Getting a Liquor License in the UAE

Make sure your Legal- Abu Dhabi Residents and Alcohol

Since Abu Dhabi is part of the UAE, a Muslim country and there are stringent rules about alcohol consumption. It is important to observe the laws and customs so as not to find yourself in jail. The basic rules about alcohol which you need to observe.

  • Alcohol consumption is only legal for non-Muslims and only if drunk within a licensed establishment or private venue.
  • If you are a non-Muslim resident you may obtain an alcohol license, buy alcohol from a specialist store and consume it at home.
  • If you are in the country on a tourist visa you may not purchase an alcohol license but you can buy and consume alcohol in your hotel or a licensed establishment.
  • There is zero tolerance for public drunkenness and drunk driving. You need to be over 21 to be served alcohol in a restaurant or bar and licenses are only issued to those over 21.
  • Alcohol licenses from other Emirates are not eligible in Abu Dhabi.
  • If you are employed as a driver you are not eligible to get a license.

Liquor License Facts

It is advisable to carry your license with you at all times. When you make a purchase the vendor needs to write in the license (which comes in the form of a booklet) how much alcohol you bought and when you made your purchase.

Once you have your alcohol license you are limited as to the amount of money you can spend on alcohol a month according to your income.

You can spend up to 20% of your monthly income on alcohol a month. The minimum salary needed to get an alcohol license is 3000-4000Dhs.

The license allows you to purchase alcohol for personal use only and not for resale.

Even if you have purchased the alcohol legally you are not allowed to display it publicly.

You need to renew the license annually


How to Get a Liquor License in Abu Dhabi

The rules have recently changed whereas you used to apply at any liquor store or the police station, now all applications are online. A Special License Office was established in April 2012 which now issues all alcohol licenses, those previously issued are still valid.

In order to apply and to access information about the requirements you need to login/register on the site.

Required documentation when applying for an Alcohol License

  • Religious Certificate stating what religion you are, this can be obtained from your embassy or other relevant authority.
  • A no-objection letter from your employer together with details of your salary and how much you make a month. A wife who does not work must include a no-objection letter from her husband!
  • Completed license application form.
  • Copy of your passport.
  • Copy of residence visa.
  • Copy of your work contract.
  • 2 passport photos.
  • The fee for the license. This is 20% of the value of the license.

Now you have your license – where can you buy alcohol?

You will be able to pick up your license from a liquor store near you. In order to access the Spinneys website you need to have an access code which is attainable from any Spinneys store on presentation of a liquor license.

Spinneys have 9 stores in the Abu Dhabi and 7 of them are in Abu Dhabi City.

Spinneys are a supermarket chain based out of Dubai and they carry imported products like pork and alcohol, some of the stores sell alcohol exclusively.

Other Stores selling alcohol are African&Eastern LTD and Gray Mackenzie Liquor Shop.

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