Local laws and customs
- Importing goods. Importing pork products and pornography into the UAE is illegal.
- Drugs. There is zero tolerance for drugs-related offences.
- Dress code.
- Offensive behaviour.
- Relationships outside marriage.
- Same-sex relationships.
What is illegal in Dubai?
Dubai severely punishes acts that many Western travelers would never even imagine are illegal, including drinking alcohol without a permit, holding hands, sharing a room with someone of the opposite sex other than your spouse, taking pictures of other people, offensive language or gestures, and unsanctioned social
Do and don’ts in Dubai?
Don’t Drink and Drive
- Don’t make or flash rude hand gestures.
- Don’t point fingers at people.
- Don’t explicitly eat, drink or smoke during Ramadan.
- Don’t use swear words.
- Don’t dress immodestly when visiting religious places like mosques.
- Don’t smoke in shopping malls, offices, and government areas.
Are there strict laws in Dubai?
DUBAI has very strict rules even for tourists entering the UAE. Dubai is a predominately Islamic city in the United Arab Emirates, despite a large expat community. This can mean travellers who enter the country, lured by cheap flights and good weather, can easily be caught out by strict laws.
What is Dubai jail like?
Dubai’s prisons are famed for their filthy conditions and brutal treatment of their inmates – with beatings, starvation and overcrowding all too common. But while you might expect prisoners subjected to such torture to be locked up for murder or rape, Brits have been severely punished for seemingly trivial ‘crimes’.
What happens if you cuss in Dubai?
Swearing in public is completely prohibited in the UAE, with the use of the F-word being a crime, as it “disgraces the honor or the modesty” of a person, according to Article 373 of the UAE Penal Code. Swearing is punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine as high as 10,000 dirhams.
Can I wear shorts in Dubai?
Local families are often shopping at malls across Dubai. You can dress as casually as you want, as long as it’s appropriate. You can wear shorts in Dubai. Even skirts, if they are at knee length and not shorter than that.
Can you smoke in Dubai?
Normal cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vape, heating tobacco, and other tobacco products are all legal in Dubai. Only if you use it in a location where smoking is prohibited, such as an outdoor smoking cabin. Smokers caught using an e-cigarette in a banned place face a fine of up to Dh 2.000.
Is Dubai friendly?
General safety in Dubai There’s not much dispute that Dubai is quite safe for tourists. Dubai is heavily monitored, so violent crime directed at tourists is rare. Most tourist-directed crime in Dubai is likely to be petty stuff like pickpocketing, scams, or sexual harassment.
Are tattoos illegal in Dubai?
While getting a tattoo is not legally penalised in the UAE, it is forbidden in Islam by virtue of a Fatwa issued by the Official Fatwa Centre at the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, and considered a form of self-injury.
Is dancing illegal in Dubai?
Dancing. Dubai has bars and nightclubs, but the Foreign Office says you should not dance in public. The Dubai Code of Conduct says dancing and loud music is forbidden in public places, such as beaches, parks and residential areas. It is classed as “indecent and provocative”, the FCO adds.
Can you visit someone in jail in DUBAI?
The visitor can attend on the days designated for inmates visiting in the Central Prison Administration, Administration of Misdemeanors and Violations Prison and Administration of Women’s Prison, or Juvenile Department, according to the schedule shown in “Additional Information”.
Do DUBAI have prisons?
Dubai’s prisons are famed for their filthy conditions and brutal treatment of their inmates – with beatings, starvation and overcrowding all too common. But while you might expect prisoners subjected to such torture to be locked up for murder or rape, Brits have been severely punished for seemingly trivial ‘crimes’.
How are prisoners treated in DUBAI?
DUBAI prisons have become notorious for their brutal treatment of prisoners with some claiming to have been tortured and forced to live in filthy conditions. And speaking to his friend Alfie after his arrest in January, he described facing horrendous conditions at the notorious Al-Barsha jail.
11 Unusual Dubai Laws for Tourists and Residents
Police policemen in Dubai having a break|richard sowersby / Alamy Stock Photo There are a number of well-known rules to keep in mind while traveling in Dubai and the neighboring emirates, but some of the UAE’s lesser-known regulations are sometimes disregarded by visitors. This is a list of some of the oddest methods to get imprisoned, fined, or even deported from the UAE, which includes cities from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Swearing in public is strictly forbidden in the United Arab Emirates, with the use of the F-word being a criminal offense since it “disgraces the honour or the modesty” of a person, according to Article 373 of the UAE Penal Code.
When you flash your middle finger, you are regarded to be making a “indecent gesture” that violates “a victim’s pride, privacy, and/or modesty.” This will result in deportation.
This includes sending emojis depicting the lewd gestures listed above, among other things.
In the United Arab Emirates, it is prohibited to “invade the privacy of another person” through the use of computer networks or social media platforms.
- Earlier this year, a lady in Ajman was accused of violating her husband’s privacy after copying images from his phone to hers via the messaging app WhatsApp.
- Later, she accused him of having an extramarital affair.
- Eating and drinking are strictly prohibited on all modes of public transportation and their terminals, including metros, buses, and pedestrian crossings, among others.
- Poppy seeds are a source of opium and are thus prohibited in the United Arab Emirates.
- Raising funds for philanthropic organizations near and dear to your heart can be a difficult endeavor in the United Arab Emirates.
