How to Move to Dubai from Canada: Ultimate Guide for Canadian Citizens

Dubai is an expensive city to live in. But not for Canadians, who are already residents of one of the world’s most expensive countries. And instead of living in a northern region with ever-rising accommodation costs, moving to Dubai from Canada seems a justified idea.

In these terms, the only big challenge for Canadian expats is preparing all the papers and considering UAE government rules – and yes, sometimes they contradict Canadian laws.

Fear not, fellow Canadians, since this guide explores each and every detail of how to move to Dubai from Canada. See what visas exist, how to apply, and whether you can obtain UAE citizenship while remaining a Canadian citizen.

Short-Term Stays of Canadian Citizens in the UAE

First, many Canadians seeking life in Dubai first visit it for a short term. Are you okay with the climate? What about home seeking? Prices? Don’t neglect short travels, even if a flight costs you a whole heap. Each Canadian needs a visa to visit Dubai – but you still have a choice:

  • One-time tourist visa: this type is given to you for 30 days. In case you’ve decided to stay for a longer period, address the local embassy to extend it.
  • 6-month tourist visa: Don’t get excited before the time. Yes, Canadians can stay in Dubai for six months straight, but you cannot work during this period. So, don’t try to trick the UAE government – this entry visa is for tourism and relaxation only.

Apply for a visa via your travel agency or in Dubai directly. You can even do it the moment your plane lands in Dubai. According to experience, all Canadians receive tourist visas – there are no special requirements.

Moving to Dubai for Canadians: Visas and Residency Types to Select From

Meanwhile, long-term stay and immigration require special permission. A residence visa is not the only suitable option. Dubai from Canada immigration is possible with these types of residency visa:

  • employment residency visa;
  • business visa;
  • investor visa;
  • student visa;
  • retirement residence visa;
  • freelancer visa application;
  • moving with family members.

So, prepare a valid passport, calculate your financial capability, and let’s go explore each immigration variant to the Middle East.

Applying for a Work Visa

First and the easiest one is a work visa. To receive work permits, you should receive an official invitation from the Dubai employer. This invitation should be written in English, contain information about your salary and qualifications, and be executed by a local lawyer. Work contract usually starts from 6 months and can be extended later.

Additionally, provide information about your income (it should be enough to live in Dubai) and make sure you have a 6-month valid passport. Basically, a work permit is the easiest way to immigrate and take your family as well.

Business Setup Visas

Moving your business to Dubai from Canada? That’s already a nice idea since business in Dubai pays low taxes. Overall, the UAE actively attracts business owners and offers good conditions. To apply for this one, one needs a detailed business plan and business permission from the government. In all other terms, the conditions overlap with other visas.

Is the Investor Visa Still an Option to Relocate to Dubai from Canada?

Invest 500,000 AED (about $136,000) into Dubai businesses – and you’re almost a resident. An investment visa has no special conditions except for large investments. For foreign investors, there are several appropriate niches:

  1. Property in AUE;
  2. Local businesses;
  3. Government bonds;
  4. Investment funds.

Other investment types may be considered inappropriate. To make a clearance, consult with your lawyer before applying.

Dependent Visas for Relatives of Canadian Citizens

Some good news here. If one of the family members obtains a work, business, or residence visa, other family members can apply as well. A family member is considered a wife or a husband and your children.

But beware of financial complications – you must prove that your accommodation and income are enough for all the family members, not only one resident. For this, you need an official statement from your bank account.

Freelancer Options

Work with a client from Dubai? Most probably, you can apply for moving to Dubai from Canada:

  1. Prove that you have a monthly income of at least 5,000 AED (about $1,300) each month.
  2. Prepare the official contract between you and your client from Dubai.
  3. Craft a portfolio and prove your qualifications.

Also, a freelancer needs higher education.

Student Visas

For students who enter universities in Dubai, the visa is almost guaranteed. All you need is a passport, an acceptance letter from your university, and good academic results in Canada. However, be ready to prove your income source. Usually, students need around 50,000 AED ($13,600) a year to cover all the expenses and afford accommodation.



Retirement Visa

Finally, Canadian expats with retirement plans can easily receive a visa. All you need is to prove a decent passive income – around 1,800 AED ($490) a month. This implies tax-free income – so, consider taxes you pay in Canada before calculating.

