Living the tax free high life in Dubai for expats

Published:  19 Apr at 6 PM
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Dubai’s fame as a luxurious haunt for the ultra-wealthy draws internationally-minded expats willing to try their luck in the casino of Middle Eastern life.

Dubai is one of the world’s most enticing no-tax destinations, attracting not just the cream of the expat professional crowd but also mega-wealthy entrepreneurs and global-minded individuals keen to exploit all Dubai has to offer. For expats, the lure of earning many times more than their salaries in the home country coupled with a tax-free status is far too good to resist, with others arriving to take advantage of asset protection and investor opportunities.

The emirate is all about lifestyle, truly affordable by relatively few and geared to a lavish experience many believe is the best on the planet. However, the Emirati lifestyle itself is mired in tradition, with the Dubai peoples taking heritage and culture very seriously indeed although many are even wealthier than their counterparts in the expat community. The majority speak at least some English, due in many cases to a British education, thus allowing expats freedom from the brain–deadening chore of learning Arabic.

For Brits wanting the self-indulgent lifestyle without having to work, visas are available but can be tricky. UK citizens can stay for 30 days on a free-of-charge tourist visa obtained on arrival at the airport, but that’s it as regards getting more time to enjoy Dubai's sybaritic delights. The next option is the relatively inexpensive cost-wide six-month visit visa, requiring a monthly income of around £2070 or a property purchase at no less than £204,000.

Further up the financial scale is the Property Investor visa, renewable every two years and including the right to claim UAE residency, an Emirates ID card, drivers’ license and the ability to sponsor your family. The snag is that more than half a year’s consecutive residency overseas isn’t allowed, and its application process can be ultra-strict although, to be fair, a property in Dubai is a rock-solid investment at present. An added incentive is the possibilty of purchasing freehold land in 90 per cent of the city’s best areas at the same time.

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