Is It Expensive to Live in UAE as an Expat Investor

If you are looking for ways to get into a luxurious entrepreneurial environment and are planning to start a business, you won’t find a better place than the land of oil tycoons. According to the world ranking of the best passports, the Persian Gulf state ranks 24th. It means a high quality of life, salaries, and growth prospects. The cost of living varies from city to city and from emirate to emirate; in the central parts, it is usually always more expensive. Nevertheless, in terms of prices for utilities and rent, the United Emirates is in second place after the United States, which allows it to consider the region as a second homeland and seek citizenship.

Housing and Real Estate Costs in UAE

According to statistics, a large share of the costs of locals and visitors affects the education system, meaning that children attend fairly paid schools, kindergartens, and international universities. Slightly less are the costs of renting real estate and entertainment. The average price per square meter, according to the Land Department, is $3,160. The average price of a Dubai apartment in 2024 is $470,000, and a house is $632,000. 

You’re mistaken if you think there is nothing to see here except skyscrapers and dunes. Moving for a while or on a “permanent” basis, you will feel with every cell of your body how highly developed the country is and how people are organized. The favorable location and open sea routes help the state fully provide its people with food and trade with other countries. However, you should know that you must prove your income is more than 1,000 dollars monthly to get a Golden Visa in UAE

The most luxurious city is, of course, Dubai, followed by Abu Dhabi, then Sharjah. Naturally, an ordinary trip to a cafe will cost you at the level of 5, with more than $5 just to drink coffee. A meal in a restaurant will cost about 200–300 dollars, but it is one-third less than in America. However, compared with New York, the rest of the costs are much lower. You will pay almost half as much for renting or buying an apartment, as well as for the education of a child or teenager. 

A foreigner with a family should include the following in the items of obligatory expenses:

  • medical insurance — from 550 dirhams per year;
  • preschool education (kindergarten) — from 900 dirhams;
  • school — from 20,000 dirhams per year;
  • universities average 38,000.

This way, everyone will find pros in the cost of living in UAE for investors, such as the absence of tax, a lot of entertainment, and a high standard of living in general. However, you may face disadvantages in the form of prices for housing, education, and insurance.

Factors Influencing Living Costs in UAE

Cost of living in UAE for expats in the three major cities is much higher, so you need to earn about 5000 dollars a month to live there. However, there are areas of Dubai in the old town where life is much cheaper. At the same time, everything you need is there – subway, transportation connections, schools, kindergartens, stores, markets, and entertainment. Therefore, those who want to save money by staying in their favorite country for a long time try to settle there. In addition, in terms of cost, Sharjah is characterized by more favorable conditions. As for medical care, everything on the territory is private, and only emergency ambulances are free of charge from the state.

Available Ways to Obtain a Residence Permit in the UAE

It is necessary to request an online pass to cross the borders of the Emirates. According to Zlata Erlach, a specialist of the Immigrant Invest agency, this permit is valid for 60 days.  After that, it is necessary to apply for a visa, according to the reason for staying in the territory. It can be studied at a university, sponsored by the university itself, or by a parent who is a legal member of the Arab society. The reasons for this can also be work, freelancing, retirement age, etc. The names of golden visas also differ accordingly—for example, Green, Pension, and Student.

UAE Golden visa is a document that gives the right to stay in the territory for 5 to 10 years. After the expiration of the term, you can extend it for the same period of time. 

The easiest ways to obtain a residence permit: 

  • invest in the country’s economy;
  • doing business;
  • employment;
  • study or purchase of real estate.

However, other grounds exist for immigration, such as contributing to medical, scientific, research, and family reunification. If you marry a foreigner or join an Arab woman, you can eventually qualify for permanent residency. One of the simplest methods is to be born on the state’s territory; if one of the parents is a legal citizen, then the citizenship is automatically transferred to the heir.


So, living in a colorful and comfortable Middle Eastern country may seem too expensive, but the cost of living in Dubai is noticeably lower than in America or the UK. A noticeable part of the budget will be educational activities for your children. Therefore, when moving as a family, consider everything to ensure you have enough money for all your expenses. The most attractive sights for tourists are the country’s attractions. For example, the Burj Khalifa, but it is essential to consider the basic costs of food and accommodation in the commercial financial center (Dubai) and, if necessary, choose remote areas to live in. They are also provided with a transportation network – boats, boats, subways, cars… It is easy to get to any point. 

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