• Moving to the UAE

    Property, schools, and tax guidance, tailored to the UAE.
    • Property in the UAE


      There are seven emirates in the UAE with most property interest focused on Dubai. In Abu Dhabi foreigners can only buy in designated areas on 99 year leases while in Sharjah they are only permitted to buy leasehold property.

      In Dubai Richard Paul, Head of Residential Services at Cluttons Dubai says buyers today are looking for good quality finishes, local amenities and a strong sense of community when they buy property. "For that reason I expect to see further steady growth in the areas that provide that gated-community feel," says Paul. "That means the villa developments of Emirate Hills, Meadows and Palm Jumeirah."

      Typical Property Prices

      Foreigners have only been able to buy property in Dubai since 2002 and can still only own in designated areas. Furthermore, at the beginning of 2013 the UAE Central Bank announced that loan-to-value (LTVs) ratios for mortgages were set to be reduced to 50% for expatriate first-time buyers (FTBs) and 70% for UAE national FTBs, with a further reduction of 10% for any subsequent property purchases. (http://www.dubai.cluttons.com/research-and-publications/dubai-research)

      In the prime areas according to Cluttons Dubai prices range from AED 400,000 for a one-bedroom apartment to AED 1.2 million for a two-bedroom apartment in the Dubai Marina.

      For villas expect to pay from AED 2.5 million up to AED 7.2 million for a substantial villa on Palm Jumeirah. A top-end villa at Emirate Hills can reach AED 50 million.

      The Purchasing Process

      There is no formal conveyancing system here but buyers should always employ a solicitor to check the contract and manage payments. Most property purchases in Dubai by foreigners have been off-plan but as there is no system of searching for title deeds held by overseas owners, buyers of resale property should always ask the original developer to confirm who owns the property.

      Properties can be registered with the Dubai Lands Department who will provide land certificates to foreigners.

      In an effort to stimulate inward investment, in 2011 the Dubai government agreed to give three-year residency visas to owners of property worth AED 1 million and over in all freehold areas. (http://blog.propertyfinder.ae/2011/09/ask-a-lawyer-visas-for-real-estate-investors/)

      Buying Costs

      Buying costs in Dubai are extremely low by European standards. The main charges are:

      Resale property may attract a Transfer Tax of 2%.


      There is no Capital Gains Tax on the sale of a property and no tax on rental income.

      There is no inheritance tax in Dubai. The rules of inheritance are somewhat cloudy in Dubai and foreign nationals should take legal advice and file a local Will to lay out their wishes.

    • Schools in the UAE


      Parents should prepare to budget for international schools in the United Arab Emirates, as these tend to be the most suitable option.

      The country’s international schools are generally regarded as expensive and usually only cover tuition fees, or in some cases just books and bus fares as well as fees.

      On the upside, the quality of education is usually very high and there is usually a broad range of extra-curricular activities available, though costs for these may not be included.

      International schools

      There are a number of international schools in the United Arab Emirates mainly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But demand for places is high and schools are often over-subscribed, as there are not enough to meet demand.

      Some of the area’s largest employers bulk-buy places for their employees’ children, but if your employer does not then planning ahead is a must. You should aim to get your child’s name onto waiting lists as soon as possible. The school year starts in September.

      The usual process for choosing a school applies: research is vital to find out which international school will best suit your child’s needs. Standards, facilities, teaching styles and other criteria vary from one school to another. It is compulsory, however, for children to learn Arabic.

      Inspection reports of international schools in Dubai are available publicly, so you can review their achievements and successes before choosing which school to apply for.

    • Tax in the UAE

      With its absence of income tax, the UAE is popular with expatriates seeking to build up a nest egg. However, be aware that living costs (especially rents) have risen sharply in some of the region's nations over recent years, salaries are no longer as impressive as they once were and exchange rates can fluctuate substantially. And living in the UAE does not automatically mean that you have escaped all UK taxes, as any income arising in the UK will remain taxable in the UK.

      On the plus side, no tax is levied in the UAE on pensions, if you have decided to retire there. Neither is there tax on rental income, capital gains, inheritances, or property transfers.

  • The information displayed here is correct as of 18/07/2013 and is for general information purposes only. If a customer requires tax advice they should consult their own professional advisers, and not rely on the information contained herein. The greatest care has been taken to ensure accuracy but the Bank cannot take responsibility for omissions or errors. Tax levels or relief are those currently applicable and may change. The value of any tax relief depends on the individual circumstances of the investor/customer.

    The information contained in this guide is based on our understanding of current law and tax authority practice and may be liable to change, which could be with retrospective effect. No liability can be accepted for the effect of any subsequent legislation of change of official practice.

    Account Holders, depending upon their individual circumstances, may be liable to income tax in respect of interest earned offshore.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that any tax liability in relation to funds deposited is accounted for by you to your appropriate tax authorities.

  • How we can help

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