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Moving to Dubai from the UK

Are you moving to Dubai?

Read our guide with everything you need to know:

How to Move to Dubai from the UK
British Schools in Dubai
Healthcare in Dubai
House Removals to Dubai
Where to Live in Dubai 
Easy 10-step Checklist for Moving to Dubai
And more!

Moving to Dubai as an expat | an overview

According to the annual Expat Insider Survey, the United Arab Emirates is the third most popular country for expats across the globe.

As one of the Emirates, Dubai gets top marks from expats for:

#5 Career prospects
#8 Leisure options
#9 Quality of life
#13 Safety and security
#14 Ease of settling in
#15 Access to healthcare

Downtown Dubai

Working in Dubai 

The Expat Insider survey also found that Dubai ranks 8th out of 49 cities for Working Abroad. 

A whopping 78% of respondents found that moving to Dubai improved their career prospects, 77% say that the business culture encourages creativity, and 62% say they find the work environment promotes flat hierarchies.

The UAE as a whole ranked even higher, coming in #2 in the Career Prospects category, with only the USA ranking higher at #1. (Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates, which also includes the capital Abu Dhabi, as well as Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah.)

🎓 Want to learn more about Living and Working in Dubai? Read our Dubai FAQ

📦 Ready to get moving? Skip ahead to our 10 step checklist for How to Move to Dubai

If you have any questions, reach out to us! 

Our Move Specialists are experts in international moving and are the top reason our customers say they would recommend us to family and friends.

For help moving to Dubai from the UK, contact us today!

Before You Move to Dubai | What you need to know [FAQ]

What are the best international schools in Dubai?

British expats moving to Dubai with family will find many high-quality international schools. Some teach the British curriculum, while others use the International Baccalaureate, PYP (Primary Years Program) or MYP (Middle Years Program), or curricula from the United States and other countries.  

To get you started on your school search, the International School Advisor website publishes a list of the top 20 international schools in Dubai. Here are just a few schools you might consider:

Jumeirah English Speaking School 
Dubai British School
North London Collegiate School Dubai
Durham School Dubai
The Arbor School
Nord Anglia International School

But which is the best school in Dubai? The answer is the one that is right for your child.

Before you move to Dubai, plan a pre-move trip to tour school facilities. Speak with some teachers and school administrators teachers, and ask if you can observe some classes.

international school children

It can also be helpful to join online forums and ask the opinions of other expat parents in Dubai. But at the end of the day, you are the best judge of which school will best support your child’s growth and well-being. 

Do you need health insurance to move to Dubai?

While Dubai offers both private and public healthcare, expats in Dubai are legally required to use the private healthcare system and hold private health insurance. In many cases, this private insurance will be arranged by your new employer, but you should confirm the type and amount of insurance cover.

The amount of health insurance cover you need to meet (or exceed) is set out by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). 

Expatica provides a helpful overview of health insurance in the UAE, including links to providers who offer expat health insurance.

Where do British expats live in Dubai?

Did you know that foreigners can only buy property in Dubai in certain areas? Each year, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) publishes a list of areas where foreigners can purchase Dubai real estate.

Dubai apartment interior

For example, in the past these areas included:
The Palm Jumeirah
Downtown Dubai
Burj Khalifa
Dubai Marina
Emirates Hills
Barsha Heights 
Blue Water Island 
Business Bay

If you decide to rent a home in Dubai, you can choose from a range of options:
  • Villas in compounds – with security and facilities including shopping, parks, and pools
  • Standalone villas and townhouses – homes with private gardens and sometimes swimming pools
  • Apartments – ranging from (relatively) less-expensive studios to top-of-the-line penthouses. Many apartment buildings offer excellent facilities including gyms, swimming pools and security
  • Serviced apartments and hotel apartments, which can be convenient for shorter stays

Where can I meet other Dubai expats?

Dubai is hugely popular with expats. In fact, 88.5% of the population of Dubai are foreigners and only 11.5% of the population are Emeratis.

dubai expats running

As a result, you will have many, many opportunities to meet and interact with other expats in Dubai. But where should you start?

