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Sun 9 Sep 2018 09:22 AM

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No change to alcohol advice for expats, says UK embassy

British media outlets reported a 'shock new warning' from consular officials

No change to alcohol advice for expats, says UK embassy
On Thursday, the British embassy’s Facebook page posted a reminder advising expats in the UAE that it is “illegal to purchase or consume alcohol without a liquor licence”, and noting that “carrying or drinking alcohol without a licence or with alcohol in your blood” is a punishable offence under UAE law. Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The British government’s advice and warnings to its citizens regarding the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the UAE has not changed, the British embassy has said.

On Thursday, the British embassy’s Facebook page posted a reminder advising expats in the UAE that it is “illegal to purchase or consume alcohol without a liquor licence”, and noting that “carrying or drinking alcohol without a licence or with alcohol in your blood” is a punishable offence under UAE law.

Tourists, the statement added, are unable to get a licence, which is only available for non-Muslim residents.

The following day, a number of British newspapers reported the post, with the Daily Mail describing it as a “shock new warning” from UK consular officials.

In response, the embassy took to social media to deny that there was anything new in its earlier warning.

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

The issue of alcohol in Dubai was starkly highlighted in August by the case of Kent-based Swedish national Ellie Holman, who was detained at Dubai Airport in a case which British media outlets incorrectly reported as being related to her consumption of alcohol on the flight.

Dubai officials later clarified that Holman was detained after attempting to enter the UAE on an expired passport and verbally abused an immigration officer. The charges were later dropped by the Dubai Public Prosecution.

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