Guide to retiring in the UAE

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Guide to retiring in the UAE
UAE is a popular retirement haven

Looking for a place to retire and enjoy the lifestyle you have always dreamed of? Retiring in the UAE can give you that lifestyle and more.

The UAE is the perfect place to live out your golden years. With its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and world-class healthcare system, it offers everything you need to enjoy a happy retirement.

However, there are a few things you should know before making the move. If you are thinking about retiring to the UAE, here are some important tips and information.

Understanding the UAE retirement visa

The Retire in Dubai program was created by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs. It allows long-term working expatriates and foreign retirees to retire in the UAE.

Retiring in the UAE requires understanding the UAE Retirement Visa, which serves as an important aspect for long-term stays.

To be eligible for one, individuals must meet certain requirements. These include being over 55, having a valid passport, demonstrating financial stability, and obtaining medical insurance coverage.

Three options are available to prove financial eligibility:

  • a minimum annual income of AED 180,000 (around $49,000),
  • savings in a 3-year fixed deposit of AED 1 mn (around $272,000),
  • ownership of property in Dubai worth AED 1 mn (around $272,000), or
  • a minimum of AED 1 mn (around $272,000) in a 3-year fixed deposit and property worth AED 500,000 (around $136,000) each.

Once eligibility is established, there is a defined application process that applicants need to go through. This usually involves submitting the necessary documents, such as proof of identity, financial statements, and medical records.

Read: UAE preferred choice for expat retirement, survey reveals

Cost of living in the UAE

When considering retiring in the UAE, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the cost involved. Generally, the UAE is known for being a relatively expensive place to live.

Housing expenses make up a significant portion of this. Rent prices can be high, particularly in popular areas and cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. However, there are a variety of housing options available to suit different budgets and preferences.

Food and groceries in the UAE can also be expensive, especially when dining out or purchasing imported items. Nevertheless, there are affordable options as well, such as local markets and supermarkets.

Utilities like electricity, water, and internet services are reasonably priced in the UAE. Additionally, transportation costs can be significant, including car ownership, fuel, and toll fees. Alternatively, public transportation is available as a more cost-effective option.

Healthcare in the UAE

Access to healthcare is not an issue in the UAE. The emirates have a well-established healthcare infrastructure featuring world-class facilities and highly qualified staff.

The government mandates health insurance for all residents, including retirees. Retirees have public and private insurance options to choose from.

In addition, UAE healthcare professionals are multilingual, which benefits foreign retirees.

Financial considerations when retiring in the UAE

The UAE has a distinctive tax system that exempts individuals from paying federal income tax. Therefore, part of their income does not go to the government, unlike most countries. However, it imposes some corporate taxes on oil corporations and specific financial businesses.

Moreover, the UAE introduced a value-added tax (VAT) in 2018 at a rate of 5 percent. The VAT is a flat tax that gets added to each stage of the manufacturing-to-sales process.

Furthermore, there are additional excise taxes on products that affect human health, such as tobacco and energy drinks. Consequently, expats in the UAE do not need to stress about so many taxes.

Social and cultural life in the UAE

Retiring in the UAE offers not only financial benefits but also a vibrant social and cultural life.

Expat communities are diverse and welcoming, promoting a spirit of unity and fellowship. Here, retirees can explore various hobbies, from cultural activities to outdoor sports, and enjoy the country’s rich customs and traditions.

To add, the UAE’s cultural treasures are centuries-old. This allows retirees to visit historic sites, hear traditional music, and witness authentic performances by local troupes.

Safety and security in the UAE

The UAE has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. In fact, the Global Peace Index ranked the emirates as the second-safest country globally.

The government’s commitment to public safety ensures a secure environment for everyone. The police force is present throughout the country, providing a sense of security and support in case of any mishap.

In case of emergencies, the UAE offers efficient and quick emergency services, including police, ambulance, and fire brigade.

Additionally, the presence of numerous private hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies provides retirees with easy access to medical assistance.

Resources and support

Retiring in the UAE provides access to a range of government agencies and services that support retirees in their new life.

Some of the key resources and government agencies available to retirees include:

Final thoughts

With a focus on well-being and a plethora of resources and support, the UAE provides an attractive destination to pursue an enriching and fulfilling retirement.

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