Getting inked is a decision you should think through as best as possible, and not just because removing the tattoo is costly and painful, but also because of the social norms present in some places. Sure, the United States, as well as much of the civilized countries from the Western parts of the globe, might not be so discriminatory against tattooed individuals, but that’s not the case for other places.

If you have tattoos and they’re not located in particularly visible body areas, we would recommend keeping them out of sight if you’re unsure about the customs and laws of the country you want to visit.

If you have tattoos on your face, chin, or hands, it might actually be dangerous for you to go to some of these destinations. You might have to put off getting that design you might have on your drawing table if you’re planning a trip to one of these places.

Let’s look at five countries where showing your tats can get you kicked out.



It used to be that tattoos were a stigma in this country, and that’s because most of the members of the Vietnamese society saw them as symbols of crime and illegal activities. These days, the mentality has changed quite a bit, but if you intend to travel to more or less remote parts where people might not be as open-minded, you need to cover them up as best as possible.

Traditional communities have a hard time accepting tattoos in Vietnam. Unlike some of the other places we’ll showcase here, there is no correlation between religious issues and tats, at least not in this country. As we have noted, tats are usually thought of as a sign of gang membership and connection to a crime.


Both in Ankara and in Istanbul, tattoos have become quite popular with urban youths. However, a couple of years ago, Turkey introduced an official ban on tats in schools. Apparently, a part of these Turkish officials believes that having and showing off a tattoo can be an overhaul of Turkey’s education system.

The heavily oppressive mindset that this country has been suffering from in the past couple of years has made it more and more difficult for other Europeans and people from other countries to find it comfortable to travel here. Gradually, Turkey risks being singled out as a place where extremist views are preferred in the detriment of free behaviors.



Traveling to Iran is a risk in itself, and that’s because foreigners have to go through a plethora of security controls so that the officials are reassured that they’re not trying to bring anything into the country or trying to take someone out.

Here, tattoos are officially outlawed and are considered a symbol of devil worshipping. That might sound silly for someone living in a Western country, but it’s no funny matter for conservative Iranians.

Sri Lanka

This country made the news headlines back in 2014 when a British woman traveler was deported for donning a Buddha tattoo. The tat was located in a completely decent area, on her arm, but that didn’t seem to matter to Sri Lanka officials. Apparently, its message could have been hurtful for those practicing other religions.

Ms. Coleman was arrested upon arriving at the Columbo airport right after having taken her suitcases out of a taxi. The driver stopped, looked at her, and then reported her to the Police.



Pretty much everything that you might think is natural and can be performed in any other countries might be forbidden in the United Arab Emirates. Ironically, this country was voted as one of the best at protecting women’s rights, and many argue that the results of this selection were botched.

It’s socially unacceptable to show any tattoo in the UAE. The excuse for this being outlawed was that apparently, UAE officials think that it’s a form of self-harm. Ironic how preoccupied they can be with protecting the minds of their people, right?

You couldn’t work for an airline, the police, or the army if you were to be living in the UAE and be inked.