Safety & Security in UAE

“Exercise normal precautions in the UAE.”

Foreign citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling. Foreign citizens should maintain a low profile, vary routes and times for all required travel, and treat mail and packages from unfamiliar sources with caution. In addition, Foreign citizens should avoid contact with any suspicious, unfamiliar objects and report the presence of these objects to local authorities, and stay informed of general and specific events through local media reports.

Crime: Most travelers to the UAE are not affected by crime. Violent crimes and crimes against property are rare. Foreign citizens should take the same security precautions in the UAE that one would practice in any large city abroad.

Harassment and Assault: Foreign citizens, especially women, should take precautions against the possibility of verbal and physical harassment or sexual assault when walking alone, consuming alcohol, or riding in a taxi cab. Female travelers should be cognizant that unwitting actions may invite unwanted attention. Taxi passengers should avoid sitting in the front seat of a taxicab and should be sensitive that “small talk” can be misinterpreted as over-friendliness or even a form of propositioning by some taxi drivers. Taxis driven by women for the exclusive use of female passengers are available in some airports and by dispatch. Female travelers can identify these dedicated vehicles by their pink roofs.

Victims of harassment or assault are encouraged to report such incidents to their Embassy in Abu Dhabi or their Consulate General in Dubai. Some victims of sexual assault have been prosecuted for violating laws against sexual relations outside of marriage. The law puts a high burden of proof on the victim to demonstrate that sex was not consensual. In cases where the victim has failed to do so, both parties have been prosecuted and sometimes sentenced to jail time, followed by deportation.

Victims of Crime: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest embassy or consulate of your country. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. Travelers should call 911 or 999 for emergency assistance.

Domestic Violence: Foreign citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy or Consulate General of their country for assistance.

Terrorism: Foreign citizens in the United Arab Emirates should exercise a high level of security awareness, even though law enforcement units have effectively demonstrated the capacity to detect, deter, and prevent acts of terrorism in the UAE. Both historical and current information suggests that terrorist organizations continue to plan attacks against Western targets; these attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, including suicide operations, assassination, kidnapping, hijacking, and bombing.

Boating: On several occasions in past years, small groups of expatriate recreational boaters were detained by the Iranian Coast Guard for alleged violation of Iranian territorial waters while fishing near the island of Abu Musa, approximately 20 miles from Dubai. The UAE and Iran have had a long-standing dispute concerning the jurisdiction of Abu Musa. Fishing or sailing in these waters may result in seizure of vessels and detention of passengers and crew in Iran.

Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules with regard to best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. Foreign citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance.

Last Updated: 1st December 2019