Relocating to Dubai: The Laws You NEED to know.

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December 15, 2020

Relocating to Dubai: The Laws You NEED to know.

Dubai is a fantastic place to start a new life but there are lots of things to consider when relocating to the country. 

There are many laws that need to be learnt and followed before you head out there which we will go over in this post, from how to get a job to social constructs that need to be adhered to. 

In the post we will cover:

  • Working in Dubai
  • Alcohol Consumption in Dubai
  • Public Displays of Affection
  • Bouncing a cheque
  • Dubai Clothing Restrictions

Working in Dubai

The number one thing to remember when trying to get a job in Dubai is to prepare all the documents you’ll need for any job interviews and the whole recruitment process. 

Sort these out before you start your job search so you are fully prepared. 

It’s also a good idea to have enough money behind you to get you by until your first paycheck so you aren’t reliant on getting a job quickly as there are many steps to go through before you may secure one. 

Learning some basic arabic words will help you get by when speaking on the phone and in your interviews. 

This is more for politeness as many of the people you come across will speak fairly good english however it is a good idea to use some arabic words such as ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘hello’ in your meetings to show an enthusiasm for the culture you’ll be immersing yourself in to. 

Alcohol Consumption in Dubai

There are many misconceptions about alcohol consumption in Dubai. Firstly, alcohol is not forbidden nor is it not for sale in the country. 

Alcohol can be bought from bars, hotels and other areas like this, with happy hours and drinks with dinner being allowed too. 

The main thing to remember here is that you can’t drink in public. The repercussions for having a drink on the beach or in an open public space can be pretty hefty so avoid that at all costs. 

Drinking inside a hotel or bar is completely fine as long as you don’t go over the top or behave in a disorderly manner, which is highly frowned upon. You can also invest in an alcohol license which will help you out when it comes to buying alcohol from stores and shops for your own use at home. 

You can ONLY store and drink alcohol at home if you have this licence. 

To get an alcohol license you must:

  • Be over 21 years old
  • Be non-Muslim 
  • Have a valid dubai residence visa

Public displays of affection

This is definitely something to avoid doing in public. Everything from holding hands to kissing is not allowed and can result in large punishments such as imprisonment and deportation. 

It is key to respect these rules while in Dubai, it is seen as disrespectful in the local culture and customs. 

They are not big on public displays of affection at all, even if you are married. It’s best to avoid physical touch between partners until you are in a private place such as your home. 

It is also important to note that you must not live together or stay in the same house/hotel room while in Dubai if you are not married to the other person. 

For example, unmarried couples can not stay in the same hotel room or live in the same house under sharia law. 

If you are just visiting as a tourist in Dubai, these rules are more loose for you however if you are moving to Dubai as a resident then these rules must be followed completely. 

You can read more about sharia law in our previous blog post

Another thing to be wary of is taking photographs. Did you know it is illegal to take photos inside or in front of public buildings in Dubai. 

You also have to be careful who is in the photo as it is illegal to take a photo of anyone without their consent, this includes if they just accidentally walk into the shot. 

Eating in public during Ramadan is also not allowed. It is seen as highly disrespectful to eat in front of people observing the practice of fasting during the holiday and therefore is it illegal to eat in public during this time.

Even if you don’t follow the religion yourself you still have to practice this rule. 

Swearing in public is also uncouth in Dubai and has resulted in people being arrested. 

It’s worth remembering to avoid swearing of any sort, this includes words and gestures, while in Dubai. 

Bouncing a cheque 

So what is a bounced cheque? When a cheque bounces it is because the holder of the account does not have sufficient funds to pay what the cheque is drawing out. 

Banks will send back or ‘bounce’ the cheque back to the account holder. 

If you are worried that a cheque you are receiving will bounce, the best thing to do is to go to the bank that the cheque is from and ask if it will clear. 

They will be able to tell you this information and this may save you paying the NSF fees. 

Bouncing a cheque in Dubai can be punishable by prosecution without a case. 

Those who bounce a cheque worth up to Dh50,000 will be fined Dh2,000 or fined Dh5,000 for cheques worth between Dh50,000 to Dh100,000. 

To pay your fine you can either do this on your phone or at the police station. A link will be sent to your phone through which you can pay the fine within a certain amount of days. 

Dubai Clothing Restrictions 

While in Dubai, there are a few rules regarding clothing restrictions that need to be followed. Most of these apply to women. 

It’s important to not wear anything too revealing, even items of clothing that may not be deemed as revealing in your current culture such as short sleeves. 

Short dresses, short skirts and sleeveless items are not very welcomed in Dubai so it is wise to avoid these items. 

Women are encouraged to wear long dresses, long sleeves and trousers to cover their skin from view. 

These rules are slightly stricter during Ramadan so take that into consideration when planning your move. 

The rules become more relaxed around beaches and poolsides. Anything from a bikini to a full cover swimsuit is allowed in these areas all year round. 

The only rule to abide by in these areas is no nudity, so make sure your swimsuit is already on underneath your clothing or get changed in the changing rooms provided. 

If you are planning on visiting less tourist full areas such as the markets, souks and mosques then being fully covered is a good idea for all genders. 

Arms and legs should be covered well and clothing shouldn’t be removed while you are visiting those areas. 

This is mainly because you will be surrounded by locals and other muslims in places like this and therefore will be asked to follow the rules more strictly. 

If you are planning on doing a popular tourist activity, such as dessert safari’s, you can wear more relaxed and comfortable clothing like shorts and a long sleeve top. 

Skirts and dresses aren’t advised as firstly, they will be very uncomfortable to wear but also can be revealing during the activity. 

For further information, please contact us or read our previous blog posts on other Dubai related topics.