Dubai Alcohol License: Everything You Need to Know

Dubai Alcohol License: Everything You Need to Know


Anaya Ambwani


While the majority of those who live in Dubai are Muslim, there is still a significant amount of the population that drinks alcohol on a regular basis. For that reason, it isn’t a bad idea to open up a bar or another establishment that sells alcohol. However, before you can legally sell alcohol to the public, you will first need to apply for and obtain a Dubai alcohol license.

But what do you need to do to get an alcohol license for Dubai, you might ask? Is it difficult to get and does it cost any money to apply? How long will it take to go about getting an alcohol license Dubai?

Keep reading and learn more about the process below.

Alcohol License Types You Should Consider

What many people don’t know is that there are actually several different types of alcohol licenses you can get in Dubai. For example, a Type A license means that you can import alcohol into Dubai. While this is helpful for those trading in alcohol, this license will not be very helpful if you only want to sell alcohol at your business.

There is then a Type B alcohol license. This license allows you to sell alcohol to third parties from your establishment. This, however, is not the same as selling alcohol to customers.

For that, you will want to get a Type C alcohol license.

This is the license that allows you to sell alcohol to people in a nightclub, bar, hotel, or similar establishments. Finally, there is the Type D alcohol license.

This license allows you to buy alcohol. However, before you can get a license to serve alcohol to people, you will first need to apply for a trading license. Fortunately, getting a trading license is not hard, but you will need to have the right documentation with you.

The Details

In particular, you will need to fill out the application for the trading license, have a few copies of your passport and other documentation, and so on. You will also need to specify the nature of the business you plan to open such as the name of the business, the legal structure, and other factors. It may take some time to get approved for a trading license, but once you do, you can then apply for the Dubai alcohol license of your choice.

Keep in mind that the Type B alcohol license involves a few more factors than just selling alcohol to customers. For example, this license also allows you to transport alcohol to your business to sell, but you cannot transport it anywhere else. You are also allowed to buy alcohol from warehouses that have Type B alcohol licenses.

There are also certain limitations you need to follow once you get a Type C alcohol license. For example, you need to make sure that your customers consume their alcoholic beverages on the premises. You also need to keep documentation of the alcohol you keep in your establishment.

It is also important to only sell alcohol while your establishment is open and not after-hours. Also, keep in mind that when applying for this license you will need to meet certain requirements to be considered and approved.

The Requirements to Apply for a Dubai Alcohol License

The first thing you need to know is that you need to be above 21 years old to apply for an alcohol license in Dubai. This is because the drinking age in Dubai and the age to handle alcohol is 21. You must also not be a Muslim when applying for this license.

This is because the consumption of alcohol goes against the practices of Islam. The final requirement is that you need to be a resident of Dubai to apply. If you happen to be from another emirate that is not Dubai, even if you happen to be living in Dubai, you will need to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC).

You can get this from your emirate. If you have a spouse, you may also need to get a No Objection Certificate for them. But what if you are not a resident of Dubai or nearby emirates?

In that case, you can get a special license known as a tourist alcohol license. While this license allows you to buy and consume alcohol for a period of 30 days (which can be extended), the license will not allow you to sell alcohol. Also, if you are not a resident of Dubai, you will find it very difficult, if not impossible, to start a business there selling alcohol in the first place.

If you are a foreigner in Dubai looking to open up a place to sell alcohol, you will first need to apply for residency, and then you can move on from there, and remember that you need to get a trading license before you can get an alcohol license.

What You Need to Know

Also, when you apply for an alcohol license, you should know that you will need to pay a fee of AED 270 per year to maintain the license.

Paying this cost once a year is the most common option. However, if this option is inconvenient for you, there are also other options such as paying the fee once a month. While the fee of the license is a bit of a downside, there are actually a few benefits that come along with paying for this license.

For example, you may sometimes earn shopping credits, travel rewards, or similar perks. So, the price of the license ends up balancing out with the rewards that it offers. This is not to mention that it is legally very important to have an alcohol license if you plan on selling alcohol in Dubai.

If you try to sell alcohol without a license, you could get in big legal trouble. You may also have to face large fines, depending on the severity of the problem. So, what should you expect when you apply for an alcohol license in Dubai?

What Are the Steps to Getting an Alcohol License?

The first thing you need to do is to fill out the application for the alcohol license that you want. The most convenient option is to do this online. If you don’t want to fill out the application online or are unable to, you can visit the Maritime Mercantile International (MMI).

This location should have a place in which you can apply for an alcohol license in-person. Whether you apply online or in person, you will need to bring certain pieces of documentation with you. For example, you will need to have a copy of your passport, another photo of yourself that is similar in size to your passport, and a copy of your visa.

You will also need your Emirates ID copied and on hand. All of these pieces of documentation are important for ensuring that you are who you say you are. As mentioned before, you will need to pay a fee of AED 270 when applying, so make sure you have that money ready when you’re applying.

What to Know

Also, when filling out your application, be sure to double-check that you did not make any spelling errors concerning your name or any other information. If you make even a slight spelling error, it will be very hard to correct it down the line. When filling out the application, you will also need to provide information concerning your business.

In particular, you will need to list the name of the business, the location, what type of business it is, what kind of business partners you have (if any), and so on. Once you finish the application, you can send it in. Then, all you need to do is wait.

Usually, it will take several weeks before you will get an answer as to whether or not you have been approved for a license. Usually, it will take no more than four weeks. In some cases, it might only take as little as two weeks before you receive an answer.

Once you get approved, you can continue planning your business.

Your Dubai Alcohol License

If you want to open an establishment that sells alcohol in Dubai, you will first need to get a Dubai alcohol license. It is important to have this license because if you try to sell alcohol without it, you could get into big legal trouble. Applying for an alcohol license is not difficult, but you will need to have certain documentation on hand.

For example, copies of your passport, visa, and other documents are all important. To learn more about starting a business in Dubai, contact us here.

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