- This can result in jail, penalties ranging from 250,000 to 500,000 dirhams (£53,928 to £107,855), and possibly deportation if the offense is not corrected.
- You run the danger of incurring a significant fine whether you are attempting to access a restricted or prohibited website or downloading copyrighted material.
Dirty automobiles, on the other hand, are considered to be “destructive to the city’s image and public health.” As a result, they are frequently taken away, and their owners are subjected to fines and impound costs in the amount of 3,000 dirhams (£647) each vehicle.
Cleaning your automobile in residential areas or hiring laborers to clean your car are both illegal under the law.
In order to avoid this, you must park your automobile in a suitable parking lot, such as those found at gas stations or in the parking lots of shopping malls.
The UAE is quite rigorous when it comes to protecting the privacy of individuals, and taking a picture of someone without their knowledge or agreement is considered a major violation of their rights.
You can be fined up to 500,000 dirhams (£107,816) and imprisoned for up to six months for violating cybercrime rules, however in fact the sanctions are far harsher, with a number of tourists deported as a result of their actions.
Taking photographs in general is a high-risk endeavor in the United Arab Emirates.
This can cost you anywhere between 50,000 and 3 million dirhams (between £10,788 and £647,262) in financial losses, as well as putting you in danger of deportation.
Anything that may be perceived as a rumor is punished under UAE law, which makes it the most vague violation on this list.
The United Arab Emirates maintains particularly tight regulations regarding the dissemination of news on the internet, with the goal of punishing individuals who “destroy social peace and public order” and represent a threat to “national peace.” During the 2016 floods, photographs and videos of the devastation wrought by heavy rains and high winds were extensively shared on social media platforms, bringing this to the public’s attention.
As a result, it was determined that criticizing the storm and publishing bad photographs was against the law.
Local laws and customs – United Arab Emirates travel advice
The laws and customs of the United Arab Emirates are vastly different from those of the United Kingdom. Remember to be mindful of your conduct to ensure that you do not insult anybody, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you want to visit religious sites. It is possible that you will face harsh consequences for doing something that is not unlawful in the United Kingdom. It is extremely recommended that you become acquainted with, and observe, local laws and customs. The holy month of Ramadan is scheduled to begin on 3 April and end on 2 May in 2022, according to projections.
More information on living in the United Arab Emirates may be found here.
The UAE prohibits the importation of pig products as well as pornographic material. Videos, books, and periodicals may all be subjected to review and censorship in some cases.
Offenses involving illegal narcotics are treated with zero tolerance. Trafficking, smuggling, and possession of narcotics (even in trace amounts) are all punishable by harsh penalties. For drug trafficking, sentences can include life imprisonment as well as death, and possession of even a small amount of illegal narcotics can result in a mandatory minimum 4-year prison term. The presence of narcotics in a person’s blood stream is considered possession by the Emirati authorities. Some herbal highs, like as Spice, are prohibited in the United Arab Emirates.
Because UAE airports have advanced technology and security, transiting individuals who are found to be in possession of even trace amounts of narcotics may be detained and prosecuted.
Those discovered in possession of such items will have them seized, and you may be subject to criminal prosecution.
Non-Muslim citizens can get a liquor license, which allows them to consume alcoholic beverages at home and at licensed establishments. These licenses are only valid in the Emirate that granted the license in the first place. Residents must also get a permit in order to be permitted to consume alcoholic beverages at licensed establishments. Residents of Abu Dhabi no longer need to get a liquor license in order to purchase alcoholic beverages for personal use. A temporary liquor license for the period of one month can be obtained from one of the two authorised liquor distributors in Dubai if you are visiting the city for the first time.
Unless otherwise specified, this license is only valid for usage inside the Emirate in which it is granted.
However, you should be aware that drinking or being under the influence of alcohol in public is a severe infraction under UAE law and may result in criminal prosecution.
This is the first time the law has been used against them.
The drinking age in Dubai, as well as in all other emirates except Sharjah, is 21 years old. In Sharjah, it is against the law to consume alcoholic beverages. Passengers traveling through the United Arab Emirates while under the influence of alcohol may also be detained.
When women are in public places such as shopping malls, they should dress modestly. Arms and legs should be covered with clothing, and underwear should not be seen on the arms and legs. Clothing appropriate for swimming should be worn solely on beaches or in swimming pools. Cross-dressing is against the law.
When in public places such as shopping malls, women should wear modestly. Arms and legs should be covered with clothing, and underwear should not be seen on the arms or legs. At the beach or in swimming pools, it is appropriate to dress in swimming clothing exclusively. Contrary to popular belief, cross-dressing is prohibited by law.
Swearing and making disrespectful gestures (including those made online) are deemed obscene actions, and those who do them may face imprisonment or deportation. When interacting with the police and other government personnel, exercise extreme caution. Public shows of affection are frowned upon, and there have been a number of arrests for kissing in public in recent history.
Relationships outside marriage
All sex outside of marriage is prohibited in the United Kingdom, regardless of the nature of your connection with your partner. It is possible that you will face prosecution, incarceration, and/or a fine as well as deportation if the UAE authorities learn that you are engaging in a sexual relationship outside of marriage (as defined by them). The act of living together or sharing a hotel room with someone of the opposite sex with whom you are not married or closely related is illegal in the United States of America.
