Being a purely Islamic Country, The UAE follows the Sharia Law system when in comes to preserving the culture of its religion. Being a Muslim country Dubai is no exception to the rules however rules are somewhat less stringent than other Arabic states. But publicly many things are objectionable and may attract imprisonment and deportation for foreign travelers.
Many a times people across the world travel to the Middle Eastern countries with their fiance or their girlfriend/boyfriend. For western countries it is common to do so and the culture permits it. But Dubai has strict rules and regulations for unmarried couples and living together without marriage. Police would not go around checking every hotel room or residence unlike other states of UAE but would only deeply investigate if the couples draw attention for flouting rules in public or otherwise.
In Dubai living together or unmarried travelers are against the laws and culture and thus cannot be practiced by anyone whether resident or traveler. In other terms one has to be husband and wife in order to stay together in a room or even travel in car when in Dubai. Flouting the rule is illegal and is against the law.
But many unmarried travelers have traveled without any harassment and unless they have flouted any social and legal norms. Arrests may happen only if the couple draws attention towards them or local residents are in some way annoyed by their behavior. A thorough investigation occurs by the police in that case and chances of finding out becomes very high regarding being unmarried. So the couple must be careful not to attract attention in any way in the first place.
Common Laws for Unmarried Couple
Typically westerners and other country couples are confused regarding the rules for couple travelers and what may be consequences for flouting the same. Drastic and strict measures are taken by the police if found breaking the norms:
- In UAE it is against the law for unmarried couples to stay together. Couples can live together and share a bed only if they are married or if the other person is a family member.
- The police generally does not go around checking every apartment or hotel room. Only if neighbors or local people complain or the couple engage in uncouth incidents publicly will the police interfere and investigate further
- The ‘Tawajed Clause’ is applied widely in UAE. According to the clause opposite sex unrelated members cannot stay together in a hotel room and in that case if the car
- Yet another clause Al Khilwa Al Muharama Clause refers to the same objection on unmarried couples living together
- Anyone engaged in sex apart from marriage or if caught these circumstances may be punished as per law along with deportation as per UAE Penal Code Article 356
- Couples are not allowed to be in a car as well. Police would not approach or stop cars to find out that but if anyone breaks traffic rules, meets with an accident or engages in PDA, police might start investigating
- For travelers working for work a lot depends on the policies of the company. A conservative employer may not allow anyone other than spouse to live in the same apartment. Residence dependable visa is only applicable for the spouse.
- There is a lot of risk involved if the partner is already married to someone. The UAE does not tolerate such illicit relationships
- Expat members can avoid police verification to a large extent
- Tenancy along with an unrelated partner is not allowed and has to be obtain desperately if sharing one accommodation
Hotel Sharing for Unmarried Couples
Hotels generally do not ask for proof of marriage presumes only married couples share the room. Passports with different surnames are not of concern as UAE women keep their maiden surname even after marriage. Majority of the luxury hotels do not enforce the ‘only married rule’ but it is always advisable to address the partner as a spouse rather than a fiancé or a girlfriend/boyfriend to avoid unnecessary hassles if any in future. However if caught in a scandal by any means there might be a police interrogation which may lead to details of the relation.
Other Rules for Unmarried Couples
Sharing accommodation when not married is illegal and not accepted. Even while driving a car one is not supposed to be in the car if the couple is not married. Public display of affection is not at all tolerable, not even holding hands in public. If caught one might face imprisonment.
Many a times mixed gender people share a house which in itself does not attract the police but they might get into trouble if neighbors are annoyed by their behaviour and complain to the police.
Overall it is good to say that live in relationships and unmarried couples are not allowed to move around to stay with each other in the UAE as per law. But in Dubai the police does not go around verifying or randomly check if attention via breaking rules, scandals or vandalism is attracted. If caught in such acts, the law is strict and may result in imprisonment, fine and deportation.