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Legal Reforms Regarding Alcohol in the UAE

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has implemented legal reforms concerning alcohol. The main aim is to modernise and regulate the consumption of Alcohol. All the reforms aim to create a more inclusive and globally-oriented nation. Plus, all the efforts are also dedicated to the expatriate community of UAE.

Changes through the Federal Law Decree

The changes were brought about through Federal Decree Law in 2020. Besides, it further solidified under the new Penal Code, Federal Decree-Law of 2021. 

  • Legal reforms have been implemented regarding alcohol in the UAE. It is a popular move made by the UAE Government to facilitate diverse cultures, backgrounds, and people.
  • Undoubtedly, the UAE is a well-known destination for expatriates from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, and religions. These reforms aim to make the UAE a modern and globalised nation.
  • The changes were initiated in 2020 and subsequently, changes were introduced. 

A balanced approach towards modernisation

The UAE has introduced significant legal reforms regarding alcohol consumption. These reforms aim to provide clarity and regulation while ensuring a safe and responsible approach to alcohol consumption. The following key legal reforms have been introduced concerning alcohol in the UAE:

  • Consuming Alcohol is permitted in the UAE under some conditions. There are no punishments for consuming alcohol in designated locations.
  • Consumption in Public Places is regulated under the law. It is prohibited to consume alcohol in public places or unauthorized locations.
  • Previously, a license was required for personal alcohol consumption. Every Emirate has the authority to establish its laws. You can also search here the Top Law Firms and Lawyers in Dubai for such cases.
  • If an Emirate has prohibited alcohol consumption within its jurisdiction, such a ban takes precedence over the general permission granted by the Penal Code.
  • Therefore, if an Emirate has prohibited alcohol consumption within its boundaries. This may include a ban that will override any general permission granted under the Penal Code.
  • The legal Drinking Age is clearly defined. The legal age for drinking alcohol in the UAE is 21 years. Offering alcohol to a person under 21 years of age, encouraging them to drink, or purchasing alcohol to give it to a minor is punishable.
  • Imprisonment for a maximum of 1 year and/or fines of up to AED 100,000.
  • Prohibition on Providing Alcohol to Minors is also defined under the law.  Strictly prohibited to offer under the age of 21.
  • Anyone found guilty of providing alcohol to minors, encouraging them to drink, or purchasing alcohol to give it to a minor can face penalties.
  • This may include imprisonment for up to one year and fines of up to AED 100,000. However, if the accused had verified the person’s age as 21 through an official document, no crime is committed.
  • Nonetheless, the UAE has introduced legal reforms concerning alcohol to create a more modern and globalised nation.
  • These reforms include the removal of the requirement for a license for personal alcohol consumption, the establishment of a legal drinking age of 21, the prohibition of providing alcohol to minors, restrictions on consuming alcohol in public places, and the strict prohibition of drinking and driving.
  • Residents and visitors in the UAE need to be aware of these laws and regulations to avoid any legal consequences.

The need for legal assistance

These legal reforms provide a framework for responsible alcohol consumption in the UAE. Nevertheless, this ensures the safety and well-being of individuals and society as a whole. We will not take any responsibility. Please do hire the top lawyers in Dubai like Al Shaiba advocates and legal consultants – ask the law, before taking any decision or legal action. 


Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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