Welcome to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – a country that’s become the most attractive tourist destination in the Arab world due to its year-round sunshine, charming deserts, gorgeous beaches, awe inspiring spectacular architectures and ambitious projects. This is definitely a photographer’s paradise!
However, tourists might be unaware of UAE’s strict regulations in particular when it comes to taking photographs of local people, particularly women, without permission. The act of taking photos of others (without consent) or where it is illegal can lead to arrest or hefty fines.
Be wary of UAE’s photography laws. Photographing without permission, could lead to trouble.
It is not forbidden to take pictures of the vistas, as along it is permitted and there’s not a “photography not allowed” sign. Just pay attention and be aware of the fact that in some places photos and video shootings are prohibited. Selfies are permitted within certain criteria but be careful when creating, transferring, disclosing electronic photos on social media.
The UAE’s Ministry of Interior says “videos and photos taken without permission, for the wrong purpose [to post negative images] or in a restricted area [for example many government buildings to include Embassies, General Armed Forces headquarters can] find yourself answering to the authorities.”
Note: “In most of the areas, like public areas, there is a sign that you cannot take a photo, says Yousef Al Bahar, a lawyer, who encourages people to familiarize themselves with local laws on photography. He tells how several people have already been charged with illegally taking photographs in the UAE.
Prohibit sites often are the same as those in other countries : military buildings, palaces and courts, but in UAE , this offense could land you a jail sentence of up to three months, or a fine of up to Dhs5000 and even deportation. Therefore, it’s best to be aware of the laws and regulations which address the issue of entering or photographing restricted areas.
When taking pictures that are not allowed, also the act of sharing and forwarding photos as well as circulating them on social networking sites for the public to see is in violation of the law which is intended to protect a person from malicious use of an image. So, in order to avoid any unlawful activity and potentially facing criminal and civil liability charges under the UAE Penal Code that applies to online content, it’s best for tourists not upload or transfer photos on the Web or Internet when in doubt. Respect the privacy of those involved in the picture.
A Picture is Worth…? What is not worth is jail time and large fines. With so much to shoot with your camera in UAE, no photographer can be at loss of lawful subjects to portray. Read as much as possible about Photography in UAE and enjoy the scenery!