Dubai is a melting pot of cultures and communities and houses a large immigrant community. Plus, it sees a steady stream of foreign visitors throughout the year. The city is renowned for its nightlife and club scene, too. These factors point to the fact that Dubai has everything going for a lucrative Liquor License in Dubai.
But wait, isn’t Dubai a Muslim country? The answer is yes, and as per Islamic law, alcohol consumption is forbidden for Muslims. But for foreigners living there or coming to visit Dubai, alcohol consumption is allowed with some limits and conditions.
But here, we will discuss the rules that very rules and guide you through the process of obtaining a Dubai Liquor License so you can drink without the police apprehending you for doing something illegal. So, let’s find out more about it.
What is a Dubai Liquor License?
The Dubai Liquor License is a legal permit to buy, sell, carry, and consume alcohol in Dubai. The consumption of alcohol is forbidden in Islamic traditions, and Dubai also follows. But it has a sizeable non-Muslim population, too, and it issues liquor licenses to them so they can consume alcohol legally.
Who Can Get the Dubai Liquor License?
To get a liquor license in Dubai, you must fulfill the following conditions;
- You must be a non-Muslim
- Your age should be at least 21 years
- You should be earning a specific amount of money
- You should be in Dubai with a valid Emirates ID or a tourist with a valid passport & entry stamp
What Are the Requirements for Getting a Liquor License in Dubai?
For residents: Prior to 2020, the process of getting a liquor license was cumbersome. But then, the government streamlined the process and relaxed certain conditions. Now, you only need your Emirates ID if you are a Dubai resident to apply for a new liquor license or renew a new one.
For tourists: Tourists can drink liquor without a license in the vicinity of a club, bar, or hotel, provided they are staying in it. However, they will still need a permit to purchase beer or other alcoholic drinks and to enjoy those at home or any friend’s place.
You must present your passport and entry stamp to get a Dubai liquor license as a tourist.
Where Do You Go to Get a Liquor License in Dubai?
With the documents with you, head to Maritime & Mercantile International (MMI) or African + Eastern Stores in Dubai, or log on to their websites, submit the application along with the documents, and await approval. If you are a tourist, you will also need to sign an undertaking that you understand the rules and regulations regarding alcohol consumption in Dubai and would adhere to them.
If you have applied for a commercial license, it might take up to four weeks to arrive, but you can get it within hours if you have applied for an individual license. Tourists can also get a temporary liquor license that will remain valid for 30 days. This is the maximum duration to get a Liquor license in Dubai.
There are 21 MMI and 20 African + Eastern stores branches in Dubai. You can visit any one of them to apply for a liquor license. You can also apply for the license online. It is not mandatory to visit the store in person.
Liquor licenses in Dubai are issued for one year. After one year, you need to renew it, going through the same process we stated above.
Types of Liquor License in Dubai
Suppose you want to get into the liquor business in Dubai, which, unsurprisingly, is lucrative. In that case, there are different licenses that you can obtain according to the nature of the business you want to operate in. Let’s briefly look at them here.
- Type A: To import alcohol
- Type B: To sell alcohol from a commercial establishment or warehouse to third parties
- Type C: To sell alcohol in a hotel, bar or restaurant
- Type D: To purchase alcohol
Let’s discuss them in a bit of detail.
Type A license
It relates to import business, and you need to obtain a trade license to import liquor in Dubai.
Type B license
This license is required to sell liquor from your shop, supermarket, grocery store, or a similar establishment. It is subject to some tough conditions and regulations imposed by the government. You need to fulfill some specific liquor storage and transportation requirements, get approval from the municipality, and obtain a trade license.
Type C license
Here, the license issuing authority is the Department of Tourism & Commercial Marketing (DTCM), and it sees to it that you comply with its specific set of rules before it issues the license. The rules mainly focus on designating an exclusive area for serving alcohol and employing licensed bartenders.
Type D license
The procedures and rules governing the Type D license are the ones we have already discussed above. It is the simplest form of liquor license in Dubai and does not require extensive documentation.
The Significance of Liquor License in Dubai
Dubai is known for strictly enforcing its laws, and the same goes for those revolving around liquor consumption and its sale & purchase. If you are found violating, the penalties can vary from fines to imprisonment and even deportation. The authorities can also implement all or some of these penalties in tandem.
Similarly, drunk driving is also taken very seriously in Dubai, and it can lead to fines or even suspension of your driving license. So, take caution and watch your conduct regarding alcohol consumption here in Dubai.
Let’s Raise a Toast now
That was all about getting a liquor license in Dubai. A Westerner might consider these rules archaic or even repressive, but bear in mind that this is an Islamic country, and the religion of Islam strictly prohibits consuming, selling, and buying alcohol. It was only after the influx of Westerners and non-Muslims in Dubai that the government relaxed these rules and allowed alcohol consumption with conditions.
However, we assure you that getting a liquor license is worth all this effort. Dubai’s bars offer the finest concoctions of alcoholic drinks and cocktails comparable to any drink in London, New York, Paris, or Rome. So, cheer up and get drunk in Dubai but with responsibilities.
Q: Is the liquor license issued by Dubai valid for the whole UAE?
A: No, that is not the case. Each emirate has separate rules for alcohol consumption. For example, Sharjah does not allow any alcohol consumption, not even to non-Muslims, and on the other hand, Abu Dhabi has a more relaxed approach to alcohol in comparison to Dubai.
Q: After getting a liquor license, can I openly drink alcohol anywhere in Dubai?
A: No, even after getting a license, you cannot drink alcohol anywhere. Showing off alcohol in public is generally frowned upon and is not legal either. It would be best to drink it within the confines of your home or designated drinking areas in hotels, restaurants, or bars.
Q: Will I be served alcohol in any hotel in Dubai?
A: Hotels in Dubai serve alcohol only to their guests. If you are not staying in that hotel, you will be asked to show your liquor license to be served alcohol.
Q: Can Muslims get a c?
A: No, Muslims cannot get a liquor license. If caught drunk or drinking, a Muslim will be dealt with strictly by the authorities as per Muslim law.