Alcohol and Liquor Licences in Qatar
Information on liquor laws and drinking alcohol in Qatar: who can buy alcohol, where can it be consumed and how to get a licence...
Qatar is an Islamic country. Care should be taken to behave in a manner that does not offend the country's culture or religious beliefs, particularly during Ramadan. Alcohol is not illegal in Qatar, but the following laws apply to alcohol and its consumption:
- It is illegal to import alcohol into the country. All luggage is scanned at the arrivals hall of Doha airport
- It is an offence to drink alcohol or to be drunk in a public place. People breaking this law can be deported, fined or receive prison sentences. Muslims caught drinking may be subjected to corporal punishment
- Alcohol should not be transported within the country, except to take it home from the warehouse on the day of collection
- It is an offence to offer alcohol to Muslims and minors
- It is illegal to sell, donate or give away alcohol
Buying and Drinking Alcohol
Expatriates living in Qatar can buy alcohol via a permit system. It is also available in licenced restaurants and hotels which may sell alcohol to adult, non-Muslim customers in restricted areas.
The Qatar Distribution Company is the sole importer and retailer of alcohol in the country. They run two shops which are the only places where alcohol can be purchased. They offer a wide range of beverages and a permit is needed to make a purchase. Any alcohol bought must be hidden from view and taken straight home. The amount of alcohol that a person can purchase each month depends on their salary.
- Qatar Distribution Company
At: Nr Qatar Technical College, Street 668, Al Maamoura, Doha
Tel: 4469 9412
Applying for an Alcohol Permit
Alcohol permits are administered by the Qatar Distribution Company and application forms can be obtained at their shop. A permit must be shown to enter the shop. A letter, written in English, is needed to apply for an alcohol permit. If the letter is written in Arabic it is usually accepted if it is accompanied by a stamped translation. The letter must be addressed to the Qatar Distribution Company, be stamped and signed by an authorised person within the company, and include the following information:
- The applicant's position within their company
- The applicant's basic salary. The word 'basic' must be used. To get a permit a minimum salary is needed (4,000 riyals or 1,100 US dollars)
- Whether the applicant receives an accommodation entitlement or has free accommodation
- Whether the applicant is married
- When applying for a permit an individual must fill in an application form, pay a returnable deposit and state their religion
The following additional documents are also required:
- A passport, or equivalent identification (a photocopy is acceptable)
- A residence permit (a photocopy is acceptable)
Qatar has a zero tolerance attitude to driving under the influence of alcohol. Drink driving offenders are punished by custodial sentences ranging from one month to three years, a fine or both. Those caught drink driving may also be deported. People should be aware that it if a police file is opened against them for a drinking or driving related offence, then they are not allowed to leave the country until the case has been resolved. Most cases are straightforward, but more serious offences can take six months to go to court.