Search for Dubai expats or your new neighbourhood on social media. Here are just a few Dubai expat groups on Facebook:

  • British Expats in Dubai, which has both a public facing group and a closed/vetted group of more than 13,000 members
  • Dubai Marina Expats group, a group for Marina residents to share info about local meet-ups, yard sales, and other activities
  • Dubai Expat Community (by Katie Jones), a private group with more than 103,000 members!
Check out websites for Dubai expats, including:

Find places to volunteer in Dubai

Once you arrive in Dubai, get involved in:

For our top suggestions and lots of helpful links, read our guide: How to meet other Expats Overseas

Do you need a visa to move to Dubai? 

Unless you are a citizen of the UAE or the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), you will need to obtain a visa before you can live long-term or work in Dubai. The UAE government website provides helpful information about the process and eligibility for applying for a UAE visa.

Types of Dubai visas include:*

Dubai Golden Visa, a renewable visa for:

  • Investors in public investments or real estate
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Those with special talents in medicine, science, engineering, art, etc.
  • Students with minimum level GPAs, and others

Dubai Green Visas for skilled employees, freelancers and investors or partners. These require, among other things:

  • Minimum skill levels (skilled employees)
  • Specific permits from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (freelancers)
  • Minimum investment levels with approval from the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (investors/partners)

Dubai Residence Visa for the Retired, which allow retirees to live in Dubai without a job if they:

  • Have worked for not less than 15 years inside or outside the UAE
  • Or are 55 years old or more at the time of retirement 
    And either 1.)
    own a property/properties of no less than AED 1 million, 2.) have financial savings of no less than AED 1 million or 3.) have a monthly income of AED 15,000 a month for Dubai

For all visa types, the Government of the UAE has an excellent website that explains Dubai visas, including UAE visa types, requirements, and application process.

*This information is not intended to constitute legal or immigration advice. Consult with your immigration lawyer or immigration professional to learn about the details specific to your individual situation.  

Take note! 

The UK government provides advice for Brits moving to Dubai. Review the information they provide carefully. According to the UK government, “You risk arrest if you have lived or worked in the UAE and return when your previous visa is not in order - for example if you did not cancel your work visa, you have outstanding debts or you have an unresolved legal issue. If you have any doubt about your status before returning to the UAE seek advice from a local lawyer.” You can also visit the Dubai government website here to learn more.


Why Choose Sterling Lexicon as your international removal company?

At Sterling Lexicon we have a removals company office in London and partners in the United Arab Emirates. We provide seamless, high-quality house removals from London to Dubai.

Our customers love our UK team! Check out recent Sterling Lexicon reviews and contact one of our move specialists today. 

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Robert O'Riordan and the moving team, led by the wonderful Lee, removed so much stress from the move and made it all seem effortless from start to finish.  I am so grateful to them all and they thoroughly deserve a 5 star recommendation. - Alec C.

Moving to Dubai from the UK 10 Step Checklist

Ready to make your move?

Use our easy checklist for moving to Dubai. It was created by expats and our own removals specialists in London. Our move specialists average more than 12 years in the relocation industry. They would be happy to help answer your questions and help make your move to Dubai from the UK a success! 

Step 1: Choose a high-quality international removal company 
Step 2: Request a house removals survey and moving quote
Step 3: Review your moving quote and book your house move
Step 4: Prepare the documents you need to move to Dubai
Step 5: Get your house ready for moving day
Step 6: Follow these steps to have a great moving day 
Step 7: Track your house removals shipment to Dubai
Step 8: Let your Move Specialist know once you arrive in Dubai
Step 9: Receive your household goods shipment in Dubai
Step 10: Get settled in your new Dubai home

villas in Dubai

Step 1 Choose a high-quality international removal company

Moving to Dubai is a lot more complicated than removals within the UK. 

The shipping distance from the UK to Dubai is more than 7,000 KM by road and sea freight. Protect your precious household belongings — choose high quality movers and packers.

Quality removal companies have:

Top removal company accreditations

Ask if your mover is insured, FIDI FAIM certified, and approved by the British Association of Removers.

Packing and shipping methods that are high-quality and eco-friendly

Ask if your moving company has specialty-trained international moving crews that are experts in preparing items and furniture for international export.

At Sterling Lexicon, we use export-quality packing materials and methods to offer the highest level of protection. We also choose materials that are kind to the environment.

fidi logo hi res

Step 2 Request a house removals survey and moving quote

Your house removal company should complete a moving survey in order to give you an accurate moving quote. This can be done in person or virtually using a tablet or smartphone.

