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Obtaining A Liquor Licence In Dubai

If you live in Dubai and want to drink alcohol you need to have a liquor license. Expat Echo Dubai asked MMI for the full picture and practicalities. Why do I need a license? As a Muslim country the UAE implements Sharia law which prohibits the purchase and consumption of alcohol. However, the UAE authorities are aware that drinking alcohol is popular among non-Muslims, so for that reason the UAE sets rules for purchasing and drinking alcohol.

Licensed hotels in all Emirates (except Sharjah – where the sale, consumption or possession of alcohol is prohibited) serve alcohol. Consuming alcohol is not allowed in unlicensed public places, so don’t be tempted to take a bottle of wine to the beach or beers to the park for instance. Drunkenness in public is also an offence and can result in severe punishments such as a jail term or deportation.

If caught transporting a large quantity (over your license limit) the alcohol and vehicle will be seized and the person or persons will face punishment as per Sharia law.

There is a zero tolerance policy towards drinking and driving. Dubai Transport phone number is +971 4 208 0808 to order a taxi and Safer Driver offers a way to get home with your own vehicle.

Who qualifies for a license?
You must be a non-Muslim, a resident of Dubai aged 21 or over, and earn more than 3,000AED per month.

Where can I buy alcohol?
Alcohol for consumption at home is available through two companies, MMI and A+E. Given the sensitivity of alcohol in the region, the shops deliberately keep a low profile, so visit the website to find your most convenient location.

How do I apply for a license?

You can apply in person or online
Complete an original application form with your employer’s company stamp and signature plus a passport-sized photograph (application forms are available in all MMI shops)
Attach photo-copies of the following documents:
Your passport with valid residence visa.
Your labour contract as issued by the Ministry of Labour.
Your tenancy contract
For Abu Dhabi visa holders applying for a liquor licence in Dubai, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) is required from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA)
If your visa is stamped in an emirate other than Dubai and Abu Dhabi, an NOC is required from the respective police headquarters
Return the form, documents and a CID application fee of 160AED to the shop.

Your spouse under your sponsorship can now independently apply for liquor licence. He or she will need an NOC from you along with similar set of documentation as your application

To renew your license each year you need to repeat the procedure and submit your expired liquor license card. If you have changed sponsor you will need a ‘no objection’ letter from your new sponsor. MMI aims to have your license ready within 2 weeks of application and the store will ring you when it is ready. Please check with the store first before coming to collect your license as sometimes there can be a delay in processing time.

Both MMI and A+E offer incentives to apply for a license through their stores. See the MMI offer here.

Your license entitles you to buy alcohol and consume it on licensed premises. You can also buy alcohol for personal consumption at home up to a monthly spend limit (determined by your salary level). This is calculated before tax (Dubai Municipality taxes amount to 30% which is added to your bill at the till).

MMI strongly advise all newcomers to get a licence to enable you to purchase, transport, store and consume alcohol and remain within Dubai law and are happy to help with the application process. If you need any further assistance with organising your licence please feel free to contact the MMI liquor license team: email call +971 4 424 5102/5103 or drop into one of their stores.

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