Destination Guide for The United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Relocating from The Kingdom of Thailand to the UAE

Life in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates , often referred to as the U.A.E, is a federation of seven emirates on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula, at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. It has coastlines on the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, with Saudi Arabia to the west and southwest, and Oman to the southeast and also on the eastern tip of the Musandam Peninsula as well as an Omani enclave within its borders. It is a country rich in history and culture and an easy starting point for travels in the Middle East.


The country is extraordinarily dry, getting only a few days of rain a year. Despite that, Emiratis use water at an alarming rate: there are broad swaths of grass in the major public parks, for example, and landscaping can be extensive in the resorts or other public places. The majority of this water comes from desalinization. Visitors do not pay for their water use. 

The weather from late October through mid-March is quite pleasant, with high temperatures ranging from around 27 °C (85 °F) to lows around 15°C (63 °F). It is almost always sunny. Rain can happen between November and February, and can cause road hazards when it does. In the summer, the temperatures soar and humidity is close to unbearable — it is widely suspected that the officially reported temperatures are “tweaked” to cut off the true summer highs, which can reach 50 °C (122 °F), or even higher!

Cost of Living

Whether you’re retiring, temporarily relocating or moving to Dubai for good, it’s helpful to have a picture of what life there will cost as an expat. The standard of living in Dubai is very high. In fact, the opportunity to live well in an interesting place is exactly why many foreigners go there. But this doesn’t come cheap.

Dubai has been dubbed the most expensive city in the world for tourists to visit, but what are the costs to actually live there as an expat?

General Living Expenses

Living expenses in Dubai (excluding rent)

Average cost

Single person, per month

AED 3,190

Single person, per year

AED 38,280

University student, per month

AED 2,055

Four-person family, per month

AED 11,137

Four-person family, per year

AED 133,644


Renting in the UAE

Renting in Dubai

Average monthly cost

One-bedroom apartment (city center)

AED 7,345

One-bedroom apartment (outside of city center)

AED 5,043

Three-bedroom family home (city center)

AED 14,442

Three-bedroom family home (outside of city center)

AED 10,100


AED 324

Utilities (gas, electric and water for a 85m2 apartment)

AED 619

For more detailed cost of living in the UAE, please click here or visit: 

International Schools

Here you can find a short list of some top schools in the UAE:

American School of Dubai  

Adapted curriculum / American High School Diploma / AP; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,800 students

Founded in 1966 for the education of children of families working in the oil industry, currently approximately 65-75 per cent of students carry North American passports and very few non-westerners. Located on a large, modern (2010) campus at Al Barsha in Dubai. The vast majority (nearly 90 per cent) of graduates move on to North American universities. Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA).

Dubai College  

Adapted National Curriculum for England/ GCSE / A-Level; ages 11-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 950 students

Founded in 1978 by a determined English teacher and now supplying students to almost all the leading universities in the UK and several Ivies in the US. Exam results are consistently amongst the highest in global schools following the British curriculum. Recently, over 88 per cent achieved A*-A at GCSE and 60 per cent gained the same grades at A-Level. Approximately 50 per cent are British nationals and the school is accredited by the Council of British International Schools (COBIS).

Dubai English Speaking School (DESS)  

Adapted National Curriculum for England; ages 3-11; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 900 students

The original half of the Dubai English Speaking pair of schools, founded in 1963 and located in Oud Metha, Dubai. An elementary school following the British educational system. The majority of students continue their education at its sister school and very popular as both schools are often full for the next academic year.

Foremarke School  

Adapted National Curriculum for England / Common Entrance; ages 3-13; co-ed; independent; privately owned; 500 students

Part of the partnership formed between Repton School (UK) and the Dubai company, Evolvence Knowledge Investments. Expanding organically, with Year 9 opening in September 2020 and the group’s nursery ‘Dovecote’ having joined the campus early the same year. Two thirds of the students are UK passport holders, with the remainder from over 40 other nationalities. Accredited as an IAPs World Hub School, only the second school, globally, to be awarded this status by the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools.

Jebel Ali School (formerly Jebel Ali Primary School)  

Adapted National Curriculum for England / GCSE  /  A-Level; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,170 students

Founded in 1977 as a primary school for expat workers and now evolved (years 12 and 13 opened 2019) into an all-through international school providing a British education but retaining Arabic as a core subject. On a new, startlingly colorful campus on Emirates Road in Dubai. Approximately, 50 per cent of students hold British passports.

Customs Regulations for Returning Citizens

Though the UAE is relatively small, it is one of the most expensive countries to live and poses some of the highest restrictions wen importing house hold goods.

For full customs regulations for returning and foreign citizens, including details such as restricted and prohibited items, please follow the link to view and/or download an official UAE Customs Guide from FIDI:

That said, here are a few of the main points summed up for which you should be made aware of:

Required Documentation

Following documents are required for import of household goods and personal effects into the UAE:

  • Passport copy (picture and personal details page)
  • Customs forms
  • Proof of residence abroad (visa page for other country of residence before returning)

Importation of House Hold Goods

  • All shipments subject to inspection.
  • All used household goods and personal effects are duty-free, subject to returning resident proving he has resided abroad. 
  • All new household goods dutiable, value determined by customs official.

For more detailed information, please view the full Customs Regulations Guide from FIDI. Please also contact one of our move specialists who are here to help you with importing your house hold goods into the UAE from Thailand.

Motor Vehicles

  • Can only be registered with a valid United Arab Emirates Residence Visa
  • Only one car is allowed per adult person. A family importing two cars must have each vehicle registered under a different family member. Customs will not allow two cars in the same container so each car must be shipped in a separate container. Documents need to be consigned in each name, and each must have a valid Residence Visa for the U.A.E Import of vehicles is tracked by customs and one is only allowed to import a car once.


  • Dogs and cats import permitted with the following documentation:
  • U.A.E. Import Certificate to enter the country
  • Valid rabies vaccine record showing:
  • valid rabies vaccine given within one year
  • If only one vaccine has been given this should be done more than 30 days prior to arrival
  • As first rabies vaccines are given at 3 months of age, animals must be a least 4 months old when traveling to the U.A.E.
  • Microchip identification
  • Cargo entry (excess or accompanied baggage not allowed)
  • Health certificate issued by the exporting country within 10 days of travel
  • Breeds barred entry to the UAE include: Pit Bull (Includes American Pit Bull Terrier), American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Bulldog and crosses between them, Neapolitan Mastiff, Tosa, Akita, Dogo Argentino, Fila Braziliero, crosses of all above mentioned breeds.
  • NOTE: Animals leaving without proper paperwork are confiscated and kept at the airport or other secure facility until paperwork is obtained. This is at the owner’s expense. 

For more detailed information, please view the full Customs Regulations Guide from FIDI. Please also contact one of our move specialists who are here to help you with importing your house hold goods into Canada from Thailand.

Transit Times and Ports of Entry

Sea Shipments: 

Port of Entry

Transit Time

Customs Clearance

Abu Dhabi

20-26 Days

2-7 Working Days

Jebel Ali

18-19 Days

5-7 Working Days


Air Shipments:

Port of Entry

Transit Time

Customs Clearance

Jebel Ali

1-2 Days

3-5 Working Days