Local Laws and Customs in Dubai – The Dos and Don’ts

Local Laws and Customs in Dubai – The Dos and Don’tsThose travelling to Dubai or considering the possibilities of employment there ought to be familiar with local laws. Here is what you need to know before you go and while you are there.

It is against the law to…

* Drink alcohol whilst driving (UAE has a zero-tolerance policy towards drinking and driving) and walking in the street; zero tolerance for appearing to be drunk in a public place
* Consume alcohol if you are less than 21-years old
* Consume or carry drugs; this is illegal. The UAE has very strict drug/medication laws. Those with doctor prescribed drugs are advised to carry around a doctor’s note that describes the illness and the relative medicines prescribed for that syndrome
* Smoke tobacco in the UAE if you are less than 18-years old. Smoking is allowed only at designated areas
* Engage in any type of improper conduct and behavior; spitting and aggressive manners are not tolerated.
* Carry out homosexual behavior; this is a criminal offence. Cross-dressing is also illegal.
* Display signs of affection (kissing and hugging) in public; they are considered offences against public decency, so this is best done behind closed doors. Even holding hands is socially unacceptable.
* Use offensive language (including hand gestures)
* Randomly address women in public, or taking their photos without permission
* Expose parts of the body or display offensive pictures or slogans on clothing attire or tattoos; if in doubt, cover up.
* Have sex outside of marriage; premarital sex is illegal
* Jay walking (i.e., crossing the road in a non-designated area) is also forbidden
* Eat & drink in public areas (from dawn to dusk) throughout the months of Ramadan – the  Holy Month of Islam that, this year, it runs from 18 June to 16 July

Though many of the rules in Dubai are commonsense some, perhaps, may be strange to newcomers. It is important to become familiar soon with all the rules and standards by which Emiratis live.

Islam is a way of life in the city, so tourists should adopt a certain level of cultural and religious sensitivity for the duration of their stay.
Those that visit Dubai (or any other emirate city for that matter) should respect the by-laws and values of the country, regardless of their faith and nationality; therefore, it is recommended to check out the UAE relevant embassy website for further information.

Law-breakers are subject to heavy fines, imprisonment and deportation. The exercise of capital punishment is relatively rare in the country. Penalties are generally assessed according to its religious law. According to UAE law, a suspect of any criminal offense can be held without charge for 48 hours.

Visiting Dubai can be an enjoyable experience; just know the laws, as just because you are a tourist does not mean you do not need to abide by the rules.

Local Laws and Customs in Dubai – The Dos and Don’ts

One thought on “Local Laws and Customs in Dubai – The Dos and Don’ts

  • March 22, 2016 at 3:50 am

    This is good! This article summarizes the law in Dubai without the legal terms that make us confuse. There are reasons why these laws are established like zero tolerance in drinking alcohol whilst driving as there are thousands of car accident cases in Dubai in a year. The authorities want to lessen these criminal cases in the court.


Leave a Reply

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