The Dubai Code allows holding hands between couples. But this is only limited to couples that are already married. Public displays of affection are offensive acts to the public when in Dubai. It is wise to avoid PDA when in the country.
I would have to make this clear.
In theory, men and women holding hands in public in Dubai are fine. This act will never lead to a problem unless it is the season of Ramadan. The same should also pose a problem in Sharjah.
In Dubai, you can easily see couples walking in malls and other public places holding hands.
You see them in malls. You see them in shopping centers. You see them in parks and all other public places. Everywhere, you will see couples of the opposite sex holding hands.
However, there is something that you should know.
Public display of affection is offensive to the locals of Dubai.
You can hold hands, yes. But you risk offending the locals.
As you can see, the Dubai Code allows such acts only to married couples.
There is a certain level of tolerance for unmarried ones. But if I were you, just do not run the risk of offending the locals.
And yes, holding hands as unmarried couples is offensive.
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The laws in Dubai do not allow unmarried couples to live together. It is also the same when unmarried couples share a hotel room. If there is something to note, unmarried individuals of the same sex cannot stay in hotel rooms together.
Remember that only married couples can share a room when you are in Dubai.
The only time two people of the opposite sex can share a room is when they are family members.
In theory, if you are an unmarried couple staying in a hotel room together, you are breaking the law. Although, I should also emphasize that they rarely prosecute tourists.
But would you run the risk of being on the wrong side?
I would not.
This is an important aspect for anyone planning to take a trip or a vacation with their significant other in Dubai. I highly suggest that you have separate rooms to stay in the city.
Unless, of course, you are already married.
The laws in Dubai forbid unmarried couples to stay together in the same home or hotel room.
As mentioned, they rarely prosecute tourists. But there can be arrests and jail time for the offenders when word gets out.
And as vacationers, I am sure you would not want this to happen.
Can you kiss in a bar in Dubai?
There are many acts not allowed in Dubai. The worst of its kind is kissing in public. It does not matter whether it is a peck on the cheek or a short smack on the lips. As long as it is in public, the law forbids it. Do not kiss in public when in Dubai.
Remember holding hands as a public display of affection that can offend the locals?
It is something I do not encourage that you do when in Dubai.
But there is something else you should not do. That is kissing in public.
As I mentioned earlier, kissing in public could be the worst of its kind when in Dubai.
It is something they forbid in public in Dubai.
Even a simple peck on the cheek or a smack to the lips can land you in jail in Dubai.
And no, that is not how you spend your vacations.
Can a woman hug a man in Dubai?
Holding hands is acceptable for married couples in Dubai. Kissing or hugging in public places is unacceptable.
When you compare Dubai with the other states of the UAE, Dubai is more liberal.
Despite its liberal approach, you should always recognize that they still observe Islamic law in the state.
The power of tourism, however, is vital.
And every year, you could see millions of tourists from all over the world arrive in Dubai to visit. And yes, a large percentage of these tourists are not married.
Hotels in Dubai can perhaps turn a blind eye to this.
But as an unmarried couple visiting Dubai either for vacation or for work, you should always take the necessary precautions.
Islamic Law on Unmarried Couples
As you already know, Islamic law does not allow unmarried couples to live together.
The same rule applies to unmarried couples sharing a hotel room.
In theory, you should also know that hotels are not allowed to hail a cab for you to be alone with somebody of the opposite sex. It is also the same when booking tours. Hotels are not allowed to secure you a tour with somebody of the opposite sex.
The regulation has its basis on the Tawajed clause. The Tawajed clause is specific to people of the opposite sex.
Such a clause states that people of the opposite sex can never be alone together. There is an exception to this rule. And that is if they are family or married.
Luxury Hotels and Ex-pats
Despite the law, most hotels in Dubai do not enforce this.
For instance, luxury hotels that usually cater to foreigners and ex-pats do not enforce the “only married couples” rule in Dubai.
And so, when visiting Dubai, you will never have trouble booking a room.
Upon checking in, expect the front desk officer to require you to show your passports. And as an unmarried couple, you will, of course, have different last names.
It will never be an issue, especially with luxury hotels.
Married women in Dubai can always keep their last names.
Yes, an unmarried couple can check-in in Dubai, especially in luxury hotels. But do I recommend it?
When in Public
Public displays of affection are offensive acts in Dubai.
Locals do not quickly receive such acts.
Holding hands, as earlier mentioned, are acceptable for married couples. But kissing and hugging in public places is not permitted.
Bear in mind that the police can quickly stop you in the streets.
