Traveling is fun, especially when you`re going to a new country or even a new continent. All the differences in the culture, the language, the traditions, the habits and even the laws! The other segments are interesting to get to know when you get there. However, the law is something you have to do a little research about before going to another country.

As strange as it might sound, even countries that are close can have different prohibitions. Take drinking in public for example. In some countries, it is normal to do it, while in others you might earn a pretty big fine. That`s why whenever you travel abroad, make sure to do a little research online or maybe ask your friends if they are aware of the regulations of that country. You don`t want to end up paying or even worse – go to jail, just because you didn`t have a clue that you were doing something wrong.

An interesting fact is that a lot of tourists have traveled to the United Arab Emirates, not knowing the regulations, which has led some of them to tricky situations. Now, we know that Dubai, which is a popular city in the United Arab Emirates, is a famous and attractive destination and you`ll probably want to visit it someday, mainly because it is known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture, and an exciting nightlife scene.

If you have already decided to travel to Dubai or you have picked another destination in the United Arab Emirates, then you`re reading the right article! You can always do your previous research about the destination. However, we already did your homework. Here are the things you have to be aware of while you`re staying in the United Arab Emirates:

Muslim dress codeRespect the local laws and costumes

The legislation and costumes of United Arab Emirates can be a little bit stricter than in other countries. Not always the things that are considered normal in your country are also allowed in the United Arab Emirates. Bear in mind that the people in the United Arab Emirates can find your actions to be offensive, so be careful to behave nicely. Don`t do anything disrespectful, especially in some places that are considered to be holly or in the period of Ramadan, their most precious religious holiday of the year.

Take notice of the dress code

Women have to be careful about this one! It`s not allowed for them to show a lot of skin on the streets. That`s why they should NOT dress to impress, since grabbing too much attention is not okay. Arms and legs should cover the tops, not showing any underwear at all! Don`t think about going through the city in your swimsuit to the beach, since they are only allowed at the beach or swimming pools.

Watch out for your offensive behavior

If you are a fan of swearing or you make rude gestures when you get pissed off, then we suggest you don`t do that here because you can get quickly locked up in jail or deported. Especially when arguing with police officers.
Showing affection in public can be very rude, knowing that even people that have been kissing have been arrested.

Also, you should know that cross-dressing is illegal.

Select carefully what you import in the country

So, have in mind that this is a country where pork meat and pornography is illegal. Also, whatever you take with you, like books, videos, and magazines, they will be examined when you`re entering the country. So it`s better to take nothing like this.

Take it easy with the alcohol

You better quit your plan on drinking something and walking through the city. First of all, you need a special liquor license to buy and drink alcohol, and you can only do it at home. You can drink alcohol in some licensed hotels and clubs, but good luck getting home because being drunk in public is strictly punishable. Also (it depends on the city) you have to be at least 18 if you want to consume alcohol. In Dubai, you are permitted to drink alcohol at the age of 21.

Fun fact: You can also get arrested if you are caught drunk while you are in transit through the United Arab Emirates. Okay, this fact is not so fun after all.

Forget about drugs

The United Arab Emirates has ZERO tolerance for taking, selling or being connected to any kind of drug possession. It`s a simple NO-NO to be doing something like that! The punishments to be caught when taking drugs can vary, but they start with a minimum of 4 years jail time. Drug trafficking can even get someone a death penalty! Yes, it`s that serious and doesn’t try to challenge the authorities. When packing, try even to research if the medication you have to take with you is legal. This is something that should be taken seriously.

Electronic cigarettes are also illegal in UAE and will most probably be taken away from you at the point of arrival.

Be aware not to take photos of everything

For all the tourists, but especially those with a passion for photography, be careful not to take pictures of everything in the United Arab Emirates. Taking photos of some government building and military installations are just not allowed. You might get a significant punishment, or even called for a few questions at the police station.

If you are a guy, don`t think about taking photos of women at the beach at all. Or of airplanes in the sky. If you don`t be careful, you can easily be misunderstood and perceived as suspicious.

Also, if you are carrying with you a compelling camera and some additional equipment for it, you might be asked for permission before you enter the United Arab Emirates.

Relationships outside marriage

It’s not okay to be unfaithful, but here you might even get punished for it. If you engage in sexual activities with a partner you`re not married to, then severe punishments are waiting for you. Depending on the case, the consequences can be enormous. Prosecution, fine, deportation or imprisonment, if you get caught having sex outside of your marriage, then you are not going to have a good time.
Same-sex marriages are not recognized, and all homosexual sex is illegal. You can`t even sleep in the same hotel room or live/spend the night somewhere together with a person of the opposite sex if you are not married to him/her or closely related.

If a female tourist gets pregnant outside marriage or is about to give birth to a child in the United Arab Emirates, the procedures and the restrictions are complicated and very strict.

Get informed before you book a hotel

If you are not 18, you can`t be a guest at the hotel if you are not accompanied by an adult. While checking in, it is normal for a photocopy of your passport or your ID to be taken at the reception.

Reading all of these restrictions and terms of behavior can make you stop and consider if going for a holiday there is a good idea. However, you have to keep in mind that this is only to inform you about the regulations, not to scare you. You have been probably already aware of half of the stuff, but it`s always nice to repeat them. The United Arab Emirates is a great country, offering a lot of charming and outstanding places to visit. And it`s always nice to experience a new culture, to get lost in the beauties of another country and to live a day like a local.


  1. Half of this is fear-mongering and the rules are nowehere near as EXTREME as you make out..

    “drinking with no license” is bollocks, especially when you consider that per capita the UAE consumes the most alcohol in the world…

    This whole list is crap. Shoddy work

  2. Ryan is right, I lived there and regularly visit Dubai. some of the items in the list are not remotely true. example: you can not sleep in the same room with opposite sex if not married. that’s total bullsh*t I have done it and I always do it. not only me every body does it. it’s a norm. you better go visit somewhere before you write a guide for the place. very amateur.

    • @Alibaba, thanks for your reply on our post. Unfortunately we use only trustworthy sources for our research and most information we got from Government websites. If they tell this is a possible problem we mention this in our article. It seems in the UAE are more rules then one.

      May I ask where you have this information that it is allowed?

      It’s easy to say this post is rubbish but it would really help us to give the information that is correct so it really helps other travelers to travel to this country without problems.


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