Alcohol Law in Dubai

In Dubai, the laws on alcohol consumption differ from those in other countries. As per the law in Dubai, you must possess an alcohol license to purchase or drink in the region. If you break any of these harsh regulations, you could face serious punishments.

Liquor licenses are given only to individuals who have valid UAE residence permits and are non-Muslims. Punishments for Muslims who are under the influence of alcohol are more serious.

Similar laws are followed in other Emirates of the UAE for purchase and consumption of liquor. Sharjah is an exception and is considered as a ‘dry state’. Consuming or even carrying liquor is strictly forbidden there.

It is important to note that liquor permits are exclusive to the Emirate. This means that if you have a permit in Dubai, it only allows you to purchase or consume alcohol in Dubai. For each Emirate, a separate liquor permit is required.

Can you drink alcohol in Dubai?

The regulations for alcohol consumption apply to both tourists and residents in Dubai. As a tourist, you can consume liquor in Dubai, but you must be confined to the specified places. You must not be found drinking, or in an inebriated condition in public. You can only drink in licensed places that hold the right alcohol permits, such as resorts, restaurants, hotels, pubs, and clubs. It is also necessary to have a license for alcohol prior to the purchase of alcohol. In addition, license holders can buy liquor only from authorized stores.

Fine for drinking alcohol in Dubai

Dubai follows stricter laws for drinking without a license and drunk driving. If you are found drinking without an alcohol license, the punishment includes penalty, imprisonment for 6 months, or both. If you are caught driving in an intoxicated condition, you may be served with a fine and jail term as ordered by the court. Your vehicle may also be confiscated for 2 months.

Depending on the case, additional penalties may be imposed on you and your driving license may also be suspended for a certain period.

Drinking liquor at the workplace is also considered a serious offence. If you are caught drinking or if you are under the influence of alcohol at the workplace, your employer has the right to fire you without any advance notice.

If you are caught in any alcohol related issues in Dubai, get in touch with a local law firm for better assistance.

Is there a legal drinking age in Dubai?

You should be at least 21 years old to legally consume alcohol in Dubai.

Can you drink alcohol in your hotel room in Dubai?

Major hotel bars serve alcohol to their guests. If you don’t stay at the hotel and wish to consume liquor there, you must own a personal liquor license. In case you stay at the hotel, you are allowed to drink alcohol within closed doors. You need to keep in mind that you can’t walk around in the hotel premises in an intoxicated state. You must confine yourself to your room or hotel area.

Cost of alcohol in Dubai

Most of the restaurants and hotels that serve liquor are luxurious places to drink alcohol. However, some of these places have a rewards system in the form of happy hours and coupons. This is in addition to the plenty of discounts and deals they offer to their customers. Besides, it is cheaper to buy liquor from Dubai duty free shops or licensed stores.

Can tourists buy alcohol in Dubai?

Yes, non-Muslim tourists who are over 21 years of age are allowed to buy liquor in Dubai, provided they own an alcohol license. In such cases, you can buy it only from licensed and registered shops. Only the license holder can store, possess, consume, or transport alcohol. Even if you want to keep alcohol in your home, you need to have a license.

Where to buy alcohol in Dubai without a license?

It is illegal to purchase liquor in Dubai if you do not own a liquor license.

Different Emirates of the UAE have different laws. You might be able to purchase alcohol in other states, but you are not allowed to carry it or consume it in Dubai as you will need a state-specific license.

Can you buy alcohol at Dubai airport?

Yes, you can purchase alcohol at Dubai airport from the duty-free shop. You need to ensure that the quantity is within the specified limit. It is ideal to save the bill for future reference.

Can you drink alcohol at Dubai airport?

As per the laws in Dubai, it is illegal to consume liquor or be intoxicated in public. This may lead to penalties and imprisonment.

Can you take alcohol in your suitcase to Dubai?

You are permitted to carry a specified amount of alcohol and other narcotic items to Dubai. These items include:

  • 4 liters of alcohol or one carton (24 cans) of beer
  • Cigarettes worth AED 2,000 or 400 sticks of cigarettes
  • Gifts, including perfume worth AED 3,000
  • Cigars worth AED 3,000
  • 2 kilograms of tobacco

It is crucial to know beforehand which items are restricted or illegal entering the country.

How to get an alcohol license in Dubai?

All non-Muslim residents who are over 21 years of age are eligible to apply for a liquor license in Dubai. Previously, citizens had to submit a copy of their passport, visa, and a no-objection letter from their employer. However, the system has recently been simplified.

Residents now need to submit their Emirates ID to receive a license in compliance with the simplified guidelines. Typically, the approval is granted within 48 hours and you can collect the permit card within four weeks.

Bottom line

If you are a tourist in any country, it is crucial to respect the local religion and culture and not to indulge in activities that might get you in trouble. In an Islamic country like the UAE, you are expected to restrict your drinking to certain places. However, it is strictly banned in public places like malls, streets, and beaches.

Dubai is a perfect city for those who enjoy partying. It has an extensive list of bars and clubs for tourists to check out and drink. However, for expatriates and visitors in the country, it is necessary to know the local laws on alcohol consumption to avoid severe punishment. With a license, you can drink in licensed restaurants and bars within the hotel. You can purchase alcohol from the authorized stores if you have a permit.

A zero-tolerance policy is followed in Dubai when it comes to drunk driving. You must abide by the local laws to avoid serious trouble.

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