Tag Archives: UAE

The Expat Guide to Purchasing a Property in the UAE

Are you a British expat looking to move to Dubai or the UAE and buy property? This guide will get you started on the right track.

Buying a property in the United Arab Emirates for an expat is a process that requires a set of procedures to ensure a smooth and a fast purchasing process. Luckily for all of UAE expats, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s Crown Prince issued in 2002 a freehold decree that allows foreigners to buy, sell or rent property freely in areas such as Sheikh Zayed Road, Jumeirah, Jebel Ali, parts of Bur Dubai and the area where Dubai connects with Abu Dhabi.

Recently we at PSS International have seen an increase in the number of customers moving from the UK to the UAE who are looking to purchase a property. We have therefore put together this complete guide to purchasing a property.

Here are 8 things expats living in the UAE should follow when buying a property.

1- Identify the purpose of your purchase

Many expats look to invest in properties in Dubai and UAE. Hence, if you are an expat who seeks a buy-to-let kind of property then you should consider areas in the emirate with high rental yields instead of areas with luxurious properties and high vacancy rates. Do a proper research on areas with high demand to ensure a profitable investment that keeps you wealthy for longer periods of time.

2- Seek the assistance of a professional

On the other hand, if you are house-hunting then you must either purchase a property directly from the developer or seek the assistance of expert real estate agents. The most important thing here is to take all the time you need before you settle on a house. Which means to go and inspect houses for sale, walk in the neighborhood and get to know the neighbors.

Real estate agents in the UAE can provide you with neighborhood guides to find out more about different neighborhoods from amenities and facilities provided by each neighborhood to crime rates, price range and whether they provide you with the same lifestyle that suits you and your family or not.

3- Get familiar with the purchasing process

The purchasing process for an expat isn’t complicated only if you know what to do exactly. First of all, to purchase a property in UAE, a buyer has to be over 21 years old.

Second, a verbal offer is then put and once accepted by the seller; a sales contract is then drafted.

Third, the buyer secures his finances and either pay a down payment with scheduled monthly installments or pay in cash where the deed is then transferred.

 4- Secure your finances

After doing the proper research about properties prices; a buyer should make sure he can afford to purchase a specific house. If a buyer is unable to pay in cash, then he will need to apply for a mortgage. To obtain a mortgage in UAE, buyers will have to put down between 20 to 50 percent of the payment for their property in cash.

Most lenders will calculate an expat’s average monthly income to make sure the buyer is able to secure the mortgage. Other lenders will require an insurance in the form of another property. To apply for a mortgage, a buyer will have to present passport and copies, proof of residence, proof of address, salary certificates or evidence of regular income and bank account statements for three to six months.

5- Have the property inspected

Before signing any contracts, you should get the property inspected first as some landlords deliberately hide that fact that the property needs major maintenance.

Which is why it is essential to hire a professional who fully inspect the property before sealing the deal as once the contract is signed, any maintenance will be your responsibility.

6- Be aware of the property tax rates

Even though the United Arab Emirates doesn’t impose any kind of taxes on income to companies and individuals living in it, but it does impose taxes on properties.

If an expat is purchasing a property, there is the one-time fee of the land registry fee/tax which is 4%. However, if an expat is renting a property; a tax of 5% from the tenancy contract value is then paid.

7- Check the developer’s history

Whether you are purchasing an off-plan property or a resale property from a private seller, you should do a background check on the developer itself. You can do that by checking the company’s portfolio, paying a visit to the construction site and know more about the work quality, materials, and layout.

8- Carefully check the contract

Signing a sales contract in the UAE is accompanied by legal documents that may be a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or a Sale and Purchase Agreement between the two involved parties.

Which is why is a buyer has to carefully read and understand the contract terms and conditions. It is preferable at this stage to hire a local property lawyer who is familiar with all the legal requirements and obligations included in the contract.

Moving to the UAE or Dubai?

If you are relocating from the UK to UAE or Dubai, PSS International will be able to help, no matter if you sending a few boxes or moving the entire contents of your house.

We have regular sailings to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates so check out our Dubai removals page for more details or request a quote for shipping baggage or boxes.

