The United Arab Emirates is a Middle East country whose population currently stands at 9.7 million, of which roughly 20% are citizens known as Emiratis while more than 80% are expatriates. According to the World Population Review, UAE is the 24th most visited country in the world, above the likes Belgium, India, Australia, South Africa, etc. The country has Abu Dhabi as its capital and it is also home to beautiful cities like Dubai, Sharjah and many more.
Lots of people troop into the country every year, either for work or business, and some even come with a view to settling down in the country which not a stressful goal to achieve, because the country welcomes visitors with open arms and that has in turn made it one of the most visited countries in the world.
To avoid misconceptions and to further keep orderliness in the country, it has laid down a set of policies and guidelines (which being an Islamic country has largely contributed to) for residents and tourists to follow with 100% compliance and nothing below that.
- Taking photographs with utmost carefulness and seeking permission before taking picture of a resident, especially when it’s a woman.
Buying and taking alcohol in only licensed hotels, restaurants and bars.You are now allowed to buy and consume alcohol in the UAE without any license. The consumption of alcohol was officially decriminalized in the UAE on November 7, 2020.
- Showing of affection isn’t really taken seriously. However, one must be careful of kissing and caressing in public as some people are uncomfortable with this, and it might attract detention.
- Always be aware of the etiquette of Ramadan. This month is a holy month and it is obligatory for all Muslims to fast during daylight hours. Most restaurants are closed during this period and although non-Muslims are not expected to fast, eating in public is prohibited and one should be careful when eating around Muslim colleagues.
- Do not get drunk or act mannerless in public.
- Do not drink and drive. This is absolutely unacceptable.
- Do not make use of offensive words or gestures towards anybody, most especially the country’s leaders, culture, or religion.
- Do not use hard drugs or illegal substances. Breaking this rule can attract huge punishment.
- Do not point the sole of your foot in the direction of an Arab. The foot is seen as dirty and this gesture is considered very offensive.
Interaction with People
- Always use your right hand when eating or receiving from anybody.
- As a man, you should stand up when a woman enters a room.
- Stand up to greet older people or high-ranking official.
- Do not offer alcohol to a Muslim guest.
- Do not offer handshakes to an opposite sex.
- Do not offer pork meat to any Muslim person.
Mode of Dressing
- Dress moderately at all times especially when visiting mosques. Men should wear long trousers while women are to cover their hair with scarves.
- Wear a moderate swimming kit while on a public beach or pool.
- Do not cross-dress i.e. wearing clothes of the opposite sex.
- Do not wear printed clothes with images or texts that are seen as offensive to the religion or culture.
- Never wear a swimwear in the streets or other public places.
Other notable offenses include;
Staying alone in the same room with an opposite sex who is neither related nor married to you. Having a child out of wedlock. Engaging in sexual activities outside marriage.
- In addition to the decriminalization of alcohol consumption on November 7, 2020, the UAE Government passed a new law allowing unmarried couples to legally cohabitate.