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How Strict is Living In Dubai?

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Transitioning to a new city naturally sparks curiosity, and at GenZone, we’re here to alleviate any concerns you might have. A recurring question we get is about the perceived strictness of living in Dubai.

Are there specific laws that might catch you off guard? Is there something you should be mindful of when out and about, be it a permanent relocation or a temporary visit? For answers to these questions and more, continue reading this blog post!

Without delay, let’s delve deeper into this intriguing topic.

Alcohol and Pork

Wondering if you can find alcohol in Dubai? 

Absolutely! Residents may need a nifty alcohol license, but it’s easily accessible. And yes, you can feast on pork too. While most eateries follow Halal practices, there are special sections in grocery stores where non-Muslims can find their favorite bacon or sausages. Indulge without hesitation!

Keep in mind that drinking alcohol in public is strictly forbidden. The legal drinking age is 21 and above.

The Party Scene

Contrary to the rumors, Dubai isn’t a city that sleeps early. Yes, you can go clubbing, party till dawn, and enjoy a refreshing drink. Dubai has transformed into a dynamic hub, offering a nightlife comparable to major cities like Toronto and New York. It’s not just strict rules; it’s a city that knows how to have a good time safely.

You’re expected to respect local culture when in Dubai, and this extends to the dress code as well. Wearing anything provocative including clothes that are too short, display too much flesh, or carry offensive slogans is prohibited. Several malls also carry a warning for visitors reiterating this very point.

While you can wear swimwear at beaches, keep in mind nudity in any shape and form is not tolerated.

Drug-Free Zone

Like many other countries in the world, Dubai has a zero-tolerance policy against all drugs which explains the negligible drug use that exists here. This extends to all recreational drugs and certain over-the-counter medications.

Travelling with something like plain poppy seeds can also result in a 4-year prison term followed by deportation. Possession with the intent to distribute automatically results in a life term or worse. Thus it’s very integral to understand the gravity of the situation.

Be extra careful when relocating or travelling to Dubai and don’t take any undue risks. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.

Embrace Diversity of Religion

Moving to Dubai doesn’t mean a religious conversion. You can practice any faith you fancy. But, as a courtesy, respect the local religion. You’ll hear prayers, see people practicing their faith—just go with the flow, and harmony will be your guide.

Keep Romance Low-Key:

Holding hands in public with your significant other is probably the most you can get away with while in Dubai. Kissing and all other public displays of affection are seen as indecent behaviour and can land you behind bars. Reserve your love for behind closed doors!

Photography Etiquette

Snapping pics? Awesome! But respect people’s privacy. Seek permission before making someone the star of your photoshoot. Capture the stunning scenery instead, and you’ll avoid any unintentional photobombs.

Driving in Dubai

Dubai has very strict rules in place for motorists, with several radars present just about everywhere across the city. Things like speeding, skipping red lights, not wearing a seatbelt, using your phone while driving, and even blocking traffic attract very hefty fines (trust us when we say hefty!).

Not only will you get a fine for breaking the rules but you get something called ‘black points’ too. Accumulate enough black points and your license can be revoked in addition to your vehicle being impounded. Ouch!


So all said and done, is Dubai a strict place to live in? Well, the answer is Yes and No. 

Yes, compared to some Western countries in the world, and ‘no’ compared to its Gulf counterparts such as Saudi Arabia, which has much stricter laws. In fact, in recent times, some former laws such as punishment for living together for couples outside of marriage and drinking at home without an ‘alcohol license’ have also been relaxed. For the most part, since many laws are commonplace, if you keep in mind the above pointers and respect the culture and laws in Dubai at all times, you should be fine!

That’s all from us at GenZone for now. Until next time, and as always, choose wisely

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