During ante-natal visits, doctors may request proof of marriage from the expectant mother.
It is required that you submit the authorities with a copy of your marriage certificate in order to obtain a birth certificate from them, and it is possible that they will compare the marriage certificate’s date of issue with the estimated date of conception.
All gay intercourse is prohibited, and same-sex marriages are not recognized in the United States. The United Arab Emirates is, in many ways, a tolerant society in which private life is respected, though there have been reports of individuals being punished for homosexual activity and/or sexual activity outside of marriage, particularly where there is a public element or where the behavior has caused offence, in some cases. This applies to both expatriate residents and visitors to the country.
Certain government buildings and military locations are off-limits for photography for security reasons. Do not photograph anyone unless they have given you permission. Men have been detained for photographing women on beaches, according to reports. It’s possible that hobbies such as bird watching and plane spotting will go unnoticed, especially in areas near military bases, government buildings, and airports. It is possible that material (including videos and photographs) posted online that is critical of the UAE government, companies, or individuals, or that is related to incidents in the UAE, or that appears to abuse/ridicule/criticise the country or its authorities, or that is culturally insensitive, will be considered a crime and prosecuted under UAE legal provisions.
Obtaining the relevant approval from the Emirati authorities in advance will be required if you desire to engage in media activity including the creation, transmission, and/or distribution of printed, digital, audio, video, and/or visual material is something you wish to do.
Failure to do so might result in incarceration as well as a significant financial penalty. By enrolling on the National Media Council website, you will be able to receive further information regarding media activities and how to secure the appropriate licences.
If you’re thinking of doing or promoting fundraising or other charitable actions in the UAE (or while traveling through), be in mind that these activities, especially those undertaken online and through social media, are tightly monitored. You should be completely informed of the legal requirements and, if required, seek competent counsel. Criminal consequences, such as substantial fines and/or imprisonment, can be imposed for failure to comply with the law.
If you wish to buy property in the United Arab Emirates, you should get suitable professional advice, just as you would in the United Kingdom, before you do so. On the website of the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, you may find a list of attorneys who practice in those cities.
The commission of financial crimes such as fraud, the bouncing of checks (including post-dated and “security checks”), and the failure to pay bills (including hotel bills) can all result in jail and/or a fine, depending on the circumstances. Bank accounts and other assets might also be frozen at the discretion of the court. Non-residents of the United Arab Emirates who are arrested for financial crimes are generally denied the right to bail. In most cases, those who have been convicted will not be freed from jail until the debt has been paid in full or waived, and they may even be required to remain in jail after a debt has been paid if there is an outstanding sentence to be served.
Weapons and related equipment
Weapons, ammunition, body protection, and associated equipment (such as cleaning kits, gun belts, and so on), no matter how small the number or what the purpose, all require approval before being brought into or transiting through the UAE or transiting through it.
Satellite phones, listening or recording equipment, radio transmitters, powerful cameras, and binoculars, among other items, may require a permit to be used in the United Arab Emirates. Consult with the UAE Embassy in London for guidance.
Is It Safe to Travel to Dubai?
When it comes to crime, Dubai is one of the safest places to visit in the whole Middle East. The capital of the United Arab Emirates and the country’s largest city, Dubai, is a significant tourist and commercial destination as well as one of the world’s fastest-growing destinations for foreign tourists. Pickpocketing and bag snatching are rare forms of street crime in Dubai, and owing to the presence of security and surveillance cameras, you’ll feel comfortable utilizing public transportation and roaming about most sections of the city at any time of day or night in the city.
Dubai has tight restrictions regulating the use of alcoholic beverages, the wearing of clothing, sexual activity, and social behavior in general.
- Because to COVID-19, the United States Department of State has issued a global travel warning, advising people to avoid any overseas travel for the foreseeable future. In the weeks leading up to COVID-19, the State Department recommended visitors to “take standard care” when visiting the United Arab Emirates, the lowest level of travel warning.
Is Dubai Dangerous?
Dubai boasts some of the lowest crime rates of any city in the world, including both violent and non-violent crimes, and is consistently regarded as one of the safest locations in the world to live and work. Even little theft, such as pickpocketing, is extremely rare in Dubai, while violent crime is nearly non-existent in the city. Foreigners going to Dubai, and the United Arab Emirates in general, face the greatest danger of unintentionally infringing one of the country’s severe rules. Many acts that many Western travelers would never consider illegal are severely punished in Dubai, including drinking alcohol without a permit, holding hands, sharing a room with someone of the opposite sex other than your spouse, taking pictures of other people, using offensive language or gestures, and posting unapproved content on social media.
For example, bars will sell you alcoholic beverages even if you don’t have a permit, hotels will give rooms to couples without asking for a marriage license, and travelers will take selfies with other people in the background.
It’s typically not an issue until it becomes one. A close plainclothes police officer or an enraged someone who reports you can rapidly convert your minor error into a criminal act that you must face criminal prosecution for.
Is Dubai Safe for Solo Travelers?
When it comes to personal safety, solo travelers have little to be concerned about. Wandering about and exploring the city is secure, and the omnipresent cameras installed on every street create a sense of protection even when walking alone late at night. When traveling through Dubai, as long as you adhere to the local regulations, you should be in good shape.
Is Dubai Safe for Female Travelers?
