Dubai Laws – Basics you should know


Dubai is known for being stringent with rules and residents’ adherence to them. Moving from our beloved nation where we so easily break and bend the law, we need to pay extra attention to the many things we take for granted but could get us into serious trouble with the law.

Here are a few common rules that are frequently hidden behind our blind spot.

  • Satellite TV – Most commonly used satellite TVs like Dish TV, Sky TV and other decoders are an absolute no-no. Several residents have also received warnings at their apartments to discontinue use of these to avoid legal action, deportation and hefty fines.
  • Calling cards & applications – Using illegal calling cards and applications like Skype and Voip are considered a major offence and can lead to jail time, fine and even deportation.
  • Handling Alcohol – Consuming alcohol, buying alcohol from friends or outlets, storing it at home transporting it around is fine… as long as you hold a liquor permit! Without a permit, possession of alcohol is an offence.
  • Taking or Possessing Drugs: There is a zero tolerance drug possession policy. Controlled substances and over the counter drugs are acceptable.
  • Domestic Help – Employing maids and cleaners on someone else’s visa has landed thousands on trial.
  • Littering – Many people are quick to toss out cigarette butts, food wraps unawares that inspectors and authorized citizens could be at any street corner ready to fine you.
  • Spitting – Spitting out of cars and on the sides of buildings are a common sight in residential areas. Recently the spitting of paan made major news for the colour and ugly sight it creates.
  • Jaywalking – For years we have been used to crossing the roads whenever and wherever convenient. It was only a few years ago that pedestrian crossings have been introduced. The trouble is that these crossings are not available at prime crossing areas. But that’s no excuse to be jaywalking.
  • Car washing and other water dripping activities – A relatively less offensive crime, but it is still one you can get fined for. Residents are not permitted to wash cars on the road side, dispose of unclean water or allow the dripping of water from air conditioners.
  •  Apartment leasing and illegal live-ins – Sharing apartments and leasing out rooms to people are not allowed in the UAE. Moreover, people of the opposite sex who are unrelated or who engage in pre-martial sex are at major loggerheads with the law. This extends to public displays of affection is malls and public areas of the city.
  •  Reverse parking in Sharjah – We’re not sure if this is relatively new or recently publicised but if you are caught reverse parking in Sharjah you could just be fined for being a danger to people and motorists around.
  • Dangerous driving activities – Driving fines are a whole world itself. The most common of these are speeding, texting/talking on the phone while driving, driving without a belt. Other major offences include unsafe seating of children and babies. Only one in 50 children are secured while in the car.
  • Cursing and inappropriate gestures – A moment of anger is all it takes to get you into trouble. People are often jailed for inappropriate behaviour and gesturing.