An Alcohol License is No Longer Needed in the UAE
The UAE relaxed its laws on alcohol, allowing residents to consume drinks in authorised places without the need for an alcohol license
8 November 2020
The new alcohol legislation was introduced to "consolidate the UAE's principles of tolerance" (Wam).
The UAE announced a major reform on some of the country's personal laws, allowing unmarried residents of the opposite sex to legally live together, criminalising "honour killings", and what may come as great news for many expats, the decriminalisation of drinking alcohol.
That's right. From November 2020, drinking alcohol is no longer punishable by law and UAE residents can consume beverages without an alcohol license.
The new law reflects the country's efforts to promote itself as an attractive destination for foreign businesses, investors and tourists.
Previously, according to the law individuals may be prosecuted for consuming alcohol without a licence, but this rarely happened. Residents can now be rest assured they are on the right side of the law.
A person must be at least 21 years old to drink legally in the UAE. Anyone caught selling or distributing alcohol to anyone below 21 years old will be punished when caught.
Alcohol can only be consumed privately or in authorised public places.
Earlier in September, Abu Dhabi ended the need for alcohol licenses to buy or consume alcoholic beverages in the capital.
The new UAE federal law will now apply to all emirates.
However, residents must take note that a valid alcohol license is still required to shop at Dubai liquor stores. The reformed law only states that a license isn't needed to drink alcohol.