Dubai Quick Facts
Dubai is a large city that is located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is located on the Arabian Peninsula. It’s a very small political entity in terms of land size, but due to the large amounts of wealth that the UAE has created via its interests in oil and gas, Dubai has one of the richest populations on earth, when measured on a per-capita basis.
Dubai has gone through a big commercial development in the last 30 years, and it’s a very modern city. Additionally, Dubai has a thriving ex-pat community. It’s a regional banking and transportation hub, which means that making trips to other areas of the world is easy from the city-state.
While it may not be for every digital nomad, Dubai is an exotic and exciting city that is worth paying a visit, especially now that there is a digital nomad visa for Dubai.
Living in Dubai as a digital nomad
Living in Dubai is a unique experience. You won’t find anywhere that’s like this city. It provides a luxurious lifestyle, with one-of-a-kind architecture and man-made structures that are an amazing sight. Unfortunately, this lifestyle comes with a price. It can be quite expensive to live in Dubai, but it can be worth it for the quality of life you can get. The community is amazing, and the services and experiences Dubai has to offer are unique and interesting.
Dubai has a lot to offer digital nomads and remote workers. Being such a modern city, there are multiple opportunities for ex-pats. There are plenty of places to work from, great accommodation options, and the people are very open and welcoming.
A downside of the city is the weather as the sun shows up all year round. The city can become unbearable with the heat, and the hot desert climate can get on your nerves.
Attractions and best places to visit
There are many exciting places that you must visit while staying in Dubai. If you’re looking for an adventure and something thrilling, then check out The Burj Khalifa. It’s the tallest building in the world, at 828 meters! The building can get crowded, but you can take one of the fastest lifts in the world up to the viewing floors where you’ll enjoy the amazing panorama of the city.
If you’re looking for adventure, definitely head towards the Aquaventure Waterpark. This is Dubai’s most famous water park, home to the world’s best water slides. Close to this waterpark, there is Atlantis The Palm Hotel, which is a key landmark in Dubai. You can also visit the artificial island of Palm Jumeirah, which is a luxury hotel inspired by the myth of Atlantis.
Dubai isn’t just about luxury, it also has some beautiful neighborhoods that are still traditional and authentic. You should visit the Deira district and its souks. Taking a stroll around the place is an amazing experience, especially if you go through the different bazaars scattered all around the area.
Another typical district to visit is Bur Dubai. This neighborhood is one of the oldest in the city, and it is located just opposite Deira. In order to get there, you must take an Abra, which is a small traditional boat. You’ll get to enjoy the scenery and see many Dhows, which are old ships with bright colors supplying the souks with goods.
Digital nomad hotspots
The city of Dubai is divided into different districts. As mentioned before, the most traditional and authentic ones are the Bur Dubai and Deira districts.
The popular hotspots for digital nomads and other remote workers are Downtown Dubai and Business Bay. You will find great Wi-Fi access and plenty of amenities to enjoy.
Dubai is also known as a high-end business center. There are plenty of opportunities in the city! Even though as a digital nomad, you most likely already have a secure job, you should know that Dubai is full of business opportunities. Hundreds of companies have their branches in the city, and they offer a competitive and encouraging business environment.
Cost of Living
As mentioned before, Dubai can be very expensive compared to other cities.
You can rent a studio apartment in the city center for $2,042/month. Airbnbs cost around $3,432/month, so it is much better to find an apartment to rent.
You can buy a meal at an inexpensive restaurant for $10. A cappuccino costs $5.11 and a beer costs around $12.
Getting around Dubai is easy. It has two convenient Metro lines (red and green), and they run through the busiest areas of the city. There are also many low-cost buses that run 24-hours. Make sure to purchase a Nol Card, a rechargeable card you can use for the metro, bus, taxis, and trams. We recommend you get the Silver Nol Card, which is the starter card for regular use. The Silver Nol Card costs 25AED ($6.81) upfront, and it can be loaded up to 100AED ($27).
