What to do if Detained in Dubai or Arrested on UAE Airport?

Caught at the UAE Airport?


Dubai is one of the most been-to cities in the world. It’s in the top list of travellers and job hunters because of the country’s wealth and because of its gorgeous and luxurious scenery. The city depicts exotic beauty and fun, even for those who have never been to the beautiful city. It is easily the epitome of endless possibilities in architecture and construction. A beauty to behold!

Arrested in UAE Airport?

Detained on Dubai Airport?

One of the biggest risks for tourists is getting arrested or detained at Dubai’s airports. Dubai government media office earlier mentioned that Dubai does not allow foreign nationals to be detained without following internationally accepted procedures. It also does not permit foreign governments to operate any detention centers within its borders. Dubai follows all international norms and procedures, including those of Interpol, in order to detain, interrogate and transfer fugitives whose countries are seeking them.

Over the years, a growing number of foreign tourists who are generally unaware of the strict, no-tolerance policy in the United Arab Emirates, end up in jail when found wanting of any of the laws and regulation. There could be number of reasons for detaining you, maybe a crime or fault for which you are unaware? Taking adequate precatory measures is in your own best interest. You never can tell when it will come handy.

Have An Emergency Contact

While in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, if anything goes wrong. Make an emergency contact list and let someone else have a copy. Your contact list must include your lawyer’s contact information. There’s every possibility that your phone will be taken away from you once you are detained. But you can quickly access them back when you are permitted to use your mobile.

Keep Copies Of Your Documents

Ensure that you have a copy of all your documents. These will be highly useful for your lawyer in pursuing your case. 

Give Your Spare Room Key To A Friend

Some of the essential things you need in case of any emergency might be in your home. Letting a trusted friend have your spare key is the wisest decision you will have to make.

Doctor’s Report

If you happened to be on medication of any sort, do well to get a concise doctor’s report before heading to Dubai. Dubai has many banned substances; your doctor’s prescription might just be your lifeline.

Always Better To Avoid Problems Than To Fix Them Later

You certainly would not go to UAE, hoping to be detained. As long as you stick to the country’s statutes, you are as free as a bird and prevent possible harassment and detention.

Avoid the Risks of Being Arrested or Detained at Dubai Airports

One of the biggest risks for tourists is getting arrested or detained at Dubai’s airports. Here are a few tips to help you avoid any problems:

  • Make sure you have all of your documentation in order before you travel. This includes your passport, visa, and proof of onward travel.
  • Do not carry any illegal or banned substances with you. Dubai has very strict laws against drug possession, and even small amounts can lead to a prison sentence.
  • Be respectful of local customs and laws. Dress modestly, avoid public displays of affection and don’t drink or smoke in public.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings at all times. Theft is not a common problem in Dubai, but still you don’t want to be the victim of a crime.

Things You Shouldn't Carry in Your Luggage at UAE Airports

You should avoid carrying certain items in your bag when traveling through UAE airports. These items include:

  • Hammers, nails, and drills
  • Scissors, blades, screwdrivers, and any sharp tools
  • Personal grooming kits that exceed 6cm in length
  • All types of laser guns and Handcuffs
  • All types of buts, and goods from boycotted countries
  • More than one lighter
  • Martial at weapons
  • Walkie-talkie, All types of ropes
  • Packing tape and all types of measuring tapes
  • Electric cables, with the exclusion of personal use cables
  • Pork products
  • Illegal drugs and Narcotic drugs
  • Gambling devices
  • Reconditioned tires, Crude ivory or rhinoceros horns
  • Forged or duplicate currency
  • Radiation-contaminated or nuclear substances
  • Offensive or inflammatory materials, including religious materials that may be considered offensive to Muslims

Banned Medicines in Dubai

There are a number of medicines that are illegal in Dubai, and you will not be able to bring them into the country. These include:

  • Opium
  • Cannabis
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Betamethodol
  • Fentanyl
  • Ketamine
  • Alpha-methylifentanyl
  • Methadone
  • Tramadol
  • Cathinone
  • Risperidone
  • Phenoperidine
  • Pentobarbital
  • Bromazepam
  • Trimeperidine
  • Codoxime
  • Oxycodone

Real-Life Examples of People Being Arrested at the UAE Airport

a)     Woman Arrested for Facebook Post

Ms Laleh Sharaveshm, a 55-year old lady from London, was arrested at Dubai International Airport over an old Facebook post that she wrote before traveling to the country. The post about her ex-husband’s new wife was deemed derogatory towards Dubai and its people, and she was charged with cybercrime and insulting the UAE.

