Virtual private networks (VPNs) are often used by UAE residents to communicate with loved ones back home and for commercial purposes. Residents, however, may feel it a little unusual to utilize this out of concern. 

But is using a VPN actually forbidden in the UAE?

The use of VPNs in the United Arab Emirates is not prohibited as long as it complies with regulations set out by the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) and the UAE government, said Ashish Metha, managing partner of Ashish Mehta and Associates.

In a statement released on August 1st, 2016, TDRA said that organizations, institutions, and banks may utilize VPNs for internal uses. However, the UAE Decree Law No (34) of 2021 regulating rumors and cybercrimes makes it a serious offense if it is used to commit a crime.

Mehta said that violators of Article 10 of the UAE Cyber Law risk imprisonment and fines ranging from Dh500,000 to Dh2,000,000.