x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Abu Dhabi alcohol licence to be electronic

Paper permits to be phased out as tourism authority takes over their issue from police.

ABU DHABI // Licences to buy alcohol in Abu Dhabi are going electronic from July 1.

Consumers will be able to apply online and pay fees by credit card, and the new licence will be a plastic card.

The old paper licences and application forms are being discontinued and the new cards will be phased in as licences are renewed.

Existing licences are issued by Abu Dhabi Police CID, and applicants must submit documents and collect the licence in person.

The new electronic system will be handled by a newly formed Special Licence Centre run by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.

Applicants will be asked to scan the required documents and after approval the licence will be delivered to them at the shop of their choice.

"Charges will remain the same for the present and we will take a decision down the line whether to reduce or remove them," said Nasser Al Reyami, director of the authority's tourism standards division.

The CID alcohol-licensing office on Muroor Road, which handles more than 100 applicants a day, will close at the end of June.

Most shopkeepers have not yet been told officially of the new system but some have heard about it from consumers.

Barada Adante, at Spinneys on Muroor Road, said: "We heard from people but haven't received anything officially. We hope the Government will provide us some online access about the procedures."

Shops authorised to sell alcohol still have paper application forms available. Tourism authority officials said those shops would soon have updates on the new system, and consumers can call 8005353 from June 1.

Only non-Muslims are permitted to hold an alcohol licence, and applicants must earn a minimum of Dh3,000 a month.

The amount they may spend on alcohol varies according to salary. For example, someone earning Dh10,000 a month pays an annual licence fee of Dh100 and may spend Dh500 a month.

anwar@thenational.ae