UAE urged to issue alcohol licences for tourists

Under UAE law, it is illegal to consume alcohol without a licence and outside of hotels and bars
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Legal experts have called for temporary alcohol licences would help tourists avoid getting into trouble during their stay.
Legal experts have called for temporary alcohol licences would help tourists avoid getting into trouble during their stay.

Lawyers in the UAE have urged the government to issue temporary alcohol licences for non-Muslim tourists, it was reported on Wednesday.

Under UAE law, it is illegal to consume alcohol without a licence and outside of hotels and bars.

To obtain a licence, applicants must prove they are non-Muslim, resident in the UAE, aged 21 or over and earning more than $815 (AED3,000) a month.

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As tourists cannot apply for a licence, they can end up in trouble with the law if they drink illegally while visiting the country.

7Days reported that legal experts have called for temporary alcohol licences would help tourists avoid getting into trouble during their stay.

Emirati lawyer Yousef Al Bahar was quoted as saying: “The problem is that tourists are not allowed to get a licence. Although they have the right to drink inside hotels and bars, they still get prosecuted for consuming alcohol without a licence if they get into a trouble or break another law.

“I suggest we provide temporarily alcohol licences for non-Muslim tourists on arrival in Dubai or allow them to obtain a licence when they get the visa or the tickets before coming to Dubai.

“In this case tourists can’t be touched for not having a licence when they have a problem.”

Another lawyer, Hani Hamoda, said: “Tourists don’t know that they can be fined for consuming alcohol because many of them come to Dubai and leave without making a problem and they think they don’t need a licence.

“But if the tourist is involved in a small fight or insult and police come and saw them drunk, then they can be prosecuted for consuming alcohol without a licence.”

An unnamed judge at Dubai Courts reportedly told the newspaper: “The law legalises an alcohol licence for non-Muslim residents, so why not give it to tourists also with some orders to avoid punishment if they are involved in a problem?”

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