Retirement Visa

Is Retirement In Dubai Practical?

Retirement in Dubai has been difficult in the past. Many people achieved it by having their own dormant business which acted as their sponsor. This process was expensive and involved a lot of admin. Therefore the recent announcement of a retirement visa is a positive move by the Dubai government. However, is it practical to retire in Dubai?

In order to obtain a retirement visa, you will need to meet the visa requirements. They are: applicants must be 55 years or older, hold valid medical insurance and fulfil one of the following financial criteria:

  1. income of AED20,000 per month
  2. Savings of AED1,000,000 or more
  3. Real Estate of AED2,000,000 or more
  4. a combination of 2 and 3 above totalling AED2,000,000 or more

The visa is for 5 years and can be renewed automatically online, as long as the criteria are met. The cost of the visa is just AED890 which makes it good value for money. However, that does not include medical insurance.

For many people, these financial hurdles will not be a significant problem. But there are other points which may not be immediately obvious.

Retirement Visa and Medical Insurance

The cost of medical insurance will vary according to the benefits you require, where you wish to receive treatment, your medical history and your age. The older you are the more the insurance costs. For more information on medical insurance in Dubai, view this post.

If you have chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease etc, then you may find the cost of basic insurance extremely high. The actual cost can only be disclosed to you once the insurer has all the facts which usually involves a completed application and medical reports. In my role as a medical insurance broker, I have seen several cases as high as US$40,000 per annum for basic cover.

Retirement In Dubai

Other issues which may cause expats to rethink retirement plans are:

1. The cost of living

2. Travel

3. Proximity to family

Retirement and The Cost of Living

Retirement has been described by some as the longest holiday of your life. Dubai has plenty to offer to keep you entertained. Shows, galleries, exhibitions, shops and sports to name a few. However whilst the thought of no tax is attractive, the cost of living is high.

The Mercer Cost of Living survey is a widely recognised survey which is used to determine expatriate employment packages. In their 2020 survey, of the 209 cities reviewed Dubai was number 23. For reference, Abu Dhabi was 39, Berlin was 82 and London was 19.


One of the benefits of Dubai’s geographic location is the ability to travel both East and West. Travelling to places which would not normally be considered from other parts of the world.

So if the thought of travelling for a few years after retirement is your thing, then perhaps continuing to live in Dubai makes sense.

Closeness to Family In Retirement

In early retirement, many of us are still lucky enough for our parents to be still living. Sometimes, this will mean taking a practical role in their care.

In later retirement, it is possible you may be dependent on family members to look after you. This may require moving to a different country.

For our own children, as they grow up, move away and have families of their own. The arrival of grandchildren may be a significant pull to living close by. Where they are in Dubai, that is not a problem. But when they are elsewhere this may be a factor in where you decide to live.

Next Steps

To arrange an initial no-obligation meeting with me to discuss your pension/retirement plans, please click here.


Stuart Porter - Expat Financial Advisor UAE
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