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Forums Other Destination advice Niche question re immigration checks in UAE/Qatar and other ME destinations

  • tootsci 75 posts

    Hi folks

    I have a somewhat niche query regarding immigration proceedings in the Middle East in general, but particularly Dubai, for myself and family and whether we might encounter any problems. I’d particularly be interested to hear from anyone who is in the same situation as us who has done this.

    I/we are a married same-sex female couple, and we have an almost 8 year old son. We are pretty well-travelled in Europe and some of SEA both solo and as a couple (also Morocco for part of our honeymoon pre-child), but haven’t been at all to the Middle East. We have only been to Europe as a family. We both kept our last names when we got married, and our son has a double-barrelled combination of the two names.

    Friends of ours (opposite sex couple) are visiting Dubai for a family ‘fly and flop’ with their two kids and we are considering joining them.

    Given the prevailing laws of the region, if we all present together as a family unit at immigration could things be awkward for us as the combination of our 3 last names essentially ‘outs’ myself and my wife to anyone who can put two and two together? Would it be better if we presented as a mother and child, and one of us separately as a solo traveler? Or am I overthinking this and the border force wouldn’t really notice the names and the implication, or bat an eyelid even if they did?

    I appreciate that some may find it questionable that we might want to visit the region with their laws as they are, but I’d be grateful for advice rather than judgement. My son would just like to go on holiday with his friend…

    NorthernLass 8,247 posts

    I don’t think you’ll have any issues due to the relationship – your partner could be your sister-in-law for all they know, and that would explain your son having both surnames.

    What I would check, though, is whether Dubai is one of those countries which requires consent from both parents for a minor to travel; it would not surprise me if this was the case, being somewhat, patriarchal, as they say! You don’t say what the legal situation with your son is, but they might start asking questions about having his father’s permission to travel.

    A close friend of mine adopted her son as a single parent and carries a court document with her when she travels to show that she is her son’s sole legal guardian.

    NorthernLass 8,247 posts

    *Or as you’ll be in the ME, just tell them that the women in your party are the 3 wives of the man!

    tootsci 75 posts

    I don’t think you’ll have any issues due to the relationship – your partner could be your sister-in-law for all they know, and that would explain your son having both surnames.

    What I would check, though, is whether Dubai is one of those countries which requires consent from both parents for a minor to travel; it would not surprise me if this was the case, being somewhat, patriarchal, as they say! You don’t say what the legal situation with your son is, but they might start asking questions about having his father’s permission to travel.

    A close friend of mine adopted her son as a single parent and carries a court document with her when she travels to show that she is her son’s sole legal guardian.

    Yes, that’s a good point, thanks. I’ve heard of that being an issue but don’t know if it applies to Dubai, I’ll look that up. Without spelling out the details, his birth certificate has both of us named on it so there is no father’s permission to have! 🙂

    tootsci 75 posts

    *Or as you’ll be in the ME, just tell them that the women in your party are the 3 wives of the man!

    Ha ha good idea lol!

    NorthernLass 8,247 posts

    Ah ok, it would just be the last thing you want at the start of your holiday for some official to start asking awkward questions!

    I don’t use my husband’s surname on official documents and did wonder if we might be asked to prove that we were married (we went to Dubai and Doha in the same trip) but nobody said anything!

    tootsci 75 posts

    Ah ok, it would just be the last thing you want at the start of your holiday for some official to start asking awkward questions!

    I don’t use my husband’s surname on official documents and did wonder if we might be asked to prove that we were married (we went to Dubai and Doha in the same trip) but nobody said anything!

    Yes, exactly. I’ll keep reading but I think we may conclude it’s not worth the potential hassle, and suggest we join them next time but somewhere a bit less ‘problematic’.

    NorthernLass 8,247 posts

    Honestly, I don’t think you’ll have any issues if there’s no parental consent requirement which might get them asking questions on arrival. PDAs are generally frowned on so you won’t be different to anyone else in that respect. OH and I were probably being over-cautious, but we were quite paranoid in case we accidentally held hands in public without thinking!

    Various issues aside, Dubai is a great choice for young families, I think. It was clean, safe, the people were polite and charming and there’s plenty of fun stuff to do.

    tootsci 75 posts

    Honestly, I don’t think you’ll have any issues if there’s no parental consent requirement which might get them asking questions on arrival. PDAs are generally frowned on so you won’t be different to anyone else in that respect. OH and I were probably being over-cautious, but we were quite paranoid in case we accidentally held hands in public without thinking!

    Various issues aside, Dubai is a great choice for young families, I think. It was clean, safe, the people were polite and charming and there’s plenty of fun stuff to do.

    I can’t remember the last time we held hands in this country so I think we’ll be ok on that front ha ha! Research so far this afternoon on the parental consent issue is mixed but this has been more from TA and other forums, will see if I can find a more official source.

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,158 posts

    “ OH and I were probably being over-cautious, but we were quite paranoid in case we accidentally held hands in public without thinking!”

    Shocking reveal that the tenacious and not to be trifled with NorthernLass has a soft centre. I expect a mention in the Bits article tomorrow.

    NorthernLass 8,247 posts

    I am literally sitting here with a kitten asleep on my shoulder 🤣

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