In addition, the tight restrictions around sexual activity, as well as the conservative culture, make Dubai a very safe destination for female tourists. Women are encouraged to dress modestly and cover the most of their body parts (with the exception of when they are at the beach), and even catcalling is uncommon on the streets of Duba, according to locals. Moreover, while sexual assaults are extremely rare in Abu Dhabi, the UAE judicial system has the ability to penalize both the victim and the perpetrator, leaving victims with no recourse.
Safety Tips for LGBTQ+ Travelers
Despite the fact that Dubai is a big cosmopolitan metropolis, the United Arab Emirates has some of the strongest laws in the world when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. Furthermore, just because Dubai is a large cosmopolitan city does not imply that it is more progressive than other regions of the nation. All sorts of same-sex actions are banned and punishable by fines, imprisonment, deportation, whipping, or death, while the most severe penalties are mainly reserved for Muslim defendants and when combined with other offenses, such as adultery, to create the most severe penalties.
Visitors who identify as transgender upon arrival in Dubai have been stopped and questioned by airport security for failing to get their gender recognized by local authorities, and some have even been deported back to their home countries.
Safety Tips for BIPOC Travelers
A remarkable diversity and cosmopolitan metropolis, Dubai attracts individuals from all over the globe to live and work there. In reality, the foreign-born population of the Emirate of Dubai accounts for around 85 percent of the total population, which is far more than the number of native Emiratis living there. It is true that discrimination does occur in Dubai, despite its cosmopolitan nature. Foreign residents and visitors, however, are more likely to encounter it on the basis of nationality than than skin color.
The arbitrariness of the law in Dubai can be applied to anyone without regard to their nationality, but citizens from non-Western countries may face greater difficulties if they are caught doing something illegal.
Safety Tips for Travelers
- Non-Muslims are permitted to consume alcoholic beverages in Dubai, provided that they do so in a licensed establishment (which are typically attached to a hotel). In the event that you are found to be under the influence of alcohol or creating a disturbance in public, you may be arrested and sentenced to prison. When it comes to driving in Dubai, the official legal limit for alcohol consumption is zero—there is no wiggle room here, so don’t get behind the wheel even if you’ve had one drink. Public kissing and holding hands is considered “inappropriate conduct,” so keep it clean while you’re out. Similarly, any sexual relationship between unmarried couples is prohibited. Inappropriate words or hostile hand gestures are prohibited at all times, even while driving. It is against the law in the UAE to make defamatory claims or derogatory comments about individuals or organizations, so be mindful of your wording while posting on social media platforms, especially review websites. Despite the fact that Dubai is a conservative city all year round, it becomes much more so during the month of Ramadan. The consumption of food and beverages in public places during daylight hours is prohibited throughout this period (some restaurants and shopping malls have curtained areas for non-Muslims to dine in during Ramadan). If possible, avoid playing loud music, and dress in a modest manner.
TripSavvy relies on only high-quality, reputable sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, to substantiate the information contained in our articles. Read our editorial policy to find out more about how we ensure that our material is accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- “UAE 2020 CrimeSafety Report: Dubai,” according to OSAC.gov. Department of State, United States, retrieved on December 22, 2020. ” Global Health Advisory ” is an abbreviation for Global Health Advisory. The deadline is March 31, 2020. The United States Department of State has updated its information on December 22, 2020. UAE is an acronym for United Arab Emirates. The Economist published a report titled “Safe Cities Index 2019” on May 17, 2019. The Khaleej Times published an article on August 5, 2019. “Catcalling, gazing at women, and receiving a hefty fine in the United Arab Emirates.” Human Dignity Trust. “United Arab Emirates.” Retrieved on December 22, 2020
- Human Rights Watch. ” World Report 2020.” 2020
- Human Dignity Trust. “United Arab Emirates.” NBC News was able to obtain this information on December 22, 2020. “The United Arab Emirates detains a transgender traveler and a buddy because of their appearance.” The 24th of August, 2017. Human Dignity Trust. “HDT – Injustice Exposed – The Criminalisation of Transgender People and Its Impacts.” Retrieved December 22, 2020
- Human Dignity Trust. “HDT – Injustice Exposed – The Criminalisation of Transgender People and Its Impacts.” Global Media Insight provided the information on December 22, 2020. “UAE Population Statistics 2020 (Infographics).” “UAE Population Statistics 2020 (Infographics).” The date is July 7, 2020. December 22, 2020
- Retrieved on December 22, 2020
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Dubai Rules & Laws Explained
The reality of the issue is that if you are familiar with Dubai’s laws and norms, as well as its culture, you will be able to enjoy an outstanding lifestyle while remaining out of trouble. Expats lead a hard-working lifestyle that is tempered by lots of sunshine, amazing facilities and services, and enough freedom and money to enjoy a very high level of living in their new home. Recently, Dubai has become increasingly well-known for all of the wrong reasons. We’ve heard stories about British citizens being incarcerated for a variety of offenses, including kissing in public, having sex on the beach, and even bouncing a check.
That Dubai is a Muslim state with strict moral and ethical codes, that its laws are very different from those in the United Kingdom, Europe, or America, and that if you want to live and work in the UAE, you must be extremely cautious about your actions and demeanor, has demonstrated to us.
For your convenience, we’ve put together a report that gathers all of the facts you’ll need to know and understand in order to have a safe and pleasurable stay in the UAE – anything from dress code to alcohol consumption, drug usage to walking around with your partner in public.
