How to behave in the United Arab Emirats? Public decency in the UAE is known and clear and visible to all. We don’t force we ask respectfully all our visitors to respect the country and it’s people. Although my country is very accepting of Western culture and lifestyle, it is still a Muslim country, and that must be respected.
Dear UAE Visitor,
Welcome to our country and we wish you a pleasant stay. The UAE mixes the modern with traditional sensibilities. We look at what is acceptable, and what is not, in terms of decency and cultural sensibilities. We appreciate and respect the traditions and believes of other people, so we ask you to please do the same while you are here.
Here is a simple guide we have put together …
Respect the laws and traditions at all times
Our laws reflect the fact that the UAE is an Islamic country. You should respect traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times.
Sex outside of marriage is illegal and if any unmarried couples are brought to the attention of the UAE authorities they run the risk of prosecution, imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation. Public display of affection are frowned upon and public sexual acts can lead to jail time followed by deportation.
There is a zero tolerance? in relation to drugs and illegal substances. The penalties are extremely harsh? you could face a death penalty. Bringing drugs into the country, even ones you have a prescription for or bought over the counter in your country can lead to jail time.
Alcoholic drinks are served in licensed hotels and clubs, but it is a punishable offence to drink or to be drunk in public. There is zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving, and the penalties can be severe. It is against the law to walk in the street drinking alcohol. If you are caught drinking and driving you will face a prison sentence, if you are in doubt about the alcohol limits in your blood take a taxi. Note: Alcohol is banned in Sharjah.
Swearing or making rude gestures is considered an obscene act and offenders can be prosecuted. It has been known for offenders to receive a six-month jail sentence for such an act and some have been deported.
It is not appropriate for men to walk along the street bare-chested. It is very advisable that females avoid wearing very short skirts or revealing tops as you may attract unwanted attention. Women should dress modestly when in public areas, such as shopping malls. Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs, and underwear should not be visible. Decency is the word!
Avoid public displays of affection
Public displays of affection are frowned upon, and there have been several arrests for kissing in public. Offenders can face prosecution, imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation.
Photography of certain government buildings and military installations is not permitted.? You should not photograph people without their permission. When taking a photograph please bear in mind local people wearing national dress may take exception if photographed without their permission. Please avoid taking pictures especially of women wearing national dress.
The law is very strict when it comes to financial matters and debt. Unpaid debt and writing bad checks could also land you a spot in jail. Fraud, including bouncing cheques and the non-payment of bills (including hotel bills), is regarded seriously in the UAE and can often result in imprisonment and/or a fine. Bail is generally not available to non-residents of the UAE who are arrested for crimes involving fraud. Convicted debtors will not generally be released from jail until the debt is paid or waived. so if you are staying in the UAE for a longer term, live within your means and don’t overextend yourself.
Topless sunbathing is not permitted on the beaches.
One final note for those who get a bit edgy when driving, it is considered extremely offensive and against the law to “give somebody the finger”, so keep that finger as well as the rest of your hand on the steering wheel, or it as well as you, could end up on your way to jail. My country is an amazing place to visit, and by following these simple rules you can be assured that you will experience a “hassle-free” getaway.