Kuwait is one of the few countries in the world where alcohol is completely banned
4 July 2017| Last updated on 18 July 2019
What expats need to know about Kuwait's liquor laws...
Many people tend to think that Kuwait is similar to other GCC countries, such as the UAE and Qatar, where alcohol is restricted but widely available. Contrary to this belief, it's important to note that there's no alcohol available in Kuwait. That means even hotels and restaurants don't serve alcohol in any way.
As a result, the laws surrounding alcohol in the country can be somewhat confusing to expats. A lot of people consequently ask "can you drink alcohol in Kuwait?"
Is alcohol illegal in Kuwait?
To be clear, in Kuwait the act of drinking alcohol privately is not illegal in itself, but buying and/or selling, bringing alcohol to a public place or being intoxicated in public areas, including a car as a passenger, are all serious crimes.
Strictly speaking, the Kuwait Penal Law states that "any person who brings, imports or manufactures alcoholic or intoxicating beverages for the purpose of trading shall be penalized for a period not exceeding 10 years".
Can you drink alcohol in Kuwait?
Anyone caught drinking and possessing alcohol for personal use will be slapped a fine of not more than KD100.
The law goes on to state that if the intention of bringing, importing or manufacturing is not trading or promotion, and should he repeat this act the penalty is imprisonment for a period of not more than 6 months and/or a fine of not more than KD100.
Can you drink alcohol in public in Kuwait?
In regards to public intoxication, the law says that any person who takes alcoholic or intoxicating beverages to a public place or to a place where he may be seen by others be it a public place or a private club, and any person who brings the alcoholic or intoxicating beverage to the said place for another person to consume shall be jailed for a period not exceeding 6 months and/or fined not more than KD50.
Any person who is found drunk will be punished the same.
Many expats find alternative ways to consume alcohol in the privacy of their homes, but it is not advisable as they are taking their chances with the law. You can find non-alcoholic beer and malt options at stores across the country.