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Common Ways Foreigners Land Themselves in Trouble in the UAE


The UAE is one of the most visited countries in the world. However, considering the experiences of more than a few foreigners, it’s safe to classify it as strictly conservative as well.

A lot of people who have gotten in trouble with the law in the country can tell you they were surprised. For most of them, what they were accused of wasn’t really a crime. Whereas, the UAE law found it different in court as it sentenced these oblivious foreigners to years in prison. If it weren’t for the neutral law firms in Dubai, these people could have had bleak futures.

Since countless people are bound to be attracted to its grandeur, it’s best that you know what and what not to do in the UAE:

What’s Considered Provocative in the UAE?

Obscenity, profanity and provocation are taken very seriously by the authorities of the country. You can be sure that there’s no getting away once you’re caught. And the country’s convenient and cutting-edge digital security systems won’t make getting away easier. Suffice it to say, there’s no hiding so the only way to stay out of trouble is to avoid all offences.

Here are a few things the authorities of the UAE find provocative and obscene:


Swearing is deemed obscene and profane. You can’t cuss someone and get away with it. Even if you’ve done it over a WhatsApp conversation, you can be reported. And it is important to note that prosecutors won’t let the case go cold.


Dancing is considered provocative and obscene in the UAE. This, including activities such as playing loud music in public spaces, will invite the overwhelming force of the UAE law right to your doorstep. You can only do so on private property and even that comes with a condition that you’re not louder than a standard limit.


Dressing in short clothes that reveal your genitalia or upper body in public can land you in prison with a heavy fine. This includes places like malls, restaurants, retailers and even beaches. Unless you’re on private property or a private beach, you can’t dress provocatively. 


PDA is against the rules in the UAE. Public display of affection, even among married couples is not tolerated in the country. Kissing or even hugging in public can get you fined or landed in prison if you do it at the wrong place and the wrong time.

Sharing a Living Space with Opposite Sex

If the authorities catch you or find proof of you living in the same room with a person of the opposite sex that’s not your spouse, you’ve bought yourself a ticket straight to jail. One woman from Norway claimed she was raped by a colleague on a business trip. The authorities arrested her. She faced charges for alcohol consumption without a permit, initiating intercourse without a marriage license and more. All in all, she received a sentence of almost 16 months in prison although she got out before the fourth one. 

What More Should You Know?

Now you know some of the things that can keep you safe and in line with the code of conduct as per the traditional and cultural laws of the country. Next, you can look at some of the major points of the laws pertaining to residency and tenancy agreements. Furthermore, if your aim is to land a job here, make sure you are aware of the UAE labour law as well. This will all prove to be vital information once you enter the state and realize you’re on your own. Seeing as how the above-mentioned points may seem bizarre to people from the Western hemisphere, we recommend hiring good lawyers.

Zahid Law Associates

While the UAE is a hub for tourists and welcomes global populations to the country, it refuses to show leniency on its laws. You might get away with a quick kiss in the park but you can be sure you’ll be in prison if you’re intoxicated on the streets. Therefore, experts tell visitors to never disrespect the law in order to avoid landing themselves in trouble. The authorities will not compromise on any regulation regardless of where you come from and the things you’re used to.