Drinking Alcohol in Oman | ExpatWoman.com

Buying and Drinking Alcohol in Oman

The attitude to liquor in Oman is far more relaxed than in some other parts of the Middle East. Here's how you can legally drink

Posted on

18 July 2013

Last updated on 21 August 2019
by Rebecca Roberts
Buying and Drinking Alcohol in Oman

Did you know? Alcohol is widely available in Oman, and can be purchased easily.

You can buy alcohol in Oman at the airport, in hotels and bars, and at licenced liquor stores around the country. However, much like the UAE, there are strict laws surrounding alcohol that should be adhered to at all times.

Can you buy alcohol in Oman?

If you want to buy liquor in Oman's airport, it is limited to two bottles of wine or spirits or 24 cans of beer per person. The person purchasing the alcohol at the airport or anywhere else in Oman must be over the age of 21 years.

Non-Muslim expatriates are allowed to purchase alcohol from licensed bottle stores, however, they must carry an Oman liquor license in order to do so.

Can tourists buy alcohol in Oman?

It is possible for Oman tourists to buy liquor while passing through the airport, but be sure not to find yourself in a difficult situation while inebriated in the country when visiting as authorities will be able to prosecute as you won't hold an Oman alcohol licence.

If you want to buy liquor in Oman's airport, it is limited to two bottles of wine or spirits or 24 cans of beer per person. The person purchasing the alcohol at the airport or anywhere else in Oman must be over the age of 21 years.

Can you drink alcohol in Oman while out and about?

To drink liquor while out and about in Oman, the government grants alcohol licenses to certain restaurants, bars, and night clubs. Almost all of these outlets are located within hotels and only a few independent places are dotted around Oman.

SEE ALSO: Why Oman is the Middle East's best-kept secret

Being inebriated in public is strictly prohibited and could result in a night in jail and a hefty fine. Driving under the influence is absolutely against the Omani law and if you are caught driving under such circumstances, or worse yet, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, the consequences are dire.

Alcohol is served and sold throughout the year with the exception of the Holy Month of Ramadan when alcohol is not sold at all in Oman.

Laws surrounding liquor in Oman

It is illegal to carry alcohol around on the streets, the only exception being when you are taking your purchases home directly from the liquor store or airport duty-free. Keep your receipt as this gives you the right to transport alcohol.

It is also illegal to resell alcohol to others or to purchase alcohol from individuals. While this is being practiced in some areas, we strongly advise you against any illegal transactions while in the Middle East as this may land you in some very hot water.

Buying and Drinking Alcohol in Oman

How to get an Oman alcohol licence

In order to get an alcohol licence in Oman, you must have a residence visa and be a non-Muslim. If you are both, you can apply for a liquor licence and you are allowed to keep alcohol in your home.

The amount of alcohol you are allowed to purchase from a retailer is directly related to your salary and you can spend only 10% of your monthly income on alcohol at the bottle store. In order to get the liquor licence in Oman, you'll need:

  • A No Objection Letter from your sponsor, stating your monthly salary and designation with authorised signatory written in Arabic and English
  • A photocopy of your passport with a valid residence visa
  • A photocopy of your resident card, and resident card application form issued by the Ministry of Manpower
  • 2 passport sized photographs on a blue background

With the above, you must then submit your documents and fill the Permit application form obtained at the licencing office or store, like OUA and African + Eastern. You'll need to pay the applicable fee of 4% of the annual permit value using your debit or credit card.

Alternatively, you can visit the Ruwi Police Station with the following...

  • Copy of passport & labour card
  • Two passport-sized photos
  • No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your employer
  • Labor card application in original - copy returned after issuing labor card. This is to confirm basic salary as registered with the Ministry of Manpower
  • Employment contract attested by the Ministry of Manpower to confirm employment and eligibility to apply for a permit
  • Completed permit application (Which you can get there)
  • If you are renewing your permit, bring your old permit with you

The application process is easy and your permit will be ready sooner than you think. The license is typically valid for a period of two years. When you want to renew it, just take the same documents along with your expired liquor license and get a new one.

Main retailers of alcohol in Oman

These businesses sell liquor in Oman...

  • African + Eastern

  • Oman United Agencies (OUA)

  • Gulf Supply Services (GSS