Explained: How to get an alcohol licence in Dubai

Authorities have recently removed a 30 per cent tax that was earlier imposed on beverages in the emirate

by

Meher Dhanjal

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Published: Mon 25 Dec 2023, 1:51 PM

Last updated: Fri 5 Jan 2024, 11:13 AM

Dubai – a melting pot of cultures – maintains an ideal balance between tradition and progression, making expats and tourists feel welcome in the city.

In 2023, laws in Dubai regarding buying alcoholic beverages eased. Authorities also removed a 30 per cent tax that was earlier imposed on beverages in the emirate, making beverages more accessible to tourists and residents.

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To purchase liquor, one must head to an authorised liquor store, which can be found across the emirate. However, buying alcohol is only permitted if one has a liquor licence in Dubai.

Here is all you need to know about getting an alcohol licence in Dubai:

How to apply

There are two ways to apply for a liquor licence in Dubai:

Offline

Residents can head to African Eastern or MMI and apply for a licence in store.

Applicants must be over 21 years of age and have a valid Emirates ID that they can present at the store.

Employees will ask the applicant for some basic details, after which their application will begin processing.

Applicants will be able to purchase beverages after applying for a licence.

Online

Applicants can visit the official African Eastern website and click on 'Apply for licence' at the top right corner on the website.

After that, they will be led to a form, where they will be asked to fill out some personal details – including their Emirates ID number.

Processing time

After applying for the licence, it can take anywhere between two to five weeks for the applicant to receive their licence.

Cost

As part of the rules amended earlier this year, the Government of Dubai has made obtaining the licence completely free of cost.

Eligibility

Applicants must be:

  • 21+ years
  • a UAE resident with a valid Emirates ID

Applying as a tourist

Tourists are also able to apply for a personal liquor licence in Dubai.

They will be required to present a passport –which must be valid for two more months – when applying. Applicants also must be over 21 years old.

Rules

Consuming alcoholic beverages is permitted in the emirate, however, the following rules must be kept in mind.

1. The legal drinking age in Dubai is 21 years old.

2. Public consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited and will result in legal consequences.

3. Drinking and driving is strictly prohibited in the emirate. There is a zero-tolerance policy against such acts.

4. Alcohol can only be consumed at licensed restaurants, lounges and bars across the city.

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