What You Need To Know About Moving To UAE


"Dubai Skyline on 10 January 2008" by Imre Solt - Dubai Construction Update Part 10 Page 9 at Post 168.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dubai_Skyline_on_10_January_2008.jpg#/media/File:Dubai_Skyline_on_10_January_2008.jpg

“Dubai Skyline on 10 January 2008” by Imre Solt – Dubai Construction Update Part 10 Page 9 at Post 168.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dubai_Skyline_on_10_January_2008.jpg#/media/File:Dubai_Skyline_on_10_January_2008.jpg

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

The UAE is currently the third-most popular country among UK expatriates, ahead of Australia and Canada.

Britons should feel right at home in this nation of expats, who benefit from breath-taking scenery and tax-free incomes. The country climbed seven places between 2008 and 2013, jumping from 10th to 3rd most popular location for UK migrants as many sought a tax-free buffer against the unfavourable job market back home.

However, relocating to the UAE from the UK is a big change but offers a priceless experience for many. Differences in language, customs, religion and climate are all a challenge but those willing to tackle these initial issues will no-doubt find Dubai very welcoming, considerably more diverse and much more affordable than the UK. In addition, the thriving expat community offers vast opportunities for a great social life with an array of sporting options.

Media reports about Dubai are often misrepresented, for example, you can buy alcohol in bars and specialist venues that have a liquor licence granted to non-Muslims.

Expats don’t have to adhere to an Islamic dress code and you can buy some meat in the western section of some supermarkets. As rumour has it, kissing in public is generally frowned upon, as are offensive hand gestures that could even land you in jail.

While visas for permanent residency can be easy to obtain for those working full-time, it’s virtually impossible for those without. With this in mind, you really shouldn’t consider a move to Dubai unless you have a job which will lead to a work permit and in turn lead to residency, the right to rent an apartment and access healthcare and good schools for your children.

Dubai was previously seen as a mere business hub for the oil industry but today those revenues make up less than 7% of its income with the city radically diversifying the economy to include real estate, construction, trade, financial services and tourism.

This gradual transformation has slowly seen the landscape and population change with Dubai skyscrapers continuing to shoot up, piercing the stunning blue skyline while man-made islands create many new real estate and tourism opportunities. Citizens have also become a minority, as foreign workers are attracted to sustain the boom. Opportunities for people moving to Dubai are therefore plentiful and many have taken advantage of the low crime rates, enhanced spending power and reasonable property prices.

In fact, moving from the UK to Dubai will make you wonder how you ever managed to survive in a country as expensive as the UK. Everything from food to basic utilities is cheaper. Although you will find yourself paying a premium for alcohol and most fashion items.

Dubai is generally safer than most of the large UK cities and property is on the whole more affordable, although traffic can get very busy at times. Culturally, Dubai doesn’t have the most thriving music or arts scene although the Sheik Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is a good place to start and there are occasionally huge outdoor music concerts featuring popular acts from around the globe.

There are also nature reserves, scenic parks, a well-curated museum, a racecourse, some of the world’s most ambitious modern architecture to admire and golf courses aplenty.

Dubai is largely desert with temperatures exceeding 40 °C in the summer months and no rainfall except occasionally from December through to March. The city’s property prices crashed dramatically after the global financial crisis though the other Emirates offered assistance in 2012, mitigating the effects of the property crash and leading to prices rising again.

Until 2006 there wasn’t the option of freehold for foreign property owners but that has since changed. If you are looking to buy a property, taking out a mortgage can be a complicated affair so obtaining professional advice is recommended. It’s also worth bearing in mind that there are currently no property taxes in Dubai.

When it comes to educating your children, there’s a great deal of choice. School fees are a lot more affordable than the UK and those families looking for a British curriculum have around 60 schools to choose from. The American curriculum is also well represented with over 20 secondary schools teaching it including the very exclusive GEMS World Academy, the Dubai American Scientific School and the International School of Arts and Sciences. There are also two German, six French, six Iranian, eight Pakistani, 40+ Indian, Bangladeshi, Swedish, Japanese and Russian schools with special needs schooling being rarer and costing considerably more. Furthermore, many large foreign universities have also set up institutions at the Dubai International Academic City located 40 km southeast of the centre of the city.

