Many people who are coming or would like to come to Dubai for the first time are asking whether Dubai is too strict. Dubai is a Muslim country with laws and rules that must be followed and respect the culture. For breaking the law, you can expect a fine, jail, or even deportation. Thanks to these strict rules, the city is one of the safest in the world. However, in my opinion, Dubai is not too strict. Moreover, it is less strict than other Emirates in the UAE. Let’s have a look at certain things that you should not do or you should avoid in order to stay out of trouble.
Eating and drinking on public transportation
Eating, drinking, and chewing gum are not allowed on any public transportation. You will see the signs all over the transportation. And you can see that people are following the rule as they would receive a fine. You can also notice how clean public transportation is compared to Europe for example.
It is allowed to drink alcohol in licensed places like hotels, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. You will not find alcohol in shops like Carrefour, but there are shops that sell alcohol and you have to have a license to buy it. However, if you are coming as a tourist, you can buy alcohol at the airport in duty-free shops.
You are not allowed to drink in public, be drunk and make noise while walking on the streets. Also, there is zero alcohol tolerance while driving. This can take you to jail.
Kissing in public
Kissing in public places is illegal. As a Muslim country, any public display of affection is not allowed in Dubai. Therefore keep it for your hotel room. Holding hands as a couple is completely fine.
Dubai and the whole UAE have strict laws surrounding LGBTQ. It means any display of affection in public between gay or lesbian couples is strictly prohibited. You can not only get a fine but also be put in jail or deported from the country.
Drugs in Dubai and in the whole UAE are illegal. This is one of the biggest NO for everyone. Don’t try to bring any drugs to Dubai or carry drugs with you in Dubai.
Taking pictures of governmental and military buildings is not allowed. Also taking pictures of car accidents, fires, or any other incidents and posting them on social media is strictly prohibited. Moreover, the privacy of people is highly valued here, therefore you should not take pictures of people without their permission. Mainly if they are local women with children or generally local people.
Swearing or flashing your middle finger in public places is a big no in Dubai. If you are caught you can expect a big fine and up to one year in prison. Also, be careful about swearing on Whatsapp as the other person can keep the conversation and take you to the court. When we talk about Whatsapp, be aware that video calls on Whatsapp are blocked the same as on Viber. Video calls are allowed on skype. However, this can change as any other law.
Having dirty car
You should not keep your car dirty. When there are sandstorms or floods happening in Dubai, your car may get dirty. You should go and clean it in the car wash in order to avoid a fine. Don’t think about washing it yourself in your neighborhood or car park as this is not allowed.
While food containing poppy seeds is very normal in the Western world and people from young kids to the elderly love them and bake them at home, here the poppy seeds are considered as drugs. So please leave your lovely cakes or bags of poppy seeds at home.
Using a VPN in order to download copyrighted materials or access blocked sites is under UAE’s cybercrime laws. If you try to go against this law, you can expect a high fine.
Spreading news and rumors
This is probably one of the strictest rules here. You are not supposed to speak negatively about the UAE, or the government and destroy the good name of the country. This applies mostly to social media. You can get a fine of up to one million dirhams, jail, or be deported from the country.
These are the most important laws and rules in Dubai. The city is very safe due to these laws, therefore if you not going against them, you respect them and the culture, you will have a lovely time in Dubai and will be safe. There are a lot of cameras installed throughout the city, so if you are doing something illegal, you are caught very easily. One of the reasons the crime is very low here.
Just to note that any of the laws can be changed in the future. For example, there used to be a law that unmarried couples were not supposed to live together in a flat. This has changed now and it is legal.