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Health in the UAE (United Arab Emirates)



The issue of health care in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) is often not well known by expatriates who settle in this promising country.

However, it is a fundamental part of their expatriation, because if the excellence is there in terms of care, the rates are well above those practiced in the rest of the world.

Expatriating to Dubai, or anywhere else in the United Arab Emirates, requires taking the time to learn about the UAE health care system.

Health care, a Booming Sector in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates, a small and attractive territory

The United Arab Emirates is a state that groups together seven federated emirates in a small area:

  • Abu Dhabi
  • Ajman
  • Sharjah
  • Dubai
  • Fujairah
  • Umm al Qawain
  • Ras el Khaimah.

It is a destination that offers many opportunities to expatriates from all over the world, so much so that 85% of its population is made up of foreigners, most of whom live in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

As far as health is concerned, life in the UAE does not present any particular risk, even if one must be wary of the sun and the ambient heat, of tap water, and must be particularly vigilant on the road.

UAE Health: Excellence at a High Price

Health is one of the cutting-edge sectors in which the UAE invest a lot, promoting medical tourism and the establishment of highly trained doctors from around the world.

Since 2002, the Dubai Health City, the world’s largest free zone dedicated to health, has been established.

Medical care is of excellent quality, as are the world-class clinics and hospitals.

But excellence comes at a price: health care in the UAE is expensive, especially in the private sector, which accounts for a large part of the health care supply.

The average cost of a general practitioner is 100 euros, and twice that for a specialist.

It is therefore essential to have good health coverage in the country!

Formalities and Health Coverage in UAE Health System

Severe restrictions

The United Arab Emirates has strict health restrictions.

Any possession of narcotic substances, even in very small quantities, is strictly forbidden and punishable by imprisonment.

This includes cannabis, electronic cigarettes containing CBD oils, and even codeine.

Any person carrying medicines containing prohibited substances must have a valid medical certificate proving the necessity of the treatment.

It is also imperative to undergo a medical examination on-site and any visa or work permit will automatically be denied to carriers of HIV, Hepatitis B, or tuberculosis.

Expatriate health insurance requirements in the UAE

All expatriates are required to have health insurance in the UAE in order to obtain a visa.

The contract must be approved by the authorities, and it is often the employer who takes care of the formalities. When you arrive in the UAE, you must apply for a health card, which costs AED 320 for an adult.

It is recommended to take out an international health insurance policy in addition to the compulsory insurance, especially if the health coverage of the insured’s dependents is not included in the contract.

An international insurance policy allows you to benefit from better health care conditions (partnerships and waiver of advance payment in partner establishments) and better reimbursements (particularly for dental and optical care), greater freedom of choice of practitioner, and an essential guarantee not covered by local insurance: repatriation assistance.

Best UAE Health Insurance for Expats

A particularly common health insurance solution in the United Arab Emirates is the subscription of a “1st dollar” insurance policy with an insurance company specializing in international insurance.

These contracts cover health expenses from the first dollar spent, but also offer additional guarantees such as cancellation insurance or loss of luggage.

These international insurance plans are available in a variety of packages with different rates and levels of coverage.

It is therefore possible to find the offer that best suits your needs and budget. In addition to their good value for money, the 1st dollar insurances are also appreciated for their simplicity of management.

For more information, discover our articles dedicated to health in Dubai:

Frequently Asked Questions about UAE Health System

Is health care in the UAE good?

Yes, health care is excellent, and the clinics and hospitals are world-renowned. The largest free zone in the world dedicated to health is located in Dubai.

Is it possible to go to the UAE without health insurance?

No. It is mandatory to have health insurance in order to obtain a visa. Health care is extremely expensive in the UAE, so it is also important to be well insured.

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