Did you know that when living in Dubai, you are legally required to have an Alcohol License to purchase, consume or just store alcohol at home? Yes, the law of the land requires you to have an Alcohol License to have a drink in Dubai.
The UAE is a Muslim country, which implements Sharia Law that prohibits purchase and consumption of alcohol. However, the UAE authorities are aware that drinking alcohol is popular among the huge expatriate population here, and for that reason, the UAE establishes rules for purchase and consumption of alcohol.
Therefore, it is necessary for you to know that if you are at a friend’s house, and they have an alcohol license, you are not covered by it. An alcohol license permits the license holder, and only that person to consumer, store, transport or possess alcohol, which means, that even to have alcohol at your home in Dubai, you need to own a license.
Furthermore, once you are a license holder, you will have access to over 17 African + Eastern stores in Dubai, and earn rewards in the form of vouchers for and plenty of deals and savings.
Dubai Alcohol License - Some basic facts to know:
- Any non-Muslim planning to purchase alcohol or have drink, should possess a liquor license, even, when drinking in licensed premises such as bars, restaurants, clubs and sports.
- To be eligible for a license, you should be at least 21 years of age.
- Independent restaurants are not allowed to serve alcohol in Dubai, but, hotels, sports clubs and other specially designated areas can.
- License is a ‘must’ for transporting alcohol and for consuming it outside licensed premises, such as home.
- While hotels should obtain license to serve alcohol, it is not mandatory that they should ask their customers for a liquor license.
- Muslims are not issued alcohol licenses, as consumption of alcohol or any other drug, or psychotropic substance is strictly prohibited under Islamic Law. It is also illegal to offer or sell alcoholic drinks to Muslims.
- The maximum purchase value of alcoholic beverages shall be 20 percent of monthly salary, upto maximum Dh,5000.
- The alcohol should be purchased only from shops that are licensed to cell in Abu Dhabi, and the liquor so purchased should not be displayed or carried publicly.
- Although the bars and nightclubs in Dubai are equivalent to most big cities in the world, the licensing laws imply that the clubs shut down by 3am.
- Drinking in public is illegal, and if caught can attract huge fine and imprisonment.
- Dubai follows zero-tolerance policy towards drinking and driving, and the consequences if caught can include deportation, fine, imprisonment, loss of driving license and no insurance in the event of an accident. Alternatively, instead of self-drive, you can call the ‘Saferdriver Chauffer Service’ anytime between 9am to 4am at +971 4 2688797 or +971 4 2045650 and they will drop you at your destination.
- During the Ramadan month, the bars and restaurants in Dubai are more subdued, and hence, if expats are caught breaking any drink related laws, the punishments may be stiffer.
How to apply for an Alcohol License in Dubai?
Applying for an alcohol license in Dubai is now easier in comparison to the requirements a few years ago. The monthly limits that used to come with alcohol earlier are now more flexible, so the customers can set their own limits. Moreover, it now costs just Dh.270 annually to buy an alcohol license, which is given back to you in the form of vouchers.
- Passport Copy
- Visa Copy
- Emirates ID Copy
- Passport size photograph
- Tenancy Contract (optional)
Procedure for Alcohol / Liquor Licence
With the latest amendments effective April 2019, being implemented, in alcohol license law, lesser documents are required for proof, and the applicant need not depend on employers for documents, and the processing time is much faster. So now, even if your company does not give you the NOC letter, or the original salary certificate, you can still get an alcohol license.
- Fill up an application form online at www.alcohollicencedubai.com or from any of the 17 African+Eastern stores located conveniently across Dubai,
- Liquor licence application form can be obtained from various alcohol outlets throughout the UAE, including MMI (www.mmidubai.com), Spinneys (www.spinneys.com), A&E (www.africaneastern.com) and you can apply online to the Special License Office (www.auhsl.ae).
- The application should be supported by all the necessary copies mentioned above, such as passport copy, visa copy, photograph, and tenancy contract copy (optional).
- On submitting your application, along with necessary documentation and fee of Dh.270, it will take four weeks to process.
Note: Both Maritime & Mercantile International (MMI) and African+Eastern Stores (A&E) are among the two companies licensed to sell alcohol in Dubai.
After receiving your licence, you will also receive monthly allowance, which is based on your salary, age, job title and family size. This is usually enough for personal home use during the month. If you are planning dinner parties or bigger celebrations, you can stock up for a few months beforehand.
Obtaining a liquor license not only keeps you out of trouble, but has many other benefits, like for instance, some licensed liquor chains run offers at bars and restaurants across town or you can join the wine club. You will be notified of any special events like new product launches, and will get regular updates on latest offers too.
Liquor Licence Validity and Fee
- Your liquor licence holds a validity of one year, after which, it should be renewed annually.
- Once, your application has been submitted with necessary documents, you have to pay a fee of Dh.270 for a year, and it will take about 3 weeks to get your new Alcohol License.
Liquor Licence Facilities
Al Karama - Tel: 04 3348056 / 3351722
Al Wasl - Tel: 04 3942672 / 3940351
Arabian Ranches - Tel: 04 3606620
Bur Dubai - Tel: 04 3934361/ 04 352 4521
Deira - Tel: 04 2940390 / 04 2222666
Green Community - Tel: 04 885 4550
Jumeirah - Tel: 04 3490246
Ibn Battuta Mall - Tel: 04 3685626
Marina - Tel: 04 3683981
Mall of Emirates - Tel: 04341 0371
Mirdif - Tel: 04 2882715
Sheikh Zayed Road - Tel: 04 321 1223
Ras Al Khaimah - Tel: 07 236 334
Silicon Oasis - Tel: 04 326 4583
Trade Centre Road - Tel: 04 352 3091
Cellar Saver (MMI) - Tel: 07 2447403
A&E (African & Eastern) - Tel: 04 4344500 or visit www.africaneastern.com.
MMI (Maritime & Mercantile International) – Tel: 04 424 5000 or visit www.mmidubai.com for store locations.
Transporting Alcohol in Dubai
Obviously, if you purchase alcohol at an A&E or MMI shop in Dubai, you will have to trolley it home somehow. Your alcohol licence will permit you to do that, but, it is advisable to transport it in your own private vehicle. The alcohol licence only permits you to transport your purchase from shop to your home. If caught transporting a large quantity (over your license limit) the alcohol and vehicle will be seized and the person or persons will face punishment as per Sharia law.
Alcohol transport is not permitted on the Dubai Metro, or in any other form of public transport.
However problems may occur if your taxi or private car is involved in an accident, and the alcohol in the vehicle becomes obvious. Dubai Transport phone number is +971 4 208 0808 to order a taxi.
Renewing Liquor Licence
Create a secure account to log in. Fill up the alcohol License Application eForm and upload documents. Your personal data is completely safe with us, and creating a new account takes very little time,
To conclude, a note worth remembering:-The ill-effects of alcohol on health are well-known. Hence, it is best to abstain from alcoholic drinks as much as possible. But, if unavoidable, enjoy drinking legally and only in minimal quantities.
Note: Not being aware of the law is not an excuse and there is little protection if one gets into trouble. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Applications for Liquor License in Dubai and Abu Dhabi can be submitted to:
Khalifa City Police Station
General Directorate of Criminal Investigation
Hotels Security Branch
Tel: 02 508 8888 / 02 508 8817
Sunday to Thursday 08:00 – 13:00
In Dubai, applications for a liquor licence should be submitted via one of the alcohol outlets or to:
CID at Police Headquarters
Deira - Beside Al Mulla Plaza
Tel.: 04 292 2222