Study abroad for a semester in


The United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven emirates including the vibrant Dubai and the majestic Abu Dhabi, is a land where ancient traditions seamlessly blend with futuristic innovations. This Middle Eastern treasure is perfect for international students craving both academic rigor and cultural immersion. Picture yourself studying on state-of-the-art campuses, surrounded by the cosmopolitan energy of bustling cities, while just a short drive away, the tranquil beauty of the desert awaits you. From skydiving over the Palm Jumeirah to exploring traditional souks and modern malls, the UAE offers an environment that not only nurtures your intellectual pursuits but also enriches your personal adventures.

UAE is best known for

Architectural Marvels πŸ™οΈ: The UAE is home to some of the most stunning and innovative architecture in the world, including the iconic Burj Khalifa and the luxurious Burj Al Arab, offering a glimpse into futuristic urban design.

Cultural Diversity 🌍: As a global hub, the UAE boasts a rich cultural tapestry with influences from all over the world, providing a vibrant and inclusive environment for international students.

Dynamic Lifestyle πŸš€: From high-end shopping malls and gourmet dining to adventurous desert safaris and pristine beaches, the UAE offers a dynamic lifestyle that balances work and play.

Table of contents

1. Visa and Health Insurance πŸ›‚

Embarking on your educational journey to the UAE involves obtaining the appropriate visa and health insurance. These essential steps ensure compliance with legal requirements and access to necessary healthcare services throughout your stay. Proper documentation and insurance coverage are crucial for a smooth and secure study abroad experience.

Visa Types

  • Student Visa: The Student Visa is for international students enrolling in full-time programs at accredited institutions in the UAE. It allows students to live and study in the UAE for the duration of their academic program, typically issued for one year and renewable annually. To be eligible, students need a confirmed offer of admission from a UAE university. This visa also provides benefits such as part-time work opportunities under certain conditions, access to campus facilities, and student discounts.
  • Short-Term Study Visa: The Short-Term Study Visa is designed for students attending short-term courses, exchange programs, or specialized training sessions in the UAE. It is valid for up to 90 days, with a possible one-time extension for an additional 90 days. Eligibility requires enrollment confirmation from the hosting institution or program in the UAE. This visa is ideal for summer courses, language programs, or short-term academic exchanges, allowing full participation in academic activities and campus events.

Application Process

  1. Apply to UAE Institutions: Gain acceptance to an accredited institution in the UAE.
  2. Receive Letter of Acceptance: Your institution will provide you with a Letter of Acceptance, which is required for your visa application.
  3. Prepare Documents: Gather necessary documents including your passport, Letter of Acceptance, proof of financial means, and health insurance coverage.
  4. Complete Visa Application: Fill out the student visa application form provided by your university or through the UAE government’s online portal.
  5. Pay the Application Fee: Pay the required application fee for the student visa.
  6. Submit Application: Submit your application along with the required documents.
  7. Wait for Processing: Visa processing times can vary, so apply well in advance.

Required Documents

  • Proof of Enrollment: Letter of Acceptance from a UAE university.
  • Financial Proof: Bank statements or proof of financial support showing sufficient funds (approximately AED 40,000 per year).
  • Passport: Valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the UAE.
  • Visa Application Form: Completed and submitted through your university or online.
  • Health Insurance: Proof of valid health insurance coverage.
  • Passport Photos: Recent passport-sized photographs.
  • Academic Documents: Transcripts, diplomas, and certificates from previous education.

Application Timeline

Start Early: Begin the application process at least 3-6 months before your intended departure.
Processing Time: Visa processing can take several weeks to months, depending on the country and application volume.
Important Deadlines: Be mindful of university application deadlines and ensure your visa application is timely.

Tips for Success

Complete Documentation: Ensure all your documents are complete and accurately filled out.
Financial Proof: Clearly demonstrate financial stability and sufficient funds.
Health Insurance: Secure a visa-compliant health insurance plan early in the process.