At Sterling Lexicon we offer both options, and you can even book a virtual survey online using our booking calendar.  Since we are a local UK removal company, you can also contact us by telephone at +44 20 8841 7000.

During the moving survey, you can discuss:

Packing standards
Special access or parking needs
Pet relocation services
Vehicle shipping
Moving high-value items, fine art or piano moving
VAT reclaims
Dubai customs requirements and import restrictions

Speak to experienced International Move Specialists, not just sales people

With Sterling Lexicon, our surveys are done by experienced International Move Specialists, not just sales people. Our Move Specialists average 12+ years in the industry and are experts in the process of moving house from the UK to the UAE. Give us a call!


Dubai museum

Step 3 Review your moving quote and book your move date

Review your House Removals Quote

When you receive your International Move Summary and Quote:

  • Check the details
  • If you get quotes from several removal companies, check that they are a like-for-like comparison
  • Make sure your quote is based on an in-home or virtual survey. Over the phone or online quotes are for estimation purposes only

Book Your Move

Complete and submit your booking form to secure your house removals date. If you have any questions, speak to your dedicated Move Specialist.

The Sterling Lexicon Promise

Book with confidence. Book to reserve your move date and if things change you can move your dates. Sterling Lexicon is an accredited international mover providing professional support throughout your move from the UK to Dubai. FIDI protected.

Step 4 Prepare the documents you need for moving to Dubai

If you are moving with Sterling Lexicon, your Move Specialist will help you prepare the documents you need to move to Dubai.

These may include:**

  • Inventory packing list copy
  • Express or Original Bill of Lading
  • Passport copy with valid UAE residence visa stamped (compulsory for customs clearance)
  • Authorization letter to moving company for clearance and collection of documents from shipping/airline
  • Authorization letter addressed to the shipping line for release of delivery order
  • Invoices for any brand new items, which are subject to a customs duty of 5% of the invoice value. Any brand new items without invoices will be subject to additional fees. 

**This list is provided for introductory information purposes only. Please consult with your Move Specialist or FIDI customs guide to find out the forms and documents specifically required for your move to Dubai.

Don’t be overwhelmed – We can help!

If you work with Sterling Lexicon, our Move Specialists can explain or help prepare the documents needed to ship household goods to Dubai.


Step 5: Get your house ready for moving day

Decide what to move, store or give away

Before moving day, go through your home room by room. Sell or donate items that you no longer want. Discard or give away items that are prohibited to import into the UAE. Clearly mark items for storage.

Set aside items to carry on the plane

Put important items in a clearly identifiable container so they do not get packed. This includes passports, visas, jewellery, medication, phone/charger, laptop/charger, adaptors and important documents (insurance, lease, mortgage letter, etc.). For more ways to get your house ready for moving, use our guide: Moving Overseas | What to Pack Store and Give Away.


List of prohibited items for import into the UAE***

According to FIDI, The United Arab Emirates prohibits and/or restricts the import of certain items. These include but are not limited to:

Firearms (real or ornamental)
Swords, daggers, spears, etc. 
Military uniforms or equipment
Alcohol, spirits or narcotics of any kind
Poppy seeds and flowers, leaves, etc.
Banned drugs and certain medicines, 
Certain carved statues of animals and humans, certain publications/photographs, religious content, etc. 
Live plants, seeds, fresh fruits, flowers, and combustible liquids, corrosives, explosives, etc.

***For a complete list of banned and restricted items prohibited from importation into the UAE, read the UAE customs guide and consult with your Move Specialist. UAE government authorities check all shipments and will impose severe fines and punishments upon any consignee who attempts to import prohibited items.


Step 6 Follow these steps to have a great moving day

When your removals crew arrives on moving day, walk them through your home and show them:

  • Items that should be packed for your house removals shipment to Dubai
  • Items for storage or that need special care
  • Items to stay behind
  • Your baggage and hand luggage – set aside so they don’t get packed!

Ask friends or family to take care of your small children and pets on moving day so you can be on hand to answer any questions.

Check your packing inventory

Once the packing is complete, your removalist will generate an inventory list, itemising everything that has been packed. Keep it until your possessions have arrived in Dubai and are unpacked in your new home.

Take out international transit protection

The shipping distance from the UK to Dubai is more than 7000 KM, and your house removals will largely be sent by sea shipment. Protect your move by taking out transit protection, which will cover your personal items, furniture, art, collections, etc.  It is important to provide accurate information, including sets and pairs, so you have the correct amount of coverage!

