Special Features

An Expats Guide to Health Care in Dubai

There are currently are 7.8 million expats living in the UAE. Dubai is one of the most popular regions for people to relocate to, whether it is for work or the luxury lifestyle the city is so famous for.If you are considering relocating, health care may be a concern. Dubai’s health care meets the high standards expected when travelling to such a modern city, although it functions slightly differently to other countries popular with expats such as Australia or the US. The huge mix of people living in the city from across the world means that being able to access a doctor who speaks your language will not be a problem. You can even contact a pediatric speech therapist in Dubai.


To access healthcare insurance is essential. It is actually a requirement for all expats and residents to have insurance under new rules in Dubai.Without proper international insurance costs can quickly add up at private facilities so it is important to be covered. Even a first consultation can cost as much as $50. Most expats use a private health insurer, which does mean they are generally expected to use private hospitals. Just as in Europe you can use your EHIC card to receive medical treatment abroad, expats in Dubai can apply for a health card so they will be given state care in the event of an emergency. It is important to carry this health card at all times.


While it is still rapidly developing, public healthcare in Dubai is generally of a high standard. Dubai has a public healthcare system, the Dubai Health Authority, which is funded by the government. Public hospitals provide free or reduced cost treatment for residents but it is generally quite difficult for expats to access public healthcare, so expect to go private. It is worth knowing that the ambulance service is mostly used to attend to road traffic accidents. So if you do need to get to a hospital expect to use a taxi. 


Private healthcare is being promoted by the UAE to reduce pressure on public services. The intention is to continue improving both private and public health care provision. Private clinics are easily accessible and you can expect the same quality of care as you would expect in Europe. Health tourism is also on the rise, with more people visiting Dubai to undergo a medical procedure.


Some medication that is available in the UK or other countries is not available in Dubai. It is permitted for expats to bring their prescription medication with them. This is permitted on the condition that it must be clearly labelled. No more than three months’ worth is allowed for visitors. People who are considered residents may bring up to 12 months’ worth of medication if they are able to provide a letter from their doctor. Illegal drugs and narcotics cannot be brought into the country. It is best to seek advice from your government and read up on regulations of the city you are relocating to before travelling with medicine.


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