The city also provides access to a global market with favourable trading opportunities from countries worldwide due to its strategic location at the crossroads between East and West. All these advantages make it a great destination for UK entrepreneurs looking for new challenges abroad.

Additionally, the free zones have all the necessary support and amenities to help businesses set up and manage their operations. Ensure you also check out the top business ideas in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Vibrant culture and high quality of life

If you’re looking for an exciting city, Dubai is the perfect place. The city has a vibrant culture and offers plenty of entertainment options, such as concerts, shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, art galleries and more. There are also plenty of outdoor activities, such as desert safaris, scuba diving and kite surfing!

The city also has an excellent healthcare system with world-class hospitals and clinics. You can easily find international schools for your children if you plan on moving to Dubai from the UK with your family. Overall, Dubai provides expatriates with a great quality of life unrivalled by other regions’ cities.

An image of a workplace in Dubai.

Source: Pexels

Safe for Expatriates- A Must Know When Wondering How To Move To Dubai

Dubai is a safe city and has a low crime rate. The security measures taken by the government are stringent, and expatriates can enjoy their stay in the city without any worries about safety. Also, the city is safe for expatriates, as expats comprise over 90% of Dubai’s total population.

Attractive tourism destination

Apart from its bustling business environment, Dubai attracts tourists with its stunning beaches, modern architecture, vibrant nightlife scene and unique shopping experiences.

The city has so much to explore, including the world’s tallest building – Burj Khalifa, the spectacular Palm Jumeirah island and the iconic Dubai Mall. As an expat living in Dubai, you can take advantage of these attractions and enjoy the great quality of life that comes with it! If you consider business prospects, you can easily cater to foreign tourists by opening a travel agency in the UAE.

Easy business setup

Setting up a business in Dubai is relatively straightforward and hassle-free. Companies can get started with minimal paperwork and be operational within a few days. Setting up a company helps UK businesses quickly enter the UAE market, which can open up lucrative opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The city also has world-class infrastructure to help businesses succeed without major obstacles. The Ease of Doing Business Index, a concern of the World Bank, ranked Dubai in 16th place in 2020 global ranking.

What Are The Visa Options in Dubai

Now that you know quite a few reasons to relocate to Dubai from the UK, one of the first things you will need is a valid visa or residence permit in Dubai. Fortunately, the UAE welcomes foreigners, so there are plenty of visa options for UK citizens.

The most common types of visas include employment and business visas, family residence visas, student visas, and tourist/visit visas. Depending on your circumstances and purpose for visiting Dubai, you may also be eligible to apply for a long-term residence permit.

Golden Visa Dubai

Recently, the UAE government introduced the Golden visa program to attract top-level talent and entrepreneurs to come and live in Dubai for up to 10 years. A golden visa is an excellent opportunity for UK citizens to get a valid residence permit in Dubai and settle in the UAE with their family members or expand their business ventures.

Unlike many other business-only visa programs, Golden visa does not require an extensive list of documents or huge investments. It is open to anyone who can prove their qualifications, experience or business acumen. You also don’t need a sponsor for the golden visa program – you can apply directly to the Dubai government.

Currently, if you belong to one of the following professional or academic categories in the UK, you can easily apply for a Golden visa in Dubai.

  • Public or real estate investors
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Outstanding talents, especially related to medical, science and technology, engineering, genetics, AI, biotechnology, and similar fields
  • Extensive business management experience
  • Athletes
  • Vast experience with humanitarian works
  • Outstanding academic achievers
  • Creative professionals in culture and art
  • Inventors with an excellent contribution to society.

Some of the exclusive benefits of having a golden visa include

  • No requirement to have a local sponsor
  • Full ownership of your business or entrepreneurial venture
  • Option to add family members, dependents, and even business associates or partners
  • No travel restrictions

Virtuzone provides complete end-to-end support to help you with the UAE golden visa application and document preparation.

An image of a couple.

Source: Pexels

How to Set Up a Business in Dubai

You will most likely want to set up a business after moving from the UK to Dubai. However, setting up a business in Dubai requires careful consideration and a systematic approach. Here are the steps you need to take:

Pick an industry when thinking about how to move to Dubai

You will need to decide whether you want a professional service, trading business or industrial activity. You must choose the right type of business for Dubai and your skillset. Depending on your preferred industry, you may have to comply with additional licensing requirements or certifications.

Choose your business location

You will typically have three options to choose from regarding your business location – free zone, mainland, and offshore.

  • Free zones: Free zones are special economic areas in Dubai where businesses can access a range of tax and legal benefits. They’re ideal for international companies looking to set up their business quickly and easily.
  • Mainland: When you opt for the mainland, your business will be subject to the UAE’s commercial laws, as well as other government regulations. You can also choose from various locations across Dubai, such as Al Barsha, Jumeirah Lake Towers or Business Bay.
  • Offshore: Offshore companies in Dubai don’t need to pay taxes but cannot trade in the country.

Each option has its own set of pros and cons. It’s essential to carefully consider your options and business necessities before choosing a location.

Define the company structure

You have to define the company structure before you move ahead with setting up a business in Dubai. Limited Liability Companies (LLC) and Free zone companies are the most common legal structures. An LLC is owned by 51% of UAE Nationals and 49% by foreign investors, while free zones offer 100% ownership for foreign investors.

Naming and initial approval

Once you’ve chosen the right industry, you must apply for your business name. It must be unique and have a meaning related to your company. You can obtain initial approval for many business types without renting a business premise. You can then use the initial approval document to apply for other necessary approvals and rent a premise.

Paperworks and Licencing

You will need to gather a few documents and submit them with your application. These include passport copies, visa applications, bank statements, proof of address, business plans, tenancy agreement, and financial projections.

Once you have done the paperwork and received initial approval, you will need to obtain a licence from Dubai Economy and Tourism (DED). Depending on what kind of company structure you choose, this may involve filing additional documents. You can choose from three major licence types in Dubai:

  1. Professional licence
  2. Commercial licence
  3. Industrial licence

Bank account and visa

Finally, you will need to open a corporate or retail bank account for your business or professional venture and obtain the relevant visas. Some prominent local banks in the UAE include Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Noor Bank, and Ajman Bank. You can also choose one of the international banks operating in Dubai, such as HSBC, Citibank, and Barclays.

An image of files being organised for a move to Dubai.

Source: Pexels

Immigration to Dubai from UK: How To Move To Dubai Regarding The Cost of Living

Finally, it’s essential to consider the cost of living in Dubai before you move. The cost of necessities such as food and accommodation can differ significantly from what you’re used to in the UK, so be sure to do some research on this topic.

The good news is that salaries are generally higher than in many countries, so if you find a decent job, it should be easier for you to manage your finances. Additionally, there are many tax-free benefits available for expats living in Dubai.

To help you with an estimated cost of living in Dubai, a single person’s average monthly cost in London is AED 4,400, which is AED 3,500 in Dubai. The average rent of a studio apartment in the city centre of London is AED 8,800, which in Dubai is AED 5,200.

On average, a single person can expect to spend 5,000 AED per month in Dubai including everything. For a couple, it will be around AED 9,000 per month, and for a family of four, you may have to spend AED 18,000 per month.

Wrap-Up: How to Move to Dubai

Moving to Dubai from the UK can be a great opportunity for those looking for new career prospects and an exciting lifestyle. The process of relocating requires careful planning, but with the right resources and some determination, you’ll be able to make your move happen.

If you are looking for a complete solution for moving from the UK to Dubai and step-by-step guidance with application and documentation, don’t forget to reach out to Virtuzone.

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