Feature - how to migrate to uk from uae

How to Migrate to UK from UAE in 2024 (Updated Guide)

Here are the best ways for you know how to migrate to UK from UAE as an expat or a resident

If you are hoping to live in the UK, you need to know how to migrate to UK from UAE first. After all, there are many ways to do so based on various factors.

The UK is a great place to live, with many opportunities for those willing to work there. Millions are trying to migrate to the UK around the year for these exact reasons.

The UK immigration process from UAE can be confusing. There are many methods you want to consider for UK immigration.

In this Dbd immigration guide, we will outline the process of migrating to the UK from the UAE. We will also let you know the benefits of living in the United Kingdom.

So if you are wondering what the UK immigration process from UAE is, keep reading.

How to migrate to UK from UAE?

It would help if you considered many things before migrating to UK from the UAE.

For the UK immigration process from UAE, you must first decide which visa to get.

The good news is that there are a variety of visas to apply for. This means you will likely find one or more visa categories you qualify for.

Your financial situation, job experience, and education are all factors that will affect your application.

Let’s see what sort of visas are available for residents of the United Arab Emirates.

Method 1. Long-term work visa

how to migrate to uk from uae - work visa

If you want to live and work in the UK for an extended period, you need a long-term work visa. This visa is for those who have been offered a job in the UK.

This visa is usually valid for up to five years. But it can be extended as often as you wish if you meet the eligibility criteria. [1]Gov.uk, “Skilled worker visa, … Continue reading

After holding a long-term work visa for 5 years, you can apply for a permanent residence too. [2]Gov.uk, “Skilled worker visa, … Continue reading

Skilled workers, healthcare workers, specialists, religious workers, and sportspersons can apply for this visa. [3]Gov.uk, “Browse: work in the UK, https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/work-visas#:~:text=Long%2Dterm%20work,International%20Sportsperson%20visa”

Who is eligible to apply for a work visa?

To migrate to UK from UAE on a work visa, you must meet specific eligibility criteria.

First and foremost, you need to have a valid sponsor. This can be an employer or an organization that can provide you with a valid job in the UK. [4]Gov.uk, “Skilled worker visa, https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa#:~:text=work%20for%20a,in%20the%20UK”

You will also need to show the proof of qualification for your job. Along with that, you must also be able to communicate effectively in English. [5]Gov.uk, “Skilled worker visa, https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa#:~:text=for%20your%20visa.-,Knowledge%20of%20English,-You%20must%20be”

If you are applying for a work visa as a specialist, you must have worked for the employer before immigration. [6]Gov.uk, “Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility), … Continue reading

Finally, you may need some savings to support yourself in the UK. [7]Gov.uk, “Minister of religion visa (T2), … Continue reading You also need to be paid at least a minimum UK salary for a work visa.

If you can meet all of these requirements, then you should be eligible to apply for a work visa.

What are the requirements to immigrate to UK from UAE with a work visa?

For a long-term UK work visa, you will need to have the following documents and applications:[8]Gov.uk, “Skilled worker visa, … Continue reading

  • A valid passport
  • Certificate of sponsorship
  • An English language test
  • Job title and salary details
  • Occupation code of your job
  • Employer’s name and sponsor license number
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Marriage and birth certificates of family members (if applicable)
  • Bank statement to prove you have enough personal funds (if applicable)

How to apply for a work visa in the UK?

The long-term work visa application process is relatively straightforward.

You also need to upload all supporting documents. Make sure you do not miss any necessary documents.

Once your application is complete, you’ll need to pay the fees for further processing. It can be done online through a bank account that you have.

You will also need to provide biometrics. It can be done at a nearby VAC (visa application center). [9]Gov.uk, “Check available visa application centre locations, https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/vac-information-page/ARE”

With all of these steps complete, you’ll be on your way to starting your new life in the UK.

What is the processing time of a long-term work visa in the UK?

The United Kingdom has one of the shortest visa processing times for working visas. Your application will be processed in as little as 3 to 6 weeks from the date of appointment at the VAC. [10]Gov.uk, “Visa decision waiting times: applications outside the UK, … Continue reading

If that is too long, you can get it processed quickly in just five working days. This is called the “Priority service.” [11]Gov.uk, “Get a faster decision on your visa or settlement application, … Continue reading

How much does the UK long-term work visa cost?

