In a bid to educate foreigners on the does and doníts of visiting and living in Dubai, Yahoo! Maktoob News has put together a simple guide to behaving with the help of advice from the UKís Foreign Office.
Respect the local laws and traditions at all times
Local laws reflect the fact that the UAE is an Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs.
Sex outside of marriage is illegal and if any unmarried couples are brought to the attention of the UAE authorities they run the risk of prosecution, imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation. Cohabitation, adultery, cross-dressing and homosexuality are also illegal.
Zero tolerance drug policy
The penalties for trafficking, smuggling and possession, of even residual amounts, of illegal drugs are severe. The possession and/or import of even the smallest amount of drugs can result in a minimum prison sentence of four years. The presence of drugs in the blood stream is counted as possession.
Some prescribed and over the counter medicines that are available in the UK are considered to be controlled substances in the UAE. If a passenger arrives in the UAE without prior approval and the required documentation, the medication will not be allowed into the UAE and the person may be subject to prosecution.
Alcoholic drinks are served in licensed hotels and clubs, but it is a punishable offence to drink or to be drunk in public. There is zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving, and the penalties can be severe.
Mind your language
Swearing or making rude gestures is considered an obscene act and offenders can be prosecuted. It has been known for offenders to receive a six-month jail sentence for such an act and some have been deported.
Women should dress modestly when in public areas, such as shopping malls. Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs, and underwear should not be visible.
Avoid public displays of affection
Public displays of affection are frowned upon, and there have been several arrests for kissing in public. Offenders can face prosecution, imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation.
Pornographic books and material is forbidden and the import or possession could lead to prosecution, imprisonment and/or a fine.
Fraud, including bouncing cheques and the non-payment of bills (including hotel bills), is regarded seriously in the UAE and can often result in imprisonment and/or a fine. Bail is generally not available to non-residents of the UAE who are arrested for crimes involving fraud. Convicted debtors will not generally be released from jail until the debt is paid or waived.
Photography of certain government buildings and military installations is not permitted. You should not photograph people without their permission.
Source: Yahoo! Maktoob, 17 August 2010 (URL)