Moving from Dubai to the UK

If you want to move to the UK from Dubai and you intend to stay there for more than six months, you are required to secure a UK visa. Since there are quite a number of visas available, you need to be careful in choosing which one you should apply for. To choose the right visa, immigration advice is necessary before you launch your application. 

Since there are a number of UK visas available, the right choice would depend on your intention and personal circumstances. If you intend to work in the UK, naturally, the right visa to apply for is a business or work visa. If you’re going there to study, a student visa would be in order. If, however, you’ll be transiting in the UK to move to another country, the right visa to apply for is a transit visa. 

If you have a relative or family member already living in the UK and the same person already acquired British citizenship, asylum, or settlement status, you are eligible to apply for a UK family visa. Through this visa, you can move to the UK for up to six months or more. Generally, under this visa, you’ll be allowed to stay in the UK for 33 long months. After exhausting the maximum number of months, you can apply for its extension. What's common in all these cases is that you have to show your solid understanding of the English language. 

The good news for UAE citizens is that when you move to the UK, your visa application will not be adversely affected by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. The said exit will not affect non-European citizens. 

Relocating

If you have plans of bringing your personal belongings to the UK as you move, you need to be mindful of customs regulations in the country. Since UAE is a non-EU country, you need to file for customs duty and tax relief for you to be excused from paying the same.

If you intend to settle in the country for good, you have to fill out form ToROI as soon as you arrive in the UK. If you will be moving there temporarily, the form that you need to fill out is called C88.

Both these forms are available in downloadable format from the UK government official website. The Customs officer will then decide whether or not you are entitled to such tax relief. 

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Visas and Work Permits

You need to get a visa to move and work in the UK. If you intend to move and work in the UK for six months or less, you can apply for an electronic visa waiver (EVW) or standard visitor visa if you are going to the UK for a sabbatical, academic research, training, meetings, or conferences. Aside from the standard visitor visa, you can also apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa if you have been invited to the UK by an institution or person because of your expertise. This visa allows you to stay in the country for a maximum of one month. You can also apply for a temporary worker visa if you want to stay there and work for a short time. 

If you’re a UAE citizen and you intend to move and stay in the UK for more than six months, you can apply for either of these visas: 

  • Skilled worker visa: This is the type of visa you need to apply if you have been offered a job for a skilled professional in the UK. If your UAE-based employer also has an office in the UK and you will be assigned in the latter, this is also the type of visa you should apply for. 
  • Temporary worker visa: This visa is for those who intend to work in the UK for a short time but beyond six months. 
  • International agreement visa: If the type of work you’re doing in the UK is in line with international law, then this is the right visa for you. 
  • High-value worker visa: If you’re a leader in the arts and sciences, graduate entrepreneur, entrepreneur, or investor and you want to work in the UK, apply for this visa. 
  • UK ancestry visa: If any of your grandparents was born in the UK, you are eligible to apply for this visa.

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Housing

Can UAE Citizens buy a house in the UK?

Yes, UAE citizens can buy a home in the UK. Fortunately, there are no prohibitions for non-UK citizens to purchase a house in the country. And if you have been staying and working in the country for two years, you can also apply for a house mortgage. 

According to Numbeo, you’ll need around 22,194.06 AED in the UK if you want to keep the 18,000 AED cost of living you have in Dubai. You’ll have to brace yourself, however, since the cost of renting a house, utilities, and groceries in the UK are way higher than what you are accustomed to in the UAE. Specifically, here are some stats you need to know: 

  • London consumer prices are higher by 16.75% compared to Dubai prices
  • London consumer prices and rent are higher by 23.30% in London than in Dubai
  • Prices of properties for rent in London are more expensive by 32.8% than those in Dubai
  • London restaurant prices are higher by 23.97% than the restaurants in Dubai
  • London grocery prices are also higher by 7.68% than grocery prices in Dubai 
  • Overall, one’s purchasing power in London is lower by 1% than his purchasing power in Dubai.

The final takeaway

Moving to a foreign country like the UK can be physically, mentally, and financially draining. Then again, the process can be smoother if you get all the available help you need. Don’t think twice of seeking the advice of ex-pats who went through the same process you’re about to face. With their experience and knowledge of the visa application process, your life and your UK relocation plan can proceed swiftly and smoothly.