Money Saver is a sponsored product.
What are the Emiratis like?
It’s seldom simple to capture the essence of a country in a single paragraph. It is true, however, that despite the vast contemporary improvements that Dubai represents, Emiratis are a highly traditional people, which is useful for exposing you to the local people you will be living amongst if you move to Dubai. They take their culture and heritage seriously, and they expect tourists and expatriates to respect their beliefs and traditions as they do theirs. The Emiratis will respect you if you show them respect in return, and you will find them to be warm and hospitable.
An A to Z of rules in Dubai
Non-Muslims are permitted to consume alcoholic beverages in Dubai if they do so in a legally permitted establishment.
Some restaurants, as well as the majority of hotels, are licensed to serve alcoholic beverages. In 2020, the UAE passed new legislation saying that consuming alcoholic beverages without a valid license is no longer prohibited in the country.
Bouncing a cheque
In Dubai, it is common practice to use forward-dated cheques to pay for large-ticket purchases such as a vehicle or even your rent, as opposed to cash. This is due to the fact that it is extremely difficult for expats and even some locals to get credit or loans, and offering post-dated cheques is the widely recognized technique of spreading payments out over time. The fact that a cheque bounces in Dubai, as opposed to other nations, is a major criminal offense that carries a significant punishment in the UAE.
Do not write a cheque, therefore, unless you have the finances to cover it in full.
Missing a payment in Dubai is no laughing matter.
Dancing in Public
Dancing in public is deemed obscene in Dubai, although in the United States, we would consider it normal to shimmy down the street with a few buddies after a night out. It is also regarded as provocative, which may be quite risky for women to engage in. You are allowed to dance in your own house behind your curtains, and you are also allowed to dance in official clubs – anything else is considered inappropriate and perhaps harmful.
UAE citizens dress modestly, and they expect visitors and expatriates to dress conservatively as well while they are out in public. Consequently, whether you’re going shopping, taking a walk, or going to work, you should ensure that the length of your clothes is appropriate, that you are not wearing anything see-through, that you are not revealing too much flesh that could be considered indecent, and that you are not wearing anything offensive on your clothes, such as offensive slogans or images.
When it comes to sunbathing, you can dress in beach apparel, but it must cover the most ‘offensive’ areas of your body once again.
Once you’ve exited the confines of a beach, pool, or water park, you’ll need to dress appropriately for public settings.
It is not a way to make a statement about how stylish you are or how much of a rebel you feel – it is a grave violation of public decency that is penalized by imprisonment and, informally, by abuse and probable attack if done in public.
In Dubai, you are not even allowed to drink a thimbleful of alcohol before getting behind the wheel.
The government has a zero-tolerance stance when it comes to drunk driving, and anyone who violates this extremely strictly enforced legislation will face prison time.
Given the way Emiratis and expats drive in Dubai, one might be forgiven for believing that there are no regulations or restrictions in place on the roads here. That, on the other hand, is completely incorrect. Tailgating, exceeding the speed limit, street racing, lane hopping, and using a cell phone while driving are all prohibited in Dubai, despite the fact that you will witness all of these activities taking place on a daily basis. Keep in mind that Dubai is clamping down on lawbreakers and is losing its tolerance for them, so avoid getting into the habit of driving in the same manner as the locals.
If you infringe a traffic law, you may be subject to a fine, imprisonment, and the impounding of your vehicle.
Drugs, like alcohol, are a zero-tolerance problem, and although you would believe that this applies solely to narcotics that are prohibited in our own nations, it also applies to several prescription and over-the-counter medications as well. As a result, this is a very important element to comprehend. You should be aware that if you are discovered carrying what is believed to be an illegal drug while traveling through an airport in the UAE on your route to another country, you might face an automatic 4-year jail sentence before being deported.
- Money Saver is a sponsored product.
- The most basic guideline is to bring absolutely nothing with you to the event.
- If you are looking for information about prohibited medicines, the British Embassy in Dubai offers an excellent reference list that you should look into.
- The specifics are as follows: Call +971 2 611 7342 or +971 2 633 4958 Fax +971 2 631 3742 E-mail: [email protected] Fax +971 2 631 3742 Alternatively, you may write to: Ministry of Health Drug Control Department Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates Don’t take any chances.
Do not make disrespectful gestures in the general direction of a driver, no matter how many times he or she cuts you off. They have the authority to summon the police, and you will be found to be in violation of the law and punished or even imprisoned if you are an expatriate. Road rage is not acceptable, and neither is cursing or making any other offensive gestures, so keep it all under control.
Public displays of affection
For married couples, holding hands in public is about the extent of their ability to express their devotion in a public setting.
To be clear, hugging and kissing are not permitted — in other words, any public demonstration of physical affection should be restricted to one’s own four walls.
Fasting is demanded of Muslims during Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Muslims fast in order to purify their souls and refocus their attention on God. There are no restrictions on what you can eat or drink during your fast; it’s all about practising restraint. During Ramadan, it is unlawful for foreigners residing in Dubai to consume food, drink, or smoke in public places – this includes driving in your car! Some restaurants (typically within hotels) will remain open, but you will have to eat out of sight to avoid being recognized.
During Ramadan, it is customary to reduce noise levels to a minimum, and you will note that Dubai appears to be a lot more peaceful place during daylight hours.