Since the average pension in Canada is C$1,800, this aspect is covered. However, elderly people also need medical insurance and no criminal records. Finally, the minimum age for application is 60 years.

Consider Financial Aspects

A decent lifestyle in Dubai, however, requires good financial conditions. Even compared to Canada, UAE is still more expensive – but not so much. For a fair comparison, we’ll use USD currency and compare the key aspects. Sure, if you move to Dubai for a luxurious lifestyle, this section is not for you. Only average prices are counted to make things fair.

  1. Accommodation rent. In Dubai, you’d pay around $2,000 for a studio rent or $4,000 for a three-room apartment rent. Compared to the Canadian average price of $1,400, it is twice as expensive. Prepare your bank account for such challenges!
  2. Food. Food is also worth noting although it differs for each person. Locals say that in the Emirates, you’d spend about $410 a month. A restaurant dinner would cost you $11-$30. Prices in Summer months in Winter months also differ. However, in Canada, you’d spend approximately the same sum.
  3. Transportation. Public transportation services will cost about $82 in Dubai. This is the price for a monthly travel card. In Canada, the same conditions cost about $70.

However, consider your own lifestyle. Despite food in Dubai seems more expensive, it is also more versatile. Healthy products like vegetables are way more expensive in Canada. The same for transportation – public transport in UAE is pretty good, while in Canada you’d need a car for personal use.

Luxury Lifestyle: Is it Worth It?

UAE is known for its luxurious lifestyle. Bet you’ve also dreamed of skyscraper views, luxurious accommodation at, and secure sports car rental. Luxurious UAE companies and businesses all over the world open their shops and branches here – all to satisfy the demand. In such a case, calculating the approximate cost of living is impossible.

For such cases, the so-called golden visa is a perfect idea. This one allows you to become a resident for 5-10 years, leave, and come to Dubai at any moment, and gives a bunch of other perks. For instance, you don’t need classic health insurance, additional papers from the local government, and other complications.

Also, you can freely take your family with you. Unavailable in other countries, this visa is extremely popular among large investors. To receive it, one should invest at least $500,000 in a local business setup.



Is it Worth Relocation to Dubai: Education, Communities, and Conditions for Expats

According to research, the UAE is one of the top 10 immigration destinations for Canadians. This country offers low taxes, an ideal climate, and many other things, unavailable in Canada. In 2023, around 100,000 Canadians were living in Dubai – and that’s 1% of the whole city’s population!

  1. Cheaper services and shopping. Dubai is a duty-free zone for stores and malls. That’s why many items and services are way cheaper – a nice way to spend free time.
  2. Low taxes. Or no taxes, actually. Dubai has no income tax for private persons. Basically, your earned income is fully yours. This makes career opportunities way more tempting.
  3. Good business conditions. Dubai is in high demand among entrepreneurs. And no wonder – for the first 6 months, businesses pay no taxes to Dubai. And even that, the tax in this country is lower than on average.
  4. Good living conditions and transportation. Once again, public buses and subways are more expensive than in Canada. Yet, it is a whole new world of public transportation. In Canada, you’ll most likely need a car.

Finally, moving to Dubai is sometimes caused by climate. Expats with health conditions seek warmer UAE weather, seas, and travel opportunities. The secure lifestyle (especially if you have children) is another thing to think of.




Can I live in Dubai as a Canadian citizen?

Take note that in the UAE, dual citizenship is illegal. But before receiving local citizenship, you can freely live in Dubai or Abu Dhabi with work, student, business, or any other visa.

Can I move to Dubai without a job?

Alternative options for residents from various countries are visas for students, investors, or family reunions. If you don’t suit these conditions, consider finding a job. Even a freelancer needs at least one client from the UAE to receive a visa.

Do Canadian residents need a visa for Dubai?

Yes, even short-term visits require it. You can receive a one-time visa for 30 days or a 6-months living permission. Businesses can also apply for short-term visas to visit conferences and meetings.

Can I travel to EAU with a Canadian PR card?

Yes, you can stay in Dubai for 90 days. Moreover, you don’t need a visa. Legally required papers are a Canadian passport, a PR card, and a return airplane ticket.

Do you pay taxes in Canada if you work in Dubai?

Canadian expats pay taxes no matter where they live and work. This is an official decision of the Canadian government. The tax amount is calculated separately for different jobs and terms. Rules have been changing during the past few years.



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