How to move to Dubai from Ireland: Visa, costs, and what you should know

Gabrielle Figueiredo

As one of the most populous cities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai is home to people who originated from around the globe including Ireland. If you’re thinking about a move to Dubai, there’s a lot to consider before taking the plunge.

This guide is here to give you an overview on what it takes to move to Dubai from Ireland, including visas, healthcare, the cost of living and rental process.

We’ll also share how having a Wise Account can help you manage the UAE dirham together with the Euro and other currencies, all from within the same account.

Wise: Manage EUR and AED
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Facts about Dubai

  • Dubai population: Over 3,600,000⁹
  • Currency: United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
  • Official languages: Arabic¹⁰
  • Number of Irish expats: Approximately 10,000 in the UAE¹¹

How do I move to Dubai from Ireland? Do I need a visa?


To move to Dubai you will need a residence visa for the UAE. If the visa is sponsored it may be valid for 1, 2 or 3 years, while an unsponsored visa can be valid for up to 5 or 10 years.¹

Which visa type you need to get will depend on your circumstances and what you want to do in Dubai. For Irish citizens, two of the most likely reasons to move to Dubai are work and study.

Visa for working in Dubai

There are three main avenues to get a work visa for Dubai.²

  • Standard Work Visa
  • Green Work Visa
  • Domestic Worker Visa

The Standard Work Visa and Green Work Visa are more likely to appeal to Irish citizens.

A Standard Work Visa usually lasts 2 years and needs to be applied for by the employer. This means you’ll need a job in Dubai before applying for the visa or moving there.

The Green Work Visa allows a person to sponsor themselves for 5 years to work in the UAE. It’s primarily aimed at freelancers, people who are self-employed and skilled employees. There are a few conditions applicants need to meet, and freelancers and self-employed people also need a permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

Visa for studying in Dubai

Students can get a residence visa to study in Dubai provided they are sponsored by the university or by a parent who’s a resident of the UAE.³

If you have a family, they may be able to stay in the UAE for the duration of your studies provided you can afford suitable housing and your family meets the general requirements for a residence visa.

Can I move to Dubai without a job?

Depending on your qualifications, finances and family situation it’s possible to move to Dubai without having a job. That being said, it may be easier to move with a job already lined up, especially if you aren’t self-employed or planning to retire soon.

Finding a job in Dubai

When starting the job hunt you could take a look at online job boards to see what’s available and apply for anything that interests you.

Here’s a few websites that are popular in Dubai:

Alternatively, you could work with an agency that connects job seekers with Dubai businesses looking for staff. If you decide to take this route it’s a good idea to look for a well-established, highly regarded agency that has good reviews from past job seekers.

What is the cost of living in Dubai?

Comparing the cost of living in Dublin to Dubai, there are some areas where Dublin is cheaper and others where Dubai is less.

Here’s a comparison of a few everyday expenses to give you an idea of what things cost in each city⁴:

Expense Dublin Dubai
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant €20.00 €9.91
Pint of domestic beer €6.50 €11.15
Regular cappuccino €3.84 €5.23
1kg of chicken fillet €10.05 €7.47
Monthly pass for local transport €120.00 €74.35
Monthly internet (60 Mbps/Unlimited Data) €50.64 €89.73
Monthly fitness club pass €46.66 €79.46

How to open a bank account in Dubai

As a foreigner it’s possible to open a bank account in the UAE, including Dubai, once you have your residence visa.⁵ During the application process you’ll be asked to provide the following documents:

  • Copy of your passport with a valid residence visa inside
  • Copy of your Emirates ID card
  • Salary certificate or a letter of no-objection for your employer or sponsor

The Emirates ID card is something you should apply for through the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security website after receiving your visa.⁶

Aside from needing it to get a bank account, it’s a legal requirement for all citizens and residents to apply for one and carry it around at all times.

Setting up a bank account in Dubai has a few steps which may mean you need to find an alternative way to send, receive and spend money, especially when you first arrive. This is where Wise can help.

