What’s got substance? What started life as a whisper in Rock Bottom? We sort the wheat from the chaff and bust those myths once and for all (well, as much as you can in a place where things can change at the drop of a hat, anyway).

You can’t share housemaids

Nope, you can’t, and there are hefty fines for those caught doing it. Anyone working in your household needs to be sponsored by you (or, more likely, your hubby) or engaged through a professional maid services agency so the lady you interviewed last week who ‘has her own visa’ is the wrong side of legal. As is borrowing your friend’s maid part-time. Check out Gulf News for plenty of stories on those caught out or the UAE Ministry of Interior for the official rules.

Codeine is illegal!

Some drugs are controlled and only available on certain prescriptions from pharmacies licensed to dispense them, but relax; codeine is currently legal if you’ve got the appropriate script from the doc. Remember the same rules apply to visitors, and there’ll be some official hoops to jump through if they’ll be bringing their medicine cabinet with them; check out the www.moh.gov.ae for a list of what’s legal, what’s not and to find out exactly what you need to do to stay on the right side of the law.

You need your own alcohol licence even if your husband has one

‘Fraid so! Dubai Police made amendments to rules in 2013 to reflect that everyone in Dubai consuming alcohol needs their own alcohol licence. You’ll find full details and the relevant application forms at any branch of A&E or MMI.

Holding hands in the mall will get you arrested

Er, no. If your PDA is Oscar-worthy then sure, you can expect a firm telling off from the boys in blue (or worse), but otherwise they’ve got better things to be doing with their time. Most long-term expats confirm simply holding hands is just fine; plenty of us do it – both locals and expats – and say it’s perfectly acceptable!

Shoulders on show? Sorry, you’re not coming in…

Some of us have been booted out of the mall for wearing spaghetti straps, some of us have been just fine in sheer chiffon and rather short shorts. Let’s simplify it; dress for where you’re going and what you’re doing. Keep it subdued for the mall, let your hair down a bit for a ladies night out on the town. Long-term resident and British mum Sam Green says it’s a good idea to keep an emergency cardi or wrap in the car in case you feel uncomfortable.

 If you’re on your husband’s visa, you can’t work

Sorry, you can’t use this one as an excuse to sit around the community pool sunbathing! If he gives you an NOC and the company issues you a labour card – either a physical card or the new e-Labour card – you’re above board. www.mol.gov.ae or 800665

 You can’t take alcohol through Sharjah!

Tax-free bottle shops such as Barracuda are tempting; a quick road trip will see you stocked up in no time. Getting it back home is the risky bit, though, as Sharjah is a completely dry emirate and transporting alcohol through there is a no-no. Get the lowdown on what’s okay and what’s not from A&E and MMI.

You can’t get Crunchie bars for love nor money!

Great news; of course you can. You might find yourself with a bit of a treasure hunt on your hands, but you can get your hands on most of those gold-dust home favourites here, even if supply can be a bit hit-and-miss. A quick poll of where to find these in the British Mums Dubai Facebook group should get you the info you need on who’s got what in stock and where. Not-so-great news; once word gets out there’s a new delivery in town, there’ll be a mad dash for Park&Shop and the shelves’ll be bare again in no time…

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