Dubai might be a Muslim country, but it is not a dry one. In most big hotels and restaurants, as well as designated areas across the city, it is possible to purchase and consume alcohol. However, there are strict laws around drinking – and even stricter rules for launching a business that serves or sells alcohol. If you plan to purchase, sell or consume alcohol in Dubai, you will need an alcohol license. In this article, we will cover:
● Alcohol license Dubai – do I need one?
● Rules for getting an alcohol license in Dubai
● Documents needed to obtain a liquor license in Dubai
● Steps to obtain an alcohol license in Duba
● Cost of an alcohol license in Dubai, UAE
● Can Muslims get an alcohol license in Dubai?
● Can tourists take alcohol to Dubai?
● Can I drink alcohol at home in Dubai?
● How Creative Zone can help
Alcohol license Dubai – do I need one?
In 2020, the UAE passed a series of reforms that eased guidelines on the purchase and consumption of alcohol. Under these updated laws, tourists are permitted to obtain a temporary liquor license for up to one month in the Emirate where it is issued.
UAE residents will still need to obtain an alcohol license to drink alcohol at home and licensed venues, as well as to serve alcohol. There are four types of alcohol tailored to specific scenarios. These are:
- ● Alcohol license to import alcohol
- ● Alcohol license to sell alcohol from a warehouse to third-party shops
- ● Alcohol license to sell alcohol in a hotel, restaurant or club
- ● Alcohol license to purchase alcohol
It’s essential to ensure you have a valid alcohol license before setting up a business that involves the sale of alcohol. Dubai has put these licensing laws in place to help regulate alcohol consumption and sales, and breaking the rules is a punishable offence.
Rules for getting an alcohol license in Dubai
If you are considering applying for an alcohol license in Dubai, keep in mind that not everyone is eligible under local law. Applicants must be:
- ● Aged 21 years and over
- ● Non-Muslim
- ● Either a UAE resident with a valid Emirates ID or a tourist with a valid passport and entry stamp
Documents needed to obtain a liquor license in Dubai
To successfully apply for a liquor license in Dubai, you must ensure you have the proper documentation. Local authorities have speeded up the process significantly since the 2020 legislative reforms, though it’s worth making sure you have fulfilled the various requirements to ensure a smooth application process.
UAE residents will need to show a valid Emirates ID. If you have residency in another emirate, you will need to apply for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the relevant department in that emirate. You will also need an NOC if you hold a spousal visa. All applicants also need to provide passport-sized photographs and a copy of their visa.
Tourists are now able to apply for a temporary 30-day alcohol license for no charge with a valid passport and Dubai entry stamp.
Steps to obtain an alcohol license in Dubai
Getting hold of an alcohol license in Dubai is relatively straightforward, but it’s always worth seeking expert advice to help ensure the process goes smoothly. At Creative Zone, our business advisors will be happy to help you navigate the process and liaise with relevant authorities on your behalf where required.
To help give you an idea of what to expect, we have broken down the process into three simple steps:
Step 1: Fill out the application form
You can apply for your alcohol license in person at the Africa Eastern (A+E) and the Maritime Mercantile International (MMI) or online.
Step 2: Submit your documents
As discussed, you will need to provide passport photos, a copy of your valid Emirates ID and visa and your payment. If you are planning on opening a business, you should have your business details readily available, such as the address and details of any partners.
Step 3: Receive your license
If you have applied for a license in-store, it will take between two and four weeks to process the application. Tourists will receive their temporary alcohol license immediately.
When you receive your alcohol license, you will also receive the Dubai alcohol code of conduct, which sets out specific conditions for the legal consumption of alcohol. These conditions include:
- ● No drinking and driving
- ● No public intoxication
- ● Conceal alcohol when in public
- ● No consumption of alcohol in public places.
Cost of an alcohol license in Dubai, UAE
The cost of obtaining an alcohol license in Dubai is currently AED 270. This figure is calculated on an annual basis for Dubai residents. Tourists can apply for an instant 30-day alcohol license from the country’s two official liquor distributors with their passport and Dubai entry stamp for free. Keep in mind that this option is not available for resident visa holders in Dubai.
There are other costs to consider too. For instance, if you are interested in starting a business that serves alcohol, you will need to apply for a trading license before applying for an alcohol license. You may also need to find warehouse storage or apply for additional visas for your family.
For an accurate breakdown of the costs involved and a bespoke quote personalised to your requirements, get in touch with the team at Creative Zone.
Can Muslims get an alcohol license in Dubai?
No, Muslims are not permitted to apply for an alcohol license in Dubai.
Can tourists take alcohol to Dubai?
Currently, tourists are permitted to bring a maximum of four litres of alcohol or 24 cans of beer into the UAE.
Once you have your temporary UAE alcohol license, you will be free to transport alcohol throughout Dubai, consume it and store it at your residence.
Can I drink alcohol at home in Dubai?
Yes, UAE residents are permitted to drink alcohol at home in Dubai. However, you will need to obtain an alcohol license first.
How Creative Zone can help
While it is possible to consume and serve alcohol in Dubai, it’s important to keep in mind that UAE laws and customs are very different to those at home. There can be severe penalties for individuals who break the law, even unknowingly.
As one of the region’s largest and most trusted company formation advisory businesses, Creative Zone offers market-leading expertise in local legislation, customs and culture. Whether you’re looking to set up a business involving the import and sale of alcohol or you simply want to ensure you have the correct licenses to consume alcohol in comfort, our business advisors will be happy to help.
Our talented team offers fast and flexible business setup in Dubai. We have helped countless entrepreneurs turn their bold ideas into big businesses, both on the mainland and through free zones. Our tailored packages incorporate everything from alcohol license advice and visas to workspaces and warehouses to make the process as easy and pain-free as possible.
Want to learn more? Get in touch today to speak to one of our business advisors.