The UAE is now a global city and a prominent tourist destination. 10% of the total population of the country is comprised of expatriates, and 15.8 million tourists visited the country in 2017. So, when the state realized the importance of the tourism sector, it has reframed its law and permitted to import, export, and consume alcohol with certain conditions. UAE and Dubai providing an opportunity for multinationals with free zones and welcoming employees from worldwide with different culture and habits.
Despite being an Islamic nation, UAE has allowed liquor consumption to please and respect immigrants and tourists from other nations. But alcohol consumption is backed by stringent rules which everyone has to follow to be safe in the hands of UAE government. The conditions set out for the import, selling and consumption of alcohol in UAE are:
- Alcohol consumption is not allowed for the Muslim community even if they don’t follow the religion
- The age bar to consume alcohol in UAE is over 21 years
- The person must be UAE resident and the earnings must be more than AED 3,000
- One can consume alcohol in licensed establishments
- Non-residents can buy and consume alcohol in restricted areas
- Every family member above the age of 21 residing in Emirates must opt for a license to consume alcohol
- Married women need to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their husband to get a license
- The liquor can be bought only from the government identified stores
- An employee working in the free zone need to get a salary certificate
- If you own a business, you need to have a trade license
- If the person is living in other’s owned land, the NOC from the property owner and tenancy contract is required
- Advertising and promotion of alcoholic beverages is illegal
- There is a restriction on opening and closing hours of liquor shops or restaurants which serves liquor
Types of Liquor license in UAE
The Liquor Control Law No. 999 of 1972 is the regulatory system of the liquor business in UAE which controls the import, export, manufacture, purchase, consumption, and sale of liquor to third parties. To set up business related to Alcohol any investor or final consumer need to obtain any of the following licenses issued by Dubai Police General Headquarter (DPGH):
- Liquor Import Licence
- License to sell liquor to third parties from ware
- License to serve liquor within a bar, hotel or restaurant
- License to purchase liquor
Procedure to Get a Liquor License in UAE
For Individual Licence
- Get an application from the local branch of African+Eastern or Maritime & Mercantile International (MMI)
- Get the filled form stamped and signed by your employer and return it with following documents (only if alcohol is allowed by in your company)
- Arrange for the following documents
- Passport and resident’s visa page copy
- Residential rental or ownership contract copy
- Passport size photographs
- Official Ministry of Labour contract copy in both Arabic and English language
- Submit the fees payable to the authority
- Once you fill the form and documents, the store will take the application to the police processing on your behalf, which would take about 10 days
- Once the whole process is one the store will contact you over phone or text message when your license is ready
For Corporate Licence (license to serve liquor within a bar, hotel or restaurant)
For a corporate liquor license in UAE, the following are required:
- Applicant’s details with a name of the physical person who shall be named in the license
- Premise details where liquor will be sold
- Details of security storage arranged in liquor storing area
- Mentioning about fire precautions
- Estimated cost amount of monthly liquor required
Other Things to Know About a Liquor License in UAE
- The license is valid for one year
- You can renew it by paying AED 160
- 30% of tax is levied on purchasing liquor
So, obtaining a liquor license not only keeps you safe but also gives you offers provided by major restaurants or bar chains, including free membership for wine club, notification on the launch of new products, discounts and many more. So, own your liquor license stay safe in UAE.
Is selling liquor legal in Dubai?
Yes, you need to have an authorised license.
What are the types of liquor licenses?
The four main types of licenses are:
Selling from shop or warehouse
Serving license (in hotels, clubs or restaurants)
Is an alcohol license mandatory for purchase in Dubai?
Yes, consumption is regulated and thus it is mandatory for the consumer to obtain a license.
What is the cost of a liquor trading license?
In Fujairah, it costs around 110,000 including the security deposit which is refundable.
Which is the best place to start a liquor business in UAE?
Fujairah and RAK are some of the suitable places to start a liquor business.