Is drinking alcohol a crime in Dubai even for tourists?
Non-Muslim residents of Dubai can get a liquor license to consume alcohol at home. This license is valid only in the United Arab Emirates . Also, the residents must have a permit to consume/drink only in licensed venues.
Alcoholic drinks and beverages are served ONLY in licensed clubs and hotels, but this is a punishable crime to drink, or to be under the influence in public. The permitted legal age for consuming alcohol is 18 in Abu Dhabi (But as per Ministry of Tourism by-law only allows hotels to serve alcohol drinks only to 21+), and 21 in Dubai and the Northern United Arab Emirates (except for Sharjah, where drinking alcohol is completely illegal).
NOTE – Passengers who’re in transit through the UAE who are under the influence of alcohol may also be arrested / deported back.
Whether you are a resident or tourist you need an alcohol license to drink at the hotel bars or restaurants in the UAE. A Manager at an International Construction company recently experienced this first hand.He was jailed for 1 week and fined AED500 fro drinking alcohol in a hotel bar without a license.
Tourists are permitted to drink in licensed restaurants, hotels and bars attached to licensed hotels. It is unacceptable and punishable to drink in public places—even beaches. Dubai is incredibly strict about public drunkenness and has zero tolerance for drinking and driving.
To purchase alcohol at a store, both residents and tourists require a license. But there is a loophole: To avoid having to obtain a license, visitors can purchase alcohol at Duty Free in the airport and bring it back to their hotel. But, if you do want to apply for a license, you must be over the age of 21 and earn an excess of 3,000 AED a month (just over $800).