And if the police happen to stop you because you are holding hands and are not married, this might spell trouble for you.
The most common areas where the authorities can stop you would be in malls, shopping centers, and restaurants. When in these places, always be aware of your surroundings.
The police may not quickly stop you when you are on the hotel premises unless you stay at a hotel with many Muslim guests.
In such cases, some guests can alert the police for inappropriate conduct in public. And if the police find out that you are not married but are staying in the same room, you will get in trouble.
I do not recommend unmarried couples to stay in the same hotel room when in Dubai.
But if you want to push through with booking in the same room, there are some added precautions that you can take.
When in public, you can refer to each other as your “husband” or “wife.”
As much as possible, avoid referring to the other as your “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” or “fiance.”
Refer to your significant other as your husband or your wife. Doing so can minimize the risk.
Can I bring a girl to my hotel room in Dubai?
Suppose in a bar in Dubai, and you met a girl you would like to invite to your hotel room. You know that this is against Dubai Laws. But as mentioned, most hotels turn a blind eye to this, especially luxury hotels. Just make sure to be aware of your surroundings.
Now, suppose you are planning to travel to the United Arab Emirates. Suppose you are planning to move there to work.
You need to remember a few things when in the country.
Dubai, a state in the UAE, is predominantly Muslim.
As such, there are traditions and laws that you need to know. These traditions and laws are those that you should come to respect, just like you would when in another country.
To avoid trouble when in Dubai, there are a few rules you need to know.
As you already know, sexual relationships among unmarried individuals are illegal in Dubai.
This reason is why the laws in Dubai are specific for unmarried couples not to be alone together.
Living together, including in hotels, is also not allowed in Dubai.
But as you know, most hotels in Dubai, especially luxury hotels, turn a blind eye to the “only married couples” rule of the land.
The lenient treatment of the law is mainly because foreigners and ex-pats frequent these luxury hotels.
The only requirement upon check-in is a passport.
Even different last names do not raise eyebrows in these hotels as women in Dubai commonly retain theirs even when married.
Most unmarried couples refer to their partners as their husbands or wives as a precaution. Nowhere would you hear these unmarried couples refer to their partners as their girlfriend, boyfriend, or fiance.
Doing so can invite trouble, hence, husband and wife use.
Also, acts of homosexuality are not allowed in Dubai.
The Dubai authorities can deport you when caught engaging in homosexual acts while in the state as a traveler.
While it is rare for the authorities to raid a room, it is best to always be on your best behavior when in the state.
Public Display of Affection
Even married couples have limitations when it comes to PDAs in Dubai.
As a married couple, you can do most in public to hold hands. Kissing or hugging is not allowed. Doing so can mean trouble.
If you want to know, kissing or hugging in public can mean you pay a fine. It could also mean imprisonment for some.
Males should never address Emirati females in public when in Dubai. I should also highlight that this applies to females you do not know.
As a male, you cannot just address any Emirati female in public.
You are also not allowed to follow a female or take photos without her permission.
Doing so is an act of disrespect to the Emirati female.
This act is also unacceptable behavior.
Is dating allowed in Dubai?
Dubai allows dating. You can see men and women on dates in public places like malls or restaurants. Dubai is quite different from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where women are not even allowed to stand next to men. In Dubai, dating is possible.
The thought that dating is not allowed in Dubai is false.
Who said you cannot?
Yes, Dubai allows dating between couples.
But during dates, you should respect the guidelines and traditions of the state.
Dating in Dubai is common.
When in malls and restaurants, it is common to find men and women on dates.
If you are dating somebody in your ex-pat community, nobody cares. Even if they know that you are dating, it is still okay.
But know that dating rules can differ depending on which community you are in.
Muslims are conservative. They have conservative and traditional views about dating.
And just the same, dating rules also differ from one workspace to another. In some offices, they allow dating between employees. Other offices do not allow interoffice romance.
Another important reminder is that the concept of boyfriend and girlfriend does not exist in Dubai.
You can go out on a date with the opposite sex.
You can go out for coffee, lunch, or dinner.
It is fine.
But what you do during these dates matters.
As mentioned earlier, holding hands is not an option. And as you already know, neither should kissing or hugging be your options when in public.
So again, you can have coffee or dinner. But that’s the most that you can do about it.
In other countries, dating sites are popular.
It is a great and easy way for people to meet up.
However, in Dubai, these sites are inaccessible. The government blocks them because most use these sites to promote pornography and prostitution.
And so, when you are looking for dates in Dubai, you’re on your own, buddy.