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The legal framework of the Emirates is more of a dual-acting system, comprising mainly Islamic Sharia and aspects of conventional law. However, in comparison to Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations, the laws in the UAE are more liberal. The regulations of the UAE are constantly being developed and adapted to meet the fast pace of developments happening here.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

All expatriates are subject to UAE immigration laws, which can seem complex and demanding at times. A passport is a must for travel to UAE.

While nationals of certain countries are allowed to obtain visitor visas on arrival at the airport, others will have to obtain visitor visas in advance.

UAE Cybercrime Law:

UAE Cybercrime Law No. 5 of 2012, which was issued by the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, includes a range of violations and penalties, with fines ranging between 50,000 and 3million AED, depending on the type and severity of the offense. The UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy will be focused on five key pillars, protecting critical infrastructure by strengthening the security of assets and mitigating risks, building a vibrant ecosystem that encourages research and innovation and develops awareness about cybercrimes, developing a resilient environment to detect and tackle cyberattacks, framing cybersecurity laws and regulations, and leveraging partnerships by collaborating with cybersecurity experts locally and globally.

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Those caught gaining access to a website, network or system without authorization are to be imprisoned and fined at least 50,000 but fines can go as high as 1million AED if personal information is stolen or deleted.

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Those caught using technology to invade someone else’s privacy, which can even include eavesdropping, copying photos or publishing news, can be jailed for six months and face fines of between 150,000 and 300,000 AED.

The most severe penalty, five years in jail and a 3million fine, is reserved for those who run malicious software that causes a network or IT system to stop functioning or results in crashing, deletion, omission, destruction, and alteration of the program, system, website, data or information.

Additionally, the law stipulates various penalties for several other cybercrimes, including insulting religions and their rituals, slandering public officials, forging electronic official documents, sending or re-publishing pornographic materials, reproducing credit or debit card data, and obtaining secret pin codes or passwords.

Customs Restrictions:

Travelers are advised to avoid transport of any arms or items that may be considered to be against the law, such as military equipment, weapon parts, tools, ammunition, body armor, handcuffs or other police equipment. People carrying any such items even in small quantities will be arrested and may face stringent criminal penalties, including huge monetary fines, imprisonment, and forfeiture of items. Transport of any such and all types of law enforcement equipment are usually taken seriously by the UAE, wherein it has already shown its ability to enforce its laws in such matters.

Apart from this, UAE’s stringent anti-narcotics program bans poppy seeds, otherwise used in other cultures for culinary purposes, on its list of a controlled substance.

ID Card:

The Government of UAE mandates that every person residing in the UAE should possess a national identity card. All expatriates intending to work or live in the UAE should visit for keeping themselves aware of the registration procedure and requirements for ID cards.

Islamic Law (Sharia):

In Sharia Law, just as in other legal systems, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Both the plaintiff and defendant are equal in the court of the law. Under Islamic law, crimes that carry definite penalties are apostasy, murder, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and theft.


  1. “Human Rights Reports: United Arab Emirates”2013. US Department of State. Sharia (Islamic law) courts, which adjudicate criminal and family law, have the option of imposing flogging as punishment for adultery, prostitution, consensual premarital sex, pregnancy outside marriage, defamation of character, and drug or alcohol abuse.
  2. “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – United Arab Emirates” 2014. US Department of State.
  3. “U.N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: United Arab Emirates”. Human Rights Voices. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  4. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007. Government Printing Office. September 2008. p. 2092. ISBN 978-0-16-081399-3.
  5. “UAE: Judicial corporal punishment by flogging”. World Corporal Punishment Research. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  6. “Dh500,000 expat verbal abuse case to be retried”. The National. 8 December 2010. In the UAE, only verbal abuse pertaining to the sexual honor of a person would be tried under Sharia. For guilt to be proven, the attack must have been made in public and one reliable witness must testify. If convicted, a person would be sentenced to 80 lashes and would never be accepted as a valid witness in a Sharia-based case.

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Islamic Laws. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

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