Travel Advice : UAE

More than 1 million British nationals visit the UAE each year. As you are aware the United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country and as such they have their own local laws and customs which you should be aware of. Read the local laws and customs below so as so avoid any problems. The contact details for the British Embassy is Dubai is listed on this website.

Local laws and customs

The following are the basics for the UAE as a visitor. You might want to consider reading about countries abroad if you are planing to live as an expat abroad.

– Importing goods

If you are going to import books then it is going to be checked by customs when you enter the country. Importing porn and pork products is also illegal. These come with heavy fines and prison sentences.

– Drugs & Alcohol

Drugs are illegal as they are everywhere else in the world. Arriving ‘high’ also gets you a prison sentence as you will be sentenced on the amount of drugs in your bloodstream. Importing such herbal products as Spice or Space which contains a small amount of synthetic cannabinoids will also get you into trouble.

If you are a non-Muslim you will need to obtain a liquor license to drink alcohol at home. If you go an buy any form of liquor they will need to see your license. The legal age for drinking is 18 but most hotels will only serve to someone over the age of 21. Drinking in Sharjah is illegal.

Note: Electronic cigarettes are illegal

– Dress code

You need to cover yourself properly and are not allowed to walk around in bathing attire in public unless you are at a swimming pool or beach. Note also that cross dressing is illegal. Sex outside marriage is illegal even if both are expats. It is against the law to live together or to share the same hotel room with someone of the opposite sex to whom you are not married or closely related.

Safety and security

Dont accept lifts fro people you dont know. Dont accept drinks from strangers and even though crime is low it does occur. There are more than 100,000 British expats in Dubai and most got on living without much incidents. The British Embassy in Dubai on average only seas to about 350 incidents each year. The list you can find here.


If you are a British national then you can obtain a 30 day visa on arrival. You can extend this for a further 30 days  by visiting an immigration office in the UAE and paying the visa extension fee.


Healthcare facilities in the UAE on average are comparable with those you would find in the UK, but all visitors may be prevented from using them without travel insurance or without the means to settle any medical fees.

See also other topics about the Middle East which have been listed on this website.


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