Abu Dhabi Weather

Monday, January 10, 2011

Unlicensed Drinking

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.


  1. It even appears that you need a residency visa and a tenancy agreement to get a alcohol license. So a tourist would never be able to get a license.

    The airport says you are allowed to purchase alcohol license free from the duty free shop. So if I bring a six pack of beer from home, I am allowed to bring it into the country but I will be arrested immediately after I pass through customs because I don't have a license?

    Religious propaganda is also banned at customs. I hope they don't consider the charms in "Lucky Charms" to be propaganda. Especially the new Rainbow marshmellow.

  2. If you take a little longer to clear customs, then I'll know why. If you're smart, you'll put the beer in Mary's bag.

    You keep your rainbow marshmallow propaganda to yourself mister.

  3. Let's see how the tourist numbers will drop in 2011 in the aftermath of these sensational news. Must it always be one step forward and two steps back in the UAE..?

  4. Honestly, I doubt that it will be enforced for people just out having a good time and keeping to themselves. My feeling is that it will be used as an extra charge for people who are out and causing problems.

  5. Ethiopian tourist are involve in this kinds of illegal activity in UAE,,,,,
    Abu Dhabi Tourism


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