Research has found that nearly half of expats who move to the UAE encounter problems because they do not have sufficient practical information about their new home. PSS International Removals are UK’s first choice for moving overseas and we have successfully helped thousands of people move to UAE. We are able to offer you a professional service including additional visa, employment, banking, currency, pension transfer, pet shipping, tax rebate, education, and flight and property advice through our network of trusted partners.

Visit http://www.pssremovals.com to find out more or contact us for a free quote now!


How to ensure your move abroad goes smoothly

By Cpl. Jovane Holland (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/412768) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Cpl. Jovane Holland (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/412768) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

Recent reports suggest that there are over 3.4 million British people living abroad, which is 7% of the overall British population. One of the major reasons for this is the weather. Roughly 1000 people leave the UK every day in search of sunnier climes and a higher standard of living. Of these 1000 people, over 40% are usually British citizens and most choose to relocate to either Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, the US or UAE.

Although the UK has some beautiful countryside and stunning coastlines throughout the country, the weather defines how often we get to enjoy the outdoors. Even during the summer, there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to visit our favourite beach due to either wind or rain often destroying our best-laid plans.

It’s generally a lot cheaper to live abroad and many skilled professionals find that they can often earn more than they do in the UK whilst experiencing better working conditions, less working hours, less tax and better private healthcare schemes.

According to a report by the Daily Mail in 2010, nine out of ten Brits currently living abroad said their quality of life had improved since leaving the UK; but that’s not to say that the moving process always goes according to plan! Unfortunately, it is often this process that is misunderstood; landing people with all sorts of unexpected difficulties to tackle.

If you are considering leaving the UK permanently, it goes without saying that thoroughly researching your chosen destination and not overlooking the important points is vital. Always visit key forums and expat community resources to help get a feel for the country, region or city you intend to move to first. For example, how does Melbourne differ from Sydney or Auckland from Christchurch? You might be surprised!

Familiarise yourself with the local regulations and customs. One great resource for this is The FCO’s Know Before You Go page on http://www.gov.uk.

Consider your health. Once you permanently leave the UK you are no longer entitled to medical treatment under the NHS or via a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Be sure to sign-up to health insurance and if you are staying within the European Economic Area (EEA), read up on the S1 form (previously known as the E121 form). For more useful information visit the NHS moving abroad page.

Consider your long-term financial requirements by reading up on the impact moving overseas may have on any benefits or retirement income. Visit this state pension abroad page as a good resource. Be realistic about your living costs, don’t automatically assume they will be the same as the UK and don’t forget to formulate a Plan B if things go wrong.

Once your key research is in place and before deciding on a leaving date, set up a consultancy session with an independent legal professional and don’t feel under pressure to use your property developer’s or estate agent’s contacts. Take a look at http://www.gov.uk for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s English-speaking lawyers lists. It is very important that your legal consultant understands the law in the country you intend to move to.

Investigate recruiting a specialist international removals company such as PSS International Removals. We have successfully helped thousands of customers move throughout the world, over more than 30 years, and we are fully aware that issues with packing, customs and shipping must all be taken into account, and that’s not to mention initial advice on Visas, job seeking, property searches, tax and all of the elements that go into an individual’s life in a new country.

It is always important that you are covered for financial security to avoid any possible problems at foreign ports and paying extortionate fees just to recover property. With this in mind, we offer a door-to-door service meaning the customer sees their belongings being packed at their doorstep and then opened in the same state at destination.

Furthermore, we have achieved the highest level of service within the industry by attaining FAIM ACCREDITATION which is the only independent Quality Assurance standard for the International Moving Industry.

PSS is also a Member of the FIDI Global alliance, British Association of Removers Overseas Group, and BAR OVERSEAS, which is covered by the I.M.M.I. Advance payment guarantee scheme for customer’s financial protection.

Once you have moved abroad and understand the costs, research the taxes that will be applicable to you in your new home (as well as back in the UK). Don’t forget to take exchange rates into account and consider the potential financial implications of moving.

Never rush into buying. Many advise renting for the first 6 months in a new country while you take the time to settle in, investigate the area and integrate into your community, ensuring you become familiar with the local protocol. You can then decide whether it might be somewhere you or your family will be happy long-term. Try and make a concerted effort to avoid isolating yourself and learn the local language that will play an important role in helping you settle in and meet new friends.