Wise is not a bank but with the Wise Account you can easily convert EUR to AED, send money online or spend with the Wise card. Your money is converted at the fair, mid-market exchange rate, with no markups added. ¹²

This is different from what many banks and exchange offices do, where they add a spread in the exchange rate to make money. Wise does not make money with the exchange rate - you'll only pay a transparent fee that you can see when you are setting up your transfer.

Health care system in Dubai

As a whole the UAE has an expansive healthcare system with government-funded and private services.⁷

In Dubai, government healthcare is overseen by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). By law, sponsors are required to provide health insurance for foreign workers. This means that if you’re sponsoring yourself, you’ll need to organise it.

How to rent an apartment in Dubai


Renting an apartment in Dubai starts with finding a property that meets your criteria for price, location, layout and amenities. To get an idea of what’s available, you can take a look online. Here’s a few websites to get you started.

Once you’ve found an apartment you’d like to rent there are a few steps you’ll need to take before you can move in. Here’s a basic overview of the process⁸:

1️⃣ First, make an offer on the apartment, finalising the rental amount and payment terms.
2️⃣ Next, pay a refundable security deposit to reserve the apartment. It’s usually equal to one month's rent. You’ll need to provide a copy of your passport, as well as a copy of your residence visa or proof your visa is being processed.
3️⃣ After this you’ll be given the tenancy agreement to read and sign.
4️⃣ Once the agreement is signed you must register your rental contract with Ejari, an online registration system that requires all rental or lease contracts in Dubai to be recorded at this portal. You can do this online, through an agent or at a typing centre.

You’ll need to provide these documents:

  • Original tenancy contract
  • Title deed from the landlord
  • Copy of your passport
  • Copy of the landlord’s passport
  • Copy of your Emirates ID

Depending on where you’re living there may be a couple of extra steps.

  • Apply to DEWA to have the water and electricity connected
  • Get a move-in permit from the community developer

If you’re using an agent to help you with the rental process, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re registered with Dubai’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA).

Average rent prices in Dubai

Here’s an insight into the average monthly rent prices in Dubai compared to Dublin.⁴

Rental Dublin Dubai
Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre €2017.74 €1949.81
Apartment (1 bedroom) outside city centre €1710.45 €1204.69
Apartment (3 bedroom) in city centre €3437.73 €3993.46
Apartment (3 bedroom) outside city centre €2800.72 €2802.91

As you can see Dubai can be cheaper than Dublin if you only need a one bedroom apartment.

Moving to Dubai from Ireland? Save on your relocation costs with Wise


When moving to Dubai it’s almost a given that you’ll need to convert Euro to AED. Using Wise is a cost-effective and easy way to do this.

With a Wise Account you can hold and convert money in over 40 currencies and send money to over 160 countries. As we mentioned before your money is converted using the fair mid-market rate, and there are no hidden fees ¹² to worry about.

Once you have a Wise Account you can also order a Wise card which is handy for your daily spending needs. The card automatically pulls from the local currency balance first, then if needed, will automatically convert other currencies for you using the mid-market rate.

This is convenient if you have multiple currencies in the account and want a card that you can use in Dubai, Ireland and other destinations abroad without any hassle.

Open your Wise Account
for free 🚀

Sources used:

  1. UAE - General provisions for the residence visa
  2. UAE - Residence visa for working in the UAE
  3. UAE - Residence visa for studying in the UAE
  4. Numbeo - Cost of Living Comparison Between Dublin and Dubai
  5. UAE - Banking
  6. UAE - Emirates ID
  7. Embassy of the United Arab Emirate Washington DC - Healthcare
  8. Bayut - The ultimate step-by-step guide for renting in Dubai
  9. Time Out Dubai - Dubai’s population has risen by almost 100,000 in just 12 months
  10. Visit Dubai -Language spoken in Dubai
  11. The Irish Times - Irish in the UAE: High costs, loneliness, and the risks of a taxi alone
  12. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

Sources last checked on date: 15 January 2024

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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