The basic rules of behavior in the United Arab Emirates

Your rest in the United Arab Emirates will work well wonderfully well if you remember the basic rules of behavior and show respect for local inhabitants.

Customs rules allow to import (on one person) 200 cigarettes, 40 cigars, 2 kg of tobacco, 2 l of hard alcoholic drinks and 2 l of wine (the full age person not of Muslim religion), perfumery reasonably. Printing and videos production are watched at entry into the country. All tourists have to be informed that the weapon, drugs, pornographic materials for import are forbidden! Violation of this ban is pursued under the law and punished up to imprisonment.


The tourists visiting beaches have to show an attention maximum to the appearance and behavior - bathing without swimwears or without his separate parts is forbidden. Also inadmissibly the actions to break moral foundations of this Muslim state.

Young girls should be especially attentive and acts not to cause violations of local laws that can entail the most serious consequences - up to imprisonment. According to the law of the emirate of Sharjah, on women there have to be clothes covering hands, a neck and knees. In Sharjah women are forbidden to be on municipal beaches in swimwears.


It is authorized to drink alcoholic drinks only in the bar, restaurant or a hotel room in any of emirates, except Sharjah. In Sharjah the absolute Prohibition extending to all types of alcoholic drinks works. Emergence on the street (or even at itself on a balcony with a can of beer) in a condition of strong alcoholic intoxication can entail criminal liability in any emirate (min. 1 month of prison and a penalty in usual time both 2 months of prison and a double penalty during Ramadan + deportation).

By local rules of decency it is impossible to stick to unfamiliar women, to laugh at them, to do obscene signs by hands. The woman can address the police officer, then a penalty and deportation.


Customs in sacred month RAMADAN are especially strictly observed. Muslims observe a post, abstain from acceptance of food, drink and smoking during daylight hours. Therefore guests also have to abstain from it (including - to chew chewing gum) in public places to sunset. The tourists living in hotels, have breakfast and have dinner in time, habitual for them.

The persons wishing to hire the car in the United Arab Emirates are obliged to have the international driving license.

It isn't recommended to photograph government buildings, military constructions, mansions behind blind fences, oil derricks. It isn't acceptable to photograph local Arab women. If you want to photograph local men, then ask at first them permission.

You can be fined for the garbage which is thrown out from a car window. It isn't necessary to look to the mosque out of curiosity. To impolitely offer the Muslim alcoholic drinks and pork dishes.

It isn't accepted to eat standing or on the run, and also to look in a human face, occupied with food. Bread usually breaks hands. To take food, money and things follows the right hand. Soles of legs shouldn't be sent to someone's party. During handshake the interlocutor shouldn't look in the face, also at the same time it is impossible to keep other hand in a pocket or to swing intensively it in air (especially with a cigarette). It is considered impolite to refuse the offered coffee. To refuse additional portions of coffee, it is necessary to shake an empty cup or to say "shukran". It is impossible to bypass praying in front. At an entrance to mosques and houses it is necessary to rent footwear.


The Koran forbids the use of alcohol, but for foreigners in the territory of the United Arab Emirates eases become. The only emirate in which alcohol is under a total ban - Sharjah. Strictly punishable act stay in the public place in an alcohol intoxication is considered that threatens with a heavy fine or arrest and deportation. In all emirates there are only several shops where foreigners can buy alcohol. Carrying out of alcohol on the street can be considered by police as sale of it and to be punished rigidly. Alcoholic beverages can be bought at restaurant or bar at hotel, but only living in this hotel, and also to visitors. On carrying out it isn't authorized to sell. Driving of the car in a state of intoxication is considered as heavy violation and is punished by a large penalty up to imprisonment.

The penalty for the garbage thrown on the street makes the 500th dirham even if you have just missed by a ballot box. Excessive attention to the woman (it is equal as actions which can be considered for those) can lead to imprisonment or a penalty to 60 thousand dirham. Foul language in the public place or pronouncing threats to the interlocutor (even rhetorical!) can end prison for up to 7 years. The use of drugs is punished by the conclusion for a period of up to 5 years, and their import and sale - the death penalty.


To photograph public institutions, palaces of sheikhs, military facilities and constructions it is strictly forbidden. It is impossible to photograph local women, it is necessary to ask permissions to photographing men. The clothes have to be modest. Women shouldn't wear defiant clothes. According to the law of the emirate of Sharjah, on women there have to be clothes covering hands, a neck and knees. Emergence in public places in sports or beachwear is considered extremely indecent. Even on the beach it is forbidden to appear bared or "topless". In Sharjah women are forbidden to be on municipal beaches in swimwears.

Documents, and it is desirable - their photocopies, it is always better to carry with itself - the most part of police officers works without form and rather meticulously exercises control of observance of traditional norms. At the same time the concept of "presumption of innocence" isn't considered the fundamental moment of the local legislation. Verifications of documents in public places and provocative actions of agents in plain clothes are frequent. It isn't necessary to get into the car to peace officers according to their first requirement and without presentation of concrete charges.


Though the rules of purity of drinking water are respected faultlessly, you shouldn't drink tap water from under the crane. Surely it is necessary to use protective creams from solar burns and to drink more liquid, it is desirable mineral water or fresh juice. Because of humidity in hot months points and lenses of photo and video cameras mist over at an exit from the conditioned rooms. On the street it is necessary to use a headdress, to protect eyes the sunglasses which aren't passing an ultraviolet. Even under a beach awning solar radiation, being reflected from water and sand, has rather high level. The most dangerous time for stay in the open air - from 11:00 till 14:00. You shouldn't forget also about danger of conditioners which works usually at full capacity, and after long stay under the sun can easily "provide" cold. Many local dishes can also cause unexpected reaction in not adapted organism.

When bathing it is necessary to consider that beaches are located on the ocean coasts therefore inflow and otliva rather strong, and coastal currents often have unpredictable character. Immersions should be carried out only accompanied by the local instructors well familiar with character of surrounding waters.

Tension in a network makes 220/240 V., 50 Hz. Sockets of the English type with three pins are standard.

In the country the metric system is officially accepted, but in some outlets local measures, and also the American and British "inch" standards can be used - gasoline at gas stations is measured by gallons, and fabrics in shops - yards (0,9 m).

Tip at many restaurants is included in service cost ("Service charge", 15%). If the mention of it is absent in the menu, then it is possible to add 10% to the account sum. The porter at the airport or in hotel can leave 5-10 dirham, depending on quantity of baggage. In a taxi tip isn't accepted.

Everywhere, especially in private shops and in the markets, it is necessary to bargain - to beat down the price twice rather easily.

If you had something urgent (were hospitalized, have robbed, were lost, were late for flight, have lost baggage, threaten, have arrested, became the witness of a crime and similar) ask to call immediately according to the emergency numbers at any time. The majority of problems can be solved on the place and it is better to solve them immediately.

You can always ask on a reception of hotel for the help and council if you experience difficulties with language and you can't use the emergency numbers 997,998,999.

Telephone numbers which can be necessary for you:

  • Ambulance – 998, 999
  • Police - 999
  • Fire service – 997
  • Water and electricity - 991
  • Phone number of the exact time: -140
  • Phone number of help service: -180, 181
  • Phone number of the call-center of "Etisalat" operator: -181
  • Phone number of the call-center of "Du" operator: -199