Made In the Emirates: Standards And Procedure for Applying for A Certificate License Under The 2023 Regulations

17 Jul 2023

Under the revised laws, obtaining a license to purchase alcohol is no longer restricted to non-Muslim residents. Non-Muslims who are at least 21 years old can now apply for a personal alcohol license, enabling them to legally purchase alcohol from authorized retailers. This update acknowledges the diverse population of the UAE and ensures that individuals of legal drinking age, irrespective of their religious background, can enjoy alcoholic beverages responsibly. Recognizing the significance of tourism as a vital economic driver, the UAE has embraced a more welcoming approach toward visitors who wish to consume alcohol during their stay. Licensed hotels and hospitality establishments can now offer their guests a wider selection of alcoholic beverages, making the UAE an even more appealing destination for tourists. This development is expected to boost the tourism sector and attract a more diverse range of international visitors. Previously, alcohol consumption in the UAE was strictly limited to designated areas such as hotels, restaurants, and licensed venues. However, the new reforms have expanded the availability of alcohol by permitting its sale and consumption in a broader range of establishments. This includes select retail outlets, allowing residents and tourists the opportunity to purchase alcoholic beverages for consumption within the privacy of their own homes.


As of November 7, 2020, a notable change took place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with regard to alcohol consumption regulations in Dubai. The previous law that mandated the possession of an alcohol license for individuals consuming alcohol was removed. Consequently, drinking alcohol without an alcohol license is no longer considered a criminal offence. However, it's important to note that the requirement for an alcohol license still applies to the purchase and possession of alcohol in Dubai. According to the revised law implemented in Dubai, by the 1st of January 2023, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), obtaining an alcohol license has undergone significant changes. As of now, the alcohol license is issued free of cost to residents and is valid for a period of up to 12 months. This updated regulation allows individuals to legally purchase and possess alcohol within Dubai without incurring any criminal penalties.


To obtain an alcohol license in Dubai, you need to meet certain criteria. Firstly, you must be over the age of 21, as this is the legal drinking age in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Additionally, you must be a Dubai resident, meaning you must have a valid residency visa.


To begin obtaining an alcohol license, you can visit an MMI (Maritime and Mercantile International) or African + Eastern store in Dubai. These are retail outlets that specialize in the sale of alcoholic beverages. You will need to bring your Emirates ID, which is a mandatory identification card issued to residents of the UAE. Here are the key guidelines suggested by the best lawyers in Dubai to keep in mind when applying for an alcohol licence in Dubai: 


Age requirement: Applicants must be at least 21 years old to be eligible for a Dubai alcohol licence. This age restriction applies to both residents and tourists.  

Non-Muslim status: To obtain a liquor licence in Dubai, applicants must be non-Muslim. The regulations regarding alcohol consumption in Dubai are based on Islamic law, and therefore, Muslims are not permitted to possess a liquor licence.

Emirates ID for residents: UAE residents who wish to apply for a liquor licence must hold a valid Emirates ID. The Emirates ID serves as an official identification document for residents in the United Arab Emirates.


For tourists who wish to obtain a temporary liquor licence in Dubai, the process typically involves the following steps:


Visit designated stores: Tourists can visit specific stores like MMI (Maritime & Mercantile International) or African + Eastern in Dubai. These stores are authorized retailers for alcohol sales and can assist with the temporary licence application.

Bring original passport: Tourists need to bring their original passport, valid for 30 days, which should contain the entry stamp indicating their arrival in Dubai. This serves as proof of their tourist status.

Complete a form: At the store, tourists will be required to fill out and sign a form confirming their understanding of the rules and regulations related to purchasing, transporting, and consuming alcohol in Dubai. This form typically includes details such as name, passport information, and a declaration of compliance with the applicable laws.

Provide necessary information: Tourists may be asked to provide additional information, such as their contact details or duration of stay in Dubai, to complete the application process.

Obtain the temporary licence: Once the form is completed and submitted, and the necessary information is provided, the store will process the application. If everything is in order, tourists will be issued a temporary liquor licence, which allows them to legally purchase and consume alcohol during their stay in the Emirate.

It's important for tourists to remember that the temporary liquor licence is only valid for 30 days, and shall be renewable. 



The recent revisions to the UAE's alcohol laws mark a significant milestone in the country's social and cultural evolution. By increasing accessibility, relaxing licensing regulations, and enhancing the tourism experience, the UAE aims to create a more inclusive society that respects its residents' and visitors' diverse needs and preferences. While these changes signify progress, it is essential to strike a balance between newfound freedoms and the preservation of cultural traditions. The UAE's commitment to responsible alcohol consumption, a new licensing system, and public safety underscore its dedication to creating a harmonious society that can adapt to changing dynamics while maintaining its cultural identity.