Need to know: Getting your alcohol license in Dubai
With the festive season coming up, it’s a good time to remember that in order to buy, transport and consume alcohol in Dubai you are required to have an alcohol license.
So here’s our guide on how to get your alcohol license in Dubai.
Getting your hands on a license is relatively simple, with a few requirements here and a small fee there.
To qualify for a license, you have to prove that you are over the age of 21, earning over Dhs3,000 a month and are a resident in the UAE.
On top of that, you’re only able to apply if you are a non-Muslim (which the Dubai Police checks on their system during the application process).
You first have to fill out the online application form, which will ask for copies of the front and back of your passport, a copy of your visa, your tenancy contract, your labour contract, as well as a passport-sized photograph.
Once the form has been completed, a physical application form will be delivered to you within a few days. Check the details on the form, then have it signed off by your employer.
If everything’s in check, sign the form yourself and drop it off at the nearest African & Eastern or MMI store along with Dhs170 – then await the call telling you that your alcohol license is ready to be collected.
From start to finish, the process should take about two weeks, depending on CID approvals. Licenses are valid for one year, and should be renewed once expired.
OTHER THINGS TO KNOW
– Regarding family members, everyone over the age of 21 should apply for a license. If you have a spouse on your sponsorship they can apply for a license with a No Objection Certificate from you, however, family members on a student visa cannot apply.
– Single female Dubai residents can apply for a license as per normal, however married women have to also get a No Objection Certificate from their husband (he doesn’t have to have a liquor license yet to provide the NOC).
– If your visa is stamped in an emirate other than Dubai, a No Objection Certificate is required from that emirate’s police headquarters (in Abu Dhabi, it’s the Ministry of Tourism that provides the NOC).
– If the tenancy contract of the house or apartment you live in isn’t under your name, then a copy of the person on the lease’s passport and residence visas is required, as well as an NOC from them and a copy of the tenancy contract.
– Applicants who work for a free zone company must submit a salary certificate from that free zone.
You can apply for a license at MMI’s website, or with African + Eastern.
Most of us are aware of them already, but in case you’ve forgotten, here are some of the rules and penalties to consider when drinking:
1. The legal drinking age is 21 years old.
2. Alcohol can only be bought at licensed premises, and can only be consumed at licensed premises or at home.
3. These laws apply to tourists as well, so they should also be in possession of an alcohol license.
4. Licensing laws imply that clubs in the UAE close by 3am.
5. It is illegal to be drunk in public, or to drink in public places. The penalty imposed is at the discretion of the police depending on the situation.
6. Drink driving is highly illegal. Those caught can expect to face hefty fines, deportation, as well as probable incarceration. Those involved in an accident with alcohol in their blood will risk losing their license as well as loss of insurance coverage, with deportation a likely possibility. Many countries have a level of alcohol that is acceptable in your bloodstream, not in the UAE, there’s a zero tolerance policy here so don’t drink anything if you’re going to drive.
7. During the months of Ramadan, alcohol cannot be served in establishments until sundown, and punishments for breaking alcohol consumption laws are likely to be increased.