How Much Does It Cost to Move to Dubai?E. Ali
Whether you’re going to Dubai to start a business or simply to look for better employment opportunities, it’s a good idea to have a good understanding of what the cost of living in Dubai is before you go.
Even though living costs in Dubai have increased significantly over the last ten years, the effect of COVID-19, combined with lower oil prices, has resulted in a drop in Dubai’s ranking to #23 in Mercer’s 26th annual Cost of Living Survey for 2021, a drop of two places from last year’s position.
|Location||Single-person monthly cost without rent||Average rent in the city center (studio apartment)||Taxi fare (5 km)||Petrol (1 litre)|
|Hong Kong||AED 3,894.00|
|New York||AED 4,957|
Information is from Numbeo (Most updated statistics: June 2021)
In this post, we will go further into the cost of living in Dubai for ex-pats in four important areas:
Dubai’s Average Cost of Living – Dubai Movers
Living expenses are expenses that are required for survival. It would include, to mention a few things, a place to live, food, clothing, health care, and transportation. Recreational costs would not be included in the calculation of living expenses.
When calculating living expenditures, housing accounts for a sizable portion of the budget. Home expenses account for approximately 30% of total living expenses, followed by transportation and food, which account for 15% each.
The monthly expenses also vary greatly depending on the size of the family. Here is a brief overview to serve as a quick reference for total costs based on the size of your loved ones.
Dubai is now more affordable in 2021 as a result of constant decreases in leases, property prices, cost of schooling, transportation, and dining out, among other factors. According to Numbeo data, the average cost of living for one person fell by 89.2 percent in 2021 compared to 2020. In contrast, the estimated cost of living for a family of four has decreased by 32.6 percent.
|Location||Single-person monthly cost without rent||Average rent in the city Centre (studio apartment)||Taxi fare (5 km)||Petrol (1 litre)|
|Hong Kong||AED 3,894.00|
|New York||AED 4,957|
Single v/s Family
|Single Person||AED 8,972 (USD 2,443)||AED 3,435.71 (USD 935.35)|
|Family of Four||AED 16,478 (USD 4,486)||AED 11,863.31 (USD 3229.69)|
Utilities, Housing, and Rental
Residential costs will vary depending on where you live, and where you live in Dubai will be heavily influenced by where you do business.
Here is a quick reference table for residential rent.
|Type of Apartment||Cost of rent per month|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre||AED 5,528.59 (USD 1,505.28)|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre||AED 3,687.32 (USD 1,003.95)|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre||AED 10,799.55 (USD 2,940.41)|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre||AED 7,490.97 (USD 2,039.58)|
The Jumeirah Lakes Tower (JLT) is one of Dubai’s most popular residential buildings. This is a popular district for ex-pats, along with Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), and Dubai’s Old Town, all of which have comparable lease rates.
Rents in these areas are relatively high in comparison to the rest of Dubai, with the average annual lease cost for a one-bedroom flat in JLT being approximately AED 66,236 (USD 18032.23) or two AED 5,519.66 (USD 1502.68) per month. However, ex-pats choose to live in such areas because of the amenities nearby, which are often more suitable for their needs.
Dubai Rental Price Comparison: Top Places to Live in Dubai
- Cleaning Services
Cleaning services for lodging are also included in the housing category of living expenses. This assistance is typically provided by hiring domestic help, which is quite common in Dubai. The rates vary depending on the type of cleaning, but a full-time domestic assistant would typically cost AED 2,700 (USD 735) per month, with a part-time national helper who comes in once per week (3-hour support) costing around AED 390 (USD 106) per month.
Dubai Education Costs
- Public Schools
While ex-pat children are permitted to attend both private and public schools in the UAE, they must pay fees regardless of which type they choose, as free government education is only available to Emirati nationals. The annual tuition fee for ex-pats considering public colleges was capped at AED 6,000 (USD 1,635) per year.
- International / Private Schools
Only over 200 private schools serve around 300,000 Emirati and ex-pat students in Dubai. Dubai is the only emirate in the UAE that has implemented yearly tuition limits, which prohibit schools from raising their rates by unreasonable amounts each year.
It should be noted that school fees vary significantly depending on the college location, and a complete overhaul can be viewed here.