Digital nomad essentials
Dubai City keeps growing each year and there are always new places to explore. Thankfully, Dubai has a lot of places perfect for nomads to work remotely and there are many benefits to living here.
Dubai is a smart city, which means there are many places that offer free wifi. Every day, you get one hour of free Wi-Fi on your phone. You can subscribe to a premium package for more time online. However, in order to get the free Wi-Fi, you need a UAE phone number, so make sure to get a SIM card. You’ll pay around $25-$30 per month for access to high-speed wifi.
There are many co-working spaces in Dubai. We recommend you check out these places:
Dubai also has many cafés that are perfect for working. Check out these coffee shops while you’re there:
Dubai has introduced a very straightforward program that allows people from any nation to apply for a one-year remote work visa. It’s called The Remote Working Visa Scheme. It was first announced in March 2021 and just launched. The scheme allows anyone who qualifies to move to Dubai and enjoy most of the same rights that any other resident would.
The digital nomad visa for Dubai scheme allows foreign nationals to work remotely for their employers outside of the United Arab Emirates while living in the UAE for up to one year. In order to renew it, you must re-apply as per the standard application process.
There are many benefits of the Remote Working Visa scheme. There are no nationality restrictions, which means anyone can apply for the visa. Also, the scheme does not require sponsorship. Instead, they must have worked for their current employer for at least three years prior to submitting their application.
During the one-year duration of the digital nomad visa for Dubai, successful applicants are provided with a resident ID and access to most public services and facilities like other residents in the city. You can rent a house or any other accommodation, open bank accounts, enroll your kids in local schools or apply for a bank loan (if you are able to find banks or financial institutions which offer suitable loans for their conditions).
Remote workers can travel in and out freely and leave the UAE during the one-year visa duration, but an absence for more than 6 consecutive months will result in an automatic nullification of your visa.
Find out about current COVID-19 travel restrictions here.
Who Can Apply for the Digital Nomad Visa for Dubai
The visa does not have any nationality restrictions, which means anyone can apply for it. However, applicants must comply with the following requirements:
All applicants must have a passport with a minimum of 6 months of validity.
All applicants must have health insurance with UAE coverage.
If you’re an employee, you must show proof of employment from a current employer with a one-year contract validity.
If you’re an employee, you must have a minimum of $3000 per month salary.
You must show last month’s payslip and three preceding month’s bank statements.
If you’re a business owner, you must show proof of ownership of your company for one year or more.
If you’re a business owner, you must have an average monthly income of $5,000.
You must also show three preceding months’ bank statements.
How to Apply for the Digital Nomad Visa for Dubai
All applicants can apply for the Remote Working Visa in-country or from outside the United Arab Emirates. You can apply online or through accredited typing centers.
Once you fill out the corresponding form and submit all your paperwork, your application will be reviewed. All applications are reviewed and processed by al Rais Travel Agencies LLC, which are official partners of DTCM.
It has been confirmed on the website that each Remote Work Visa only lasts for exactly 12 months. Once it’s expired, digital nomads have to reapply and resubmit all documents from the start, and a new visa will be issued if the applicant still meets the requirements.
The application process should follow these steps:
- Check out the requirements to qualify
- Gather the needed documents
- Fill out the forms
- Submit the forms and documentation to the correct authority
- Wait for approval
Additionally, Remote Working Visa holders can sponsor residence permits for their dependent spouse, children, and parents.
Documents required to apply for the digital nomad visa for Dubai
In order to apply you must submit the following documents:
Passport with a minimum of 6 months of validity.
Health insurance with UAE coverage.
If you’re an employee, proof of employment from a current employer with a one-year contract validity.
Last month’s payslip and three preceding month’s bank statements.
If you’re a business owner, proof of ownership of your company for one year or more.
Three preceding months’ bank statements.
How Much Does it Cost to Apply for a Dubai Remote Work Visa?
