Official information British people moving to and living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.
Before you go
See our travel advice for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.
Local laws and customs
UAE laws and customs are very different from the UK – breaking the law can result in severe punishment, including the death penalty.
See local laws and customs in our travel advice for UAE.
Visas and residency
See entry requirements for UAE in our travel advice.
Everyone living in the UAE must have an Emirates ID card, which will be issued when you get your residency visa.
For information on sponsoring family members, contact the relevant authority in each of the Emirates:
- Abu Dhabi General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs
- Ajman General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs
- Dubai General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs
- Fujairah General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs
- Ras Al Khaimah General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs
- Sharjah General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs
- Umm Al Quwain General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs
See our travel advice for UAE.
UAE and the UK do not have reciprocal healthcare agreements. You should buy comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you enter the country.
You should also make sure you’re covered by health insurance for UK treatment or you’ll be charged by the NHS for any care you receive in the UK. The NHS has information for people moving abroad.
Some prescribed and over the counter medicines in the UK are considered controlled substances in the UAE – you should check your prescriptions are legal in UAE and read drugs and controlled medicines in UAE.
Emergency treatment in government hospitals is generally free. If you use a private hospital, make sure you have a UAE medical card and/or comprehensive medical insurance.
For information on healthcare facilities and insurance, see UAE health and fitness.
For a list of government hospitals and clinics, see the UAE Ministry of Health.
Working in UAE
You can check with the British Council in the UAE if your UK qualifications are recognised in UAE.
The retirement age for expatriates working in the UAE private sector is 60, but you can apply for 2-year extensions to work up to the age of 65 through the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
The UK does not have a double taxation agreement with the UAE – we recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in UAE.
There is no income tax on salaries or wages paid in the UAE. Depending on the Emirate, there may be taxes on some services and goods, municipal taxes and customs duties.
For information on corporation tax, contact the Ministry of Economy.
You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.
If you’ve worked in UAE, see pensions and end of service benefits.
Life certificates for UK state pensions
If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.
Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.
Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.
The UAE government does not provide social welfare benefits to non-UAE nationals.
Driving in UAE
You can apply to exchange your UK driving licence for a UAE licence in:
See getting married abroad for information and to book an appointment for an affidavit or affirmation of marital status for the UAE.
See travelling with pets.
- 999 – police
- 998 – ambulance
- 997 – fire department
If you need urgent help, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.
Accommodation and buying property
Other useful information
Returning to the UK
Before leaving UAE, you need to:
- cancel your residency status
- cancel your work visa
- close all your bank accounts and credit cards
- pay off any fines or debts
To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.
Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the United Arab Emirates authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.