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October 19, 2023 | Viewed: 534

Relocation to Dubai 2023-2024. Pros and cons of living in Dubai

My name is Nastya. My husband and I lived in Dubai for six months and even managed to buy an apartment there, but we couldn’t live there. Now I will tell you all the disadvantages of living in Dubai that made us move. And you will conclude whether these minuses are important for you or you can endure it.

In this article I want to tell not about the most visible minuses and pluses of Dubai, such as the lack of taxes, but about the deeper minuses that I felt myself in my life.

Lack of pedestrian infrastructure

The lack of nature, greenery on the streets, walking parks and squares is very important to me because I like to walk. I also have a dog, but unfortunately Dubai is not adapted to this at all. The country is in the desert and it was obvious to me that no greenery would be there. But the lack of pedestrianized areas is a disaster!

There is one very green area in Dubai, like Dabai Hill, but you have to drive to it. You can walk from one crosswalk to another for several kilometers, or walk on a sidewalk that can end in the middle of the highway. For some reason, during the construction of the city, they did not take this fact into account and did not take care of good pedestrian accessibility. But it is true that now Dubai is building a tube where there will be different climatic zones, and in which you can walk.

It is compulsory to have a car

The mandatory presence of a car for a comfortable life in Dubai is the second significant disadvantage. Although the cost of cars in this city is relatively low, the process of their acquisition is associated with various additional costs and conditions. First of all, it is necessary to obtain a residence permit, which is not only a time-consuming process, but also requires financial investments.

After that it is necessary to pass the test for a driver’s license, which is also associated with certain financial and time costs. Paid exams, the cost of the learning process in the driving school and other administrative fees can significantly increase the initial costs.

Thus, even if the car itself is not that expensive, the total cost of all procedures can be quite significant. This is especially true for those who have just arrived in the city and have not yet had time to organize their lives. Having a car becomes not just a convenience, but rather a necessity due to the limited public transportation and pedestrian infrastructure, which significantly affects the overall standard of living in Dubai.


Small salaries

One major disadvantage is the mismatch between the cost of living and salary levels. The Arab Emirates is an expensive country, and the only significant export is oil. Therefore, most products are brought from other countries. On the one hand, this is a plus because there is a wide range of products. On the other hand, the cost of logistics is added to the price of each product.

Some might say that to cope with high prices, you just need to earn more. But in Dubai it is not so easy. There is no minimum wage level here and employers can set whatever conditions they want. Yes, Indians survive here on 500 dollars, but that’s a separate story.

How much money you need in Dubai per family

To live comfortably in Dubai, expenses can vary significantly depending on your lifestyle and where you live in the city. Below are the estimated monthly expenses for a family of four according to various sources:

  1. According to Expatistan, the monthly expenses for a family of four is AED 17,161 (AED)1.
  2. According to Numbeo, the monthly expenses for a family of four, excluding rent, are US$3,680.1 (or AED 13,517.2)2.
  3. lists monthly costs ranging from US$2,925 to US$5,850 (or AED 10,764 to AED 21,528)3.
  4. According to, families of four can expect monthly costs between US$3,400 and US$5,4.
  5. According to Bayut, basic monthly expenses for a family of four range from AED 12,200 to AED 23,000, with renting a villa in the Mirdif area costing an average of AED 7,833 and in the Arabian Ranches area costing AED 17,5.

Thus, you are better off having an income in your own country and spending the money already in the Emirates. For a family of two adults, you need a budget of about $5,000. If you have children, this amount should be doubled, because kindergartens and schools here are paid. And if you are not an outstanding specialist, the salary situation will be extremely disappointing.


Lack of opportunity to obtain citizenship

The next disadvantage is that you will never become “your own” in Dubai. First, you will never be granted citizenship. Secondly, the local citizens put themselves first. I was once even kicked out of an apartment sales office when some local came in.

These factors combine to make adaptation and full integration into local society extremely difficult, leaving you in a permanent status of “stranger” no matter how much time you have spent in Dubai.