Importance of Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for all international students in the UAE. It ensures that students have access to medical care and covers a wide range of health services, from regular doctor visits to emergency care.

Types of Health Insurance

  • University-Sponsored Health Insurance: Many universities offer health insurance plans for their students.
    • Cost: Varies by university, typically between AED 2,000 and AED 4,000 per year.
    • Advantages: Convenient enrollment and comprehensive coverage.
    • Limitations: Coverage may be limited to university-affiliated hospitals and clinics.
  • Private Health Insurance: Some students opt for private health insurance to supplement university coverage.
    • Cost: Varies based on the provider and plan. IMG offers competitive and comprehensive plans.
    • Advantages: More extensive coverage, faster access to services, and flexibility in choosing healthcare providers.
    • Limitations: Generally more expensive than relying solely on university insurance.

Country-Specific Requirements

University Health Insurance Plans: Most universities in the UAE require international students to enroll in their health insurance plan. Ensure you are familiar with the specific requirements of your institution.
Private Health Insurance: Must meet the minimum coverage requirements set by UAE authorities. Private plans often provide quicker access to healthcare services and more flexibility in choosing providers.

Finding the Best Health Insurance

wearefreemovers has developed a partnership with IMG with the intent of offering you reliable and visa-compliant health insurance for your stay in UAE.

Choose IMG

IMG is our suggested visa-compliant health insurance for UAE

Or discover other insurance options

Thanks to our Insurance Finder


What happens if my visa application is denied?
If your visa application is denied, you will receive a notice explaining the reasons for the denial. Address the issues mentioned and reapply, or appeal the decision if you believe it was incorrect. Review the reasons for denial carefully and seek guidance from the embassy or consulate if needed.

Can I change my health insurance plan after arriving in the UAE?
Yes, you can change your health insurance plan after arriving in the UAE. Ensure the new plan meets the mandatory health insurance requirements for students. Compare different plans to choose one that offers comprehensive coverage and suits your needs.

What should I do if I need medical care and don’t have insurance?
If you require medical care and don’t have insurance, you will need to pay out-of-pocket for all medical services, which can be very expensive. It’s highly recommended to have valid health insurance to avoid these costs. If you find yourself without insurance, contact a health insurance provider immediately to enroll in a plan.

Additional Resources

UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation: Provides comprehensive information for foreigners looking to study in the UAE, including visa requirements, application procedures, and living in the UAE.
UAE Government Portal: This official government portal offers detailed information on higher education in the UAE, including available programs, scholarships, universities, and practical advice for international students.

2. Cost of Living πŸ’°

Understanding the cost of living in the UAE is crucial for effective budgeting and financial planning. While the UAE is known for its luxury and opulence, students can still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle on a reasonable budget by making smart choices.

Detailed Breakdown of Living Expenses

Accommodation: Monthly rent varies widely based on location and type of housing.
AED 2,000 – AED 10,000/month
Food: From groceries to dining out, here’s what to expect.
AED 1,000 – AED 2,500/month
Transportation: Getting around the UAE
AED 100 – AED 600/month
Utilities: Essential services like electricity, water, and internet.
AED 300 – AED 600/month
Entertainment and Leisure: Enjoying the UAE’s vibrant social scene.
AED 250 – AED 1,000/month
Miscellaneous Expenses: Personal items and services.
AED 200 – AED 500/month

3. Accommodation Options 🏠

Securing the right accommodation in the UAE is crucial for making the most of your study abroad experience. The UAE offers a range of housing options that cater to the unique needs and preferences of international students. Whether you prefer the bustling urban lifestyle of Dubai or the quieter, more traditional surroundings of Sharjah, there is a perfect place for you to call home during your studies.