Muslims are required to pray five times a day, and if you’re on the open road or in a public area away from a Mosque, Muslims will pray wherever they are. Do not disturb them or stare at them openly. The main religion in Dubai is Islam, but expatriates are free to practice their own religions. However, anything that is considered an offense against Islam will not be tolerated on any level and will result in fines and/or imprisonment. There is no gray area.
In the western world, we believe that respect is something that must be earned rather than something that should be given to a stranger on the street without hesitation. In Dubai, on the other hand, you must be courteous of everyone around you — regardless of apparent cultural, religious, or even social differences that may exist between you. If you engage in inappropriate or disrespectful behavior in public, you may find yourself in trouble with the law and subject to a fine, jail, or even deportation.
To the contrary, if you feel that this is appropriate and, as a result, you’re rude to others, you make offensive hand signals when someone cuts you off in traffic, or you yell an expletive when someone rushes ahead of you in a line, be prepared for the consequences.
While living in Dubai, however, if you want to live a peaceful life, you must observe respect unilaterally.
Learn to keep your tongue in your mouth.
When it comes to respect in the western world, we believe it is something that must be earned rather than something that should be given to a stranger. In Dubai, on the other hand, you must be courteous to everyone around you — regardless of apparent cultural, religious, or even social differences that may exist between you and others. It is possible to be prosecuted and sentenced to a fine, jail, or deportation if you engage in inappropriate or disrespectful behavior in public. You may be perplexed after reading the foregoing since, as you will experience for yourself in Dubai, certain nationalities of employees are treated more harshly than others.
To the contrary, if you believe that this is acceptable and, as a result, you’re rude to others, you make offensive hand gestures when someone cuts you off in traffic, or you yell an expletive when someone pushes you to the front of a line, be prepared for the consequences.
While living in Dubai, however, if you want to live a peaceful life, you must observe respect unilaterally.
This is because you never know who you’re disrespecting or who is watching or listening when you call someone a choice four-letter word for, for example, allowing a door to slam in your face while you’re driving. Take up the habit of biting your tongue.
In the western world, we believe that respect is something that must be earned rather than something that should be given to a stranger on the street. In Dubai, on the other hand, you must be polite to everyone around you — regardless of apparent cultural, religious, or even socioeconomic distinctions that may exist between you and them. If you engage in inappropriate or disrespectful behavior in public, you may be in violation of the law and subject to a fine, jail, or even deportation. You might be perplexed after reading the foregoing because, as you will discover for yourself in Dubai, certain nationalities of workers are treated worse than others.
Yes, in the United Arab Emirates, respect is not always shown.
This is because you never know who you’re insulting or who is watching or listening when you call someone a choice four-letter term for, for example, letting a door slam in your face.
Smoking is prohibited in many public areas, including government buildings and retail malls, so please follow the regulations. There are also designated smoking locations located around the city, making it easy for even the most hooked smoker to adhere to the prohibition.
Working in Dubai
Finally, it should be emphasized that it is not recommended to attempt to work illegally in the UAE without a work authorization. To begin working, you must first obtain all of the necessary documentation; otherwise, you may find yourself in prison and then on an enforced return flight home.
Dubai ruleslaws – summary
Many of the laws and norms in Dubai are commonsense, and other of the laws are simply an extension of our own national legislation. However, in certain instances – such as the case of non-married couples who are not permitted to live together or have a sexual connection – the laws and norms in Dubai may appear to be foreign to us. Fact is, regardless of how strongly you feel, you will not be able to change the laws, and breaking them will result in penalties, incarceration, and deportation if you do not comply with them.
You might find useful:
- A complete guide on how to relocate to Dubai
- Dubai Income Tax and Taxation Advantages for Expats
- Working in Dubai – How to Find a Good Job in the United Arab Emirates
General Laws and regulations in Dubai
Before embarking on a journey to any place, it is crucial to understand that if you violate the laws of the country you are visiting, even your embassy may be unable to aid. As a result, it is advisable to become familiar with the fundamental rules and regulations of the country you intend to visit. If you are considering a vacation to Dubai, you should be aware that all of the laws and regulations of the United Arab Emirates will apply in Dubai as well. The operative term in the United Arab Emirates is “Arab,” and although Dubai has become a popular and attractive tourist destination in recent years, it is still a Muslim country with traditional regulations.
- It is more accurate to describe the legal structure of the United Arab Emirates as a dual acting system, consisting mostly of Islamic Shariah and components of conventional law.
- The laws and regulations of the United Arab Emirates are continually being revised and updated to keep up with the rapid pace of growth taking place here.
- The Supreme Council of Rulers of the United Arab Emirates is the country’s highest ruling body.
- Local government is also involved, and it plays an important part in the development of laws in each emirate.
As a result, it is recommended that expatriates familiarize themselves with the legislation of the nation in which they intend to reside. Here are some fundamental laws and facts about the United Arab Emirates, ranging from the dress code to alcohol use regulations, that may be of assistance.
General rules applicable to expats in Dubai
In the United Arab Emirates, all expatriates are subject to immigration regulations, which may be complicated and time-consuming at times. A passport is required for travel to the United Arab Emirates. While citizens of some nations are permitted to receive visitor visas upon arrival at the airport, citizens of other countries are required to secure visitor visas in advance. Please check with your local embassy for the most up-to-date entry/exit restrictions that apply, and visit for the most up-to-date visa information.