Because of this also comes the downside of religion. I am not a very religious person, but I am fine with all types and manifestations of any religion as long as they don’t interfere with my life. Unfortunately, religion follows you at every turn, from prayers in malls to bans on eating outside in Ramadan.

Horrible laws

A significant disadvantage of living in Dubai is the complexity and strictness of the laws. Strict laws can lead to serious legal consequences even for relatively minor infractions. This creates an atmosphere of high tension and the need to be constantly on guard against breaking local laws and regulations.

In addition, the legislation in Dubai is subject to constant changes. These changes can be both systematic and sudden, which creates additional difficulties for foreign nationals who find it difficult to adapt to the new conditions in a short period of time. It often happens that people violate some new provision without even realizing it, which can lead to financial penalties or even criminal liability.

The vagueness and variability of legislation not only creates conditions for legal uncertainty, but can also be a source of stress and discomfort. This is especially noticeable when laws relate to everyday life, such as traffic regulations, alcohol laws, or social behavior. Consequently, this aspect of life in Dubai requires special attention and prior preparation in order to avoid unwanted consequences.



The biggest downside to living in Dubai for me is the climate, specifically the high temperatures in the summer. The heat can become so intolerable that simply being outside becomes a challenge, let alone physical activity or long walks. This creates a significant inconvenience to daily life, especially when you consider the already mentioned limitations in pedestrian infrastructure and public transportation.

For many people like you, this climate factor becomes so significant that they begin to consider moving to another city or even country for a period of time. This not only creates additional logistical and financial costs, but also significantly limits the possibilities for a stable, fulfilling life in Dubai. Accordingly, the need to look for a “winter” base to avoid the summer heat can become a significant irritant and call into question the feasibility of long-term residence in this city.

Scammers and corruption

One of the disadvantages of Dubai is that the Russians there are of a special kind: they are always trying to cheat each other. Of course, I am sure that there are some good people there, but we rarely encountered them. In America, during the two weeks that we were there, they only tried to help us, but they never tried to cheat us. There is also corruption in Dubai. If you think that the employees of the authorities are as selfless as in developed Western countries, it is definitely not about Dubai: here everything is built on money, and it is possible to bribe any employee, from a bank employee to a police officer, although it is forbidden by law.

Lack of freedom of speech

Lack of freedom of speech – for me this fact was very much discouraged. I wanted to blog openly, but many topics had to be kept quiet. If I talked about any obvious disadvantages in my videos, I was immediately written to by inadequate people who would go to the police to write a report on me. In Dubai there is such a rule: either good or nothing. All bad news about the city or country they brush off, just like they brush off bloggers for alleged slander. There are also many small minuses like water quality, food, lack of windows in kitchens, religion subject in school, lack of love for animals, for dogs.


Pros of living in Dubai

The first of the most significant pros of living in Dubai is undoubtedly the high level of security. This factor is especially acute when compared to the experience of living in other countries, including the United States. In Dubai you can feel calm and comfortable in almost any neighborhood and at any time of day, which creates a favorable atmosphere for life and recreation.

Strict laws and an effective law enforcement system make this city one of the safest in the world. A high level of social control and quality security services reduce the risks of crime such as theft, assault or even minor disturbances.

In addition, security in Dubai is not limited to crime rates; it is also evident in the well-organized civil defense and transport security measures, including airports and railway stations.

The second plus point is that Dubai is a real hub for people of different nationalities. It’s easy to find a job in it where you’re not likely to feel like an outsider or an extra. Because around you will be the same newcomers, with non-ideal English and lack of Arabic. Also, with official employment, you can easily get a local work visa, which will give you the right to live in the country for a long period of time.

At the moment, investing in Dubai’s economy is lucrative, whether it’s opening the cheapest cafe or investing in real estate. It is important that your product is better than others, and in Dubai it is more than real. Everything is in your hands.

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