Living in or Outside Dubai? Important Drinking Regulations to Follow

When you’re in the City of Gold, you become inspired to indulge in the luxurious experiences that it offers. There’s no question that one such experience must be on everyone’s list: getting together with family, friends and colleagues in social gatherings, in your place of residence or in any of Dubai’s spectacular venues, with plenty of good food and drinks.

Before you raise that glass, however, it’s best to make sure that you are fully aware of (and compliant with) the important regulations related to alcoholic beverages in Dubai so that you can enjoy your drink — and every special occasion that you’re celebrating — with complete peace of mind.

So whether you live in Dubai or simply work here, pay close attention to the following Dubai liquor laws:

An alcohol licence is required.

To be able to legally purchase alcohol from authorized stores, consume alcohol in licensed premises, or even store alcohol at home, you must have successfully secured your valid alcohol licence beforehand. This is required of all residents of the UAE and Oman, as well as other individuals who enter here for various purposes.

You must meet the prescribed criteria for obtaining an alcohol licence.

To apply for the licence, you need to be non-Muslim, over the age of 21, and earning a minimum salary of AED 3,000.

You can apply for an alcohol licence from African + Eastern.

African + Eastern is the largest alcohol retailer in the Middle East. It has 26 stores across the UAE and five in Oman, as well as a team of 400 professional staff.

Here is what you need to do to apply for an alcohol licence:

  1. Fill up an application form. This can be obtained either online or from one of African + Eastern’s retail stores.
  2. Provide the following documents:
  • Passport copy
  • Visa copy
  • Labor contract copy
  • A passport photograph
  • Tenancy contract copy
  1. Pay a fee of AED 270. This covers the Dubai Police and Municipality administration fees.

After submitting your application, the necessary documents, and your payment, these will undergo processing for four weeks. Once your new alcohol licence is ready to be picked up, you will receive a call.

Living in or outside of Dubai

There are certain cases wherein you may or may not be residing in Dubai and would like to apply for a licence. Here are a few relevant rules to keep in mind for the following situations:

You live in Dubai but have a visa issued by a different emirate.

In this case, you can apply for an alcohol licence. You will need a No Objection Certificate or NOC from the Police Department or Municipality that issued your visa when you submit your application.

You live in Abu Dhabi, but you work in Dubai and hold a visa stamped in Dubai.

You can apply for a licence if this is the case. The application must be done through the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. You must also obtain a NOC from the Dubai Police Department.

You work in Dubai but you have a student, tourist or visit visa.

Unfortunately, individuals who hold these types of visas are not allowed to apply for an alcohol licence.

Special circumstances

The list of requirements necessary to apply for a Dubai liquor licence is quite simple, but there may also be special cases wherein an individual may need to submit additional documents. Here are examples of such cases:

If you work for an educational institution:

You must get a NOC from the management of the institution to apply for a licence.

If you work for a Free Zone company:

Instead of getting a NOC from Free Zone Authorities (who charge a fee for this document), you can opt to submit an original salary certificate from your employer instead.

If your spouse is under your sponsorship:

You must provide your spouse with a NOC that he or she can submit along with the passport, residence visa and tenancy contract copies in order to apply for a liquor licence. Keep in mind that a husband and wife cannot use each other’s licences because you can only purchase alcohol from authorized retail stores using a licence in your own name.

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