Are Tattoos Legal in Dubai

Are Tattoos Legal in Dubai?

Imagine this. You’re in Dubai, a city with tall buildings and beautiful sands. You want to get a tattoo to remember this fantastic place. But hold on! Can you get a tattoo in Dubai? Is it against the law?

This question is more challenging than it looks. Dubai is a city of old traditions and new ways. So, the answer about tattoos is quite interesting. 

Are you curious? Great! Let’s dig deeper into this question together.

Why Tattoos are Taboo in Dubai: Not Illegal, but Unwelcome 

Why Tattoos are Taboo in Dubai Not Illegal, but Unwelcome
Image source: Gulf News

Tattoos in Dubai are generally considered taboo due to their prohibition in Islam. The Official Fatwa Center at the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments has issued a fatwa deeming tattoos a form of self-injury.

Fatwa is an Arabic word that means a legal opinion or ruling on a point of Islamic law. The majority religion in Dubai is Islam, which teaches its followers to revere and care for the physical form God created.

Permanent tattoos are generally viewed as an attempt to change God’s creation and are therefore frowned upon.

Dubai’s social norms also strongly emphasize modesty and traditional values. This implies that overt displays of body art, especially ones that might be interpreted as provocative or irreverent, may be met with criticism.

However, the stigma surrounding tattoos is gradually fading as the city continues to embrace its diverse population and a rising number of tourists. The younger generation is also becoming more accepting of personal forms of expression.

Are Tattoos Permitted in Dubai?

In Dubai, having tattoos is allowed and in accordance with the law. The legal framework of Dubai does not encompass any specific legislation that categorizes the act of getting a tattoo as a criminal offense.

While tattoos are allowed, there’s a catch – you need to be pre-approved by the government to be considered legal. When applying for a visa, if you’ve got a tattoo, they might ask about it during the process.

Any tattoos present will be noted as part of the mandatory medical examination. In some cases, this could raise concerns for the consular officer, leading them to suspect possible gang affiliations or past drug abuse.

It’s worth mentioning that law enforcement agencies maintain records of tattoos associated with gangs for identification purposes. 

Because of this rule, many tourists get their tattoos done outside of Dubai to avoid any potential issues when renewing their visas. It’s essential to follow the rules to ensure everything goes smoothly! 

If you already have a tattoo, you should cover it up as much as possible, especially in public places or during Ramadan.

Can I get a tattoo in Dubai?

While getting a tattoo in Dubai is not prohibited, it’s risky and frowned upon.

Tattoo shops are not formally licensed or subject to the same level of regulation as they are in many other nations. Professional tattoo artists still work in the area despite this.

Additionally, the Health and Safety Department monitors the operation of tattoo shops to ensure adherence to the necessary safety and sanitary requirements.

But because tattoos are frequently considered uncool for cultural and religious reasons, it’s polite to cover them in public, especially if they are large or noticeable.

This is especially important when visiting beaches, baths, mosques, and other religious sites.

The meaning behind your tattoo is also important. Any tattoo considered offensive or immoral could get you in trouble with the law. This includes anything objectionable to Islamic beliefs, including but not limited to nudity and profanity.

Many companies have policies requiring employees, especially those in customer-facing positions, to cover up visible tattoos. Having obvious tattoos can limit job opportunities in some professional settings.

Although getting a tattoo in Dubai is not against the law, it’s still important to be aware of these cultural customs and laws to prevent potential issues.

What tattoos do people commonly recognize in Dubai’s culture?

What tattoos do people commonly recognize in Dubai's culture

Dubai’s cultural tattoos encompass Arabic Calligraphy, Hamsa, falconry, and Islamic Geometry. These tattoos symbolize elegance, protection, strength, and cultural identity. 

But it’s important to keep in mind that Dubai is a multicultural city that draws visitors from all over the world. As a result, a variety of personal and cultural factors may influence tattoos in Dubai.

Arabic Calligraphy

Tattoo designs that use this script frequently incorporate significant words or phrases, giving the tattoo more style and meaning.  


A traditional Middle Eastern symbol for the Hand of God is the hamsa. It’s considered a protective symbol providing its owner happiness, good fortune, health, and prosperity.


The falcon is the national bird of the United Arab Emirates and represents strength and valor. Numerous Emiratis enjoy falconry, a prominent sport in the region.

Islamic Geometry

These patterns are frequently symmetrically organized and built on the repetition of simple geometric shapes like circles, squares, and triangles.

Tips for Foreigners with Tattoos Visiting Dubai

Dubai is renowned for its friendliness and hospitality toward tourists. There are a few things you should remember as a visitor with tattoos to ensure a smooth and respectful stay:

  • Be aware of the cultural sensitivities: Tattoos are not forbidden in Dubai, but they are not as widely accepted as they are in some other countries. 

Some tattoos, like those with political or religious symbols, might be viewed as offensive. It’s best to be safe and cover up your tattoos in public.

  • Cover up your tattoos in public: This is especially important if you’re visiting religious or government buildings or if you’re going to be in areas where there are a lot of conservative locals.

You can use clothing, makeup, or even temporary tattoos to cover up your tattoos.

  • Be aware of the law: There’s no specific law against tattoos in Dubai, but there are some laws that you should be aware of. 

For example, it’s illegal to have offensive or obscene tattoos. You could be arrested or deported if caught with a tattoo violating the law.