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Relocation Guide to Abu Dhabi

Are you considering a new chapter in your life, one that involved moving to the vibrant city of Abu Dhabi? Whether you’re drawn by career opportunities, cultural richness, or the year round sunshine, relocating to Abu Dhabi can be a transformative journey.

The UAE is an advancing country that is swiftly expanding and broadening its economic activities. While it was initially dependent on oil and later focused on tourism, the primary emphasis now lies on business, with technology playing a central role. Numerous ambitious initiatives are underway to propel growth in this region. Dubai, in particular, has rapidly transformed into an immensely appealing hub for international business, residents, and visitors, and this appeal extends beyond the absence of income tax.

Here’s some helpful information to help you prepare to make the move to Abu Dhabi:

VISA Requirements

Before moving to Abu Dhabi, you must have all the necessary documentation to enter the country. The company employing the individual will be responsible for securing the visa and the associated administrative costs.

In most cases, the residence visa is valid for two years which can then be renewed. Since expats make up around 90% of the overall population in the UAE, the government has made the process seamless.

Currently, only very few nationalities are restricted from living and working in the UAE, so ensure to thoroughly check the requirements prior to making the move to avoid any complications.

You'll need:

  • A completed application form

  • A scanned copy of your passport

  • A signed employment contract

  • A short medical test (chest X-ray and blood sample)

  • Watch 25 minute video

  • Get your finger print taken

  • An attested degree certificate is optional

Once you obtain your resident visa, there is an option to sponsor spouses and dependents. Your sponsorship package will depend on your employer. Some employers provide full support, while other policies only sponsor the employee. In cases where employers offer employee-sponsored visas, individuals may choose to sponsor the visa themselves, and the associated charges will need to be paid by the employee.

Property Rent

Your main expenditure will be rent, so we highly advise you to explore the local property options on the Property Finder website.

As there is no defined city center, when moving to Abu Dhabi, it's best to choose a location that is convenient for your workplace, school, and other facilities. Most likely, you'll be considering high-rise apartments, although some districts offer townhouses as well.

Khalidiya boasts numerous international schools, making it a popular choice of location for families planning to relocate to Abu Dhabi.

For expats looking to rent an apartment, the Corniche offers beautiful sea views, great facilities for entertainment and exciting nightlife.

For a more affordable, residential area with less traffic, many people are choosing to move further out of to areas like Mushrif.

Cost of Living

According to Mercer's most recent Cost of Living survey for 2023, Abu Dhabi holds the 43rd position among 227 cities worldwide in terms of costliness. While this ranking might give you pause when considering relocation plans, it's essential to look beyond the numbers. Abu Dhabi has consistently earned the title of the world's safest city for six consecutive years. While it may come with a higher price tag than some cities (although still more affordable than New York, London, or Singapore), the exceptional quality of life it offers makes every investment worthwhile.

For the third year running, Abu Dhabi, has been recognised as the smartest city in the MENA region and holds the 13th spot globally. Resident's also benefit from tax-free salaries!

To get an understanding of the cost of living in Abu Dhabi, we advise looking at Numbeo to view a break down of costs.

Here are some useful memberships that can save you some money on beach clubs, gyms, and restaurants:

  • The Entertainer

  • Privilee

  • GuavaPass

For takeaways/grocery/taxi:

  • Careem


To start with, taxis are fairly inexpensive. Careem (Yala) taxi is the cheapest and most popular form of taxi, but UBER is also widely available. You often won't have to wait for longer than a minute!

When you have proof of 3 month's salary, you will be able to finance a car. You need your emirates ID ready and a UAE driving license.

Check out Dubizzle for a wide selection of cars.

Overall, Abu Dhabi stands as a prime destination for work, investment, and not just living, but flourishing. The city's remarkable dedication to leveraging technology and innovation to elevate both its economy and the quality of life for its residents is truly commendable. With a robust economic foundation, the country is well-positioned for sustained growth and prosperity. Beyond these factors, the strong sense of community and unity creates an environment that genuinely feels like home.


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