For health and care worker visas, the fee for a 3-year visa is £247 per person. The cost increases to £479 per person for a visa if the validity is over three years. [12]Gov.uk, “Health and Care Worker visa, https://www.gov.uk/health-care-worker-visa/how-much-it-costs#:~:text=when%20you%20apply.-,Application%20fees,-The%20standard%20application”

A skilled and specialist worker visa in the UK costs £625 to £1,423. The exact amount depends on whether your job is in shortage in the United Kingdom. [13]Gov.uk, “Skilled worker visa, https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa/how-much-it-costs#:~:text=%C2%A3625%20to%20%C2%A31%2C423%20depending%20on%20your%20circumstances” [14]Gov.uk, “Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility), … Continue reading

For example, if there aren’t many people in the UK to fill your job position, you will have to pay less.

Similarly, a Minister of Religion visa costs £625 per person. [15]Gov.uk, “Minister of Religion visa (T2), https://www.gov.uk/minister-of-religion-visa#:~:text=You-,%C2%A3625,-%C2%A3719″

You may also need to pay a healthcare surcharge of £624 per year. [16]Gov.uk, “Skilled worker visa, https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa/how-much-it-costs#:~:text=healthcare%20surcharge%20%2D%20this%20is%20usually%20%C2%A3624%20per%20year”

See also: Check out this Dbd immigration guide on – How to immigrate to Canada from UAE, where we provide comprehensive information on the immigration process, requirements, and solutions.

Method 2. Innovator visa

how to migrate to uk from uae - innovator

If you’re an entrepreneur with a great business idea, the UK innovator visa could be for you. This visa is open to people who want to set up a new business in the UK.

When you get this visa, you can bring your spouse and children as your dependents.

The UK innovator visa is valid for three years. So you can stay in the UK permanently with this visa by applying for an “indefinite leave to remain” at the end of your term. [17]Gov.uk, “Innovator visa, … Continue reading

Who is eligible to apply for an innovator visa?

To be eligible for this visa, your business must be innovative. You must demonstrate that your business is unique in the British market.

You must also be at least 18 years old and have good knowledge of English. Personal funds of £1,270 or more are also required to support yourself in the UK. [18]Gov.uk, “Innovator visa, https://www.gov.uk/innovator-visa/eligibility#:~:text=meet%20the%20English,before%20you%20either%3A”

The innovator visa also requires you to show at least £50,000 funds in investment. You also need to prove that your funds come from legal sources. [19]Gov.uk, “Innovator visa, https://www.gov.uk/innovator-visa/eligibility#:~:text=You%20must%20have,your%20funding%20from”

Once you have fulfilled these eligibility criteria, you can start your online application.

What are the documents required for an innovator visa in the UK?

These are the documents you require to apply for an innovator visa: [20]Gov.uk, “Innovator visa, https://www.gov.uk/innovator-visa/documents-youll-need-to-apply”

  • Endorsement letter as proof that an endorsing body has evaluated your business
  • Valid passport
  • Your bank statements with £1,270 or more in savings for 28 continuous days before the date of application
  • English language assessment certificate

If you have any of the above documents in languages other than English or Welsh, they must be translated. The translation must be done by a certified bank, counselor, minister of religion, dentist, CA, teacher, solicitor, or notary. [21]Gov.uk, “Certifying a document, https://www.gov.uk/certifying-a-document#:~:text=of%20attorney.-,Who%20can%20certify%20a%20document,-Your%20document%20must”

How to apply for immigration to UK from UAE with an innovator visa?

If you’re looking to start a business in the UK, you’ll need to apply for a UK innovator visa.

Once your application is submitted, you’ll need to pay the necessary fees.

After that, you will have to provide your biometrics. This can be done by visiting the nearest VAC (visa application center) or using the “UK Immigration: ID Check” app.

Once your biometrics have been submitted, the VAC will let you know everything else that needs to be done to finalize your visa application.

If you need to update your application, you should contact UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration). You can also cancel the application and get a refund.

However, you cannot get a refund if the visa processing has already begun.

What is the processing time of the UK innovator visa?

