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To wonder whether the authorities turn a 'blind eye' to in married couples in Dubai?

(53 Posts)
LoafersOrLouboutins Mon 29-Dec-14 14:54:24

I promise I'm not being judgy- currently PG and unmarried, but last night I went to a dinner party hosted by a friend, most people there were with their DP/DH except for a friend of a friend who was alone. She said her boyfriend was in Dubai (where he is from) and she was going to see him next week. She was happy to talk about her relationship and said that she often goes to see him and will either stay at his house or try stay in hotels together. I've only been to Dubai as a completely single or married woman (now divorced) so don't have any experience of 'in a couple but not married' in Dubai. I've always though this was strictly illegal and you could face imprisonment? Am I wrong? Is a blind eye turned or is friend of a friend just very lucky? Her boyfriend's an Emirati national of that has any relevance. I'm probably being hideously nosy but I'm genuinely curious as she seems to be in Dubai once a month with him and has never had any problems.

Sn00p4d Mon 29-Dec-14 14:58:50

AFAIK you can go to Dubai whatever your marital status? I know lots of friends who have holidayed there with partners, I was under the impression that the difference is that you don't flaunt it in an inappropriate fashion?!

1981 Mon 29-Dec-14 15:01:53

Sn00p4d, I think it's this bit that's key:

will either stay at his house or try stay in hotels together

After a quick google:

"Islamic law prohibits unmarried couples from living together. The same rule applies to sharing a hotel room. In theory, hotels should also not call you a cab or help you book a tour in which you will be alone with your partner. This is based on the Tawajed clause, which states that people of opposite sex cannot be alone together unless they're married or are family.

Most Dubai hotels don't enforce the "only married couples" rule. Luxury hotels, which often cater to foreigners, are especially relaxed, so chances are you won't have trouble booking a room."


So yes it sounds like she's running a risk to me!

Patsyandeddie Mon 29-Dec-14 15:04:18

No risk at all, just don't get caught shagging in public! Lived and worked out there so I do know what I'm talking about!

Sn00p4d Mon 29-Dec-14 15:05:45

Ah quite possibly, I don't know, I have a few good friends who live and work in the Middle East and in Dubai and most of them have partners. It's a risk I wouldn't take personally right enough, I've never been as it's just not somewhere that appeals to me but if she's knowingly breaking the law of the country she's spending time in then what can you do.

1981 Mon 29-Dec-14 15:06:40

But Patsyandeddie isn't there a risk that a cabbie or fellow tourist accuses you of doing something illegal, then the moment they ask you where you're staying, you have to admit that you're staying illegally with a male you're not married or related to?

I.e. you're relying on goodwill and good luck to keep you safe?

I mean, what about a genuine mistake on behalf of a hotel staff member or something outing you?

I don't understand why people would run the risk of doing something illegal in a country where the repercussions are so widely known.

EachandEveryone Mon 29-Dec-14 15:08:39

If he's a local it won't affect him anyway.

EachandEveryone Mon 29-Dec-14 15:09:14

And I doubt she'll be hearing wedding bells anytime soon!

PastPerfect Mon 29-Dec-14 15:11:46

The authorities don't care either - they're not stupid they know that every bar and hotel is full to bursting with foreigners and locals alike drinking and having "illegal" sex but provided you're not causing trouble - either by being an abusive drunk or by having sex in public then you'll be left to your own devices. Much like UK really

JoandMax Mon 29-Dec-14 15:14:21

It happens all the time! I have a few good friends here who live with partners, they just have a 2 bedroom apartment and then if any questions are asked can say they're just flatmates, which is fine. And if he's a local then they'll be no problems for him anyway.......

LoafersOrLouboutins Mon 29-Dec-14 15:26:06

He is a local, they've been together for 2 years (but from what I gather it's very on and off, as in one minute she's in the UK drowning her sorrows and refusing to get out of bed because they've broke up AGAIN and the next they're loved up and she's on the next flight, she was quite happy to tell me about it all but I felt a bit rude asking 'do you think a shag is worth being arrested for?' Last night). So it is illegal but largely overlooked! That makes sense. Not a risk I would want to take but each to their own and all that.

EachandEveryone Mon 29-Dec-14 15:27:30

We'll there's no future in it. She's probably enjoying the drama for now.

