Living in Dubai: what are the advantages and disadvantages of living in the UAE

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16 Oct 2023
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Today, the United Arab Emirates holds appeal not just for vacationers but also for individuals considering relocating to the nation. Owing to its favorable geographical positioning, elevated quality of life, and a comparatively straightforward process for securing long-term visas, the Emirates have emerged as a favored choice for potential movers. In this article, we delve into the advantages and disadvantages of residing in an Arab nation while also elucidating the merits of investing in real estate within the UAE.

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Advantages of living in Dubai

Quality of life and services  

Dubai boasts an exceptional standard of living with a wide array of familiar services at your fingertips. Residents enjoy access to various amenities, from grocery delivery services to personal chauffeurs. The city offers a plethora of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

The Emirates feature one of the world's top healthcare systems, comprising 145 public and private clinics. Additionally, education in this Arab nation ranks among the finest globally. Notably, three local universities, namely Khalifa University, United Arab Emirates University, and the American University of Sharjah, are included in the top 600 universities worldwide. It's worth mentioning that many American and European educational institutions have established branches in the country, such as the Sorbonne, France's oldest university.

Climate and weather  

Situated in the Middle East by the Persian Gulf, the UAE's landscape is predominantly desert, giving rise to occasional sandstorms.

Dubai experiences year-round summer, offering the advantage of perpetual sunshine for relaxing on residential complex terraces or enjoying the beaches. However, there's a trade-off: the country's climate is hot and arid, with comfortable temperatures around +25°C in winter, but soaring up to +50°C in summer. Nevertheless, all buildings are equipped with air conditioning, making it comfortable to beat the summer heat. Despite these challenging climatic conditions, the UAE has managed to create lush gardens, numerous golf courses, and even inaugurated the world's largest flower park in Dubai in 2013.

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Beach near the residential project Bayview by Address Resort

Transport accessibility

The UAE serves as a strategic transport hub for global travel, including connections to Europe and Africa. The country hosts seven civil airports, with Dubai International Airport ranking among the top 5 worldwide in terms of popularity and passenger traffic. As of the first half of 2023, it accommodated 41.6 million passengers.

The country boasts a well-developed public transport network, notably the renowned Dubai Metro, the first of its kind on the Arabian Peninsula. These driverless trains operate seamlessly, with platforms featuring transparent protective partitions and automatic doors. Adjacent to each metro station, you'll find convenient bus stops equipped with modern amenities like air conditioning, USB connectors, and Wi-Fi.

Taxis are also widely used in the UAE, offering a means to travel not only within cities but also between different areas. For instance, the journey from Dubai to Abu Dhabi typically takes around 1.5 hours.

Tax system  

Securing residency in the UAE offers the benefit of a lighter tax burden. Tax residents of the country are exempt from personal income tax, covering wages, sales transactions, as well as interest, dividends, royalties, inheritance, and donations.

Standard business operations in the country are subject to a 5% VAT on revenue generated within the UAE.

The state implements a tourist tax system, with rates as follows:

  • 10% for hotel accommodations; 
  • 10% service fee;
  • up to 10% municipal tax; 
  • from 6% to 10% city tax; 
  • 6% basic tourist fee.

Well-developed economy  

With abundant oil resources, the UAE's economy relies on the oil sector, which contributes to 24.5% of the total GDP. The country also features a substantial presence in trade and industry, accounting for 13.1% and 10.4% of the GDP, respectively. The UAE's leadership effectively reinvests oil revenues into various sectors, fostering innovation, attracting foreign capital, and foreign investors through the establishment of free economic zones.

The Emirates maintain low inflation rates, as evidenced by minimal consumer price changes over five years, from 2017 to 2021. In 2022, prices rose by 3.7% annually, a figure nearly 2.5 times lower than the inflation rate in the European Union.

Cultural diversity  

In the Emirates, approximately 80% of the population consists of expatriates hailing from various corners of the globe. The country is a melting pot of nationalities, with a significant presence of individuals from Pakistan, India, and Egypt. In recent years, a growing number of Russians and citizens from the former USSR countries have chosen the UAE as their new home. This diverse composition allows for the existence of various interest groups and gatherings, such as business breakfasts and community events.

Safety  

The UAE stands as one of the safest places to call home. The police force operates efficiently, supported by a robust video surveillance system that incorporates artificial intelligence technology. A stable political environment, high living standards, and adherence to strict religious rules significantly contribute to the overall safety. To learn more about the legal aspects, especially for women, please refer to our dedicated article.

Attitude to Russians  

In the Emirates, Russians are welcomed with friendliness and respect, with no discrimination or restrictions in place. As long as a Russian resident respects the local culture and laws of the UAE, they can expect their rights to be fully protected. Generally, the UAE maintains a stance of political neutrality.

Entertainment opportunities  

Dubai offers an array of entertainment options for people of all ages. You can embark on a thrilling desert jeep safari or set sail on a yacht voyage along the Persian Gulf. For those seeking adventure, options like parachute jumping, helicopter rides, or a dining experience at the Dinner in the Sky restaurant are available. Art enthusiasts will want to explore the Louvre branch and the Museum of the Future.

Families can plan a weekend packed with amusement park visits and attractions or a trip to the Dubai Aquarium. Furthermore, the Emirates boast numerous shopping malls that provide retail therapy and entertainment. For an in-depth look at shopping in Dubai, our dedicated article highlights the best places to explore.

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Helicopter fly above the Dubai

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Disadvantages of living in Dubai

High cost of living  

While the UAE is a highly developed and prosperous nation, it comes at a premium cost of living. The annual rental expenses for apartments vary depending on the emirate and district but typically average around $26,500. Prices for groceries and dining in restaurants tend to be approximately 2.5 times higher than those in Moscow.

