Just as the saying goes ‘When in Rome act like a Roman,’ when in Dubai act like an Emiratis and imbibe to all of its laws, which is fundamentally the Sharia law.
Here are some of the laws or rather rules.
1. Indecent Dressing
As a Muslim state, women are expected to dress conservatively: no transparent, low-cut or short clothing, the stomach, shoulders, and back should be covered.
Men are expected to cover their chest and hide their underwear, therefore sagging is not allowed. Offensive slogans on clothing are also prohibited.
It is acceptable at the beach to wear swim suits and beach attire, however, topless sunbathing is not allowed. Failure to strictly adhere to these rules could land you in prison.
2. Public Displays of Affection
Kissing, cuddling and holding hands is not allowed in public, even in expat bars and clubs. In 2007, an unmarried Indian couple were sentenced to one year in prison after being caught hugging and kissing in the back seat of a taxi. The driver observed them in his interior mirror and drove them straight to the nearest police station.
This also applies to married couples; holding hands in public is the farthest public affection you can show, anything beyond that could land you in jail.
In Dubai, before you take a photograph of a local you need to ask for their permission especially is it’s a woman. It is also illegal to take photographs of government buildings and some reserved areas.
The consumption of alcohol is banned in most public places but can be consumed in bars and restaurants that are part of a four or five-star hotel. However, you can be queried for getting drunk.
Dubai residence can apply for a liquor license to buy alcohol and consume it in their own home. It is illegal to purchase alcohol and drink alcohol in your home without a liquor license.
There is zero tolerance for any drinking and driving in Dubai or the UAE. If you are caught with any trace of alcohol in your system while driving you will be arrested, imprisoned or deported.
5. Break Customs Laws
There are a number of products that are on the UAE’s banned list and cannot be brought into the country. They include Pornographic material, drugs and anti-Islamic material and more.
Some harmless everyday items may also be banned. Possession of painkillers, for example, and some cold and flu remedies is considered illegal and if you are found with them on your person you could bag a four-year prison sentence.
Learn from the case of a Swiss man who was sentenced to four years in prison after poppy seeds from a bread roll he had eaten in Heathrow were found on his clothes.
Another case study is that of a British tourist, Keith Brown who was sentenced to four years in jail after Dubai customs officers found a 0.003g trace of cannabis stuck to his shoe.