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 ETIQUETTE IN THE UAE 

 

Whether you are a tourist or an expatriate it is important to be a good guest in the country that you are visiting or going to live in for the next couple of years. Below are some guidelines that one should observe while staying in the UAE.

 

  DRESS CODE 

  • Dress modestly when going out in public.

  • Clothes that cover a person’s back, arms, shoulders and legs are recommended.

  • When visiting mosques, women are asked to wear an abaya and cover their heads.

 

  FOOD 

  Communal eating is regarded as a symbol of friendship in the UAE.

  • When invited for meals, graciously accept food and drinks when offered. 

  • Do not ask for pork products as consuming pork is frowned upon in Muslim tradition.

  • Eating with your left hand is considered as unclean. Accept food and drinks with your right hand.

 

  PUBLIC OR SOCIAL GATHERINGS 

  • Some locals may prefer not to shake hands, especially women. 

  • Shaking hands with the opposite sex is not common. 

  • When greeting a Muslim with the opposite sex, do not offer to shake their hands unless they offer their hands first.

  • Women may simply put their right hand over their hearts to show sincerity.

  • Swearing and inappropriate hand gestures are prohibited and may lead to fines.

 

  DRINKING ALCOHOL 

  Drinking alcohol is forbidden to Muslims. For non-Muslims:

  • Drinking is allowed in hotels and restaurants that are licensed to serve alcohol.

  • A drinking license is required to purchase alcohol.

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and getting drunk in public is a criminal offense.

 

  TRANSPORTATION 

  • There are special taxis for women, children, families and people of determination.

  • Most public buses have reserved front seats for women.

  • Most public transportations have designated seats for men and women. 

  • Eating, drinking and sleeping are prohibited in public transportation.

 

  PHOTOGRAPHY 

  • Photography is strictly prohibited in military structures, government offices and embassies.

  • Some other areas may also prohibit photography. Signages are usually displayed within the area. 

  • Do not take photos at mosques without permission.

  • Do not take photos of people and private properties without permission.

 

  ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES 

  • Illegal substances or drugs are strictly prohibited and punishable by law.

 

  PUBLIC ETIQUETTE 

  • Be careful with public displays of affection.

  • Public display of affection for unmarried couples is prohibited.

  • Holding hands is acceptable for married couples but hugging and kissing are not.

 

  WORK DAYS 

  • Friday is practiced as the holy day in the UAE.

  • Fridays and Saturdays are the weekend.

©2019 by Philippine Embassy in the United Arab Emirates.