The government fee for the Remote Work Visa is approximately $81. This excludes the medical examination and the fees for the Emirates ID card.
Your application will undergo review by the authorities before the final result is delivered to you. Costs will not be refunded in case your application is denied, which is the case with most of these programs.
Paying Taxes on a Dubai Digital Nomad Visa
In Dubai, like in the UAE in general, there are no personal income taxes. That means that if you are a tax resident in the UAE, you won’t be taxed on your income. This is of course very interesting for nomads.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. You should still take into account that your home country (or any other country you have ties to) wants to tax you. Definitely if they know you actually don’t need to pay any taxes in the UAE. In order to avoid any taxation, you need to have a thorough look at the applicable double tax treaties and make sure your setup is right. Therefore, we would advise you to always consult with our tax advisor before starting your adventure in the UAE.
Timeline for Applying
After submitting your application for the digital nomad visa for Dubai, the reviewing and processing time is five to seven days.
For more information about the Remote Work Visa, check out the official website!
Curious about what digital nomad visas you qualify for? Enter your details in our Visa Wizard to find out!
FAQs About Dubai Digital Nomad Visa
Can I apply for Dubai's virtual working program online?
You can apply for a Dubai digital nomad visa online. Visit the website of the Dubai Corporation of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and submit your application.
Does the requirement to apply for a UAE remote work visa differ for Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, umm al Quwain, and Ras al Khaimah?
The application process is different for Dubai and other emirates. You must use the ICA portal to obtain the 60-day entrance permit in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, and Ras Al Khaimah to apply for a remote working visa.
The documentation you need to submit is the same as for Dubai:
- A valid passport.
- Health insurance that covers the UAE.
- Evidence of employment from the current company with a minimum income of $5000 and a contract valid for a minimum of a year.
- Bank statements for the last three months.
- Evidence that you own a company if that is your income source.
What are the benefits of the Dubai (United Arab Emirates) remote work visa?
Everyone who works in Dubai enjoys many advantages, making it a desirable location for travelers from all over the world. Here are some benefits you might experience after obtaining a remote work visa:
Fast internet. Dubai has an excellent internet connection and digital infrastructure in general.
Networking. Get many chances to network with professionals from around the world.
No income tax. You won't have to pay any income tax in Dubai while living here.
Excellent schools. Send your kids to prestigious colleges and schools with various curriculum alternatives.
Safety. Dubai is one of the safest places in the world, with the lowest crime rate.
Fun. There are numerous options for entertainment and fun in UAE, from shopping to music events, fast cars, and amusement parks.
What are the taxes on UAE virtual working program?
Dubai offers zero income tax to its residents, including digital nomads. However, you must pay taxes in your country of origin or where your business is registered.
Is Dubai good for digital nomads?
Dubai is an excellent location for digital nomads. It is a safe country with great infrastructure, which offers high quality of life.
Can I work remotely in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)?
You can work remotely in the UAE with a digital nomad visa. The application process slightly differs between Dubai and other Emirates, but UAE is still the only country in the Middle East that offers digital nomad visas.
Can I live in Dubai as a freelancer?
You can apply for a Dubai digital nomad visa which lasts one year and then you can live in Dubai as a freelancer. You must not work with businesses from Dubai as a freelancer while on a digital nomad visa.
Is It easy to get a Dubai (UAE) digital nomad visa?
A digital nomad visa for Dubai is easy to obtain if you meet the criteria. You must work remotely for clients outside of the country where you are applying for a visa, either as an employee, the owner of a business, or a freelancer, and have an income of at least $5000 per month.
Does the Dubai virtual work visa lead to permanent residency?
If they meet the residency requirements, foreign nationals who visit here may eventually relocate permanently to Dubai thanks to the digital nomad visa program. Some ways to obtain permanent residency are through marriage, employment, or opening a business in Dubai.
Can I get help applying for Dubai's remote work visa?
We can help you every step of the way to acquire a digital nomad visa for Dubai. Check out our Visa Help for a consultation and more details.