There are countless couples in Dubai living together even though they are not married. For a Muslim country like Dubai, couples who get caught living under the same room outside marriage may be arrested or prosecuted. The fact that Dubai is a less restricted country than any other cities in Saudi Arabia like Riyadh, it is still possible though for two unmarried people to live together, but this does not mean they are permissible and legal by the Sharia law.
What People Should Know about Living Together in Dubai: A Guide to Expats
- Living together in Dubai without the getting married is like ‘living in sin’. It is against the Sharia law. Although it is not a common scenario that police officials go to every homes and search for marriage certificates, police are sometimes obliged to do such move when someone complains about the couple.
- It is considered illegal when unmarried couples are found privately in a room, car or any concealed or closed space. This is stated in the Tahseen Al Ma’asiya clause.
- There are no hotels in Dubai enforcing ‘only married couple can book’. Dubai has one of the cities with great influx of tourists daily. So, it is very unlikely that they ask every tourist couple for marriage certificate before they can get a room. It won?t also hurt if they found out customers having different surnames since Muslim women keep their surnames even after marriage.
- Unmarried couples should observe proper conduct when in public. Kissing, holding hands and hugging are not acceptable. If police found out you are not a married couple, you might be facing a legal trouble.
Penalties and Punishments
According to the Article 356 of UAE Penal Code, unmarried couples who are caught engaging in sex can get imprisoned for a period of 6 months to 1 year, and this will be followed by deportation.
In reality, the issue of live-in relationships in Dubai is not really a big deal. If a problem arise, that is not mainly because a man or a woman shares a room, but it may be for another reason such as they are caught drinking alcohol or they steal. In other words of saying, unmarried couples who are living in together in Dubai unlikely to have problems until they draw the attention of neighbors or police officials of other matters. On the other hand, it is a greater problem when someone informally cohabitates with someone else who is already married. This is a much greater risk. Even the former couple is separated yet not divorced, they are still considered married.