My version of a chill-out night is sitting on the bed, my back leaning against the wall absorbed in a really good book on one hand and a nice, little drink on the other. But should an inspection occur, I could get myself into trouble.

As an expat, it must be known that there are an existing regulations on alcohol consumption in the UAE; each emirate having its own specific rules. For instance, in Dubai you can’t setup a table outside your residence and start the booze with your friends (this is common in the Philippines). You can’t possess alcohol even in the privacy of your home without a license! That’s how strict it is. Many manage to get away from this because unless somebody (like an annoyed neighbor) reports to the authorities, there won’t be an inspection.

So the key is to get a license to be on the safe side.



But not everyone can apply. Only an individual who meets the following criteria is eligible:

  1. RELIGION: You are not a Muslim
  2. AGE: You are over 21 years old
  3. INCOME: Your monthly salary is over AED3,000
  4. ADDRESS: You are a Dubai resident
*Tourists cannot apply but they may consume alcohol in permitted places like restaurants and bars attached to hotels, etc.


If you are perfect check on the four points above, then here are the requirements:

1. Completed application form (with company stamp)

I applied through MMI and the form is available with them.

2. Copy of passport and residence visa

3. Passport photo

4. Proof of salary

(a) Free Zone: Copy of salary certificate (with company stamp)..for stricter applications, this needs to be issued by the Free Zone Authority

(b) Those under MOL (Ministry of Labor): Copy of labor contract

(c) Self-employed: Copy of trade license and original salary certificate

5. Proof of residence address

(a) If tenant: Copy of tenancy contract

(b) If owner: Copy of title deed

(c) Shared accommodation: NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the leaseholder, copy of passport and visa of leaseholder and copy of tenancy contract (NOC template available also at MMI)

(d) Company accommodation: NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the company stating accommodation details

6. Municipality fee AED270 as of date of writing

MMI, an approved liquor seller had a promo last October when they recently opened their JLT branch: the fee was waived for the first 200 applicants.


Source: MMI pamphlet, Oct 2016

MMI then forwarded my application plus the supporting documents to the Licensing Authority.

You will be informed if your application was successful through a text message.

My application was approved after 20 days and I was able to obtain my license card thereafter.


This liquor license is limited to the right to purchase only in the specified emirate, has a purchase limit and is renewable every year.

According to the article Liquor License in Dubai by Tyrone Walker Esq., the following are what constitutes the license to purchase:

“The liquor purchase license only entails the following two rights:
1. Purchase liquor from a store or warehouse licensed to sell liquor upon presentation of the license, in reasonable quantities for the exclusive purpose of consumption by him and members of his household and guests who are not UAE nationals, provided that the quantity does not exceed the limit on the license.
2. Transport the quantity of liquor shown in the above paragraph direct from the store or warehouse to his residence. The liquor is to be kept at the residence for consumption by the licensee and members of his household and guests who are not UAE nationals”

If you want to learn more, here are some readings I find helpful:



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