Dubai is one of the most attractive places to live and work. It has high wages and low taxes, which is a great option for people who want to make a lot of money. This is part of the reason why Dubai is a lucrative option for international workers. Many want to have the capacity to send as much money as they can to their families. Reports show the job market in the UAE in 2023 has expanded in the IT, real estate, telecom, and energy sectors.
The UAE, however, is a conservative region that has strict rules. Some of the rules may be strange to foreigners because these things are allowed or unregulated in their home countries. It’s important to be aware of these cultures to ensure you’re not disrespectful and remain safe.
1. Conservative clothing
Dubai may be more liberal than other Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia, but it still has strict dress codes. Women are not allowed to show the back, shoulders, stomach or upper thighs. Men must cover their chests and show no underwear. Tourist-zone hotels have more relaxed rules where adults can wear bathing suits. But topless sunbathing isn’t allowed.
Swearing in public is illegal according to the UAE Penal Code. If you’re caught swearing in public, it’s punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine of 10,000 Dirham (Ksh. 400,000). Flipping a middle finger in public can also get you deported.
3. Public displays of affection
Holding hands if you’re married is fine but can still be frowned upon. Kissing and hugging between couples in public isn’t allowed. Dancing is only allowed in licenced clubs. Public dancing is a grey area but you can also be arrested for being provocative. Men aren’t allowed to chat up women or even appear to be propositioning them.
4. The call to prayer
The UAE is a largely Islamic country. When the time for prayer arrives, all music needs to be turned off for the prayers to take place uninterrupted. During Ramadhan, public drinking, smoking, dancing and loud music are strictly forbidden. You shouldn’t do these things even when you’re non-Muslim.
5. Drinking alcohol
Public consumption of alcohol is illegal in Dubai. However, some establishments have licences for non-Muslims to drink. Some establishments can also ask for your licence to drink, which may also be enforced if you want to drink in your home or hotel. It’s also only valid in Dubai. If you visit the other Emirates, you need to purchase a licence for that area. The legal drinking age is 21. Travelling with alcohol or while drunk can also be illegal or frowned upon.
Dubai’s Nightlife Scene: Bars, Clubs, And Live Music Venues
6. Public eating
Eating and drinking any beverage in public transport vehicles is prohibited in Dubai. You shouldn’t eat in pedestrian areas like bus stops or road crossings either. This carries a fine of 100 Dirhams (Ksh. 4350).
Dubai has a heavily regulated network. Many websites are banned because Dubai is a conservative state. Using a VPN can attract a fine of 500,000 to 1.2 million Dirhams (Ksh. 21.8 million-52.1 million), especially if you’re using it to access a blocked website or download copyrighted content.
Technology: Benefits Of VPNs And 5 Free Browser-Based VPNs
8. Taking photos
Taking photos of people without their consent is illegal in the UAE. You’re also not allowed to post them on social media. You can get a fine of up to 500,000 Dirhams and serve a prison sentence of 6 months. You can also be deported for even taking and posting photos of other people’s properties without permission.
You’re also not allowed to take photos of courts, palaces or military buildings. Taking photos of road accidents or plane incidents can also attract cash fines and deportation.
Sharing rumours on social media can be penalised with a three-year jail sentence. If an event happens, such as flooding or a fire, sharing information on social media can attract a crackdown. If the government declares any information shared as rumours, it can lead to prosecution. What Is A Social Media Ban? How Do You Avoid Losing Access
In Dubai, Sunday isn’t an off day like in other parts of the world. The day of worship in Islam is on Friday but in countries like the UAE, they pray five times a day, daily. Because of this, the “weekend” is on Thursday in Dubai because Friday is the off day. Various companies can have different rules but most generally follow this rule. Some shops may also not be open on Thursdays and Fridays. Ensure you plan your schedule according to your new location rather than what you’re used to back home. 8 Ways To Blend In Like A Local In A Foreign Country
Travel Guide: Things You Should Know Before Visiting Dubai
Travel: 7 Places To Visit In Dubai
How To Set Up A Financial Plan When Living Abroad
7 Challenges People Face After Relocating Abroad
7 Things To Prepare For When Moving Abroad
Travelling Abroad? Here Is An International Travel Checklist You Should Follow
Education: The Pros And Cons Of Studying Abroad