Dubai has emerged as a top expatriate destination for Indians due to its thriving economy, tax-free salaries, and high standard of living. Its glitzy lifestyle and career opportunities also attract thousands of Indian expats each year who wish to work or settle in the UAE long-term.

However, moving from India to Dubai requires much preparation and planning. Various legal, financial, and practical factors must be considered to ensure a smooth transition.

This guide will outline a step-by-step process for relocating from India to Dubai, covering aspects like immigration, managing finances, finding a home, schooling for kids, and adjusting to Emirati culture.

Top Preparations Before Relocating from India to Dubai:-

If you have made up your mind to shift from India to Dubai for work or business, here are some key things to arrange before making the move:

1. Secure Employment Visa Sponsorship

Expat workers in Dubai require work residence permits tied to their Emirati employer's sponsorship. So first, ensure you have a job offer from a UAE-based company that'll sponsor your employment visa. They'll guide you through the process.

2. Gather Documents for Employment Visa

Once you have a visa sponsor, prepare all the required documents, such as passport copies, photos, medical certificates, degree/qualification certificates, etc. Many of these need attestation from the UAE consulate, so complete this process before travelling.

3. Arrange Finances for Initial Expenses

You may need to make payments towards visa charges, temporary accommodation, transport, and basic necessities during the first few months in Dubai while securing long-term housing, so be financially prepared.

4. Book One Way Flight Tickets & Accommodation

Buy a one-way flight ticket to Dubai for initial travel. Also, try to arrange for temporary housing by booking hotel/serviced apartments for a few weeks after arriving.

5. Handle Banking, Insurance and Taxation Aspects

Settle all pending taxes in India, arrange international roaming or forex cards for any banking needs abroad and ensure your Indian insurance policies (health, life) have overseas coverage.

6. Learn Basic Arabic Phrases

Learning a few common Arabic words, etiquette norms, and cultural understanding will help you interact with local Emiratis and ease into Dubai life faster.

Once you've checked all the pre-moving preparations above, you'll be ready to relocate smoothly from India to Dubai.

Complete Immigration Formalities After Arriving in Dubai:-

Upon arriving at the airport in Dubai on your employment visa, you must complete a few immigration processes and formalities before you can exit the terminal. Just follow these steps:

1. Clear Immigration Check & Scan Fingerprints: Submit your passport and employment visas at the immigration desk for clearance. Also, provide your fingerprint scans.

2. Convert Visit Visa to Residence Permit: Those who arrive on visit visas must take their sponsor's approval letter to the immigration office located inside the airport to convert them into residence permits. Submit your form, Passport, photos and letter from your employer.

3. Register Biometric Data: UAE now requires every new resident to provide facial and iris scans, which form your biometric ID and are stored in their secure database.

Once you complete the above, collect your stamped documents and exit the DXB airport terminal to arrive in Dubai as a new resident finally!

How do you find accommodation to Stay in Dubai?

Your residence visa allows you to rent or share apartments/villas in Dubai legally for a long time. Here are some tips for finding accommodations as an expat:

  •     Search property listing sites like Dubizzle, PropertyFinder, Bayut, etc. These sites list rental units with photos, pricing, and agent details. You can filter by locations, number of rooms, budget range, etc.

  •     Connect with real estate agents or brokers to show you homes that match your preferences across communities like JLT, Marina, Downtown, etc. Narrow down on units and negotiate rent based on market rates.

  •     Consider getting a shared villa or apartment to save costs initially. Many accommodations have partitioned bedrooms with shared kitchen and living areas.

  •     If your employer offers company-provided accommodation, look into it. Some Dubai firms arrange staff housing in designated buildings or compound communities.

  •     Finalise rent cheque payments to the landlord with tenancy contract stating rental duration, the amount paid, token details, etc. Ensure the DEWA connection is active for electricity, water and gas utilities.

So, whether you choose lavish apartments in Dubai Marina or affordable studios in International City, do extensive research before finalizing your Emirati home.

How do you bring your family and sponsor their residence visas?

