The 5 most dangerous fines for tourists in the UAE

The Arab Emirates are known for their strict enforcement of rules and laws. Learn more about them to avoid problems and enjoy a safe vacation.

Fine for drinking alcohol in public places

Drinking alcohol and being drunk in public places is prohibited in the Emirates. Violation of this rule can result in a fine of AED 2,000 or 6 months imprisonment. As of November 8, 2022, the government lifted the ban on tourists buying alcohol. It only continues to apply in Sharjah – the most conservative emirate. However, in Dubai you will need to apply for an electronic permit, which gives you the right to buy alcohol for 30 days. In other emirates, you need only a passport. To avoid problems, it is recommended to consume alcohol only in special places and go home by cab immediately afterwards.

Photography Prohibition

The UAE is strict about invasion of privacy, so taking photos without asking is forbidden. You can’t take pictures of locals and post them on social networks, especially women. For such a violation you can face a fine of up to AED 500 million and imprisonment of up to 6 months. It is also forbidden to take photos of strategic sites, government buildings, mosques and people doing namaz. However, taking a panoramic picture is not prohibited. This also includes a ban on the use of drones, recently the government has again extended this restriction, for violation – a large fine or 2 years in prison.

Disrespect for police officers

It is forbidden to argue, and even more to touch policemen. If you are stopped by a policeman, do not try to ignore him, speak respectfully, answer all questions and provide the necessary documents, do not raise your voice. If you want to attract the police officer’s attention, do not touch him under any circumstances. Such actions may be considered as disrespectful and may result not only in a fine, but also in criminal imprisonment.

Violation of road traffic rules

One of the most serious offenses that carry high fines is traffic violations. Slight (by your country’s standards) infractions can lead to serious consequences. The average fine is 400-500 AED, but it can go up to 3000-5000 AED. For example, not wearing a seatbelt will cost you 400 AED ($110) and stopping on the highway without a reason will cost you 1000 AED ($270). For exceeding the speed limit by 10 km/h be prepared to pay 400 AED(110$). So be careful and follow the traffic rules to avoid troubles.

Showing your feelings in public places

Many people forget, however, in the UAE public expressions of affection such as kissing and hugging are considered unacceptable and can result in fines, and there have been cases of deportation in the past. By law, men and women in a public place can only hold hands or hug each other’s shoulders. The law is much stricter on showing feelings between LGBT+ partners, they are unacceptable and strictly punished. The federal law provides for capital punishment for homosexuality, but in some emirates the punishment is milder: in Dubai the sentence is up to 10 years in prison, and in Abu Dhabi – up to 14 years.

Learn the basic rules already at the stage of planning your trip, this will help you avoid fines and problems with the law during your stay in the UAE. And for the freedom to travel in comfort, rent a car from DEIZ!