Types of Accommodation

University-Provided Housing: Many universities in the UAE offer on-campus or affiliated housing, which provides convenience and a built-in community of fellow students. These options often include modern amenities and easy access to campus facilities.
Price: AED 1,500 – AED 4,000/month
Shared Apartments: Renting a shared apartment with other students is a popular and cost-effective choice. This option allows for greater independence while still being economical.
Price: AED 2,500 – AED 6,000/month
Private Apartments: For those seeking more privacy, renting a private apartment is an option. This can be more expensive but offers complete independence.
Price: AED 4,000 – AED 10,000/month
Homestays: Living with a local family can provide a deeper cultural immersion and a supportive home environment. This option can be particularly beneficial for improving language skills and understanding local customs.
Price: AED 3,000 – AED 6,000/month
Student Housing Communities: These are dedicated housing complexes designed specifically for students, offering amenities like study rooms, gyms, and social spaces.
Price: AED 2,000 – AED 5,000/month

Find accommodation in UAE

Find the best student housing options with our Accommodation Finder

Tips and Resources

Start Early: Begin your search well in advance to secure the best options and avoid last-minute hassles.
Budget Wisely: When planning your budget, include utilities and internet costs.
Consider Location: Choose accommodation that is conveniently located near your university, public transportation, and local amenities.
Use Reliable Platforms: Book through reputable platforms to avoid scams and ensure quality accommodations. The options on wearefreemovers have been preselected by us, offering you greater peace of mind.

4. University Information πŸŽ“

Selecting the right university is a pivotal part of your study abroad journey. The UAE is home to a variety of universities that offer diverse academic programs and a vibrant student life, all within a culturally rich environment.

Find universities in UAE

Try our University Finder and discover the best universities for your needs

5. Further Practical Information πŸ› οΈ


The UAE’s transportation network is modern and efficient, making it easy to explore the country and commute to university.

Public Transportation πŸš†: Major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi have extensive public transport systems, including buses, metro lines, and trams. Monthly passes range from AED 100 to AED 300, with student discounts often available. Dubai’s metro system is especially comprehensive and user-friendly.

Bicycles 🚴: Although less common, some cities are becoming more bike-friendly, with dedicated lanes and bike-sharing programs. Cycling is an excellent way to navigate certain areas, especially during the cooler months.

Long-Distance Travel 🚐: The UAE’s intercity bus system connects major cities and towns, offering a convenient way to travel between emirates. For longer distances, domestic flights are available and relatively affordable.

Tips πŸ’‘: Always check for student discounts on transportation passes. For intercity travel, booking bus or flight tickets in advance can secure the best rates.

Banking and Finances

Managing your finances effectively is crucial for a smooth study abroad experience.

Opening a Bank Account 🏦: Most banks in the UAE offer special accounts for students with low or no fees. Popular banks include Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB).

Documents Required πŸ“‘: To open a bank account, you will typically need your passport, proof of enrollment, and a local address.

Currency πŸ’΅: The currency in the UAE is the UAE Dirham (AED). Having a local bank account helps avoid foreign transaction fees and simplifies everyday transactions.

Tips πŸ’‘: Look for student-friendly bank accounts and make use of online banking apps to manage your finances efficiently. Consider using services like for seamless international transactions.

Local Culture and Etiquette

Understanding local customs and social norms will help you integrate smoothly into UAE society.

Punctuality ⏰: Punctuality is highly valued in the UAE. Arriving on time for classes, meetings, and social events is expected.

Greetings 🀝: A common greeting in the UAE includes a warm handshake, often accompanied by the phrase β€œAs-salamu alaykum.” In more formal settings, men may kiss on the cheek.

Mealtimes 🍽️: UAE mealtimes are usually social events, with lunch around 1-2 PM and dinner around 7-9 PM. Sharing food and hospitality is common, and tipping (usually 10-15%) is appreciated in restaurants.

Public Behavior 🀫: UAE residents value politeness and respect in public spaces. Being loud or disruptive is generally frowned upon, especially on public transportation and in residential areas.

Do you still have doubts?

Book a 1:1 consultancy with us

We would be glad to help you guiding step by step in every application you have to complete or to simply solve your doubts.