How to get an alcohol licence in Dubai

Guide to getting your Dubai alcohol licence

You may, or may not, have a Dubai alcohol licence. You may, or may not, have heard of an alcohol licence. And you may, or may not, know why you need an alcohol licence.

Dubai is always welcoming new residents and expats through its doors, and it’s understandable that you may not have ever heard about the need for a licence. But, for clarity, we’ll keep it short and sweet…

If you want to consume, store or transport alcohol in this city, you need to have an alcohol licence. It’s the law.

Why you need a licence

It doesn’t matter where you are – whether you’re in a bar or restaurant, in your home or someone else’s – you need one.

If you’re at a friend’s house, and they have an alcohol licence, you are not covered by it.

An alcohol licence permits the licence holder, and that person only, to consume, store, transport or possess alcohol.

That means that, to even have alcohol in your home, you need a licence.

Many residents fail to understand the necessity for a licence, and what the potential consequences could be. Failing to produce a licence if asked for one can lead to prosecution, with penalties including heavy fines and even the loss of your visa.

Public drunken behaviour is an offence and the consequences for offenders who do not possess a licence can be far more severe.

Who can get one?

In order to obtain an alcohol licence, you have to be non-Muslim, over the age of 21, living in Dubai and earning a minimum of Dhs3,000 per month.

You can apply for a licence if the tenancy contract is not in your name, you just need a letter of no objection (NOC) from the contract holder.

How much does it cost to get one?

By applying for your alcohol licence online through African + Eastern’s new portal (click here). It will cost you just Dhs270 to buy an alcohol licence – which the retailer will give back to you in the form of vouchers to use at their outlets. You can also apply for a licence at 20 MMI stores across the city – all outlets are listed below.

What do I need in order to apply for a licence?

You will need copies of your passport, visa, labour contract, a passport photograph and tenancy contract in order to submit an application for a licence. All of these documents are frequently used for official matters in Dubai, so it should be information that you already have to hand.

How long does it take to receive a licence?

Once you’ve submitted the paperwork and paid the Dhs270 fee, it will take four weeks to receive your licence.

Where can I then use my licence?

Once you receive your licence, you can then use it at any African + Eastern or MMI store in the city to make purchases. There are 16 African + Eastern stores across Dubai at:

  • Al Qusais
  • Al Wasl
  • Arabian Ranches
  • Barsha Heights
  • Bur Dubai
  • Deira
  • Downtown Dubai, Burj Views
  • Dubai Marina Walk
  • Dubai Marina Mall
  • Garhoud, Le Meridien
  • Green Community
  • International City
  • Jumeirah
  • Karama
  • Mirdiff

You can find all A+E stores online here.

Each licence also comes with an in-store spending limit based on your salary, and there are also a range of additional benefits if you apply online for your licence with African + Eastern, including:

  • 15 percent off your food bill at The Irish Village
  • 15 percent off your total bill at McGettigan’s DWTC
  • 20 percent off your total bill at Goodfellas, Ramee Rose Hotel
  • 20 percent off your total bill at Signature By Sanjeev Kapoor, Meliã Dubai
  • 25 percent off your first purchase at any A+E store in Dubai
  • 25 percent off your first purchase at The Cellars Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah stores
  • Dhs50 voucher for introducing a friend
  • Dhs150 off your total bill at Cargo, Pier 7, Dubai Marina.
  • Dhs150 off your total bill at Warehouse, Le Méridien Hotel and Conference Centre
  • Two-for-one on house beverages at Bahri Bar, Mina A’Salam Madinat Jumeirah

MMI is another retailer where your alcohol licence will be valid, and there are 19 stores across the city, at:

  • Al Thanya
  • Al Wasl
  • Bur Dubai
  • Business Bay
  • City Walk
  • Deira
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis Community Centre
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis Cedre Shopping Centre
  • Festival City
  • Green Community
  • Ibn Battuta Mall
  • Jumeirah Lakes Towers
  • Karama
  • Le Clos, Dubai International Airport Terminals 1 and 3
  • Mall of the Emirates
  • Mankhool
  • Motor City
  • Sheikh Zayed Road

You can find all MMI stores online here.

You can apply for your alcohol licence through African + Eastern’s website here.

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