Everyone living in the United Arab Emirates is subject to UAE immigration regulations, which may be confusing and time-consuming at times. If you want to travel to the United Arab Emirates, you’ll need a passport. Certain countries’ citizens are permitted to obtain visitor visas upon arrival at the airport, whereas others are required to obtain visitor visas ahead of time. In order to get the most up-to-date entry/exit regulations that are relevant, please contact your local embassy or visit for the most up-to-date visa information.
Every citizen resident in the United Arab Emirates is required to have a national identity card, according to the UAE government. Visitors who wish to work or reside in the UAE should familiarize themselves with the registration process and criteria for ID cards before making their trip.
Dual nationality is not permitted in the United Arab Emirates by the government. Children born to UAE dads immediately gain UAE citizenship at birth and are permitted to travel to and from the UAE with their father’s passport. Dual nationality, on the other hand, is not permitted in the UAE, and your passport may be seized if you are discovered. In addition to being subject to all ordinary UAE laws, nationals of the United Arab Emirates will also be subject to a number of particular requirements.
Working Illegaly in UAE
It should be emphasized that any effort to work illegally in Dubai is considered a crime, and you may be sentenced to prison or deported if caught. International residents and workers intending to live and work in the UAE must produce certified personal identification documents such as birth and marriage certificates, adoption and custody degrees, as well as other educational credentials. The authentication of papers is a time-consuming procedure that includes many state, federal, and municipal authorities and can take several weeks to complete in some cases.
Whenever an employer and an employee are involved in a disagreement, the Ministry of Labour in the United Arab Emirates has established a separate department to investigate and resolve such labor claims.
Your initial line of inquiry should be on the sorts of work visas or permits that are necessary in the country in question.
Check for import taxes and other rules that may apply to the formation of enterprises in the United Arab Emirates. It is necessary to get a business license from the Economic Department of the appropriate emirate.
Stringent fines are applied across the UAE for various traffic offenses, notably for drinking and driving while under the influence of alcohol. In such circumstances, violators are frequently imprisoned for many days and may also be subjected to legal proceedings, black points, and significant fines and penalties. To drive in the UAE, you must have a valid driving license, and international driver’s licenses are not accepted. If you are involved in an accident, the legislation of the United Arab Emirates emphasizes that you must wait at the scene until the authorities come.
Non-payment of Bills and Bounced Cheques
Bounced post-dated cheques are regarded a criminal offense in the United States, as opposed to other nations where they are only considered an inconvenience. Non-payment of bills, as well as the passing of bad cheques, are both punishable by penalties or jail in the United Arab Emirates.
Rules for smoking/alcohol/drugs
Drinking or possessing alcoholic beverages without a valid liquor permit from the Ministry of the Interior is prohibited and may result in arrest, fines, and/or jail. Despite the fact that alcohol is supplied in certain prominent hotels’ bars, it is exclusively meant for hotel guests. Any other individuals who are not hotel guests but who drink alcoholic beverages at the hotel’s restaurants and bars are needed to get their own personal liquor permits in order to do so. Non-Muslims who hold UAE Residency Permits are the only ones who may obtain a liquor license in the country.
- As a result, it is critical to adhere to the regulations.
- Additionally, UAE legislation underlines that even the smallest amount of illicit narcotics may result in years in jail for foreign nationals who are found in possession of them in the country.
- There are several medications and substances that are categorized as narcotics in the United Arab Emirates, and it is unlawful to possess them there.
- In order to avoid importing prohibited substances into the UAE, consult with the Drug Control Department or the Ministry of Health before bringing them in to the country.
Behaviour / Dress codes in the UAE
Generally speaking, the norms of conduct, behavior, and dress code in the United Arab Emirates reflect the Islamic traditions of the country and are more conservative than those in western countries. In compared to western and European countries, the regulations governing public decency and morals in the United Arab Emirates are quite rigorous. It is illegal in the UAE to make any public display of love or immodesty, and those who do so will face incarceration. While dancing with a few friends after a night out may not be deemed offensive in certain nations, doing so in public is considered obscene.
- Certain unintentional behaviors, such as wearing inappropriate apparel, may bring unwelcome attention to oneself.
- If you photograph potentially critical UAE military and civilian sites or foreign diplomatic missions, you may be arrested or detained.
- There are strict rules about how an expatriate man should treat a local woman in public, including not addressing her in public, taking her picture without permission, or bothering her in any way.
- Expatriates are free to practice their religions as they like, and this is accepted.
The month of Ramadan is a time when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. As a result, eating, smoking, and drinking in public settings may not be permitted during this time period for Muslims.
Islamic Law (Sharia)
According to Sharia Law, a person is assumed innocent unless proven guilty, just as it is in other legal systems. In a court of law, both the plaintiff and the defendant are on an equal footing. Apostasy, murder, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and theft are among the offenses that are subject to specific punishments in Islamic law. In general, if you want to live and work in the United Arab Emirates, you will have to follow the laws of the country and respect the norms that Emiratis follow.
10 Rules to Avoid Jail in Dubai –
If you are thinking about traveling to the United Arab Emirates or relocating there for employment, it is a good idea to keep certain dos and don’ts in mind. Dubai is largely a Muslim country, and as a result, it has customs and regulations that are distinct from those of other countries. The ten guidelines outlined below will assist to guarantee that both Emirati nationals and visitors have a memorable stay in Dubai (for all the right reasons), and will benefit both parties.
