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Top 5 Rules to Follow in UAE While Taking Photographs

Beautiful woman poses on a beach with the Burj Al Arab hotel in the background.

UAE is known for its incredible visions and aesthetically pleasing architecture. So, it is no surprise that it is home to some wonderful structures. All these fascinating sights capture the attention at a first glance and people try to save it in photographs. While travelling, it is normal people take unlimited photographs to create a memory. But when it comes to UAE, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it may surprise you that there are certain rules and regulation for taking photographs. Unlike, other places in the world you cannot take photographs in UAE freely.

In Dubai or Abu Dhabi, people may get arrested for violating the photography rules. It is considered as you are invading someone’s privacy. Whether you’re a first time visitor or resident, once you have entered the premises you must follow the rules. However, in certain public places, if you are capturing photographs with your smartphone, it is completely fine. But if you are carrying a professional camera, it might create a problem for you.

So if you are not aware of the photography rules in UAE, this article is purely for you. Keep on reading to explore more about it. Let’s start…

(1) Do Not Take Pictures of Government, Semi-Government & Military Buildings

While exploring UAE, you will see amazing places including government buildings. For security purposes, in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it is strictly prohibited to take pictures of government or military buildings. However, if you have a special permit, you can take the picture. These buildings include Civil Defence, Department of Finance, Public Prosecution, Courts & other government-owned buildings.

(2) Do Not Take Picture Of Anyone Without Consent

People while taking pictures sometimes do not realize that they are capturing someone’s face obviously, unintentionally. In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you are not allowed to take anyone’s picture without the consent. It is considered as you are violating someone’s privacy. By doing that, there are high chances that you may face serious consequences. If you look into this situation normally, it is ethically wrong to take someone’s picture without their permission. It is a sensitive issue & according to Article 378 of the UAE Penal Code (Federal Law 3 of 1987), you are not allowed to take pictures without approval.

(3) Do Not Share Photos Without Permission

Even though if you have taken someone’s picture accidentally. You are not allowed to share it on social media without consent. According to the Article 43 of the UAE Copyright Law (Federal Law No. 7 of 2002), if somebody has captured a photograph or video of another person, he or she should not publish, distribute or exhibit without permission. As a result of this, the accused person will be liable to pay a fine and detention of 6 months not more than this.

A young Arab man with a trimmed beard poses in traditional Emirati attire, wearing a white kandura robe and ghutra headdress, against a neutral desert background.

(4) Seek Approval Before The Photoshoot

UAE is known for its beauty and visions. People keep Dubai and Abu Dhabi as their priority when it comes to the photoshoot. But due to the rules and regulations, once must take an approval before doing any photoshoot. For instance, if you wish to have a photoshoot in the most famous The Dubai Mall. Before doing that, you must take approval from higher authorities. They will approve your request. In addition to this, taking pictures in common public places including culture places, beaches, free zone areas & bridges is also restricted.

(5) Do Not Take Photographs Of Aircrafts

At Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport, you are strictly prohibited to make videos and take photographs. This happens because of security reasons for passengers and employees of civil aviation authority. If someone is taking pictures of the aircraft they can easily reveal the setup and technology to the third party which can cause them harm. However, if you want to take photos of such areas, you must provide the required documents and follow the guidelines.

Before visiting any country you must know their laws. This makes your stay easier. However, the UAE rules and regulations for photography are simple to understand. We suggest you to read it once before visiting Dubai or Abu Dhabi. In case you get caught while taking a picture, we advise you to be respectful and delete the picture from your phone or camera.

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