Unmarried Couples and Hotels in Dubai


Unmarried Couples and Hotels in Dubai


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I wanted to know if it’s OK for an unmarried couple to rent a hotel room in Dubai as my girlfriend and I have been planning a trip to this amazing city. Because Dubai is a destination that gains a lot from the tourism industry, we are wondering if hotels are more liberal to unmarried couples. As an unmarried couple from a western country, we don’t want to get into trouble with Dubai law enforcement.

Can an unmarried couple stay in a hotel in Dubai? Because Sharia Law is observed in Dubai, staying with a live-in partner in any form of private accommodation is strictly illegal. This also applies to hotels in Dubai and if you are caught you will be penalized according to article 356 of the UAE Penal Code.

However, most Luxury Hotels that often receive tourists from western countries are very relaxed about the rules applying to unmarried couples. These hotels usually will not question whether you are married and having different surnames on your passport won’t raise suspicion. Though as a precaution, avoid referring to each other as “boyfriend and girlfriend” and say “husband and wife” instead.

Rules in Dubai Concerning Unmarried Couples

People who live in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) adhere to Sharia Law and those who transgress are likely to be subjected to punishments in accordance with these laws. Dubai is an emirate of the UAE and therefore also holds the same views concerning unmarried couples as the UAE. This means that it is illegal for people of the opposite sex to live together without being married first.

Even though Dubai is uncompromising with respect to its laws of unmarried couples, there are people who have gotten away with living together. However, this only means that they haven’t been caught out yet, and there is always the possibility of getting arrested if they unwittingly draw attention to themselves. For example, if there is a dispute with the neighbors the police may be called to investigate and the couples could get exposed this way.

Many people who visit from western countries are unaware of the culture and laws of the UAE and may unintentionally overstep the boundaries and find themselves in trouble with the law. In Dubai, you are not allowed to live with a partner of the opposite sex under any circumstances unless you are married or they are a family member.

These laws also apply to hotel rooms and even driving together in the same car. The Tawajed Clause says that it is illegal to reside in a private room or to even enter a vehicle with a person of the opposite sex. According to the clause, Al Khilwa Al Muharama two unmarried people of the opposite sex forbids living together under any circumstances.

Whether you are a citizen that was raised in Dubai or a tourist visiting for a holiday, as long as you reside within the borders of the UAE you will be expected to adhere to these laws. The local law enforcement also has a zero-tolerance policy towards any transgression. If you are caught as a tourist that is having consensual sex with a partner outside of marriage you will be penalized with a jail sentence followed by deportation.

In other emirates of the UAE like Saudi Arabia, the police usually do regular inspections and ask for marriage certificates. However, law enforcement in Dubai are a lot more relaxed in this regard. Usually, they will only become suspicious when notified by someone of an illegal activity.

It is rare for police to do a random check on your car or hotel room, and this is why many unmarried couples have not been caught living together. This means that you can get away with residing with your unmarried significant other during a vacation to Dubai. However, keep in mind that you do so at your own risk and that being caught may have serious legal consequences.

Rules That Western Couples Should be Aware of

Being fined, imprisoned, or deported in a foreign country can ruin your holiday. Being in a jail cell for something that seemed minor in your eyes, uncertain of what will happen in the future or where your partner is can be agonizing. That is why is best to educate yourself beforehand and avoid an abrupt end to an amazing holiday.

The cultural traditions and laws in Dubai are very different from western countries. This is because the majority of people who live in Dubai are Muslims. There are some rules that couples from western countries should be aware of if they want to ensure safety and happiness during their travels.

Pay attention to what you wear in public as Dubai is a very conservative and modest place. Wearing any provocative clothing is strictly prohibited and transgressions will be punished. Men usually wear a kandora or dishdasha and women wear an abaya.

As a tourist, you won’t be expected to wear these garments that cover you from your head to your ankles. However, you should cover everything from your shoulders down to your knees and avoid any clothes that show cleavage, are tight-fitting or see-through. Men are also not allowed to expose their bare chest in public.

If you are a same-sex couple visiting Dubai you should be especially careful not to tell anyone about it because homosexuality is illegal in the UAE. The penalty for same-sex couples living together is quite severe and involves being deported. For this reason, it may be better to book a twin bedroom at your hotel to avoid any suspicion by the authorities.

People from western countries are used to having the freedom of being able to show affection to one another in public. You love your partner and may want to give them a hug or a kiss to show them how much they mean to you. However, keep in mind that public displays of affection are against the law in Dubai and can result in serious legal action against you.

Regardless of whether you are a married couple or not, public displays of affection are strictly prohibited. And as an unmarried couple, this can definitely draw unwanted attention to you and expose you to the authorities. If they catch you breaking this rule you will be fined, imprisoned or worse.

Another way to avoid drawing attention to yourselves is to refrain from using obscene language in public. People who use profane language in public can get sentenced to jail for a month in Dubai. If you and your partner have a quarrel try to watch what you say and keep it out of the public eye, especially if you are unmarried and want to avoid further investigation by the police.

The above-mentioned rules may seem like minor offenses in western countries, but violating them in Dubai is a really bad idea. If you keep these simple guidelines it will help you to keep a low profile and to avoid any legal action against you. This is especially true for unmarried couples that are only visiting for a short time.

Should I Keep My Unmarried Relationship Secret in Dubai?

For two unmarried people of the opposite sex to be in a private room together is against the law in Dubai. If you and your partner are not married it is probably best not to tell anyone. This includes hotel staff or anyone else that you meet at the holiday resort or during your stay.

