How suitable is Dubai for a single female living there full time?

I am a 26-year-old single female from the UK who is considering moving to Dubai. I will not be working, but getting a visa through buying an apartment, and living off savings I received via an inheritance.

Since I will not be working for a company, like most single women do, I am trying to understand what the situation will be like for me as a single female living in Dubai - without the support system of a company. I will be on my own so far as making all living arrangements, etc.

Friends and family have tried to put me off going to Dubai, for the following reasons that they have heard from the "media" over here:

a) Every week we get some horror story about Dubai in the press here: English tourists locked up for no good reason, then given legal documents in Arabic to sign, and given no interpreters, etc.

b) Women locked up for reporting rapes, since they "slept" with someone to whom they were not married.

c) Dubai not being a friendly place in general for single white females due to "Islamic" values.

d) If you ever get entangled in anything, no matter how unwittingly or accidentally - good luck, as you will be stuck.

e) It is illegal to be alone in a room with a man unless married - so does this mean we have to remain celibate?

f) You can't live there for 4 months of the year because it is way too hot.

g) Dubai's water supply at any one time only lasts for 7 days, and if ever there were any infrastructure problems like power cuts, you would both boil and die of thirst!

I know the media exaggerates things, so I wanted to speak to any single females who are living in Dubai to give me the real story of day to day life, and whether I could live there full-time without any problems.

Additionally, please give suggestions on the best/nicest place to live for a single female (I have a large budget so expense is not an issue).

Your press is right Dubai is completely unsuitable the whole 2 million plus of us migrate away from Dubai during the four months and you will certainly boil right from the airport like the over 300,000 British expats in dubai
Better you stay in UK with your huge inheritance and attitude

You are lucky to have an inheritance and to be facing this choice.  But having said that, you need to be clear on your choices i.e. why would you pick Dubai with all the associated issues in your mind when you could literally live anywhere?   I think the sarcasm from the previous poster is related to how you worded your question as the tone of it doesn't come through as positive but rather arrogant and condescending.

There are two basic facts that you need to be clear on:

1) There are millions of expats in Dubai.  Hundreds of thousands of them are white expats and a lot of them are British and yes, a lot of them are single women.  All of them live and conduct their daily lives without any significant issues.  The small majority who do make it to the headlines, in most cases, do so because they did something which in their mind would not be a problem in their home country but it is in the UAE i.e. it is their lack of understanding of local environment, laws and customs which lands them into that situation in the first place
2) The UAE is a progressive Islamic country and a great place to live in.  BUT it IS an Islamic country, make NO mistake about that and the laws reflect that.  However, most of the time, you don't face an issue IF and ONLY IF, you don't create a problem or make your behavior impossible to ignore

Some examples:

1) As a non-muslim, you can get an alcohol license and drink in your home without any issue.  Even if you don't have a license, you can buy it from duty free and drink in your home - no one will check or stop you. But it is illegal to be drunk in public.  So let's say, you are out and drunk but in control - it won't be an issue.  If you are out, drunk and obviously drunk but don't bother anyone - it won't be an issue. If you are out, drunk, in control but get into a fight with someone and the police is called; being drunk will lead to an extra charge.  If you drank at home without a license, then there is another charge. You can play this scenario out many ways and you will find that in most cases, the problem happened when the drunk person did or said something to offend others and the police were called

2) Similarly, it is illegal to be alone in the room with a guy not related to you but no hotel or apartment will restrict you from doing that.  But if you are having a loud party, someone calls the police and they come and tell you to turn it down AND you misbehave with them - it will lead to a charge of adultery, drinking alcohol and everything else.   This was an actual case in the past.  Playing out this scenario: I have seen people making out in public after a night of heavy drinking, in expat dominated areas with no one being bothered by it. But do this in a predominantly local area and someone will complain and you WILL get into trouble because displays of public affection are a no-no - depends on which sub-set of public is witnessing it.

