Cost of Living in UAE: How Much Does It Cost to Live and Work?

Living in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates is a popular destination for expats due to its high standard of living, booming economy, and favorable tax laws. However, with a high standard of living comes a higher cost of living. It’s crucial to understand the expenses associated with living and working in the UAE before making any financial commitments. This comprehensive guide will provide an overview of the cost of living in the UAE, including accommodation costs, transportation costs, food and drink costs, healthcare costs, education costs, miscellaneous costs, and tips for managing your expenses. Additionally, we will provide some guidance on how to buy a house in the United Arab Emirates.

Accommodation Costs

Accommodation costs are one of the most significant expenses in the UAE, and it’s essential to research before making any decisions. There are several accommodation options available, such as apartments, villas, and townhouses. In Dubai, the cost of accommodation varies depending on the location, with areas such as Jumeirah and Dubai Marina being some of the most expensive. The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai ranges from AED 2,000 to AED 12,000 per month. For those on a tight budget, consider looking for accommodation in neighboring Emirates such as Sharjah or Ajman.

Transportation Costs

Transportation in the UAE is generally reliable, safe, and efficient. However, it can also be costly, particularly if you use private taxis regularly. The most affordable option is to use public transportation, such as buses or the metro. The average cost of a monthly metro pass in Dubai is around AED 300, while a monthly bus pass costs approximately AED 200. If you plan to drive in the UAE, keep in mind that car ownership and petrol prices can be expensive.

Food and Drink Costs

When it comes to food and drink expenses, there are several factors to consider in the UAE. Dubai, in particular, is known for its luxurious dining scene, with high-end restaurants and hotels offering a range of international cuisine. However, this comes at a higher price point. If you’re on a budget, it’s recommended to explore local markets, street vendors, and food courts that offer a range of affordable and delicious dining options.

The cost of groceries can also vary depending on your lifestyle and preferences. Shopping at local markets or supermarkets can be affordable, with a range of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, and dairy products available. The cost of groceries for a single person for a month can range from AED 500 to AED 1,000, depending on your shopping habits and dietary requirements.

Dining out is a popular activity in the UAE, with a range of restaurants and cafes offering different types of cuisine. The cost of dining out can vary depending on the restaurant’s location, type of cuisine, and level of luxury. In general, a meal at a local restaurant can cost between AED 50 to AED 100, while dining at a high-end restaurant or hotel can range from AED 200 to AED 500 per meal.

Healthcare Costs

The UAE has an excellent healthcare system with world-class facilities and highly qualified medical professionals. However, healthcare costs can be high, especially for expats who do not have health insurance. The cost of medical treatments can vary depending on the type of procedure and the hospital. Consultation fees can range from AED 100 to AED 500, while hospitalization can cost between AED 2,000 to AED 10,000 per day.

Education Costs

The UAE offers a wide range of educational institutions, from international schools to universities. The cost of education varies depending on the type of institution and the level of education. Tuition fees for a private school can range from AED 20,000 to AED 100,000 per year, while university fees can cost between AED 60,000 to AED 150,000 per year.

Miscellaneous Costs

Miscellaneous expenses in the UAE include entertainment, communication, and utilities. The cost of these expenses depends on your lifestyle and location. Entertainment options can range from free activities, such as visiting public parks and museums, to expensive experiences such as theme parks and water parks. Communication costs vary depending on your mobile plan, internet speed, and cable TV subscription. Utilities, such as electricity, water, and gas, are typically included in the rental agreement.

Buying a house in the UAE is a big financial commitment. It’s essential to understand the legal process and fees associated with purchasing a property in the UAE. It’s recommended to hire a real estate agent to help you navigate the buying process. The cost of a property in the UAE varies depending on the location and type of property. For example, a studio apartment in Dubai can cost anywhere from AED 200,000 to AED 1 million, while a luxury villa can cost upwards of AED 10 million. It’s also important to consider additional fees such as a property transfer fee, real estate agent fees, and mortgage fees.


Living and working in the UAE can be an excellent opportunity for many expats. However, it’s essential to understand the cost of living and budget accordingly to avoid any financial issues. By following the tips provided in this comprehensive guide, you can manage your expenses and enjoy a high standard of living in the UAE. When it comes to buying a house in the United Arab Emirates, it’s essential to understand the legal process and additional fees associated with purchasing a property. With careful planning and research, you can make informed decisions and enjoy the benefits of living in this vibrant country.