Do Hotels in Dubai Ask For Marriage Certificate?
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Dubai is a popular tourist destination known for its modern landscape, luxury shopping opportunities, and buzzing nightlife. However, there is one aspect of Dubai travel that might slightly concern visitors to Dubai: the issue of accommodation arrangements for unmarried couples.
So, do hotels in Dubai ask for a marriage certificate? The short answer is that hotels can ask for a marriage certificate. However, most don’t ask for certificates from tourists. Dubai operates under Sharia Law, which prohibits unmarried couples from living together. This rule extends to hotels, where it is illegal for couples to share a room unless they are married.
The rest of this article will answer some essential questions that will prepare unmarried couples for their trip to Dubai:
- What are the regulations for unmarried couples staying in hotels in Dubai?
- What are some guidelines for unmarried couples sharing hotel rooms in Dubai?
- What will happen if we get caught sharing a hotel room as an unmarried couple in Dubai?
- Is it legal for unmarried couples to stay in shared accommodation?
- What is appropriate public conduct for couples visiting Dubai?
What are the regulations for unmarried couples staying in hotels in Dubai?
Dubai, governed under Sharia Law, has many regulations that dictate acceptable social behavior. Many of these relate to couples – unmarried couples in particular. It is illegal for an unmarried couple to live together or share a room in a hotel. To legally share a hotel room, the couple must get married first.
While this may be the law, many hotels allow unmarried couples to share the same room. Dubai has a booming tourism industry, with many hotels accommodating travelers from across the globe. To keep this business coming, many hotels do not enforce the ‘no shared room until marriage’ law.
While most do not check marriage status, it doesn’t mean that they can’t or won’t. It is legal for the hotel to ask for proof of marriage when couples check-in to the hotel. Chances are you will have no issues, especially if you are staying in a luxurious, high-end hotel that regularly caters to tourists. However, it is smart to be aware of the law.
At check-in, it is highly unlikely that the clerk will ask for a marriage certificate; however, you will have to show your passports. Don’t stress that your last names are different on your passports, as it is very common in Dubai for females to keep their surname rather than taking their partner’s.
What are some guidelines for unmarried couples sharing hotel rooms in Dubai?
If you are staying in a Dubai hotel room as an unmarried couple, there are a couple of things you can do to reduce the risk of being caught. You should act normal when checking-in and not mention the need for a wedding certificate unless the hotel does first.
It is unlikely that they will request a copy of your marriage certificate, and you don’t want to cause unnecessary trouble for yourself. It is generally assumed that couples sharing a hotel room are married, so there is no need to mention otherwise.
It is also worth watching your language when you are in public spaces. Referring to each other as your ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ rather than ‘boyfriend’ or ‘partner’ can go a long way in avoiding suspicion.
What will happen if we get caught sharing a hotel room as an unmarried couple in Dubai?
Unlike other countries that operate under Sharia Law, Dubai does not have measures in place to confirm the marriage status of couples at every residence in the city. However, if a complaint is registered or if the police suspect illegal activity for some reason, Dubai police will be obligated to investigate.
Unmarried couples staying in Dubai, even in a high-end hotel, should remember that they are staying illegally, even if most hotels ignore the law. It is best to behave appropriately so that no trouble is caused in the hotel. If the hotel observes misbehavior, they may call the police, who will conduct an investigation. There will then be a high risk of exposure, and legal action is sure to follow.
Is it legal for unmarried couples to stay in shared accommodation?
In Dubai, it is illegal for unmarried couples to sleep in the same room, regardless of whether they are sharing the room with others or not. This rule means that the same consequences apply to unmarried couples sharing a room with other people that apply to unmarried couples sharing their own hotel room.
The same advice outlined above applies to sharing a room with other people. Try to stay under the radar and avoid a police investigation where your relationship status will be verified.
It’s also a good idea to call your partner ‘wife’ or ‘husband’ in this situation to avoid suspicion from others in the room or broader accommodation. Make sure you keep the noise down to avoid complaints from the neighbor. There have been instances in the past where disgruntled neighbors have lodged complaints. These complaints often result in an investigation that uncovers unmarried couples sharing a room.
What is appropriate public conduct for couples visiting Dubai?
In addition to laws on sleeping arrangements, Dubai also has regulations and expectations surrounding public conduct. It is not acceptable for any couple, including married ones, to kiss or hug in public settings.
It is, however, legal for married couples to hold hands. If you are unmarried, it’s unlikely that you will get caught out for holding hands in public, especially in a hotel. So if you’re feeling affectionate in public, touching your partner’s hand is pretty safe. You should be aware that it is technically illegal, though.
It may be riskier holding hands at public places where many Muslims visit, as any overt displays of public affection are unlikely to be tolerated. People may call the police if there are inappropriate displays of affection by couples, and this may result in them verifying your relationship status. Should they discover you are unmarried, there may be legal consequences.
To recap, here are the key points you should take away from this article:
- Hotels in Dubai are unlikely to ask for a marriage certificate. While hotels usually turn a blind eye for tourists and allow unmarried customers to stay in the same room, they are legally allowed to ask for proof of your marriage.
- It is illegal for unmarried couples to share a room. Dubai is governed by Sharia Law, and this prohibits unmarried couples from sharing a room, whether this is at a private residence or a hotel room. Unmarried couples are not allowed to sleep in the same room, even if other people are also sharing the room.
- You are unlikely to get caught sharing a hotel room as an unmarried couple in Dubai. Despite it being illegal, many couples share a hotel room in Dubai without issue. Make sure you abide by the hotel’s policies and behave during your stay. If you follow the rules, you’ll avoid any trouble that may lead to a police investigation and verification of your relationship status.
- There are regulations around the public conduct of couples. In Dubai, kissing and hugging between couples is not permitted in public places. Hand holding is tolerated in high-end hotels and tourist places. However, handholding is technically illegal for unmarried couples. Avoid obvious displays of affection in public to avoid complaints and legal trouble.
- guide2dubai: Living Together in Dubai
- USA Today: Rules for Unmarried Couples Staying in Dubai Hotels