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How illegal is pregnancy out of Wedlock in UAE in 2021?


With the new UAE laws; if you get pregnant outside a wedlock it is now not a punishable offense.

Dubai is known to be a pot culture and a home to many expats around the world. However the laws are the same if you are a tourist visiting the country or a long term expat living and working in the UAE. 

Not too long ago, if you lived in Dubai and invited your girlfriend or boyfriend to come live with you; this was considered to be a punishable offence for which one could face a heavy penalty or even be jailed. 

In a country where the laws are this strict; many unmarried women face a daunting experience of unexpected pregnancy. But with the unprecedented, the travel solutions were not that easy either. 

Cohabitation of unmarried couples was recently decriminalised in the UAE. 12/2020


Many expats were worried because even with the new laws; article 356 of the UAE Penal Code states that anyone caught engaging in consensual sex outside of marriage, if found guilty, is likely to be punished with a jail sentence, followed by deportation.

While Dubai now tolerates unmarried couples who wish to cohabit; previously most expats, especially unmarried pregnant women have been arrested and subjected to deportation without a proof of being married


When one is surprised with an unexpected child, the most important thing for any expectant mother would be ensuring she and her baby are safe and hence getting the right medical assistance is pretty crucial.

However previously to access maternity services at any of the public and private hospitals in the UAE; expectant mothers are expected to have to open a file which requires a legal marriage certificate from the UAE or any other country which made matters worse if the woman wasn’t married.


Given that the new UAE laws now are open to a woman carrying a child outside a wedlock; some couples still prefer taking the birth of their child; the old school way and getting married first.

If you have any questions related to a pregnancy outside a wedlock, feel free to reach out to us.

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