Unmarried and non-related men and women in the UAE are now legally allowed to cohabit together.
8 November 2020| Last updated on 9 February 2021
The new law amendment is effective immediately.
If you are planning on moving to the UAE with your boyfriend or girlfriend, expatriates may wonder where the law stands on couples living together while unmarried in the Emirates.
From Saturday, November 7th 2020, the UAE Government now allows unmarried couples to legally live together.
Previously, it was against the law for an unmarried couple and non-related flatmates to cohabit in the country.
Many unmarried expats have been living together in Dubai and the UAE for years without getting targeted or prosecuted by authorities for breaching the rules. But with the latest law regulations, couples and non-related friends will not have to worry about facing legal repercussions.
The new legislation decriminalises unmarried cohabitation, and it is part of a series of amendments covering a range of family and personal laws. According to The National, several other law changes include divorce, women’s rights, and drinking alcohol in the UAE.
What is excluded in the new UAE law?
Strictly speaking, individuals of the opposite sex can live together in the UAE regardless of marital status.
However, under the UAE Penal Code, any individual convicted of engaging in consensual sex outside of marriage in the country and are caught under these circumstances, will likely be punished by a minimum sentence of 1 year in jail, followed by deportation.
While the new legislation allows unmarried expatriates to live together, if there is ever a reason the local police authorities should need to investigate your home due to a noise disturbance complaint, or another breach of the peace, the criminal sanctions could follow.
Are unmarried couples allowed to sponsor each other’s visas in the UAE?
The new legislation only relaxes the law surrounding unmarried couples sharing a home together. If you are sponsored by your employer in Dubai and the UAE, and you wish to sponsor your boyfriend or girlfriend, you are not allowed to do so.
You are required to be married as the UAE law currently only offers wife/husband visas for married expats.