Usually, it takes around three weeks to process your visa and get a final decision. However, other factors might elongate the processing time.

It will take longer if you have to attend an interview or your documents need to be verified. It also takes longer if your family member who is applying needs an appointment but not you. [23]Gov.uk, “Innovator visa, https://www.gov.uk/innovator-visa/apply-from-outside-the-uk#:~:text=get%20a%20decision-,within%203%20weeks,-.”

What is the cost of the UK innovator visa?

The cost of applying for a start-up visa outside the UK is £1,036. If your family members are also applying, you must pay £1,036 per person. [24]Gov.uk, “Innovator visa, https://www.gov.uk/innovator-visa#:~:text=Fees,before%20you%20apply”

In addition, each applicant must also pay a healthcare surcharge. It costs £624 per person per year, so a 5-year visa requires a payment of £3,120. [25]Gov.uk, “Pay for UK healthcare as part of your immigration application, … Continue reading

See also: Check out this Dbd immigration guide on – How to immigrate to USA from UAE, where we provide comprehensive information on the immigration process, requirements, and solutions.

Method 3. Family visa

how to migrate to uk from uae - family visa

If you want to join your family who are already in the United Kingdom, you can apply for a family visa.

You can also apply for “Indefinite leave to remain,” which means a permanent visa in the UK. It allows you to live and work in the UK without any restrictions.

You can apply for indefinite leave to remain a partner, parent, child, or adult dependent. [26]Gov.uk, “Indefinite leave to remain if you have family in the UK, https://www.gov.uk/indefinite-leave-to-remain-family#:~:text=leave%20to%20remain.-,You%20can%20apply%20as,-%3A”

You can only apply for it if your relative in the UK is a citizen or a permanent resident. You cannot apply for a family visa if your relative does not have a permanent visa yet. [27]Gov.uk, “Family visas: apply, extend or switch, https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa#:~:text=When%20you%20cannot,or%20student%20visa”

This visa allows other family members to come to the UK, such as adopted children or step-children. [28]Gov.uk, “Indefinite leave to remain if you have family in the UK, … Continue reading

See also: Check out this Dbd immigration guide on – How to immigrate to Australia from UAE, where we provide comprehensive information on the immigration process, requirements, and solutions.

Method 4. Student visa

how to migrate to uk from uae - student visa

The United Kingdom is home to some of the best educational institutions in the world. It can also be a starting point to receiving a permanent visa after completing your studies. [29]Gov.uk, “Student visa, https://www.gov.uk/student-visa#:~:text=to%20this%20visa-,Overview,-You%20can%20apply”

There are a few requirements for applying for a student visa to the UK. First, you must have a course offer from a licensed sponsor.

You must be 16 or older and have a good grasp of the English language. You also need the necessary funds to support yourself and pay school fees.

If you meet these requirements, you can apply for a student visa and get a decision in as little as three weeks. [30]Gov.uk, “Student visa, https://www.gov.uk/student-visa#:~:text=You%E2%80%99ll%20usually%20get%20a%20decision%20on%20your%20visa%20within%203%20weeks”

Plus, you can extend your visa if needed, and you’ll even be able to work while you’re studying. However, the time you’re allowed to work depends on your course and term time. [31]Gov.uk, “Student visa, … Continue reading

The United Kingdom provides an outstanding educational experience. Moreover, it also leads to permanent residence in the long run, which is perfect for young students.

Method 5. Other UK visas

Besides the aforementioned visas, other visas can also be the gateway to migrating to UK from UAE. Some of such visas are as follows:

UK start-up visa

how to migrate to uk from uae - startup visa

The UK start-up visa is for those who want to set up an innovative business in the UK.

A start-up visa is similar to an innovator visa. However, the innovator visa lets you stay in the UK for three years, while the start-up visa is only for two years.

To be eligible for the start-up visa, your business idea must be unique and unlike anything else in the British market.

In addition, your business must be endorsed by an approved endorsing body.

The UK start-up visa is a points-based visa for immigrants. You must obtain 70 points based on many criteria. [32]Gov.uk, “Immigration rules, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-start-up#:~:text=Points%20requirement%20for%20Start%2Dup”

The least score required per criteria is:

  • 25 points based on the innovative, scalable, and viable nature of your business
  • 25 points for applicants who have not started a business in the UK before
  • 10 points for English proficiency
  • 10 points for financial requirements.

