For those who have been living in Dubai for some time now, following the local rules and regulations is second nature, but there’s no harm in getting a refresher. And for those new to to the city of gold, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the law as soon as possible. Here are some of the most important do’s and don’ts of living in Dubai.

Alcohol Consumption

Have an itch for the “Hic!”? Think again.
Alcohol can legally be consumed only by non-muslims, in licensed restaurants, bars, clubs, private venues, and at home (for residents who have acquired an alcohol licence).

It is against the law to drink alcohol whilst walking in the street or to be drunk in a public place. Tourists will not be able to purchase alcohol in general stores and supermarkets etc., as the alcohol in these stores are for residents who have obtained the required liquor license to purchase alcohol for consumption in their own personal use at homes. For those living in the UAE, a special licence must be obtained before purchasing any alcoholic beverages from the exclusive, specialised, licensed stores. This licence is only a permit for buying alcohol. It does not give any immunity for alcohol-related criminal offences.

It is an offence to carry alcohol in your car if you do not hold the special alcohol licence. If you come to the attention of the police you may be arrested, even though you may have purchased the alcohol legally. It can also only be consumed by those over 21.


The UAE’s roads are some of the best in the world, a fact owed as much to the country’s strict driving laws and heavy fines as to the regular maintenance. There is a zero-tolerance policy towards drinking and driving. You can be charged and imprisoned if you are caught with even the smallest amount of alcohol in your system. So if you’ve been out partying late, get a cab our use the metro. Just use the public transport and stay out of trouble.

Tailgating, speeding, racing, lane jumping and using a mobile phone while driving are all against the law. There are numerous speed cameras monitoring the roads and motorways. Wearing a seat-belt is mandatory. Pedestrian safety is also very important to the government, which is why jaywalking is also illegal.


The UAE is built on generations of Islamic traditions, which are rooted firmly in its culture and tribal heritage. These traditions form the very cornerstone of everyday life for an Emirati family. Emiratis are a friendly, tolerant and relatively open-minded people, but their conservative culture and values should always be respected. Making sure that you follow and respect the local culture, rules and traditions is one of the most sensitive issues in this part of the world.

Dress Code

Emiratis generally wear traditional, conservative clothing and can be offended when people dress inappropriately. In public places such as shopping malls, restaurants and parks, you are encouraged to dress appropriately. Clothing should not be transparent, indecently expose parts of the body or display offensive pictures or slogans. Be careful as well if you are tattooed with what could be deemed as offensive images or slogans. If in doubt, cover up. Be aware that if you enter one of these areas dressed inappropriately you could, albeit unlikely, be asked to leave. Any form of public nudity is strictly forbidden, including topless sunbathing. Swimwear should not be worn in any area outside the beach, water parks, or swimming pools.

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