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Dubai rules on alcohol: Fines, age limits, all you need to know


Heading out to party on the weekend? Here are some things you should keep in mind to be safe

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Published: Thu 11 Apr 2024, 2:55 PM

Last updated: Thu 11 Apr 2024, 3:10 PM

Consuming alcoholic beverages is no longer prohibited in most parts of the country, but it is still imperative to be mindful of the UAE’s predominantly Islamic culture.

Are you heading out to party on the weekend? If you plan to consume alcoholic beverages, then there are certain rules and norms that you must follow in Dubai.

In 2023, laws in Dubai regarding buying alcoholic beverages eased. Authorities also removed a 30 per cent tax that was earlier imposed on beverages in the emirate, making beverages more accessible to tourists and residents.

Here is all you need to know before you drink in Dubai:

Age limit

A minimum age limit is imposed for all those consuming alcoholic beverages in Dubai. To buy or consume alcohol in the emirate, one must be at leaast 21 years of age.

Consuming legally

Here is a list of rules to follow while consuming alcoholic beverages in Dubai:

Consumption of alcoholic beverages is only permitted in restaurants or lounges that have a valid alcohol license. It is prohibited to consume alcohol in public.

People are allowed to consume alcoholic beverages in their homes or living spaces if they have an alcohol licence.

No drinking and driving

The UAE has a strict policy against drunk driving.

In 2022, a British expat was sentenced to prison for a month and had his car confiscated for 30 days. The man was charged with driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, jumping a red light, driving in the opposite direction and damaging property.

Buying alcohol

If you’re looking to buy alcohol in Dubai — you’ll need to get a licence. However, it has recently become significantly easier to obtain one, as you can either apply online or head to a registered alcohol store and get their licence made for free.

There are two kinds of registered alcohol stores in the city – African Eastern and MMI.

Getting an alcohol licence

Residents can head to African Eastern or MMI and apply for a licence in store.

Applicants must be over 21 years of age and have a valid Emirates ID that they can present at the store.

Employees will ask the applicant for some basic details, after which their application will begin processing.

Applicants will be able to purchase beverages after applying for a licence.

Applicants can visit the official African Eastern website and click on ‘Apply for licence’ at the top right corner on the website.

After that, they will be led to a form, where they will be asked to fill out some personal details – including their Emirates ID number.



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