What to wear in Dubai
Emiratis in Dubai dress modestly or in traditional attire, like they do in all of the UAE’s other countries. Expats living in the nation as well as tourists visiting the country are required to follow the same laws. When entering public places such as shopping malls and restaurants, it is critical to dress correctly for the occasion. The rule of thumb is that nothing should be too short, and no material should be see-through. It is also recommended to avoid wearing clothing adorned with logos or statements that are likely to be objectionable.
Swimming gear must be appropriate, and once guests have exited these places, they must cover their bodies with appropriate clothing.
Despite the fact that Dubai is a Muslim country, expats and visitors are free to practice their own faith without fear of penalties. Muslims are required to pray five times a day, and expats and visitors should refrain from interfering with their prayers or the peaceful operation of Mosques. Muslims fast from dawn to sunset throughout the month of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month. Consumption of alcoholic beverages, smoking, playing loud music, and dancing in public locations during daytime hours are absolutely prohibited throughout this time period.
Unmarried couples in Dubai
In Dubai, it is against the law to have sexual interactions or live together as unmarried couples. Cohabitation, especially in hotels, is also prohibited; nevertheless, the majority of hotels in Dubai do not enforce the ‘only married couples’ regulation, which is uncommon. The premium hotels, which cater mostly to tourists from other countries, are very laid-back. At check-in to these hotels, guests will be asked to produce their passports. Having distinct surnames, on the other hand, will not raise any suspicions.
This can aid in the prevention of future difficulties and the peace of mind of guests.
In Dubai, homosexuality is considered a criminal offense, and violators may face deportation. In these instances, it is frequently preferable to reserve a double room in order to avoid any complications.
In Dubai, it is against the law to engage in sexual intercourse or live together as unmarried couples. While cohabiting is banned everywhere, even at a hotel, the majority of establishments in Dubai do not enforce a “only married couples” policy. Specially laid-back are the premium hotels that cater mostly to international guests. Guests will be asked to provide their passports at the time of check-in at these hotels. It will not be noticed if you have two distinct surnames, though. The terms ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’ are sometimes used by travelers to refer to their relationships during their stay in Dubai, rather than the terms’my girlfriend’ and’my fiancé.’ As a result, tourists will have peace of mind and will not encounter any complications.
Visitors to Dubai who are found to be homosexual will be deported if they do not come out to their friends and family.
Unless a guy knows an Emirati lady, he should not address her in public if he does not know her. Following a lady or photographing her without her consent is also seen to be impolite and inappropriate.
Alcohol in Dubai
Although the use of alcoholic beverages is not prohibited in Dubai, there are numerous laws that must be followed. Non-Muslims are permitted to consume alcoholic beverages at licensed establishments, which are often hotel restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. These establishments must be licensed to provide alcoholic beverages. It is against the law in Dubai to acquire alcoholic beverages and consume them in your own house. Nationals, on the other hand, can apply for a liquor license, allowing them to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages at home.
Dubai has adopted a zero-tolerance policy.
Being intoxicated in public is likewise not acceptable, and you may be arrested as a result of your actions.
Narcotics and Prescription Drugs
Drugs, including prescription pharmaceuticals, are completely prohibited in Dubai, including several over-the-counter medications. Consuming, transporting, purchasing, or selling drugs is a serious offense that carries the possibility of life imprisonment. If we’re talking about prescription medications, anything that contains codeine is prohibited for personal use. However, it can only be taken with a specific doctor’s prescription that specifies the length of time it should be used. It is preferable to obtain a copy of the list of prohibited drugs from your embassy.
It is recommended that visitors to Dubai who will be taking prescription medications do so with a doctor’s letter in their possession. The letter should include the dates of travel, the nature of the ailment, and the particular dose prescribed.
Hand and Feet Etiquette
If you are given beverages or meals in Dubai, you should take them without hesitation. Nonetheless, Muslims believe that it is preferable to drink and eat with one’s right hand since the left hand is seen as dirty because it is used for hygienic needs. Visitors should also avoid revealing the soles of their shoes or the soles of their feet, since this would imply to an Emirati that you believe they are ‘dirty’ in some way. Preventing offence by keeping feet flat on the ground and without crossing legs is an excellent method to keep from offending somebody.
Generally speaking, it is in the more formal settings that etiquette should be observed more strictly.
Writing Cheques in Dubai
In comparison to other nations, Dubai has a high proportion of people who utilize cheques. Expats frequently make use of them since they have difficulty obtaining credit in their home country. Bouncing a check, on the other hand, is prohibited in the United Arab Emirates. People might risk criminal prosecution if they produce a check for a sum more than the amount of money in their account to cover it. In Dubai, a cheque is regarded as a financial agreement in the eyes of the law, and so cannot be cashed.
In Dubai, travelers who use profanity in public can be sentenced to 30 days in prison. Despite the fact that views regarding obscene language might be a little lax in the United Kingdom, it is best to hold your mouth and keep the insults to yourself. Furthermore, anyone who makes blasphemous statements about Islam should be prepared to suffer severe penalties; many foreigners have been imprisoned for making off-the-cuff remarks against Islam. It is preferable to exercise a little cultural awareness while also exercising common sense.