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Heads Up! Places in the UAE Where Taking Pictures is Against The Law

Selfies and taking pictures using our mobile phones are now a part of our lives! Wherever we go we love to click or snap a picture of beautiful places, faces, or moment that we want to capture to become our memories! But just because you can take photos freely in your country, doesn’t mean the same thing exists in other countries!

Just like for example in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates! These two countries implement a strict law on pictures in places that are considered prohibited! This is the reason we should know the law of other countries, expats or tourist so that we are aware of the things we should not do! As the saying goes “Ignorance of the law, excuses no one”.

Just recently the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance ordered an Arab college student to pay a Dh5,000 fine for taking pictures in restricted areas. He filed an appeal to Appeal Court but his petition was junked! According to the unnamed student, he did not know that the area was restricted for photography. Authorities also seized his camera!

So, is taking pictures in the UAE prohibited? The answer is no! Taking pictures in public places in UAE is not prohibited unless explicitly stated. In the absence of “No Picture Taking” signs, the best you can do is ask for permission!

Here are three things to bear in mind about taking photos in the UAE!

  1. Ask permission

Whether photography is your job or simply a hobby, ask permission that will give you ‘go signal’ to make a shoot in a public place. When visiting public places such as beach, malls or tourist attraction sites, it is okay to take pictures! But if you are approached by security, the management or even the police, and requested to delete any images or footage captured, do it without hesitation!

2. Taking photos of other people without their consent

This is considered to be a violation of privacy and you can face serious consequences under UAE law! It is forbidden to take photos of women and families in the UAE in public places. Sharing that footage is illegal too. So be careful what pictures you upload or shared in social media.

3. Places that are prohibited

Critical installations, strategic and military locations, and government organizations or political buildings cannot be photographed for security reasons. As a result, it is illegal to capture footage of restricted areas as per the photography laws of the UAE. Including in the list of prohibited places for taking pictures are palaces, courts, embassies, and airports!

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