When it comes to alcohol, Dubai has its own set of rules concerning the sale of liquor — which was previously sold only in licensed hotels, restaurants, and private clubs. However, it seems the times are a-changin'.
Tourists in Dubai are now able to buy alcohol from shops following new measures aimed at making the city more visitor-friendly. To be able to do so, the tourist must be both a non-Muslim and over the age of 21, as well as obtain a free-of-charge license to be able to make a purchase at these shops.
The license can be obtained after filling a mandatory form at any outlet of Maritime and Mercantile International (MMI) — the sales and marketing subsidiary of Emirates Group, which is authorized to sell liquor and issue licenses to residents as well.
The process is incredibly simple
According to MMI's website, tourists must visit any of its 17 stores across Dubai with their original passport. Then what?
Tourists must complete and sign a form to confirm they are not a UAE resident and that they will abide by the UAE's laws when it comes to alcohol purchase and consumption. Visitors will then be handed a leaflet with more information on the UAE's laws and code of conduct.
Visitors can then begin their liquor shopping right away.
Once the license has been granted, tourists can use it for 30 consecutive days; tourists who wish to extend their stay may renew their licenses.
The Code of Conduct for Tourists
The new announcement doesn't mean there are no rules occupying the space in the UAE. Following the news, the UK foreign ministry warned visitors of the laws, reminding tourists they may be jailed if they are under the influence or consume alcohol in public.
While alcohol is widely bought and sold in Dubai, anyone who wishes to consume alcohol must obtain a license (technically). They can do so via an application online on MMI's site.
Expats residing in the emirate, who obtain the license, are allowed to purchase a limited amount of alcohol from designated liquor stores. However, bars and restaurants do not generally check or ask if an individual has the document.