This article was in The National a few weeks ago, but I felt that it was important to point out to anyone who may be thinking of coming to the UAE and drinking alcohol without a license. According to Abu Dhabi based lawyer, Khalid Mustafa, federal law makes it illegal to consume alcohol for both residents and tourists. "The penalty for not having one could be as much as five years in jail and a Dh5000 fine."
That's right tourists: stay home if you can't go ten days without boozing it up. That includes those of you who may be thinking of coming to the Formula One Grand Prix, the recent Tennis Championship, the FIFA Club World Cup, or any of the world class events that serve alcohol. That includes you Uma Thurman. Don't think you can come here for the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and get special permission to drink.
Never mind that the only establishments that serve alcohol are in hotels. Tourists need to go to the local police station that is off-island in Khalifa City A, present a letter in Arabic stating your salary, and fill out the necessary paperwork. If you don't have the foresight to get a properly formatted letter in Arabic from your employer in your home country, then it's your own fault for not planning ahead. All I can say is after the first person tourist is arrested for drinking without a license, (lewd, offensive, or violent conduct aside) the UAE's reputation as a viable travel destination will disappear.