This study aimed to evaluate the health-related quality of life (HRQOL)of Emirati people with diabetes and to explore the sociodemographic and disease-related variables affecting it. The Arabic version of the World Health Organization quality of life questionnaire, short version (WHOQOL-BREF) was administered to 200 people with diabetes. The overall mean score was 63.1 (SD 15.0), ranging from 61.5 to 65.5 on subscales. Three factors significantly influenced the total HRQOL: presence of diabetes complications, duration of diabetes and marital status. Presence of complications was the most powerful variable influencing the 4 domains of HRQOL, especially the physical domain. Duration of diabetes did not influence the psychological domain and marital status did not influence the physical and psychological domains. The study provides further evidence of the usefulness and reliability of the Arabic WHOQOL-BREF.