You can apply for the innovator visa after two years, which allows you to stay in the UK for longer.

So if you want to set up a new business and migrate to UK from UAE, this should be your first step.

Global Talent visa

how to migrate to uk from uae

If you’re a leader or potential leader in certain fields, you may be eligible for the UK’s Global Talent Visa. The fields include academia and research, arts and culture, and digital technology. [33]Gov.uk, “Apply for the Global Talent visa, https://www.gov.uk/global-talent#:~:text=to%20this%20visa-,Overview,-You%20can%20apply”

This visa allows you to live and work in the UK for up to five years, with the possibility of extension.

To qualify, you must obtain an endorsement proving your leadership capabilities. You are exempt from this requirement if you have won a recognized award. [34]Gov.uk, “Apply for the Global Talent visa, https://www.gov.uk/global-talent#:~:text=You%20can%20usually,an%20eligible%20award”

The Global Talent Visa offers a streamlined application process. It is designed to make it easier for highly skilled individuals to move to the UK.

If you’re a skilled individual looking to migrate to UK from UAE, the Global Talent Visa could be for you.

See also: Check out this Dbd immigration guide on – How to immigrate to New Zealand from UAE, where we provide comprehensive information on the immigration process, requirements, and solutions.

How to live permanently in the UK?

The UK is a great place to live, work and raise a family. There are many ways to move to the UK and live permanently.

The best way to go about it is to apply for a long-term work visa. You can apply for permanent residence after living there for a few years.

Alternatively, entrepreneurs can invest in the UK’s market. However, they need to find an innovative business idea and be endorsed.

If your family is living in the UK as citizens or permanent residents, you can join them.

There are also more indirect ways to live there permanently. You can apply for shorter work visas and extend them to live there longer. In a few years, you should be eligible for permanent residence.

Student visa holders can also apply for a different visa in the UK. They can live for a few years before becoming eligible for a permanent visa.

The process may seem daunting, but it is possible to live permanently in the UK with careful planning.

Benefits of immigration to UK from UAE

how to migrate to uk from uae

Multiple areas of life can be improved by immigration to UK from UAE. Below are some of the benefits of moving to the UK from UAE:

Good economy and job opportunities

The United Kingdom has a strong economy and is ranked as the fifth-largest economy in the world. The country offers many job opportunities and has one of the most powerful currencies.

Great education

The United Kingdom is known for its excellent education system. The country has many world-renowned universities, such as the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

Many universities also provide scholarships to deserving international students. So it is an excellent place for both children and adults for education.

Great tourism spots

The UK is a beautiful country with great historical significance. It is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world.

From Victorian-era architecture to stunning landscapes, there is something for everyone in the UK. So if you live there, you will have plenty of options to spend your holidays and leisure time.

Religious and cultural freedom

The UK has a multicultural environment with different cultures and religions. You can practice and adopt any culture or custom you prefer.

Powerful passport

The UK has one of the most powerful passports in the world. If you become a UK citizen, you can get a UK passport and travel to many countries without a visa.

Our research methodology on how to migrate to UK from UAE

Our team has compiled this information to help you understand how to migrate to UK from UAE.

Our main goal for writing this research article is to help you settle in the UK. That is why each UK immigration process from UAE listed here will eventually lead to a permanent visa.

We have also obtained help from visa and immigration experts to compile this information. They have been helpful to us during the entire research and analysis process.

During our research, we found that the immigration process to enter the UK is one of the fastest. Migration services for UK will help you to settle as soon as possible and usually takes a few months at most.

This is true for every visa, whether work or study visa. We also found that you can become a British citizen more quickly in London than in Abu Dhabi.

We also wanted to obtain real-world insights about the UK immigration process from UAE. So we remained in touch with the skilled and experienced consultancies willing to help us.

Before we began our research, we read several research articles related to UK immigration. Here are some of them:

  • “UK Public Opinion toward Immigration: Overall Attitudes and Level of Concern” by Research Associate Dr. Scott Blinder and researcher William L. Allen of COMPAS. [35]Bishop Wordsworth School, “UK Public Opinion toward Immigration: Overall Attitudes and Level of Concern, … Continue reading

The above research article talks about the attitudes of UK residents towards immigrants. We felt it was necessary to know the stance of UK citizens on immigrants.

