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UK reminds its nationals on alcohol laws in UAE

British embassies in UAE clarify on social media that buying, drinking alcohol without liquor licence is illegal

Gulf News

Dubai: There has been no change in the advice given by the UK to its nationals regarding alcohol consumption in the UAE, the Facebook page of the British Embassies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai has clarified.

Friday’s clarification on the ‘UK in UAE’ page follows its earlier post on Thursday, which had said: “If you hold a residence permit, it is illegal to purchase or consume alcohol without a liquor licence. Carry it with you at all times. NB a licence is only valid in the emirate that issued it … It is a punishable offence to be under the influence of alcohol in public — including when transiting through the UAE.”

Following Thursday’s post, some media organisations in the UK said British missions had warned British air passengers that they could be arrested after landing in the UAE, if they had alcohol on the flight.

The reports drew attention to the case of a UK-based woman who was detained in Dubai after she allegedly had a drink on board a flight to Dubai, in July.

However, UK in UAE on Friday said: “For clarity, there has been no change to the UK government’s advice to British nationals on consuming alcohol in the UAE. Our travel advice for the UAE includes a section on alcohol, and we would encourage visitors and residents to read it here.”

The post was followed by a link to the ‘Foreign travel advice — United Arab Emirates’ webpage of www.gov.uk. The webpage says: “Liquor licences are not available to non-residents, but it is possible for tourists and visitors to buy and drink alcohol in licensed venues such as hotels, restaurants and clubs. However, you should be aware that it is a punishable offence under UAE law to drink or be under the influence of alcohol in public.”

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