And finally, don’t forget to notify the Social Security Office, HM Revenue & Customs and the Department of Work & Pensions that you are moving overseas, as well as your GP. For a full list of who to contact, visit this retiring abroad page.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with our international moves team.


VISA considerations when moving abroad




Image credit: “Swedish Visa” by Emon77dhk – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Swedish_Visa.jpg#/media/File:Swedish_Visa.jpg

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

So you’ve decided that you’d like to live abroad. You’ve researched your chosen destination, considered the various foreign health services on offer, your long-term financial requirements, set-up a consultancy session with an independent legal professional, looked into recruiting a specialist international removals company, enquired into taxes and properties to rent and notified the Social Security Office. But there’s still one key thing you’ve forgotten about isn’t there?

How do you get a Visa and which Visa is right for you?

You might be planning on temporarily working abroad or even considering a more permanent move with your family? Whether this might be to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, USA, UAE or elsewhere in Europe, start by researching early to avoid running afoul of entry requirements that often ruin the plans of even the most experienced travellers. You can never be too prepared when you move abroad because if you don’t have all of the necessary arrangements in place, you could find yourself deported or even going to jail. The following advice will help ensure that you plan efficiently before your departure but by working with an international removals company such as PSS International Removals, we can put you in touch with our specialist Visa partners who will guide you through the tricky business of application which is a critical part of any relocation. You will find that your Visa process will be greatly improved by obtaining a job offer and we work closely with a number of Visa specialist partners who can guide you through this complex process and ensure a successful migration to your chosen country.

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least the next few years. Many countries often refuse entry to travellers whose passports are nearing expiration and always remember to check it’s physical condition. If it’s ripped or torn, you may be rejected at the border, so make sure you replace it before you go.

Always research into the necessary documentation needed to accompany your Visa application. The government’s website and those of individual countries’ embassies and consulates usually list the relevant information. Typical requirements include proof of arriving and departing flights; confirmation of hotel reservation and a current bank statement that shows you have the basic funds in place necessary for the move. Always call to confirm that the information on the website is up to date and whether the processing fee has increased or not.

Always research your chosen country in advance. This will also alert you to any special requirements or processing quirks that you might encounter. For example, visitors to South Africa might be turned away if they don’t have two consecutive blank pages in their passports but if you’re moving to Brazil, your visa application must be processed before leaving and several countries that don’t require a Visa do impose a ‘reciprocity fee’, so make sure you’re informed about all entry requirements, not just those related to Visas.

Looking at the Visa application process in more detail and taking a typical move to Australia as an example, if you might need a Visa for your family, family sponsored applicants are usually assessed on an individual basis against Australia’s health and character requirements. Applicants must be sponsored or nominated by a close family member living in Australia and the sponsor must be either an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, and would usually be 18 years of age or older. Assurance of support and payment of bond is also required for certain Visas.

All family Visas are classified as ‘family stream’ and enable Australian permanent residence and citizens to bring together other family members living outside of the country. The Australian government also facilitates option for parents, husband/wife, children and other family members and their ‘Partner category’ applications apply to married, engaged and defacto couples. In some countries, common sex partners are allowed and this Visa scheme allows them too however, applicants must cite this when they are consulting with their immigration consultant. Finally, the parent visa category is for those parents who have children settled in Australia as an Australian citizen or permanent resident. For those applying for a general business visa in Australia, this visa provides business people the opportunity of investing or establishing and managing a business with their family. Visa applications are typically divided up into 3 categories – ‘Business Owner Investor Visa’, ‘Senior Executive Visa’ and ‘Business Talent Visa’.

Once all of you’re Visa paperwork has been approved and your all ready to go, don’t forget to check your airline’s rules, especially when you’re moving to a country that allows you to obtain your Visa on arrival. Airline policies often differ from published requirements based on the specific experiences in the destination country. That’s because the airline can be fined heavily if it transports passengers who do not have their paperwork in order. Airlines these days often face very high penalty fees, tens of thousands of dollars, so they’re not going to board the traveller if there’s a risk of being denied admission into the country.