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Abu Dhabi


The capital of UAE, Abu Dhabi occupies around 84 per cent of the country’s total land mass. It also has 200 islands and a coastline across the Arabian Gulf. It’s known for its entertainment, shopping, unique architecture – and hot weather! The temperature averages at around 35 degrees Celsius in August, so expect to be inside quite a lot.

It has a lot of restaurants, bars and nightlife, as well as bags of culture. Check out the Louvre Abu Dhabi, featuring collections of Abrahamic artefacts. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, meanwhile, is the world’s largest mosque and the vision of the UAE’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It welcomes up to 50,000 worshippers every day and lights up in the evening.     

Delicacies include camel stuffed with chicken, eggs, fish, sheep and spices. Slow-cooked dishes including Al Harees are also popular. Then you’ve got ghuzi, which is whole roast lamb on skewers served with vegetables and rice with nuts. Just one other thing: alcohol is frowned upon, so keep its consumption to restricted areas.  

Emiratis are hospitable and generous but a rare sighting. Most residents throughout the UAE are expats – 88 per cent, according to Global Media Insight.

Living costs are pretty reasonable:

  • Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant: 260 AED (£58.50)
  • 1 litre regular milk: 6.46 AED (£1.45)
  • 500g loaf fresh white bread: 4.84 AED (£1)
  • One-way ticket on local transport: 2.00 AED (45p)
  • Basics (electricity, heating, water, etc) for an 85m squared flat: 679.28 AED (£153)
  • Rent for one-bedroom flat in city centre: 5,508.74 AED (£1,242)


There are a few co-working spaces dotted around. Some are more familiar names such as WeWork and Regus, along with smaller locations, in busier areas of Abu Dhabi.

The digital nomad visa

Name of visa: Remote Work Visa

Visa fee: $287 (£236)

Length of stay: One year

Can I extend my stay: Yes


  • Proof of employment outside of the UAE
  • A bank statement for the last six months proving a deposit or a monthly income of no less than $3,500 or its equivalent in other currencies

Minimum salary: $3,500 (£2,881)

How to apply: Create an account at https://icp.gov.ae/en/ and follow the instructions for the remote work visa UAE option

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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