You may think that your actions are innocent enough and that it’s no big deal, but in the UAE they are Muslim and are very serious about respecting Sharia Law. If you tell anyone that you are unmarried and vacationing together you are placing their lives in danger as well as yours. This is because it is illegal not to report someone who is having unmarital sex or is homosexual.

The person that you told will be forced to turn you in whether they like it or not, or else they risk going to jail being deported themselves. In fact, there are couples that have received one-year jail sentences and have then been deported for staying together outside of marriage. Not only will a one-year jail sentence ruin your vacation, you will have no contact with your partner for over a year Trusted source.

The truth is that vacationing together in Dubai as an unmarried couple is against the law. While there are people that have gotten away with it in the past, the ones that were caught have been severely punished and had to face long prison sentences and deportation. If you are planning to do this then you should know all of the risks involved and decide whether the outcome is truly worth it.

Can an Unmarried Couple Get Married in Dubai?

It is possible for foreigners to get married in Dubai, however, it’s not easy and the process involves a lot of money and paperwork. It may be safer and better to marry before you plan your trip. If you do decide to marry in Dubai you will need to obtain a marriage license and also meet some other legal requirements.

For foreigners to get married in Dubai, residency is not always compulsory depending on the circumstances. The shortest time for paperwork to be completed takes about a month. It may also help to check with the embassy of your country in Dubai before planning to get married.

Another requirement for getting married is that the bride and groom should not be related. The legal age of marriage is 18 years for men and women. You will also need two witnesses at your wedding that will have to bring their Identity Documents with them.

The majority of people who reside in the UAE are Muslims and if you are non-Muslim you may have to get married in the embassy of your country or in a church. Documents that you will need to bring with you are:

  • Birth certificates
  • Passports that are valid for ten years and photocopies
  • The witnesses passports with photocopies
  • UAE Medical Fitness Certificate
  • Blood test results taken at the Health Ministry
  • Divorce papers from previous marriage (if you have been divorced)
  • A Death certificate of your previous spouse may also be needed if relevant

Had you been married in English, you will receive an English marriage certificate. However, for the certificate to be valid in the UAE it needs to be translated into Arabic. You should then present both translations of your certificate to the Notary Public at the Dubai Courts for official validation.

The above-mentioned information is just a glimpse into the process of getting married in Dubai. The marriage process depends largely on your individual circumstances eg. whether you are marrying an Emirati citizen, whether you are expatriates or a couple from a western country visiting for a short time, etc.  Trusted source

Are Married Couples Safe in Dubai?

Because the law in Dubai states that only married couples are allowed to have sex, you should not have any problems if you can prove that you are legally married. However, If you are a same-sex couple that has been legally married in a western country, you may still be liable for penalization as homosexuality is illegal in Dubai.

And even if you are legally married you should still be careful about your behavior in public when it comes to showing affection or using rude language. There are also other laws concerning drugs and being drunk in public that can cause you to get deported or even worse- the death sentence.

Is Dubai a Good Destination for My Honeymoon?

Even though unmarried couples may find themselves in a world of trouble, Dubai is one of the most perfect destinations for newlyweds. Dubai is an amazing city known for its shopping and awesome tourist attractions. If you are planning on going to Dubai for your honeymoon then you are going to have an unforgettable experience.

Because Dubai is such a glamorous and luxurious destination, it is the perfect place to go when you start out your married life together. Honeymooners going during the wintertime in Dubai will fall in love with the peaceful beaches and the beautiful desert landscapes surrounding this oasis. Newlyweds that want to celebrate their new life together will find the city to be pleasantly friendly to them. 

It is not uncommon for many of the honeymoon packages to include the famous Dhow cruise dinner. The Dubai creek runs through the heart of the city splitting it into two parts. This amazing two-hour cruise offers an amazing view of the Dubai skyline with a delicious buffet dinner.

Another magical experience that you may want to treat your loved one to is the breathtaking view from a hot air balloon ride. Come sunrise or sunset you can choose whether you want to fly over the breathtaking sand dunes while seeing wildlife like camels, oryx, and gazelles. The amazing sunlight hitting you from high up in the air will definitely set a romantic mood.

Dubai hotels are also known for their awesome spa experiences making for the perfect excuse to treat your new partner. There is no better way to relax and revitalize yourself after a stressful wedding schedule than to pamper yourself with a memorable spa experience. And if you tell them that you are on your honeymoon they will take extra good care of you.

Related Questions

What are the best Honeymoon Hotels in Dubai?

  • Rixos Premium Dubai
  • Sofitel Dubai The Palm
  • Bulgari Resort Dubai
  • Fairmont The Palm
  • Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

Should I report an unmarried couple in Dubai?

Nobody likes to be a snitch and for people from western countries, unmarried couples living together is harmless. This is because they have a lot more freedom in their home countries. However, if you find out that someone in Dubai is living together outside of marriage and you stay quiet you are at risk of going to prison along with them. 

Can I have an extramarital affair in Dubai?

If you are in a relationship with someone in Dubai and this person is already married to another partner, you can get into serious trouble with the law. This crime is so serious that you can get between one and three-year prison sentences before being deported. Aside from this, If that person’s spouse finds out and files a complaint, your cover will be blown.

How can the police in Dubai find out that I am not married?

The police in Dubai rarely ever do random checks and ask for marriage certificates. This is why many couples have gotten away with living together without being married. The most common way for them to find out is when you break some of the other laws and they end up doing further investigation or if someone tipped them off.

For example, If you were not aware of the laws about drinking in public they may arrest you, and then also check your marital status. Not only will you be charged for drinking in public, but they will have something else to add to your case. You can also get discovered if you are pregnant outside of wedlock, as the doctor could ask for a marriage certificate while conducting a medical exam.

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