The opinions of UK natives towards UAE residents can differ. The way they see immigrants shows how they treat someone who is an outsider.

Living in a country that accepts immigrants is always a positive experience. A majority of UK residents seem to dislike the current policies, but they do not hate the migrants themselves.

  • “Shortages, high-demand occupations, and the post-Brexit UK immigration system” by Madeleine Sumption of The Migration Observatory, University of Oxford [36]Oxford Academic, “Shortages, high-demand occupations, and the post-Brexit UK immigration system, https://academic.oup.com/oxrep/article/38/1/97/6514754″

Brexit was a historic move by the United Kingdom. It is necessary to understand its implications on the employment sector for not only the residents but immigrants too.

This paper talks about the stance of the UK immigration policy on providing shortage jobs to immigrants. It gave us a clear picture of the demand for certain jobs and what jobs are placed on the shortage list.

  • “Immigration and the UK economy after Brexit” by Jonathan Portes of King’s College, London [37]Oxford Academic, “Immigration and the UK economy after Brexit, https://academic.oup.com/oxrep/article/38/1/82/6514758″

The third article specifically addresses the economic changes in the UK after Brexit and covers the impact of COVID-19.

UK borders are open but wages of some sectors still suffer the consequences of the pandemic. UAE residents trying to work in the UK in those sectors are deeply affected by the unrecovered wages too.

Quite some time was taken to go through these articles as well as the official websites. We feel we have made it convenient for our readers to find UK visa information in our guide.

We are also confident about the accuracy of the information we have gathered as of this article’s publishing date. However, visa conditions and fees can change at any time.

FAQs about UK immigration from UAE

How much does it cost to migrate to UK from UAE?

The cost to migrate to UK from UAE depends on the type of visa you apply for. Generally, it takes anywhere from £625 to over £1,423 for just the application cost.

Can UAE citizens work in UK?

Yes, UAE citizens can work in the UK. You can choose one of the work visas and apply for it while you are in Dubai or any other emirates.

How much do I need to invest in UK for a visa?

You can get an investment-based visa called an innovator visa by investing £50,000. But just having the money is not enough – you must also prove that it comes from legal sources.

How long does it take to get a UK Visa?

It takes 3 to 6 weeks to get a UK visa. A UK visa has one of the most favorable processing times for UAE residents.

How can I get UK work permit from UAE?

You can apply for a work permit online in the country if you are a holder of a job invitation. You can also visit the nearest VAC (visa application center) for help if you are able to do so.

What are the requirements to immigrate to UK?

The requirements to migrate to UK from UAE differ based on the type of visa. The basic requirements are English language skills, a valid passport, and an employer or family invitation.

Final thoughts

We hope you have a good idea of how to migrate to UK from UAE by now. You can now check your eligibility and apply for a visa whenever possible.

You will have the best chance to migrate to UK from UAE with the whole family if you have all documents in order.

So make sure you have everything you need for the UK immigration process from UAE.

Immigration to UK from UAE is a big move, so you should plan for everything before deciding. You must evaluate all factors besides just the visa processing.

If you found this Dbd guide helpful, feel free to let your friends know about it too! While you are here, why don’t you also check our visa guides for other countries?

About the author

Sarika Patel
Sarika Patel
Immigration Attorney, UAE | + posts

Sarika Patel is an experienced immigration expert with a Master's degree in Law from the University of Dubai. For the last two decades, she has been living in Dubai, and throughout this time, her focus has been on providing helpful information and advice to those seeking to immigrate or gain a visa in Dubai. Sarika is passionate about helping people navigate the often complex and confusing world of immigration, visa rules, and laws in the UAE.

Raju Chopra
Raju Chopra
Immigration Attorney | + posts

Raju Chopra is an experienced immigration attorney with a Master's degree in Law from the University of Colorado Boulder. He has worked on international immigration matters for the past ten years, helping clients navigate the often confusing world of global visa laws and regulations. Raju is passionate about offering practical legal advice and guidance to those looking for work abroad or seeking visas for travel.


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