The United Arab Emirates, a member of the Gulf Corporation Council along with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar has the largest population of expatriates of over 200 nationalities. With 85% of population being expats, the demand for alcohol is very high. UAE is a Muslim country that follows the Sharia Law. There are strict laws and regulations for drinking that is applicable to both resident expats and tourists in the UAE. It is important for the expats living in UAE to know the local laws regarding alcohol consumption and other legal aspects regarding drinking in UAE.
Liquor Drinking in UAE
- Alcohol consumption in the UAE is only permitted in certain designated areas. Expats, Non-Residents and tourists can drink within licensed restaurants, pubs, clubs and bars associated with hotels. They can drink in these locations without holding a licence to buy alcohol. However, if you wish to drink in the UAE, it is highly recommended that you own an alcohol licence.
- Non-Muslim expats in the UAE need to get a liquor licence to drink. They need to apply for a liquor license which entitles them to buy alcohol from designated stores and consume them at home.
- In order to possess a liquor license in Dubai, there are two licensed liquor chains operating in Dubai – MMI (Mercantile & Maritime International ) and A& E (African & Eastern ) and these stores have branches throughout Dubai or you can apply online.
- Alcohol license are issued only to Non –Muslims, whether they are UAE residents or tourists. Hotels need to have license to serve alcohol.
- The minimum age of drinking is 21 years in UAE. Licenses are issued only if you are over 21 years. There is zero tolerance for drunk driving and public drunkenness.
- Public drinking is strictly prohibited. It is illegal to drink in public places or in streets in UAE. There are chances to get arrested if an expat is found guilty of charges of public drunkenness. Family members of expats visiting them on a visitor`s visa need to be more careful as they cannot purchase alcohol license and liquor consumption becomes illegal.
- The UAE Penal Code establishes the punishments for those who are found to be drunk in public, and the rule is zero tolerance.
- When it comes to drunken driving, even a sip of alcohol is not allowed. Anyone caught driving under the influence of alcohol can face a long span jail, a fine, deportation and confiscation of their vehicle.
- They can face jail sentence for a month or six months and incur a hefty fine ranging from Dhs 1000 to Dhs 2000.
To buy alcohol without license in UAE
To buy alcohol without license in UAE, visitors can purchase from Duty Free liquor shops in Dubai International airport. One of the best liquor store in UAE to buy alcohol without license is Al Hamra Cellar in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE ( MMI Shop ) and one can make unlimited purchases in this store. You can find a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from the best brands at affordable rates.