DUBAI remains a top destination for Brits looking to enjoy the luxuries the United Arab Emirates has to offer, sampling the lavish lifestyle on offer.
It proved to be the most popular destination for sun-starved British holidaymakers with bookings increasing drastically as travel restrictions were relaxed.
Is alcohol illegal in Dubai?
The UAE is made up of seven emirates, of which Dubai is one of.
Rules for travellers within the country have always been looked upon as draconian to Westerners heading to the hotspot.
However, changes to laws there have drastically altered the landscape for holidaymakers.
We take you through the alterations to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip to the Arabian Peninsula.
It has been seen as somewhat of a progressive change by the country, but one that could significantly increase the volume of people travelling to the country.
Consumption of alcohol is no longer a criminal offense and a license fee is no longer required for residents or tourists.
A person still must be at least 21 years old to buy alcohol legally in the UAE and anyone caught selling alcohol to someone deemed underage will be punished.
However, it can still only be consumed privately or in licensed public places.
With effect from January 2023, the Government of Dubai announced that for the next 12 months, the alcohol sales excise (municipality tax) of 30% levied on all alcohol purchases (for personal consumption and the food and beverage industry – i.e. bars and restaurants) will be removed.
The country announced the biggest overhaul of its legal system in years, affecting everything from divorce and inheritance to the consumption of alcohol.
It has been seen as a huge step by the government to make it more “visitor-friendly” to tourists.
Dubai has a zero-tolerance approach to drink driving.
What happens if you are caught?
It’s illegal to drink in the street or a public place or be under the influence of alcohol in a public space.
While a license is still required to drink alcohol in Dubai, there is no longer a fee for the application.
Dubai has very strict laws and tough penalties including fines and jail.
Visitors caught drinking or being drunk may find they are locked up without bail while their case is investigated.
What else is illegal in Dubai?
Despite the relaxation of drinking rules in the country, there are still a number of things that are illegal, with travellers advised to make themselves aware of the differing customs in the UAE.
Homosexuality is illegal and same-sex marriages are not recognised.
Drugs are strictly forbidden and the Emirati authorities count the presence of drugs in the blood stream as possession.
Possessing and concealing money from drugs related offences, and performing transactions using money from drug-related offences are also crimes, which could lead to imprisonment and a fine.
Swearing and making rude gestures (including online) are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed or deported.
When in Dubai, do not display any form of intimacy in public.
They consider hugging and kissing to be socially unacceptable and if you’re caught hugging or kissing in public, you can spend the rest of your vacation locked up in jail.
While the country does permit Western clothing, low cut, tight, short, or clothes that flash a lot of skin are considered inappropriate and should not be worn in public spaces.
Taking pictures or videos of the people, especially women and children without their consent is considered to be an invasion of privacy and you might be penalized or sent to jail.
If you are traveling with your significant other and planning to stay together, then don’t. Dubai follows the Sharia law, which prohibits unmarried couples from staying together – be it in a hotel room or elsewhere.
You might be from a different religious background or you might have your own set of beliefs. You might have a difference in opinion about the culture and belief system of Dubai, but make sure you keep it to yourself. If you openly criticize or mock or insult Dubai’s royal family, law, culture, and religion you risk the chance of being arrested.
It is important to avoid taking prohibited items such as books with adult content, anything made in Israel, and refrain from carrying pork into the country.
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