And you need to figure out the facts from what the British media reports, they put the facts but misdirect the reader to the wrong set of facts (and compare to UK laws which are not applicable) and thus the wrong conclusion; some cases in point:

Report:  Doctor held at airport for drinking alcohol, detained and deported
Reality: She comes to UAE to work illegally on a visit visa from time to time.  Handed over an expired passport at immigration.  Immigration officer refused to let her enter.  Started arguing with him and started filming him which is illegal here.  So when the charges were slapped onto her, being drunk was included as charge (but it was not a reason for this situation - a lot of people pass drunk through immigration without issues).  But it was her aggressive confrontational behavior coupled with illegal filming that led to this - this could be excused in a country where you are a citizen and your constitution allows for you to do that but not in the UAE.  When you choose to enter a country, you are subject to and have to abide by it's laws - simple.  Don't come if you can't do that; it is YOUR choice

Report: Couple arrested from hotel room, charged for having sex outside of marriage, detained and deported
Reality:  A married woman was having an affair with another man.  She was separated from the husband but legally still married.  Her husband was in the UAE and they were in the process of an acrimonious divorce.  Being from the west and as per the norms there, she assumed being separated was enough as she had her own life now and didn't bother to hide her meeting. Her husband (as legally recognized in the UAE and aware of the law in UAE) complained to the police and they took action.  In fact, this is the only situation they will ever do something like this in a public premises i.e. when a husband or father or someone like that complains with proof.  Again, as I said in the previous example - the law is the law; if your domestic troubles led you to a situation where you could be exposed while breaking the law, whose fault is that?.  Don't break the law or be discreet while your legal situation is resolved or trust in your ex not to report - don't blame the country for having this law, if you don't like this law or the country, don't come here....again it is YOUR choice

So, all in all, to summarize, regarding some of the items you listed:

Is it legal:  No
Will I have problems:  No, if you are discreet then it is not likely to cause any problems.  It doesn't for the vast majority of people.  No one is trying to catch people trying to do things; in fact they practice "live and let live" despite the laws - but you have to be discreet and considerate so that it is not impossible for them to ignore your transgressions
Is it possible to have problems: Of course, as we can't control events when they happen and the fact that some of these things are illegal
If I have problems, should I expect similar legal actions as I would in my country: Of course not. Don't compare laws and freedoms with where you come from


Lastly, as I said before, you need to check your own perspective as to whether YOU can live here because some of the points you mentioned are ONLY worries in your mind and linked more to your ability to adapt to foreign culture vs. any big real issue:

1) Weather:  Millions of people live here during the summer months and laborers continue to work outside.  It doesn't affect them whatsoever.  Some people, mostly families go to home countries during this season because they have the time and money and inclination to do so but the majority of the population stays
2) Infrastructure: Dubai has better infrastructure than a lot of western countries in terms of upkeep, maintenance budgets, cleanliness and quality of people designing/servicing it, so the likelihood of it breaking down is remote.   And similarly, making a decision on a remote event is useless as I can also argue that a lot of countries would face similar issues in the case of such a catastrophic disaster in same and different areas
3) Understanding that this is not part of the developed world or a western country: You mentioned documents in Arabic/Interpreters and so on.  If you commit a crime in say, a Latin american country, would the documents be in English or Spanish/Portugese?  would you not be charged till they find a translator for you?  would you have the ability to refuse to cooperate until you get what you want?  Come on!!!  most of the world is not like the US, UK or western Europe.  If you are worried about these type of things happening, you are better off avoiding all of Africa, all of Latin america, almost all of Asia incl. Middle Eat and part of Eastern Europe and basically stay where you are :)

Thanks for your extensive response as it would enlighten people genuinely seeking information
As for the original poster am sceptical she was actually seeking information rather than an opportunity to write extreme rubbish concepts and take cheap shots
1.She knows enough about Dubai that you could possibly get residency from buying property but she doesn't know anything about the living conditions ?
2.Dubai is one of the most popular tourist and expat destination for British nationals yet what she wrote is the best information she got about Dubai ?
3.Lastly it doesn't make sense that someone willing to invest so much in another country would not thinking of visiting the country for a first hand impression
Visiting Dubai could not be easier for British nationals

Yep the post had that troll stench over it. But as you said, I posted more for the sake of helping other people and stopping this thread from degenerating into a particular direction.

Thanks for your update.

dubai is a place for everyone

If you read XTang comprehensive response, then you have all the true facts to take the reasonable decision. Good luck

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