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Living in Dubai: Pros and Cons You Need to Know Before Moving

Vivre à Dubaï présente de nombreux avantages et inconvénients


Dubai is the most popular expatriation destination in the Middle East. Attractive taxation, attractive salaries, and very high quality of life are some advantages of living in Dubai.

However, there are a few Dubai negatives that should not be overlooked before leaving the United States.

Living in Dubai, discover the pros and cons in the following article.

Living in Dubai: More Advantages Than Disadvantages for Expatriates

More than 80% of Dubai’s population comprises expatriates worldwide. It’s no accident that the emirate has attracted so many foreigners.

The city has many more advantages for newcomers than disadvantages.

Quality of Life: The Main Advantage of Living in Dubai

Residents’ exceptional quality of life is most certainly the main advantage of living in Dubai.

The elements that attract more and more expatriates are :

  • One of the lowest crime rates in the world
  • An excellent educational system
  • Clean, safe, and punctual public transportation
  • Spacious and modern housing at affordable prices
  • A lower cost of living than in America
  • Quality health care
  • Etc.

Cosmopolitan City

Dubai is a cosmopolitan city that welcomes people from all over the world. This diversity has the advantage of making integration easier, mainly thanks to the common use of English in everyday life.

Expatriates can also discover new cultures and enrich their knowledge.

Residents are generally very friendly and do not miss opportunities to make new friends. For those who find it challenging to adapt, there is a community of more than 25,000 Americans in Dubai.

Although the official religion is Islam, there is much tolerance toward other beliefs. Dubai is considered one of the most tolerant countries in the Middle East.

Dubai Offers Many Professional Opportunities

Dubai is a fast-paced city with a dynamic job market. Highly qualified expatriates with several years experience in the IT, finance, or international trade sectors are in high demand.

American teachers and medical professionals also have a better chance of finding a job.

Another advantage of working in Dubai is that salaries are generally much more attractive than those in the US. The average salary in Dubai is AED 21,500 per month, equivalent to $5,380.

Why Living in Dubai: the Tax System is Most Attractive Than in the US

The tax system in Dubai is very attractive as no taxes are levied on workers’ salaries or company profits.

American expatriates in Dubai benefit from the same taxation system as locals. A double taxation treaty has been concluded between the United Arab Emirates and the US.

Only income from real estate located in the US remains subject to the US tax system.

The Abundance of Activities and Entertainment Venues

Dubai has an abundance of entertainment venues and activities to do on your own, with friends, as a couple, or with your family. There are always new things to discover, mainly thanks to the investments made in the tourism sector.

Restaurants, bars, cinemas, shopping malls, sports activities, and many other leisure activities are gathered in the city for the enjoyment of residents.

Dubai Negatives to Consider Before Moving

Despite the many attractions of the city, there are several points that American expatriates do not appreciate as much in Dubai.

The Heat

The climate in Dubai is very harsh. Many expatriates complain about the extreme heat, reaching 40°C during the summer. It is not uncommon for the thermometer to climb to 50°C between June and September. The humidity level is also very high, which makes the atmosphere even more stifling.

To combat the scorching heat, most people stay indoors during the day to take advantage of the air conditioning.

Strict Religious Laws

Although Dubai is considered one of the most tolerant Muslim states, expatriates must adhere to strict religious customs.

One of the things that expats must consider is the dress code. Veiling is not mandatory, but women are strongly advised to cover their shoulders and avoid short clothing. Lightweight pants and a simple t-shirt are acceptable, even in traditional parts of the city.

Showing signs of affection in the street is also highly frowned upon. A married couple can hold hands, but kissing in public can be offensive and lead to arrest in some cases.

Homosexuality is illegal, and the use of any amount of drugs carries a prison sentence of several years.


The administrative formalities in Dubai are numerous and constantly changing. It is not always easy to find your way around, especially since each step takes a lot of time.

It is highly recommended to seek the help of knowledgeable locals to complete all of these time-consuming procedures successfully.

Other Disadvantages of the City

In addition to the main disadvantages listed above, expatriates generally complain about the following:

  • Traffic density
  • The high cost of schooling for children
  • The large number of construction sites going on throughout the city
  • Longer working hours than in America
  • Etc.

Dubai is a city that has a lot to offer to Americans looking for new horizons. You can lead a comfortable lifestyle thanks to the attractive salaries and the cost of living in Dubai, which is lower than in America.

However, the local lifestyle is not adapted to everyone and requires a lot of adaptation work from western newcomers.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Pros and Cons of Living in Dubai

Is the Cost of Living Higher in Dubai than in America?

The cost of living in Dubai is about 10% lower than in America. However, regarding housing, it depends and varies significantly between different neighborhoods.

What are the Favorite Areas for Americans to Live in Dubai?

Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Arabian Ranches, Palm Jumeirah, Business Bay, and Dubai Downtown are the most popular areas for American expatriates in Dubai.

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This is also interesting:

What countries should I move to? The best countries to move to are not the same for everyone! Finding the ideal destination depends first of all on what is expected on a personal level.

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