Healthcare In Dubai For Expats

What you need to do to access healthcare in Dubai and protect your health while living in the UAE.

If you plan to move to the UAE, healthcare in Dubai won’t disappoint you. As long as you and your family are insured, you can access good hospitals, skilled doctors, and modern medical facilities.

Dubai has made health insurance compulsory for expats, visitors, and residents.  Although in most cases it’s the responsibility of employers to cover their staff, sometimes it can add financial burden to your bank account as well, especially if you have dependents.

Expat Essentials
5-star rating

Save On Your Health Insurance Abroad

Compare quotes from the leading health insurance providers. Find the best value health plan for your time abroad.

Get Your Free Quotes

What healthcare in Dubai is like

Most medical facilities and healthcare in Dubai generally are up to Western or European standards. 

However, because the government allowed free access to medical services to all qualifying individuals, doctors are stretched in terms of their time, and facilities and amenities are also under pressure. 

This is what mandatory health insurance in Dubai aims to rectify.

Ultimately it’s worth keeping in mind the fact that Dubai has long-term plans to become a center for medical excellence and tourism, and it’s therefore seen as essential that they raise the standards in terms of the consistency of what they can offer.

The majority of expats who relocate to the emirate do so to take up employment.

Under a new law, employers are responsible for insuring their staff, but not dependents, although some employers do provide cover for dependents as well. 

If you’re thinking of working in the UAE, do inquire whether your employer will cover your family. If not, and private insurance seems too expensive for you, the Essential Benefits Plan will be your best choice.

Health risks in Dubai

In terms of staying healthy in Dubai, the sun is a very important factor to consider. 

Bear in mind that the temperatures in the middle of the day in Dubai in the peak of the summer can top 50 degrees centigrade. That is not a temperature the human body can easily deal with.

Respect the sun, respect the heat.  Some of the most common health complaints Dubai residents suffer result from excessive heat. 

When traveling even short distances in your car, ensure you have plenty of water on board in case you get stuck in a jam or break down, as dehydration is also a high risk.

Additional considerations encompass issues such as air pollution, the presence of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, hepatitis C, potential marine hazards, restrictions on medications, the prevalence of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and the risk of snakebites.

Dubai healthcare essentials all expats need to know

Health insurance

As discussed above, health insurance is mandatory in Dubai.

Most expats in Dubai have private medical insurance because it allows them access to the ‘better’ private hospitals and clinics. 

Depending on your age and health, premiums start from as low as about £700 a year and go all the way up to over £5,000 for a young family with a premium level of insurance.

You can opt for international health insurance. To make sure you get the best value for money, compare international health insurance options from various providers to find the best deal. 

Some companies cover their staff’s dependents, but they are not obliged to. If they do, this is a valuable benefit in kind.


Depending on where you herald from, your age, and general health, you may need inoculations before you travel to Dubai, although most expats will tell you this is nonsense. 

We would strongly recommend you speak to your GP before traveling to get the most up-to-date information about any potential jabs you should have.

Drugs and prescription

When it comes to drugs – prescription, and narcotics – the laws in Dubai are extremely strict, and punishment for infringement is extremely severe. 

Some prescription or over-the-counter drugs that are deemed acceptable in most nations are banned substances in Dubai. 

If there are drugs you have to take, you should contact the Ministry of Health’s drug control department to check whether your prescribed and essential medicines are on their banned list – email or call +971 2 611 7240 or fax +971 2 632 7644. 

Note that up to 3 months’ supply of a prescription item can be brought into the country by a visitor and 12 months’ supply by a resident if the item is not on the banned list, and you can produce a doctor’s letter or a copy of the original prescription to support your possession of the items. 

If in doubt and you do not need the drugs, do not take the risk. Leave them at home.

Hospitals and facilities

Dubai’s world-class healthcare system includes over 35 top-notch hospitals renowned for their exceptional medical services.

Notable healthcare facilities include the internationally acclaimed American Hospital Dubai and the state-of-the-art Mediclinic City Hospital.

With an average of 2.7 doctors per 1,000 people, Dubai ensures access to top medical professionals.

Here’s a list of the top medical facilities in Dubai:

American Hospital Dubai:

  • A renowned multispecialty hospital offering advanced medical services.
  • Notable for its quality care and experienced medical staff.
  • Provides a wide range of medical specialties and state-of-the-art facilities.

Mediclinic City Hospital:

  • A leading healthcare facility known for its modern infrastructure and comprehensive services.
  • Offers a diverse range of medical treatments and specialties.
  • Equipped with advanced medical technology and a skilled medical team.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi – Dubai Branch:

  • Part of the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic network.
  • Known for its high-quality patient care and cutting-edge medical advancements.
  • Provides a range of specialized medical services.

Zulekha Hospital Dubai:

  • Offers a holistic approach to healthcare with a wide range of medical services.
  • Known for its patient-centric approach and commitment to quality care.
  • Provides various medical specialties and treatments.

Saudi German Hospital Dubai:

  • A prominent healthcare facility with a focus on advanced medical care.
  • Known for its specialized medical services and expert medical staff.
  • Offers a comprehensive range of treatments and medical specialties.

NMC Royal Hospital, Dubai:

  • A part of the NMC Healthcare network, known for its quality healthcare services.
  • Offers a diverse range of medical specialties and treatments.
  • Equipped with modern facilities and experienced medical professionals.

Emirates Hospital, Dubai:

  • Offers high-quality medical services and a wide range of specialties.
  • Known for its commitment to patient care and advanced medical technology.
  • Provides comprehensive healthcare solutions.

Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery:

  • Specializes in advanced surgical and medical treatments.
  • Known for its skilled surgical team and modern facilities.
  • Offers a range of surgical specialties and procedures.

These are just a few of the notable health centers in Dubai that offer exceptional medical care and services.

Healthcare in Dubai – summary

Investment in private healthcare in Dubai is significant and ongoing.  Expatriates can benefit from this if they can afford good private insurance.

Take personal recommendations from other expats, your new colleagues, and even your neighbors to find out who the best doctors are and where the best treatment centers are.  There is plenty of choices that won’t disappoint you.

You might find useful:

Expatra Team

Our most popular evergreen guides are kept fresh and up-to-date by our in-house research team. If you have any questions about our guides or the country discussed feel free to contact us or leave a comment below and we'll get back to you.

Articles: 94
Expat Essentials
5-star rating

Save On Your Health Insurance Abroad

Compare quotes from the leading health insurance providers. Find the best value health plan for your time abroad.

Get Your Free Quotes

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. No vaccinations are required for the UAE. However, expats should ensure that all their routine vaccinations are up to date and contact a healthcare professional before travelling to the country to confirm the recommended vaccinations for Dubai.