Strict legislation  

Dubai adheres to Sharia law, which means severe penalties for certain offenses, such as the distribution of prohibited substances, including the possibility of the death penalty. Public consumption of alcohol and its transportation between emirates is forbidden. Public displays of affection for your partner are also prohibited. During the holy month of Ramadan, eating and drinking in public spaces is not allowed, and many local restaurants and cafes close during this period.

Difficult citizenship process  

Securing long-term residency in the UAE typically requires obtaining a visa. For instance, property investment can grant you two types of residency: a standard visa for 2 years or a gold visa for 5-10 years, depending on the investment amount:

  • 2-year visa for a $205,000 property investment. 
  • 5-10 year visa for $544,000 property investments.

After the expiration date the visa can be renewed.

The possibility of obtaining UAE citizenship is ambiguous, as the law does not specify the exact investment threshold for business and real estate. Highly skilled doctors and scientists may be valued and considered for citizenship, but the final decision is made at the highest level.

Language and communication  

Arabic is the official language of the Emirates, but English is widely used for international communication. English translations are commonplace on signs, menus, and announcements. You can converse in English in shops, grocery stores, cafes, and even government offices. It is advisable to learn a few basic Arabic phrases and words as a sign of respect for local traditions.

Noise level  

In certain areas of Dubai, ongoing construction of residential complexes and skyscrapers can disrupt the tranquility with construction-related noise. Additionally, densely populated parts of the city experience significant traffic congestion, contributing to noise in those areas.

The advantages and disadvantages of investing in Dubai

Advantages
Disadvantages
Dubai offers excellent investment potential, with the potential for a 28% return on investment upon resale.
The properties have been in construction for several years, requiring prospective buyers to exercise patience before gaining access to their apartments or considering alternatives in the secondary market.
Apartments come fully finished, saving you time and effort on renovations. Some developers even offer units with minimal furniture, allowing for immediate occupancy or rental once construction is completed.
The rise of the USD to RUB exchange rate has led to a considerable increase in the cost of properties when assessed in Russian currency. This poses a clear disadvantage for individuals looking to purchase apartments.
Dubai provides a wide range of real estate options, from compact studios to spacious penthouses featuring private swimming pools.
The prospects of acquiring citizenship are notably low.
You have the option to opt for interest-free installment plans when making a purchase.
There is no assurance that construction will conclude as scheduled. According to the law, developers retain the right to postpone the delivery date by up to one year.
If you're unable to travel to the UAE for transactions, you can conveniently apply for documents remotely.
Developers accept cryptocurrency as a payment method, offering flexibility in your investment approach.
Some properties come with guaranteed return on investment.

Real estate choices

RA1N  

RA1N is a 25-story residential tower located in the JVC area. Its strategic positioning allows residents easy access to major highways, including Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, Barsha Road, and Al Khail Road. Within just a 12-minute drive, you can reach Dubai Marina and The Palm Jumeirah Island, while Downtown Dubai, home to iconic landmarks like the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, Dubai Mall, and the enchanting Dubai Opera fountains, is only 16 minutes away by car.

The project offers apartments featuring 1 and 2 bedrooms. Some units include office spaces with balcony access, ideal for work or relaxation. Apartments on the upper floors come with private outdoor terraces and swimming pools. The interiors are tastefully furnished with cabinet furniture from renowned Italian factories such as Arrital, Birex, and Dall'Agnese, with a color scheme of gray and white.

Within the complex's lobby, you'll find a 24-hour concierge service, ready to assist residents with everyday needs like taxi reservations, restaurant bookings, or arranging food deliveries.

On the upper levels of the complex, there are inviting spaces for leisure and entertainment. Parents can unwind or work while their children engage with peers on a secure and modern playground. Additionally, an outdoor swimming pool area is equipped with showers, sun loungers, and changing rooms.

The complex boasts extensive infrastructure, with a three-level parking facility accommodating 180 cars. Vast green areas are thoughtfully designed for residents to enjoy nature, find solitude, or meditate by the water landscape. One of the gazebos, sheltered beneath wooden pergolas, offers a charming spot for a family lunch or work.

Completion: 1st quarter of 2025

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The exterior of the RA1N residential development

Bay Residences

Bay Residences is a captivating residential complex nestled on the picturesque Hayat Island within the Mina al Arab area in Ras al Khaimah. The strategic location offers a quick 15-minute drive to Al Jazeera Port, serving as a gateway to thrilling yacht excursions and diving adventures. Additionally, Al Hamra Shopping Mall is easily accessible within a 15-minute car ride, while Ras Al Khaimah International Airport is just a convenient 20-minute drive away.

The developer presents a range of floor plans, including apartments with 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms. Expansive panoramic windows flood the rooms with natural light, granting residents breathtaking views of the sea and the island itself. The apartment interiors feature a soothing color palette, creating an ambiance of serenity and seclusion.

In close proximity to the complex, residents can relish numerous outdoor activities, from cycling to jogging along scenic paths. Food enthusiasts can explore a variety of coastal restaurants, offering a culinary journey through different countries.

Completion: 1st quarter of 2025

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Bay Residences residential project

Conclusion

If you're interested in real estate investments that offer a guaranteed return and wish to become a UAE resident, reach out to us at +7 (495) 431-99-33. The experts at Whitewill will assist in identifying the finest opportunities in the market and provide guidance throughout the entire process of purchasing a new property in Dubai. Moreover, our partners can expedite the process of securing a resident visa for you and your family following the transaction.