Once your employment visa is stamped and you've found reasonable accommodation, you can sponsor residence visas for your spouse and children below 18 years old to relocate to Dubai with the following:

Spouse Visa: Submit required documents, such as marriage certificates, photos, passport copies, etc., with immigration fees for a spouse residence visa. Medical tests may be required.

Children/Dependants Visa: Subject to approval, children under 18 and elderly parents can also get sponsored dependant visas.

Process Time: Family visa approval for residence permits can take 2 to 4 weeks after documents and payments are submitted.

Visa Validity: Sponsored family members will get residence visas that are valid for a duration similar to your own employment visa (2 or 3 years).

So, be sure to apply for and secure your family's UAE residence visas as soon as possible after you start working in Dubai. This will allow your whole household to reunite and settle smoothly in the Emirates.

How to Find Schools/Education Facilities in Dubai?

Dubai offers a wide range of schools for expat kids, from IB and British curriculums to the Indian CBSE system and even special needs education platforms.

Here are some tips for parents to find ideal schools after relocating:

  •     Decide curriculum based on what your kids were previously studying and comfort levels

  •     Check locations convenient to your residence

  •     Look up ratings, accreditations, facilities and teaching standards

  •     Enquire about fees, scholarships, if available, admissions criteria, etc.

  •     Register well in advance before school years for entry assessments and interviews.

Popular curriculums like CBSE and IB have dozens of good international schools across Dubai in communities like Jumeirah, Al Quoz, Dubai Silicon Oasis, etc., that welcome expats.

How to Bring Your Car from India to Dubai?

You can ship your vehicle from India to Dubai by following these steps:

1. Ensure Vehicle Eligibility—The vehicle should meet UAE homologation standards and emission levels. Newer cars have fewer issues.

2. Legal Export at Indian Port - Mandatory no objection certificates from RTA and customs to export legally.

3. UAE Import & Registration- Load vehicle in shipping container & complete Dubai customs & RTA registration within 14 days of arrival.

4. Arrange Logistics & Insurance - Pick reputed freight forwarders and service agencies to handle port handling, customs duty, temporary UAE registration, etc. Ensure full insurance coverage.

On completion, you can legally drive your Indian vehicle on Dubai roads for up to 4 years before re-registration. Consider all import expenses before shipping, as costs may be significant. Selling and buying a car locally may work out cheaper.

How do you open a bank account in Dubai?

To start banking:

  •     Shortlist leading UAE banks like ENBD, ADCB, and DIB offering NRI accounts on your resident visa

  •     Visit the nearest branch with a visa copy & Passport

  •     Submit the account opening application with the required details and signatures

  •     Pass KYC verification and collect debit card on approval

Before opening your Dubai NRI bank account, confirm the facilities offered, such as online banking, forex/remittances, loans, and credit cards. As an Indian expat, try activating international debit cards and remittance options for payments back home.

Getting a Local UAE Phone/SIM Card:-

After securing your Dubai accommodation, the following essential utility is getting a working mobile connection:

  •     Visit the nearest Etisalat or Du store with a residence visa copy

  •     Choose a prepaid or postpaid monthly plan fitting your usage and budget

  •     Provide documents and payment to get a new UAE SIM card activated

  •     Port your existing Indian mobile number using an online form-forwarding service

UAE has excellent 4G/5G coverage, cheap data rates, and calling credits on prepaid recharges. So stay connected on the go by getting local Dubai mobile numbers for you and your family right away.

Applying for a UAE Driving License:-

To drive in Dubai legally, you need a valid UAE license after relocating from India:

1. Get a Learner's Permit: Pass a computer test to obtain a learner's permit before applying for a full license.

2. Sign up for Classes: Register with driving institutes for mandatory classes to attempt the final road test.

3. Pass Final Assessment: Attend classes for 1-2 months according to schedule before attempting the final driving test at the RTA centre.

4. Get UAE License: Clear test to obtain your local driving license card, allowing you to drive vehicles matching license class.

So remember to budget approx. 2000-3000 AED while planning for these mandatory RTA tests and training to secure your UAE driving license after moving to Dubai.

Tips for Adjusting to Dubai's Culture & Lifestyle:-

While embracing Emirati culture, keep in mind:

  •     Dress modestly when visiting public places like malls and government offices, avoiding revealing outfits.

