The UAE is home to many fascinating engineering marvels, swanky malls and glorious attractions that immediately captures your attention. With a smartphone in your hand, it’s only natural to want to click away and fill your Instagram feed with stunning photos showing the country’s magnificence and architecture. Before you decide to take the plunge, it’s important to know that there are certain rules about public photography in the UAE that you need to follow.
Rules about public photography in the UAE
We bring you a list of UAE public photography rules that, if followed properly, can save you from facing fines and other consequences.
Don’t take pictures of semi-government, government buildings and military sites
While you are sightseeing in Dubai or any other emirate in the UAE, you may come across many semi-government and government buildings as well as military sites that you would want to click a picture of. Before you make the next move, know that taking pictures of government and military sites is restricted in the UAE, unless you have a special permit.
If you are unsure of what this entails, semi-government sites where you should refrain from photography include Dubai International Financial Centre and Dubai International Maritime Sports Club Field. Similarly, government entities where this is prohibited include the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and DLD.
When it comes to military spaces, the UAE Armed Forces General Headquarters (GHQ), Dubai Civil Defense headquarters etc are also included in this rule.
Other public places such as beaches, airports, bridges, cultural sites and free zones also have limitations for photography.
Follow the protocol: Take approval beforehand for photoshoots
It’s important to take an approval before organising a photo shoot in the UAE. Whether you are considering Dubai Mall, Sheikh Zayed Mosque or any other place in the country, you will need to obtain permission from concerned authorities if you are planning a professional shoot. If they allow you, only then you will be able to hold a shoot within that particular area. That’s the protocol for organising photoshoots in the UAE.
Photography at the airports is also strictly prohibited to ensure the safety of passengers as well as employees of the Civil Aviation Authority. Photographers need to take special permission to conduct a photoshoot there.
Permission comes first: Never click pictures of anyone without their consent
It is important to respect other people’s privacy. Don’t click pictures of others without seeking their consent.
Article 378 of the UAE Code states that taking pictures without obtaining permission will result in the camera being confiscated, recordings destroyed and photographers being charged a fine, or in some situations, being imprisoned.
Share with care: Don’t exhibit or distribute pictures without permission
Sharing pictures of others without their permission is a punishable offence in the UAE.
According to Article 43 of the UAE Copyright Law, a photographer has no right to exhibit, publish or distribute the original picture or its copies without authorisation from the person appearing in the photo. The violation of this law may result in a fine and a minimum of six months to a one-year jail term.
Exceptions to the law for sharing pictures in the UAE
You may share the picture:
- If it has been captured at a public event
- If the picture is of a known personality or a public figure
- If the publication is permitted by the authorities in public interest
Photography fines in the UAE
There is a fine for breaching the UAE public photography laws.
- The fine for unapproved external or internal photography at semi-government sites range between AED 8k- AED 13k for half a day and AED 15k- AED 25k for 24 hours.
- The fine for unapproved external or internal photography at the government sites is AED 25k for a full day.
These photography rules in the UAE have been incorporated to protect privacy and safety.
To make residents’ lives easier, many other regulations are also being implemented in the country. Recently, a new debt law was passed to decriminalize the financial obligations of those who need to repay a loan to the debtors in the UAE.
For more information about the rules and regulations of the UAE, stay tuned to MyBayut.