Alcohol drinking in Qatar has strict rules and policies given that this is an Islamic country where liquor is prohibited. As an expat, you have to be very careful and you must follow the law in terms of consuming alcohol. There are certain rules and requirements that you should follow in order to purchase and consume alcohol legally in this state. Please be guided accordingly as we share you some tips and helpful reminders. It’s always good to be aware of the policies and rules especially when in a foreign country.
As a note, the Qatar Distribution Company is the official agency where you can apply for a liquor license. This is also where you can buy alcohol and where you need to get a permit.
Although a person can buy a certain amount of alcohol based on their monthly salary, a permit is required for them to purchase it. Qatar only has two shops wherein they can purchase alcohol but they have to hide those beverages after purchasing. In this article, we will get to know about the license application for alcohol consumption in Qatar.
UPDATE: Be advised that there has been an increase in the prices of alcohol. Recently in January 2019, authorities have imposed a 100% excise tax to liquor. This means that the prices of alcohol has doubled.
6 Things You Should Know about Drinking Alcohol in Qatar
Let us know first the law regarding the alcohol transport and consumption in the country.
- Import of alcohol in Qatar is illegal. At the Doha airport especially at the arrivals area, all passenger luggage bags are monitored and scanned.
- People who are caught drunk in public can be deported, fined, or even given with prison sentences.
- Alcohol transport within the country is strictly prohibited unless the beverage was brought home immediately after purchase directly from the warehouse on the same day it was bought.
- It is also an offense to offer alcohols to Muslims and minors.
- It is illegal to sell, donate, and give alcoholic beverages in the country.
- Expats with alcohol permit in Qatar are allowed to purchase alcohol. In restricted areas, licensed restaurants and hotels are allowed to sell alcoholic beverages to non-Muslim adults.
Process in Getting a Liquor License via Qatar Distribution Company
Application of alcohol permit can be done through the Qatar Distribution Company. The company provides alcohol permits and application forms in their shop. Now that we already know the restrictions regarding the consumption of alcohol in Qatar, here are some tips on how to apply for alcohol license in the country.
1. A letter must be written by the applicant who is planning to purchase alcohol. An authorized person from the company where the applicant belongs to, must sign and stamp the letter addressed to Qatar Distribution Company with the given applicant’s information:
- Position in the company
- Basic salary (minimum basic salary of 4,000 Riyals or 1,100 USD)
- Location of accommodation entitlement/ free accommodation
- Place where the applicant get married
2. The applicant should complete the application form and pay a refundable deposit to get the alcohol permit.
3. Here are some additional requirements:
- A passport or its equivalent document (original copy or photocopy is accepted)
- A residence permit (original copy or photocopy is accepted)
A Note on Drinking and Driving
“Do not drink and drive” is also included in the law about alcohol consumption in Qatar. People who commit the offense can receive custodial sentences from 1 month up to 3 years, or will be fined from 10,000 to 50,000 Riyals, or both. They can also be deported from the country or they are not allowed to leave Qatar unless the case is already resolved.
According to Qatar Penal Laws Article 270, if anyone is found drunk on a main street or disturb others due to alcohol effect, he can be fined with 3,000 Riyals or can receive a prison sentence to no more than six months, or both.
Qatar, an Islamic country, gives respect to different religious beliefs or culture by giving restrictions to vices especially when it comes to alcoholic consumption. Please be very careful and be sensitive to the customs and traditions. We hope you find this post helpful in understanding the alcohol trade and set-up in Qatar.