  •     Learn basic Arabic terms for communication exchange during daily interactions.

  •     Respect prayer times by avoiding loud music or noise during Islamic religious obligations.

  •     Follow the queue system properly when making payments, ordering food, or waiting for transport without jumping lines.

  •     Use taxi lanes properly on roads and near venues to avoid congestion.

  •     Greet everyone formally before conversations or requests.

These little courtesies and adjustments will help you assimilate into the Dubai community smoothly despite the diverse social environment.


Whether you are relocating for jobs or business prospects, Dubai offers an unmatched environment and ease of settlement for Indian expats. By thoroughly planning finances, paperwork, accommodation, healthcare, and insurance and using the handy relocation tips outlined here - your immigration journey can be simple, smooth and hassle-free. So take that leap to make the most of the incredible opportunities in the United Arab Emirates!

Key Takeaways

  •     Arrange employment visa, finances and documents before relocating from India to Dubai.

  •     Complete immigration formalities on arrival at the airport

  •     Rent suitable accommodation and sponsor residence visas for family

  •     Research schools, education options for kids

  •     Open a bank account, get a UAE driving license and mobile SIM card

  •     Embrace local culture by learning basic Arabic phrases and etiquette

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do you process an employment visa from India to Dubai?

A: Secure job offer letter from Dubai employer -> Apply for entry permit -> Get medical test done -> Submit documents & Passport for stamping -> Collect stamped residence visa

Q: Can I open a bank account in Dubai on a visit or tourist visa?

A: No, you need a valid UAE residence visa or Emirates ID to open a bank account locally in Dubai.

Q: What are the monthly living expenses for a family in Dubai?

A: Living costs for mid-range family accommodation, transportation, utilities, and groceries can total approx. 15000-25000 AED per month in Dubai.

Q: Is life in Dubai better than living in India?

A: Yes, Dubai offers higher salaries, savings potential, a global lifestyle, advanced infrastructure, and more opportunities than India for most expats.

Q: Can we take our pet cat from India to Dubai?

A: Yes, pets can be brought from India to Dubai with an import permit, vaccination certificate and health card from authorized veterinarians in India.

Q: Which airlines operate direct flights from India to Dubai?

A: Emirates, FlyDubai, Air India Express and Indigo offer daily non-stop flights connecting major Indian cities to Dubai and Dubai International Airport.

Q: Can I use my Indian Aadhaar card or PAN card in Dubai?

A: Indian identity documents like Aadhaar and PAN cards are not officially recognized or used for KYC purposes in Dubai or UAE.

Q: How much luggage can I carry when moving from India to Dubai?

A: Most airlines allow up to 46 kg of checked-in baggage and 7 kg of cabin baggage when passengers travel from India to Dubai on valid tickets.

Q: Can I drive my Indian-licensed vehicle to Dubai?

A: You can legally drive only with a valid UAE license. An Indian license is not valid for driving in Dubai unless you convert it within three months of arrival.

Q: What are the best ways to send money to India from Dubai?

A: NRI accounts, Exchange houses, and Remittance centres facilitate fast money transfers to India via Cash payout, Direct bank transfers or Cheque deposit options.

Q: Do children of expatriates get free education in Dubai?

A: No. School education, even in public schools, has fees ranging from 5000 - 15000+ AED annually depending on curriculum, grades, etc., along with additional costs.

Q: Which are the top neighbourhoods for Indians in Dubai?

A: Bur Dubai, Deira, Karama, Oud Metha, Dubai Silicon Oasis and International City have traditionally been popular affordable areas for settling Indian families.

Q: Can I own property like apartments as an expatriate in Dubai?

A: Yes, expats can buy freehold flats in approved locations according to Dubai real estate laws. However, getting home loans as a non-resident requires a substantial down payment.

Q: Do I have to surrender Indian citizenship to work in Dubai?

A: No UAE visa requires you to revoke Indian citizenship. You can hold both passports together without any issues.

Q: Can I ship my household goods from India to Dubai?

A: Several packing/shipping companies offer door-to-door personal goods and furniture shipment from India to Dubai at charges based on volume/weight.