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  • Writer's pictureHuzz

Are tattoos legal in Dubai?

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

No, unlike any other country, the UAE has strict measures regarding this subject.

The arrest of four Asian men running an illegal tattoo parlor has put the spotlight on a thriving, 'underground’ tattoo business in Dubai, with the police saying they will now launch a crackdown.

Meanwhile, over 100 professional tattoo artists operating in Dubai alone may be forced to stop providing ink to customers for some time. Over the last five years, tattoos have become a must-have, irrespective of age, gender" or fashion-leaning.

In fact, according to one tattoo artist, this website spoke to, the number of women getting tattoos in Dubai alone has tripled in the last two years. The problem is tattoo artists operating without a license are illegal.

Brigadier Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Director of Dubai Police CID, told this website," doors run a service offering tattoos; you need a special license.”

By its estimates, the underground industry is worth a million dirhams because artists must come to your home to do it. Also, because it is illegal, it is costlier, with Dh500 being the minimum for a small tattoo.

Most of the tattoo artists this website spoke to said they are unaware of needing a license or where to get one.

"No ministry is going to give us a license for something that is not allowed by Islam in the first place," was the common refrain. In the case that set all this off, a tip-off by an alert resident who smelled something fishy in a neighborhood flat led to the busting of the illegal tattoo parlor in the Al Murraqabat area.

Four Filipino men were arrested in the raid that took place recently. Police recovered 14 drills used in the unhygienic operation that offered tattoos and body piercings for between Dh500 – Dh1,000. The charges vary depending on the tattoo's design or the piercing's location.

Brigadier Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Director of Dubai Police CID, said: "A man came to us and told us about this gang. He lives in the same building, and he used to see Asian and European teenagers knocking on the arrestedlicense not opened on his body clothes lat doors. He said that the Filipino man would suspiciously open the door and let them in after asking them many questions," he said.

The Arab national who resided in the building saw teenagers visiting the place, being checked at the door, and returning with their arms wrapped in bandages. It could be a drug den.

Pretending to be a client, an undercover policeman went to the parlor. When asked by one of the Filipino men who ran the operation how he learned about the place, the policemen just said a friend guided him.

Once inside, the agent saw the flat was dirty. "He saw four Filipinos running the place. There were many machines used to make tattoos and piercing. They showed the agent many albums containing different designs for the tattoo. These included religious and sex-related pictures. They also offered to make tattoos on sensitive parts of the body," Mansouri said.

The neighborhood reported that the flat was dirty, with blood-soiled needles and clothes scattered on the blood-stained floor.

They were not sterilizing the tools, which could be dangerous and lead to infections transmitted through blood and body fluids.

The undercover agent then thanked the operatives and promised to return to do the tattoo. Based on the information gathered, police raided the place and arrested the mental ovary,o; auspiciously open t, he doorthinkingparlora friend guided him bodyartsinvestigatornd seized the implements used in the illegal trade.

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