While planning a trip to Dubai I heard a rumor that unrelated and unmarried couples cannot share a room. I’ve done a little research on the laws just to be on the safe side. Here’s what I found.

According to USA Today article “Rules for Unmarried Couples Staying in Dubai Hotels“, Tammy Dray, Leaf Group…

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.

Practical Applications
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. At check-in, you’ll be required to show your passport, but having different surnames won’t raise any eyebrows. In Dubai, married women often keep their surnames.

According to this article, although it is frowned upon because of Islamic Law. It’s not necessarily enforced at all hotels. It’s best to be discreet and confirm with specific hotels about their requirements. The article also suggests referring to each as husband and wife once you’ve checked into a hotel,rather than girlfriend or boyfriend or even fiance.

Although, this specific rule may not be enforced the rules of public display of affection can get you in trouble. Even married couples are only allowed to hold hands in public.

Public Conduct
Public displays of affection are not well-tolerated in Dubai. Holding hands is fine for married couples, but kissing or hugging in public are not acceptable. Keep in mind that if you’re stopped by the police because you’re holding hands and you’re not married, you might run into trouble. This is unlikely to happen in the hotel and more likely to happen in public places like restaurants or shopping centers. Be aware of your surroundings. If you’re staying at a hotel with a lot of Muslim visitors, it’s always possible for them to alert the authorities about inappropriate behavior. If the police then discover you’re not married, you might be in legal trouble.

Related Links

  1. Public displays of affection
  2. Islamic law