LoafersOrLouboutins Mon 29-Dec-14 15:33:16

She was very fun and kind but did seem a drama llama- she raise her voice so the whole table would hear her say to me 'And then I just couldn't get out of bed for 5 days because I was so heartbroken' then showed me a perfectly instagrammed picture of the two of them enjoying a dinner on the beach, she's 34 FFS! I feel quite sorry for her with the lack of future because despite being a drama llama she did seem to genuinely like him.

Tattiebogle Mon 29-Dec-14 15:49:16

It will not end in marriage.

carabos Mon 29-Dec-14 17:07:13

Several former colleagues went to Dubai over a period of time to work (with the same firm). All of them had to marry before they took up their roles, including a very senior partner. AFAIK, quite probing questions were asked before their spouses and children were cleared to live there with them and this applied whether the employee was male or female.

1981 Mon 29-Dec-14 17:26:56

I wouldn't care if the authorities don't care.

I still wouldn't be comfortable going to stay in a country which had clearly stated expectations, in legal terms, and such well known penalties. I mean, I'm not trying to be controversial here, but what voice in someone's head says "nah, I'm sure it'll be fine" when you knowingly enter such a country knowing that what you're doing is illegal?

Am I the only one here?!

PrimalLass Mon 29-Dec-14 17:34:53

If Dubai want the holiday business they have to relax on the unmarried couples thing.

VikingLady Mon 29-Dec-14 17:37:47

Living together whilst unmarked is a risk. My DB and his gf lived together but pretended to be married for appearance sake, but they were always nervous that there would be another crackdown.

In the end they couldn't take the stress and got married smile

Fannydabbydozey Mon 29-Dec-14 17:40:01

a local? as in Emirati? Hmmm. He may already be married if that is the case, especially if he's around her age (34). In fact I'd say that it is a distinct possibility.

You do have to be married if you have kids/are pregnant - we married before we moved there as you cannot sponsor your kids or spouse without the marriage certificate and your visa is reliant on sponsorship of one kind or another. But plenty of couples live together who don't have dependents and are independently sponsored. They're just careful.

But I don't think I've ever heard of any locals who are living with girlfriends. Keeping girlfriends in specially rented flats yes...

I should imagine there's lots more drama to come.

Andrewofgg Mon 29-Dec-14 17:42:28

I believe the same law applies in Malta (unless it's been repealed recently) but nobody dreams of asking for sight of your marriage certificate.

Tattiebogle Mon 29-Dec-14 17:45:21

He would have to apply to be married to a foreigner to marry your friend and it can take years to get the permission.

I second that he is more than likely already married.

Tattiebogle Mon 29-Dec-14 17:46:24

Eta - and if he's not already married there is a story to tell.

Artandco Mon 29-Dec-14 17:52:10

X2 foreigners visiting on holiday in a hotel unmarried is fine

X1 foreigner, x1 local staying at his house or hotel is not fine

XiCi Mon 29-Dec-14 17:52:56

As Fanny said you have to be married if you are moving out together as the spouse is usually the visa sponsor

As far as when you are living there as a single person of course a blind eye is turned. The population is over 80% young expats who work hard and play hard. Do you imagine they get married if they fancy a shag? Also plenty of high end prostitutes working there who seem to be very much left to their own devices

Agree that your friends Emirati boyfriend is likely married

HolyTerror Mon 29-Dec-14 18:10:22

What Fanny said. If he's Emirati, that changes everything. He's above the law, but of course subject to social and cultural pressure to marry an approved woman - Muslim, Emirati, preferably a cousin - as early as possible. I agree he's almost certainly already married at that age, and while polygamy is legal, it's increasingly rare for the younger generation, so she's more than likely his foreign bit on the side. If she even wanted the dubious honour of being the 'loose' foreign second wife...

Fwiw, I lived in Dubai for a year and a half with my partner. We were aware of the risks, which were less in Dubai than in other, more conservative emirates - in neighbouring Sharjah at the same time, the authorities were doing door-to-door marriage certificate checks - but my partner of course couldn't sponsor me, so I had to leave the country once a month to renew my tourist visa. I used to lift share over the Omani border along with other unmarried partners and prostitutes, the two biggest groups on endlessly-renewed tourist visas.

And we were very aware that we could never report it if we were the victims of a crime - a burglary or assault.

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