Non-Muslim residents of Dubai need an alcohol license to purchase alcohol from a store or keep alcohol in their home. As a Muslim country, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) implements Sharia law, which prohibits the purchase and consumption of alcohol. However, UAE authorities are aware that drinking alcohol is popular among non-Muslims who live in Dubai, which has a large ex-pat community. Because of this, UAE has established strict rules for the sale and consumption of alcohol.
In hotels across all of the UAE, except Sharjah where the sale, consumption and possession of alcohol is prohibited, alcohol is offered to customers and visitors. However, consuming alcohol is prohibited in unlicensed public places, and public drunkenness is against the law as well. Drinking alcohol is also not allowed during public holidays, such as Isra Wal Miraj or the Prophet’s Birthday. If someone is caught transporting a large quantity of alcohol, it, along with their vehicle, will be seized and they will face punishment as per Sharia law. There is also a zero tolerance policy towards drinking and driving.
It’s better to be safe and legal when it comes to drinking alcohol in the UAE. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to get around and to follow the rules in the UAE. As Dubai is a multi-cultural hub, many signs and documents have been translated into English, and other languages. They’ve certainly used the translation services offered by language service providers to help non-natives navigate the cultural and linguistic differences visitors often confront in the UAE, such as wondering where they can get a liquor license. It’s actually quite easy to get a liquor license in Dubai; all one needs to do is meet the following requirements.
- You must be non-Muslim and over 21 years old.
- You must earn in excess of AED 3,000 per month.
- You must be a resident of Dubai.
- If you are self-employed, you will need to provide a copy of your trade license.
- Application forms can be picked up from MMI and African & Eastern (A&E) liquor stores, which are located all over Dubai and are often attached to shopping malls.
- The store will process the application with the Dubai Police, which takes between two to three weeks.
- Licenses are valid for one year.