There are some rules and regulations that exist within the UAE Federal Code that residents of the country are unaware of. Hassan Elhais, Legal Consultant in Dubai, Femina ME’s guest columnist, tells us more.

Consumption of alcohol by Muslims is strictly prohibited and punishable as per Islamic law. Any person found consuming alcoholic drinks shall have committed a punishable offense under Article 1 of UAE Federal no. 3 of 1987. Some Emirates of the UAE, however, have internal regulations like the Law on Alcoholic Beverage Control issued in 1972, which applies only in Dubai. As per the Dubai regulations, it is illegal for any person to consume alcoholic drinks without a valid alcohol license. In Dubai, Non-Muslims have the right to obtain an alcohol license for personal use. It is important to note that such a license allows the license holder to purchase permitted quantities of alcohol from legal vendors for consumption within his house. However, such licenses does not entitle the license holder to serve alcohol to other parties or to leave the premises of his house while under the influence of alcohol. Liquor licenses are issued only to non-Muslim persons, whether they are UAE residents or tourists, and Muslims are not issued alcohol licenses.


Generally, UAE Federal Law No. 3 of 2003, regarding the Organization of the Telecommunications Sector, organize usage of telecommunication services including satellites by stating that “No person shall use, sell, offer for sale or connect to any Telecommunications Network or any Telecommunications Apparatus, which has not been approved by the competent authority.” Additional regulations may apply in each emirate to regulate the usage of Dish Satellite TV, like in Dubai, where the Department of Economic Development in association with the Telecom Regulatory Authority, routinely conducts raids on buildings and take down illegal satellites and applies fines on users for use of such unauthorized usage.


According to Article 358 of UAE Federal Law no.3 of 1987, any displays of affection between couples – whether married or not – in public places does not fit local customs and culture. Accordingly, any such public displays of affection, including kissing in public, is a violation of UAE Penal Law of 1987 and is liable to be punished by imprisonment or deportation.


Article 378 of the Penal Code, which was amended by Federal Law No. 34 of 2005, states that capturing videos or photographs without permission and/or circulating it, is a violation of one’s personal privacy and can, therefore, be penalized. Such offenses can be punishable by confinement for a period not exceeding seven years and/or a fine. Similarly, taking photos in restricted areas can result in one to three months in jail or fine of up to AED 5,000. Further, the Court has discretionary powers to add a deportation order to the sentence.