Welcome to our country guide page providing economic, healthcare and health insurance information to expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven states or emirates; Abu Dhabi (the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain, which were formed in 1971. In the last 40 plus years it has grown from a quiet backwater to one of the Middles East's most important economic centres. Country information on the UAE can be found here.
United Arab Emirates in numbers
83,600 km sq.
|Population (total)||9.4 million|
|Expat population||5.41 million*|
|Life expectancy||78.5 years**|
* Finaccord Market Report 2013 – Global Expatriates: Size, Segmentation and Forecast for the Worldwide Market
Healthcare Provision in the UAE
In 2000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) ranked the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as 27th in the world for quality of healthcare (http://bit.ly/1gDi3s6) indicating a relatively high standard of healthcare overall and on a par with western countries. However, access to healthcare for expatriates and other non-nationals is through health insurance and cover is now obligatory for these groups in many parts of the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE). More information can be found here.
Many expatriates buy international health insurance plans when living in UAE to provide additional flexibility of care and to attend some of the best facilities in the region – such as the American Hospital when needed. Despite the insistence on health insurance, expats may still be eligible to receive free emergency treatment. Private facilities offer modern medical care but tend to be very expensive. Both public and private centres offer out-patient care throughout the country.
Important health information before you go
Medical provision in the UAE is broadly equivalent to European standards, but before travelling to the UAE it is important to know the different types of health risks that you may be exposed to. Every country has its own health issues, endemic diseases and unique problems, so pre-travel checks are essential at least 4- 6 weeks before travel in case any vaccinations or preventive measures are needed. Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus have recently been reported to the World Health Organisation.
For the latest information on travelling to the UAE including vaccinations look here.
Blood supply is considered safe in the UAE and health centres have screening facilities. Despite this expats should take out a healthcare plan including, for UK expats, membership of the Blood Care Foundation.
The UAE has extremely strict laws on drugs. Some prescribed and over the counter medicines that are readily available in other countries may be considered to be controlled substances in the UAE and therefore not allowed into the country without prior permission from the UAE Ministry of Health. For more information regarding obtaining approval for carrying prescription drugs check it out here.
Also look at this website to find the availability of and different names of prescription drugs in the UAE.
Before leaving home, everyone should have a thorough health check-up to detect any potential health problems. If possible this should be carried out at least two months in advance to permit time for any necessary treatment before departure.
Special Healthcare Needs
If you or a family member have an existing or special health condition, you will need to determine if and how it can be adequately treated in the UAE. Regulations and care for those with physical or mental disabilities can vary greatly from country to country. It is vital to find out about any potential barriers from the outset. The first point of contact should be your consulate or embassy. For a comprehensive list of consulates and embassies in the UAE please click here. Those with a comprehensive international health insurance plan should also be able to contact their insurance company for advice.
The Dubai Healthcare City has been a major development initiative for the Kingdom in the past few years. The aim of the city is to build the UAE's brand as a major destination for healthcare and one that is leading the world in healthcare research and treatment. The city itself houses more than 4,000 healthcare professional spread throughout hundreds of healthcare facilities all in one place.
For those who would like more detail on health insurance and healthcare in the UAE, the following websites provide useful information:
For additional information regarding healthcare and settling into life in the UAE check this website out.
If you are an expatriate looking for health insurance in the UAE, click here to create your own tailored international health insurance cover.