Alcohol trading license in UAE

Alcohol trading license in UAE

Dubai being an Islamic State does not support the consumption of liquor but as the economy of this State is heavily dependent on tourism, it cannot apply a complete ban on the sale, purchase or consumption of alcohol.

Dubai unlike Sharjah is not a dry State but it has regulated the consumption and the transactions that take place for alcohol. Out of the few taxes that are imposed by this Emirate, one is imposed on Alcohol. Since the year of 1965, Dubai levies 30% tax on alcohol.

Import, export, manufacture, purchase, consumption or sale of liquor to third parties is all regulated by the Liquor Control Law No. 999 of 1972. This law requires a license to be obtained before indulging in any of the activities mentioned hereinabove in regards to liquor. There are also a number of provisions namely relating to the consumption, advertisement, and sale of alcohol in Dubai (e.g. Penal Code, advertisement laws, taxes and tariffs laws, etc.)  Liquor licences in Dubai are issued by the Dubai Police General Headquarter (‘DPGH’).

There are 4 types of liquor licenses.

  • Type A: Licence to import liquor.
  • Type B: Licence to sell liquor to third parties from a shop or warehouse.
  • Type C: Licence to serve liquor within a hotel, club, or restaurant.
  • Type D: Licence to purchase liquor.

In addition to the above licence types, Article 2 of the Liquor Control Law states that the DPGH may, on the basis of an application, grant a person a licence to export liquor outside the Emirate, subject to a specific quota restraint.

So, if you wish to obtain alcohol trading license in the UAE, you have two options to do that:

  1. Type A: you can open the liquor shop with ware house where you will store your imported products. In this case the best option for you will be license registration with RAK freezone and obtain the approval from RAK Tourism Authority. This solution is pretty expensive, since the approval from RAK Tourism authority costs more than 1 million USD.
  2. Type B: You can register whole sale import/export liquor trading company which will allow you to import and to sell your product to hotels, restaurants, etc. In this case the best option for you will be liquor license with Fujairah freezone with an investment of about 55,000 USD

Please feel free to contact us for further guidelines, requirements and assistance.

It is illegal to advertise the sale of alcohol beverages in Dubai.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article does not constitute a legal advise.

The UAE are planning to implement on 1 January 2018 - other GCC countries may do so at the same time or by 1 January 2019 at the latest.

VAT in Dubai and UAE

VAT (Value Added Tax) is expected to be introduced in UAE at a rate of 5% on 1 January 2018. This percentage is purposely kept low to limit impact on UAE cost of living.

The UAE Federal and Emirate governments provide citizens and residents with many different public services, paid from the government budgets. VAT will provide country with a new source of income which will contribute to the continued provision of high quality public services into the future. It will also help government move towards its vision of reducing dependence on oil and other hydrocarbons as a source of revenue.

Other GCC countries may do so at the same time or by 1 January 2019 at the latest. The UAE is part of a group of countries which are closely connected through “The Economic Agreement Between the GCC States” and “The GCC Customs Union”. The GCC group of nations have historically worked together in designing and implementing new public policies as we recognize that such a collaborative approach is best for the region.

Not all businesses will need to register for VAT; this really depends on their minimum annual turnover; that is, many small businesses will not need to register for VAT; however, they’ll be expected to record their financial transactions. Companies whose revenues range between Dh187,000 and Dh375 000 will have the option to either register under the system or not; companies in the UAE that record annual revenues over Dh375 000 will be obliged to register under a Value-Added Tax (VAT) system. All goods and services will be taxed with the exceptions of food, education and health services. The UAE Ministry of Finance is still taking decision about Free Zone, but the free zones may remain exempt to encourage on foreign investments.

 

Company formation Dubai & UAE

Company formation in Dubai is a relatively simple and speedy process with strong incentives, notably in the form of the UAE’s free zones.  There are other options as to the type of business you can set up in the UAE (for example, onshore or offshore), but free zones are particularly popular with foreign entrepreneurs and with good reason. Among the incentives they offer are 0% corporation and personal tax, 100% company ownership, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no currency restrictions and 100% import and export tax exemption.

So why to setup a business in UAE now?

According to the IMF, the UAE is expected to lead economic growth in the Arabian Gulf in 2017, increasing by 2.5%, significantly ahead of the region’s biggest economy, Saudi Arabia, which is forecast to grow at 0.4%.

So how do you go about it?

While the technical, administrative and financial aspects of company formation in Dubai can seem daunting, by following a simple step-by-step process with the right support, it is far more straightforward and affordable than you might think. We have helped numerous companies establish themselves in various free zones and can break the process down into the following six steps.

1. Choose your business activity

The nature of your business can have a bearing on which free zones you can or should set up in. For example, some free zones only allow certain types of activity, such as media, medical or transport, and aside from the restrictions, it often makes sense to set up in close proximity to businesses in the same sector. Look at transport links too. If your business relies heavily on import and export, you will probably want to choose one of the free zones situated near an airport or port.

The final decision can be taken later in the preparation process, but establishing your business activity will certainly give you a steer and can help to eliminate some options early on. However, there is no need to pigeon-hole your business, as it is possible to have multiple business activities listed under one trade licence.

2. Choose your company name

The UAE has some strict naming conventions, so before you commit to a company name, make sure it conforms. Any names that include offensive language are forbidden, as are any company names that refer to Allah, Him or indeed any other religious, sectarian or political groups such as the FBI or Mafia. If you choose to name your business after a person, that person must be a partner or owner of the company and their full name must be used – no initials or abbreviations.
A business set-up expert will be able to give you chapter and verse on all the naming conventions. You can save a lot of time and effort by running your proposed name past them to check whether it passes and if it doesn’t they can help you come up with something that does.

3. Finalise all incorporation paperwork

You will be required to complete an application for your chosen company name and activity, to be provided along with copies of shareholders’ passports to the relevant government authorities. Some free zones will require additional documentation, such as a business plan or Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) – a letter from a current sponsor confirming that you are allowed to set up another business in the UAE. While perhaps the most arduous of all these steps, the paperwork does not have to be too taxing providing it is undertaken with expert help. Your business set-up partner can advise you on the paperwork required and help you complete it.

Some free zones will require additional documentation, such as a business plan or Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) – a letter from a current sponsor confirming that you are allowed to set up another business in the UAE.

4. Receive your license notification

This is the easiest step of all. Once your application has been processed, the government will issue you with your company licence. At Virtuzone we notify our clients when their documents are ready to be collected.
5. Process your visa (if needed)

And so to the final step of company formation in Dubai. As well as applying for your own visa, many free zones allow you to put in applications for staff and dependants – the exact number you can submit will depend on which free zone you choose to set up in. So, if you are looking to obtain visas for a spouse, child, maid or driver, it is best to seek expert advice to ensure that firstly, it is possible to do so in your chosen free zone, and secondly, that both you and anyone you are hoping to sponsor for a visa meet all of the entry criteria. Assuming this all checks out, the process is made up of four simple stages: entry permit, status adjustment, medical fitness test, then Emirates ID registration and visa stamping.

For some free zones / activities you may not be required to apply for a visa (NO visa package) saving money and time.

6. Open a bank account

Once your paperwork has been returned, you will have all the documentation you need to open your corporate bank account. The UAE is home to many banks, both local and international, including Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and the Commercial Bank of Dubai, along with global names such as HSBC, Citibank and Barclays. You can either approach the bank of your choice or ask your business set-up partner to arrange meetings with a number of institutions to help you choose the most suitable option.

With some banks you can open a corporate bank account also without having the resident visa.