- Higher Education
Dubai has 65 schools with a wide range of specializations. They are appealing to both Emirati and international students. However, public colleges in Dubai teach in Arabic, whereas many private universities teach in English. Regardless of the university, expatriate students are expected to take Arabic courses to improve their communication skills. The normal cost of an undergraduate diploma or a graduate diploma is AED 173,400 (USD 47,209) or AED 54,800 to 82,200 (USD 14,919-22,379).
- Dubai Transportation Costs
Driving in Dubai is most likely the simplest way to avoid it, and the cost of operating a vehicle is reasonable due to low gas prices. It’s also important to be aware that traffic congestion in Dubai is quite high, making it difficult to travel during peak hours. When you have to commute to and from work every day, taking public transportation is most likely your best option.
- Car Ownership
The cost of purchasing a car is heavily influenced by the status. To provide an example, the 2018 Toyota Corolla is arguably the most commonly driven automobile in the UAE and comes with a price Implementing a routine 20% down payment, a 5-year revival Program, and considering other expenses, it may come in at AED 20,800 annually excluding the deposit. However, when purchasing a used car, depreciation typically subtracts 20-40% of the total cost of the vehicle. In 2020, the average price of a used 2018 Toyota Corolla (two years old) is AED 48,878 (a 32% decrease). The price of gasoline in Dubai has remained stable and is significantly lower than in the rest of the world.
|Transportation Fares/Prices in Dubai||Average Cost|
|Taxis (per 1 km)||AED 2.44 (USD 0.66)|
|Buses (single ticket)||AED 5 (USD 1.4)|
|Buses (monthly pass)||AED 300 (USD 81.67)|
|The average price of 1 L of petrol||AED 2.00 (USD 0.54)|
There are two Dubai Metro stations in the JLT Area, making it extremely convenient for employees, residents, and visitors to get around the top district, DMCC. There is also a bus service that travels around the neighborhood, making stops along the way.
For more information on public movers in Dubai, please visit the Dubai Government’s official website.
Dubai Healthcare & Insurance
The Dubai Health Authority has implemented new laws requiring all residents, including ex-pats, to have health insurance. While sailors may be covered by the government-funded strategy, ex-pats must be covered by private health insurance plans, which are typically purchased through their employers.
Dubai is well-known for its high-quality healthcare system among the seven UAE regions. As an ex-pat, you will have access to both private and public healthcare facilities.
- Health Card
The majority of ex-pats living in Dubai opt for private health insurance, primarily because English is commonly spoken, and most of the medical staff are foreign doctors. But while Dubai’s medical public facilities are free for locals, ex-pats can receive a 50% discount with a health card. Health care fees are as follows:
- Expatriate Fee up to 10 years – AED 120 (USD 32.67)
- Expatriate Fee from 18 and above – AED 320 (USD 87.12)
- Nationals Fee up to 10 years – AED 25 (USD 6.81)
- Nationals Fee from 18 and above – AED 120 (USD 32.67)
The above fees are one-time payments to obtain a health card. Health cards must be reissued in place of an expired ones (dependent on age). To apply for a health care card, ex-pats can visit the Ministry of Health e-Services website.
- The Essential Benefit plans
The majority of ex-pats in Dubai choose private medical insurance, because English is widely spoken and the majority of medical personnel are foreign physicians. However, while Dubai’s medical public centers are free for residents, ex-pats can get a 50% discount by using a health card.
- Employees – AED 650-725
- Dependents (aged 0-65) – AED 650
- Non-working married females (aged 18-45) – AED 1,600
- Elderly parents – AED 2,500
- General domestic help – AED 650
The prices listed above are one-time obligations to obtain a medical card. Instead of an expired health card, a new one must be issued (determined by age). Expats seeking a healthcare card should visit the Ministry of Health’s e-Services website.
Please see Pacific Prime’s 2021 guide to mandatory health insurance in Dubai for more information.
Is it that expensive for ex-pats to live in Dubai?
Dubai has become a leading contender for towns to live in for ex-pats, nevertheless remains one of the cheaper ex-pat destinations.
Thinking of moving to Dubai for business? Dubai Free Zone Guide’ to find out everything you Want to know about going and setting up in the right free zone.