Together with her daughter, the single mother was denied the chance to leave the country before settling the case. The verdict, when found guilty, was to be a fine of £50,000 and up to two years of jail time.

b)    Man Arrested for Fake Passport

An Arab visitor was arrested at Dubai airport for using a fake passport. The 25-year old man was trying to board a Europe-bound flight when he was caught with the false document.

He confessed to purchasing the passport from an Asian friend for £3000, equivalent to AED 13,000. The penalties for using a fake passport in the UAE can range from 3 months to more than one year of imprisonment and a fine to deportation.

c)      A Woman’s Insults to the UAE Leads to Her Arrest

In another case of someone being arrested at Dubai airport, a woman was taken into custody for allegedly insulting the UAE. The 25-year old American national was said to have hurled verbal abuse at the UAE when waiting for a taxi at the Abu Dhabi Airport.

This kind of behaviour is considered to be deeply offensive to the Emirati people, and can result in a jail sentence or fine.

d)    Saleswoman Arrested at Dubai Airport for Drug Possession 

In a more serious case, a saleswoman was arrested at Dubai airport for being found with heroin in her luggage. The 27-year old woman, who was from Uzbek, was caught with 4.28 of heroin that she had hidden in her luggage. She was detained at the airport and then transferred to the anti-narcotics police.

Drug possession charges in the UAE can lead to a minimum of 4 years in jail and a fine and deportation from the country.

e)     Man Arrested at the Airport for Possessing Marijuana 

In another case, a man was arrested at Dubai airport and jailed for 10 years, with a fine of Dhs50,000 for trafficking marijuana in his possession. The African national was found with two packets of marijuana when the inspection officers noticed a thick-looking object in his bag while scanning his luggage. He claimed to have been sent to deliver the luggage in return for help finding a job in the UAE and paid travel expenses.

His case was transferred to the anti-narcotics department and he was later detained for drug trafficking.

f)      Woman Arrested for Carrying 5.7kg of Cocaine

After X-raying the luggage of a 36-year old woman, it was found that she was carrying 5.7 kg of cocaine in her possession. The Latin-American lady was arrested at Dubai Airport and had attempted to smuggle the drug inside of shampoo bottles.

These are just a few examples of people who have been arrested at the UAE airport for various reasons. It’s important to be aware of the consequences you may face if you break any of the country’s laws, even unknowingly. So always be respectful and mind your behavior when traveling to the UAE.

Detained in Dubai and Why You Need a Lawyer for it

Although not all legal battles need the assistance of a lawyer, for many situations where a legal dispute is involved, such as when you find yourself detained in UAE airport, it can get quite risky if you go for it all by yourself. 

Below are some of the top reasons why you should have a lawyer by yourself if you are detained in Dubai or arrested at the airport:

Save Money

A lawyer has the right skills, experience, and knowledge to fight for you and your rights. They understand the ins and outs of the law. They have enough knowledge to assist you with negotiation. Therefore, lawyers have what it takes for you to get a better deal that you wouldn’t get otherwise. Take note that there are several cases that let you claim legal fees. This means that aside from receiving a fair trial, there is also a chance that you don’t have to pay a single cent.

File the Right Paperwork

When it comes to legalities, it is critical to file the correct court documents. Messing up with even one of these documents may jeopardize your case. Since lawyers have extensively studied the law, they know all the appropriate documents and the procedure that should be followed during their filing. This means that lawyers are in the best position in guiding you on the documents you should prepare, how, and when to file them to ensure that you don’t miss important deadlines. Failure to meet these deadlines might derail the legal process, your case as a whole, or it can even be used against you.

Avoid Legal Pitfalls

Average persons might not be aware of their legal rights as a citizen and the role of lawyers is to explain these rights to you and help you fight for them.  Just so you know, even lawyers also hire other lawyers as their legal representative. So, it is always recommended to hire the services of an attorney, not only when you have been detained in UAE airport but also when reviewing contracts, starting a new business, or dealing with things with legal consequences. This can help you save yourself from any avoidable legal pitfalls.

Work with a Lawyer to Match the Lawyer of Your Opponent

Since lawyers are necessary in court cases, you can expect that your opponent is working with a seasoned lawyer as well. Surely, you don’t want to engage in mediation with someone who knows the law well. The worse thing that can happen is if things go against you and you find yourself in the courtroom without a lawyer and without any legal knowledge. If this happens, you have very slim chances of winning the legal battle.

Focus on Improvement and Healing

In cases where an injury is involved in the dispute or discrimination, working with a lawyer lets you focus on the process of recovery. It doesn’t matter if the pain is financial, emotional or physical, focusing your attention and energies on recovery and restoration of your normal life is important.

These are some of the many reasons why hiring a lawyer is critical when you are detained in Dubai or you are involved in any legal dispute.

Protect Yourself, Family, Friends, Colleagues

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