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11 Dubai Laws You Should Know (Expat Advice)

11 Dubai Laws You Should Know (Expat Advice)

Living in Dubai is one of the most fascinating experiences a person can enjoy.

If you are going to be spending time in Dubai, it’s best to get a lay of the land. This includes the region’s laws that are going to be a part of your day-to-day routine.

It’s common for people to come to the Middle East and get confused about the regulations. While Dubai offers a tremendous amount of freedom, it also has a foundation of regulations that need to be adhered to as a visitor or a resident.

You can have a lot of fun in Dubai as it is noted for being an expensive city.

We often see people sign up for a digital nomad visa in Dubai because of how appealing it is. There is no denying Dubai has numerous fantastic elements that are going to add value to your life, but it’s also important to be prepared.

Here are the Dubai laws an expat will want to know before moving to Dubai.

Main Dubai Laws You Should Know

Avoid Indecent Acts

Public displays of affection are off-limits in Dubai.

It is not a good idea to go around kissing anyone in public as that is going to lead to immediate consequences depending on whether or not law enforcement is there.

They are strict about this and the penalties can be quite high for those who do behave in this manner.

Choose The Right Clothing For The Right Places

Dubai is known for being relaxed when it comes to clothing regulations but there are limitations. You will not want to test those limitations as a tourist or someone living in Dubai.

It can lead to issues with the local police and create a major hassle you are not going to want to deal with.

For example, you cannot wear a bikini or similar clothing anywhere outside the beach area. You are also expected to be somewhat modest with your clothing while heading outside the touristy areas of Dubai.


While the regulations in other parts of the world have relaxed on this matter including allowing same-sex marriages, this does not apply to anyone living in Dubai.

The regulations here are still strict and homosexuality is not allowed.

Anyone caught participating in this type of activity will be breaking the law and can end up serving quite a bit of time in prison if found guilty.

Thursday and Friday Are Weekends

Most people will go to Dubai assuming the weekend is going to come on Saturday and Sunday as it does in most parts of the world.

Since Dubai is an Islamic region, it follows the idea of Thursday and Friday being the official weekend. This is due to most people going for Friday prayers, which are obligatory in Islam. As a result, Dubai gives that day off along with Thursday.

Avoid Eating Or Drinking Publicly During Ramadan

This is not a strict regulation but it is something locals are going to be focused on. It can also lead to potential backlash from law enforcement in the area.

For example, Ramadan is when a Muslim fasts between sunrise and sunset. They are not supposed to drink water and/or eat food during this time of the day for 30 days.

As a result, a visitor or someone who is not a Muslim in Dubai should also respect this by avoiding eating or drinking out in public. You can still go to the restaurant and buy food, but avoid eating it out in the open.

Avoid Loud Music

Noise pollution is taken seriously in Dubai and it can lead to significant penalties.

Unless the area has been sanctioned for loud music, it is recommended to not play it in this manner in Dubai. For example, a person who is blasting loud music in their car is going to be looked down upon and can get in trouble.

The same goes for those attempting to throw parties with loud music in Dubai.

No Alcohol

Drinking is prohibited outside licensed areas.

A person who is drinking outside an establishment that has been licensed to sell alcohol in Dubai is going to end up dealing with severe consequences.

It’s best to drink privately if you are going to do so in Dubai.

Indecent Language

While most people will only focus on indecent acts such as kissing another person even if it is their spouse, you are going to have similar issues when using indecent language.

This is looked down upon as the laws are strict against the use of such language out in the open and it can lead to trouble if it is used in a public space.

No Gambling

Dubai does not have legal casinos.

Yes, it is a fabulous city with lots to do, but that does not mean it allows for gambling. Those who are looking to maximize their time in having fun around Dubai are going to find it hard to gamble legally.

Anyone who participates in black market gambling will be breaking the law and that leads to significant fines and/or prison time.

No Drugs

This one is more of an obvious one and it’s seen in most parts of the world.

Drugs are completely banned in Dubai.

Anyone buying, selling, and/or using drugs will be dealing with the brunt of the legal system. It’s a significant issue that many people have dealt with over the years in Dubai and it is never worth the risk as it can create major concerns.

No Photos On The Beach

When a person is on the beach, they are not allowed to take photos.

This means it’s best to put the cameras away or you are going to get in trouble. Some people do get away with this on private beaches but you are not going to want to do this on a public beach area as it can get you into trouble if someone complains.

The same goes for those who want to take photos near government buildings.

Final Thoughts

These are the main laws in Dubai an expat should be aware of being moving here.

The same goes for tourists wanting to know more about Dubai laws and how things work in this part of the world.