Dubai is a much-preferred choice for Indian nationals looking to live abroad. This is partly because flying back to home country to visit family is easy. If you are interested in moving from India to Dubai, here’s a handy checklist of everything you need to know to make your move stress-free. We will also try to answer the question, “what do I need to move to Dubai!”
VISAS FOR INDIANS MOVING TO DUBAI
Indian passport holders looking to visit Dubai need to arrange for a visa through a sponsor before moving. This may sound daunting but it is a pretty painless process. You can know more about this when you book a hotel and apply for a visa via Emirates Airlines or a travel agent.
If you have a valid USA visa or green card or a UK or European Union residence visa (valid for at least six months after your date of entry to the UAE), you can get a 14-day visa on arrival.
There are different types of UAE visas you can consider when moving to Dubai. Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your move.
- Employment Visa: This visa is the most common type where your employer will handle all arrangements for an employment visa and residency permit. Once you get the residence visa, you can even check your UAE visa status o`nline.
- Dependent Visa:
- You are eligible for a dependent visa for Dubai when your spouse is in the city. However, they will need to earn a minimum of AED 4,000 per month (or AED 3,000 per month plus accommodation) to sponsor you.
- If your children are in Dubai, they will need to earn at least AED 20,000 per month to sponsor you.
- If your parents are looking to sponsor you, you will have to be under 18 years of age (or a student) and unmarried.
- Student Visa: If you are enrolled in one of the UAE universities or academic institutions, you will be granted a visa for the duration of your education.
- Investor Visa: If you open a company in the UAE or invest in one, you can benefit from an Investor visa. There are different types of Dubai investor visas that you can consider.
- Property Owner Visa: If you invest in a property in Dubai, you are eligible for a renewable residency visa. However, the benefits of these visas (dependents etc.) do vary.
To process these visas, you will have to undergo a medical test in Dubai upon arrival.
If your passport expires post-re-location, here’s the process of Indian passport renewal in the UAE.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR MOVING FROM INDIA TO DUBAI
When it comes to moving from India to Dubai, your employer will take care of the bulk of the process. What you need to do, though, is make sure you have all your documents in order.
- Get your Indian university degree/certificate attested well before you plan on moving. This process is often lengthy and a hassle to do once you’ve moved to Dubai. There are four steps to getting your degree attested, should you wish to do it yourself.
- First, visit your university to get your documents stamped. Give them a call beforehand to find out what documents you need. You might have to bring in mark sheets and high school certificates. Depending on your field, you might also need attestation from your field’s registered regulatory board. This will require payment from your side.
- Next, you need HRD (human resources development) attestation. For this, visit an HRD office or registered centre in your state. If you visit the HRD office directly, there is no fee, but you must bring documents such as mark sheets (from high school) and a passport photo (varies by state).
- Head to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in Delhi (or use a registered agent) to get the attestation stamp on all documents.
- Finally, you need an approval stamp from the UAE Embassy.
- If you are entering the country as a married couple, make sure you bring your attested marriage certificate.
- Before applying for a work visa, you will a good conduct certificate from India.
- Bring plenty of passport-sized photographs (white background). You’d be surprised at how many you’ll need to apply for various things, from visas to different licenses.
FINDING ACCOMMODATION IN DUBAI
Your company will likely put you up in a hotel or hotel apartment as soon as you arrive in Dubai. However, you will have to find somewhere to move to!
Luckily, Dubai has a booming property market with numerous options to suit all budgets and ‘real estate preferences.’ Before signing the papers, decide whether renting or buying a property is right for you.
RENTING A PROPERTY IN DUBAI
Several first-time expats rent property in Dubai. Regarding budget, it’s easy to overspend and be influenced by prestigious addresses or Burj Khalifa views. But a good rule to stick to is not spending more than 35% of your monthly income on rent.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that rent works based on yearly or quarterly cheques in Dubai. You will also have to shell out money for DEWA utilities (that’s your electricity and water), internet/phone deposits, agency commissions and security deposits. Make sure you have enough money set aside! It is also worth familiarising yourself with the tenancy laws in Dubai to avoid running into any unpleasant surprises!
BUYING A PROPERTY IN DUBAI
Dubai also has a thriving property sales market with several attractive incentives for buyers. From villas and townhouses in well-established neighbourhoods such as Arabian Ranches, apartments in Dubai Marina to off-plan projects with upcoming handover dates, homeownership is also popular in Dubai.
Indians in Dubai make up the largest group of foreigners who invest in Dubai property. If you are worried about your stay in Dubai, don’t forget that you can always rent out your property when you leave, making it a fantastic extra source of income.
LIVING IN DUBAI: HOW TO SETTLE AFTER MOVING FROM INDIA TO DUBAI?
Nearly 50% of the Dubai expat population is from India, so it should come as no surprise that living in Dubai means that you’re not likely to miss the comforts of home.
EDUCATION FOR INDIANS IN DUBAI
Whether you want your child to study in an Indian curriculum school or any other, there are many options.
- Studying in an international school in Dubai will be a diverse experience for your child, with kids from all over the world sharing a classroom.
- In addition to institutions offering international curriculums, there are plenty of Indian schools in Dubai (offering ICSE and CBSE) across the city, within reach of every neighbourhood.
- Schools in Dubai vary in price depending on the facilities and curricula on offer.
- Some of the best schools in Dubai fill up fast across all year groups. We strongly recommend applying for a place well before you reach the city – even if you plan to relocate during summer!
- The school year for Indian schools starts in April, while most international schools have start dates in September. However, depending on when you’re relocating, children can often join in the second semester.