Ask your Move Specialist for details.

Hire professionally-trained international packing crews

Sterling Lexicon’s approved professional international packing crews are some of the best in the business and have been working with the company for many years. Our team only includes people we would trust in our own home, so we know they will be professional and respectful in yours too. Their experience ensures all your personal possessions are packed to withstand being handled and transported over thousands of miles.

Step 7 Track your house removals shipment to Dubai

As part of your move survey, your move specialist will discuss options for sea and air shipments.

  • Express air shipments are usually reserved for essential or time-sensitive items
  • Sea shipping to Dubai has a lower environmental impact

To learn more about shipping options for house removals to Dubai, read our guides:
FCL, LCL and Air Shipments | Alternatives to a Whole Home Move
How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of your Overseas Move

container ship

Step 8 Let your Move Specialist know once you arrive in Dubai

On your travel day, leave enough travel time to get to the airport. Check that you have your passports, entry visas, and other important documents.

If you will be travelling with small children, pack some snacks, games, and device chargers to help keep your children entertained on the aeroplane.

Once you arrive in Dubai, inform your Move Specialist. If you have pre-arranged air freight for essential items, they can be delivered to you whilst you await your sea shipment.

Step 9 Customs clearance in Dubai

Your international removal company should provide support for the customs clearance of your possessions in the UAE. If you choose Sterling Lexicon, our partners in the Middle East will assist in the customs clearance process.

Once your items have cleared customs in Dubai, our team will contact you to arrange a delivery date to your new home.

burj kahlifa Dubai

Step 10 Get settled into your new home

If you haven’t already, get your utilities connected, arrange for a local bank account and find a doctor and dentist. During your time in Dubai, make sure that you stay compliant with immigration laws, local residency registration requirements, and tax treaties.

And start enjoying your adventure of living in Dubai... you did it! 

couple in dubai


Additional Areas We Can Help With

International Money Transfer 

Whether you are buying or renting a home, paying school fees, or just starting a new life in Dubai, you may need to convert GBP to AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham) before you move.

At Sterling Lexicon, our clients asked for an easy and efficient way to send and exchange foreign currency. We partner with Currencies Direct – an award winning international money transfer company. Check out their rates at Currencies Direct today!


Moving fine art or collections to Dubai

Sterling Lexicon specialises in high-quality packing and shipping. Learn more about our top quality moving services, including fine art, collections, and piano moving.

Pet relocation from the UK to Dubai / Pet passports

Good news! It is possible to bring your pet with you when you move to Dubai. Just check the requirements below. 

cute dog holding an airplane ticket

According to FIDI, in order to take pets into Dubai you need:

  • Valid passport for pet with your pet’s name, breed, colour, date of birth, age, sex, microchip or tattoo ID
  • Air Waybill (AWB)
  • Original health certificate and original vaccination card. These must be sent to a destination agent at least 2-3 weeks prior to your pet’s arrival. The destination agent will contact the relevant authorities in order to arrange for an import licence, which is valid for one month.
  • Original Certificate for Rabies Serum Neutralization (for certain origin countries)
  • If your pet is moving with you as part of a household goods removal, your pet can enter Dubai duty-free

Worried about moving your pet? Why not relax and get the help of a professional pet relocation company? Our pet relocation partners are experts in pet importation and can make sure that your pet has the correct paperwork and safest airline itinerary. Contact your move specialist to request a pet relocation quote. 

Why Choose Sterling Lexicon as your International Moving Company?

At Sterling Lexicon, we have a moving company office in London and we work with vetted partners across the Middle East, including the UAE. Our international moving teams will make sure that you enjoy seamless support — throughout your home removals from the UK to Dubai. 

Plus, our Move Specialists are experts in international home removals and are known for their kind and supportive attitudes. But don’t just take our word for it, see our Sterling Lexicon customer reviews.

For a high-quality move from the UK to Dubai, contact us today!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ I recently moved to the UK and used Sterling Lexicon.
Their professionalism, knowledge, and expertise made a significant difference in my relocation experience. Thank you, Sterling Lexicon, for your outstanding support! - Idil G.

Get a Quote Now

Contact Sterling Lexicon

Sterling Lexicon UK

Building 4, Uxbridge Business Park,
Sanderson Road
Uxbridge, UB8 1DH
United Kingdom
+44 208 841 7000