There’s plenty of help, great education facilities and a whole range of activities for adults and kids in the UAE, making it a fantastic place to start or raise a family.
If in the UAE, you will need to register the birth and organise a residence visa for your baby. If you have your baby back in your home country, you will need to organise their residence or visit visa before entering the UAE.
The standard of maternity healthcare in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, either private or government, is excellent. As long as you have insurance or the means to pay, there is no reason to return to your home country to give birth. It’s also easier to get by with one income in the UAE, meaning that many mothers get to stay at home with their new babies rather than having to return to work – and, you will have access to cheap childcare and babysitting services here. However, maternity leave is just 45 days paid leave (60 days in Sharjah), and there is no paternity leave.
To clear up some of the urban myths about having a baby in the UAE: your baby will have an Arabic and English birth certificate but he/she will not have UAE citizenship or a passport; breastfeeding is allowed in public in the UAE, just be discreet; the husband is allowed to be present at the birth at most private hospitals; and, most importantly, you must be married before giving birth.
There are two specific maternity hospitals in Abu Dhabi – The Corniche (which has a neo-natal intensive care baby unit and runs a breastfeeding clinic) and Al Noor, although you can give birth at other hospitals too. Mediclinic City Hospital, which has one of the largest Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) in the UAE, and American Hospital are by far the most popular private maternity hospitals in Dubai. There is also an NICU at the government-run Latifa Hospital in Dubai; this is the largest NICU facility in the Middle East and provides treatment for babies from 24 weeks onwards.
See the How To's section for a step by step guide to register a birth.
If you have a baby here in the UAE, there is a lengthy paper trail to follow.
You will need to apply for a UAE birth certificate, register the birth in your home country, apply for a birth certificate from your home country, apply for a passport and, finally, apply for a UAE residence visa for your child. See the How To section for a step by step guide to all these procedures.
Your embassy will issue you with a registration of birth certificate which can then be used to apply for passports. The registration of birth certificate acts as proof of your child’s citizenship but is not a birth certificate, and you must apply separately for a birth certificate from your country of origin.
The process differs depending on nationality, so it is best to consult your embassy for the exact requirements.
See Useful Links to find contact details for your embassy.
Many families living in the UAE choose to hire live-in, full-time maids (nannies) to assist them with childcare and babysitting, as well as cleaning, washing, cooking and other household jobs.
Finding the right live-in person can certainly be a challenge. There are a number of registered agencies in the UAE, which organise everything from interviews through to airfares and the visa; they will charge an agency fee of around Dhs.3,500. Alternatively, speak to other parents and check community noticeboards. First aid and childcare qualifications are not legally required for childcare workers in the UAE, so it’s worth doing your research to find someone with experience.
If you employ a full-time live-in maid you will need to sponsor her for a residence visa. You can only sponsor a maid from the following countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. You must have a salary above Dhs.6,000 per month and be able to provide her with housing, medical insurance and benefits, which include an airfare back to her home country at least once every two years, food, clothing and toiletries. Bachelors are not eligible to sponsor a maid or nanny. A married couple may need to provide a marriage certificate.
Once you’ve made the decision to employ a nanny, you’ll need to work out if you can actually afford to do so. The average monthly wage is around Dhs.2,000 although you should allow an extra Dhs.400 for things like phone credit, food, clothes and toiletries. One of the prerequisites is an airfare to her home country, which is likely to cost about Dhs.3,500. The residence visa is Dhs.5,080 a year and her annual medical will cost Dhs.325. You’ll also need to make a few one-off payments: Dhs.600 for health insurance, Dhs.140 for a Resident ID card and a refundable residence visa deposit of Dhs.2,030.