- Regarding higher education, you can find some world-class institutes and universities in Dubai in the hubs of Academic City and Knowledge Village (included respected ones from India such as BITS Pilani and Manipal University). While you can finish your degree in Dubai from one of these universities, several also offer the option to transfer abroad to the university’s home campus for at least a duration of your course.
If you plan to move to Dubai from India for higher education, here are some of the popular areas in Dubai for students.
FOOD FOR INDIAN EXPATS IN DUBAI
You can find Indian restaurants across Dubai.
- There’s one thing you won’t miss in the city, and that’s Indian cuisine! From street-side chaat and biryani to Jain food and South Indian thalis, there are plenty of Indian restaurants in Dubai serving food from all corners of India.
- Most eateries are focused in the ‘old Dubai’ neighbourhoods of Karama, Bur Dubai and Deira. But no matter where you live, you’re sure to find an Indian restaurant nearby. For instance, there are some amazing Indian restaurants in Downtown Dubai. Similarly, you can find Indian restaurants in Dubai catering to all budgets.
- If it’s groceries that you’re looking for, there are plenty of supermarkets in Dubai for expats that stock native ingredients. Al Adil Supermarket has plenty of foods and brands that you will recognise from your local grocery shop in India. For fresh produce, LuLu Hypermarket is also a firm favourite among Indian expats in Dubai. When it comes to fresh sweets too, you’re sure to find shops that will rival the ones back home!
So when moving from India to Dubai, you shouldn’t be concerned about not getting homely food. Life in Dubai for Indians will not be too dissimilar to what they were used to back home at least in terms of food.
OUT AND ABOUT
As you would know, there is so much to do in Dubai.
- Dubai is known for its nightlife! Bars and clubs cater to every vibe and taste and many also offer ‘Desi’ or ‘Bollywood’ nights with all the latest chart-toppers. These are perfect for those days where you’re missing home!
- If you can’t wait for one of those nights, Dubai has a few local radio stations that play Hindi and Malayalam music. Check out the list of radio stations in Dubai to know more.
- As a second home for several Indian stars, Dubai also hosts many concerts and performances throughout the year.
- Thanks to the high number of Indians in Dubai, it’s easy to celebrate any festival. From Holi to Diwali, Onam and Navratri, don’t worry about missing out.
- When it comes to alcohol, consumption without a licence is no longer a crime after introducing new alcohol license rules. You should, however, remember that being drunk in public or driving under the influence is also strictly prohibited and has serious consequences.
Here is what you need to know about health services in Dubai.
- Dubai has no unified public health service. Every sponsor is responsible for providing health insurance to those they provide a visa to. This means that if you are sponsoring your spouse or children, the burden is on you to provide them with medical insurance. Some companies often offer insurance for dependents as well.
- If you intend on bringing any medication to Dubai, check the banned substances list issued by the UAE government. Some medication might be exempt if you get a doctor’s note along with you. Remember that some medicines sold over the counter in India could be regulated in Dubai, and you could face trouble when trying to bring them into the country.
- Thanks to the sheer number of clinics and hospitals in Dubai, if you do need specific medication, it will be a painless process to obtain a prescription – albeit under a different trade name.
The public transport system in Dubai is one of the best in the world.
- Dubai has a well established public transport system of buses, the Dubai metro and taxis. Naturally, buses are the cheapest option, followed by the metro and then taxis.
- While the metro line is one of the most convenient ways to get around the city, it travels in a straight line and may not be feasible depending on where you choose to live. For example, popular neighbourhoods such as Arabian Ranches are far away from the nearest metro station and rely on feeder buses. Luckily, there are many convenient apartments near metro stations, should you wish to use the Dubai Metro to commute.
- If you want to rent or buy a car to get around and have a valid Indian driving license, you will need to apply for a Dubai driving licence and undergo classes. The number of classes you have to take depends on how long your license has been valid. When applying for the license, it’s worth keeping in mind that most private, light motor vehicles in Dubai are automatic, not manual.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ARE THERE ANY COVID-19 RELATED RESTRICTIONS WHEN TRAVELING FROM INDIA?
Due to the pandemic, people moving from India to Dubai face certain extra requirements when travelling to Dubai.
- A negative COVID‑19 PCR test certificate with a QR code for a test conducted within 48 hours. Validity is calculated from the time the sample was collected. The test has to be done from an approved health facility.
- Rapid PCR test report with a QR code conducted at the departure airport within six hours.
- Another Covid-19 test will be taken on arrival at the airport.
These restrictions change from time to time, so it is best to check the government website whenever you plan to travel.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW BEFORE MOVING FROM INDIA TO DUBAI?
Here are some helpful tips that you should consider.
- While the UAE is a Muslim country, there is incredible religious tolerance. While mosques are easy to spot, there are also well-established places of worship in Dubai for Christians, Hindus, Sikha and Jains alike.
- Remember to dress modestly and keep public displays of affection to a minimum.
- It may be a desert, but Dubai can get quite chilly in winters – and in malls and cinemas too.
- You do not need to learn Arabic to get by in Dubai, with the vast majority of residents able to communicate in English, Hindi or Urdu. But, it’s always a good idea to learn some basic Arabic phrases.
- Remember that your sponsor has no right to keep your passport in their custody – your documents are yours and yours alone.
- There is always something to do in Dubai, but keep an eye on all those expenses; otherwise, you’re likely to exceed your budget and be unable to save up.
All in all, Dubai is a fantastic place for Indians with job opportunities and conveniences.
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Disclaimer: Visa rules are subject to change and can vary from company to company. To get up to date information on visa procedures and fees, please get in touch with your employer/sponsor.