For many years in Dubai, unmarried couples were prohibited from living under the same roof.
In 2020, however, the law changed, and living as a couple in Dubai is now possible if you adopt the proper behavior.
Find out more in our article.
Living as a Dubai Couple: Everything You Need to Know
It is now possible living as a Dubai couple without being married. However, the law is only valid for heterosexual couples.
Are Unmarried Couples Allowed in Dubai?
Many future expatriates wonder if it is possible to live as a couple in Dubai. Indeed, until 2020, the practice was strictly forbidden. Heterosexual couples who were not married were not allowed to live under the same roof.
This law was based on Emirati culture and the Muslim religion, which forbids sexual relations outside marriage.
However, Dubai remains one of the most tolerant cities in the United Arab Emirates and has revised its law. Thus, since the end of 2020, living as a couple in Dubai is possible even if you are not married.
The Behavior to Adopt in Public Spaces
In Dubai, the habits are very different from what is practiced in the West. Generally speaking, the population is quite modest.
Although it is allowed to live as a couple in Dubai, it is preferable to be undemonstrative outdoors. Although it is not illegal to hold hands or kiss in public, it is far from common and may shock Dubai residents.
Therefore, avoid displays of affection or inappropriate behavior that may offend locals. During Ramadan, tolerance is even less. It would be best if you were careful about your actions in public during this period.
Rules for Homosexual Couples
Homosexuality is severely punished in Dubai. Homosexual couples who do not hide their sexuality can face heavy prison sentences.
Homosexual couples in Dubai prefer to keep a low profile in this cosmopolitan city of over two million people.
Average Cost of Living in Dubai for a Couple
Living as a Dubai couple requires you to prepare your budget well. Indeed, you must consider the rates for:
- Internet and phone
- Food and beverages
- Going out
- Social security coverage
As a rule of thumb, you should expect to spend at least $2,000 to $3,000 per month to live together in this city in the United Arab Emirates.
For a more comfortable daily life, you should bet on a budget between $3,500 and $5,000 per month if you want to rent a house in the city center.
Please note that these figures are given as an indication. Everything depends on your lifestyle. You should therefore evaluate your expenses according to your lifestyle to establish a budget that corresponds closely to reality.
Getting Married in Dubai: Available Options
You can get married in Dubai, whether both are from the same country or a bi-national couple. To do so, you can opt for:
- A civil marriage in an embassy or consulate if you are a couple of the same nationality
- A court marriage under UAE law, whether you are a Muslim resident or not
- A Muslim marriage under Islamic law if you are a non-Muslim woman marrying a Muslim man
- A non-Muslim religious wedding in a temple or church followed by a marriage registration in an embassy.
Note that there are some specifics. In this case, a non-Muslim man can’t marry a Muslim woman. Similarly, marriage is not possible if one of the spouses is twice as old as the other.
In case of marriage with a Dubai man, the woman must be accompanied by her father or brothers, whether she is Muslim or not. Finally, gay marriage is, until now, prohibited.
Top 5 Things to Do in Dubai for Couples
Dubai is a city where people are rarely bored. Here are some ideas of things to do as a couple living in Dubai:
- Enjoy the view from the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, and get a great view of the whole city
- Take a dhow cruise through the waters of the Persian Gulf: this popular activity in Dubai is available in different packages
- Take a night safari in the desert and drive your buggy over the dunes
- Visit the Miracle Garden, a flower garden located in the Dubailand district, inaugurated on Valentine’s Day, 2013
- Fly over the city in a helicopter and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the first city of the UAE.
If you are planning to expatriate, you now know that it is possible to live as a couple in Dubai. For the rest, remember to calculate the cost of living in Dubai beforehand to enjoy a pleasant daily life.