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Minimum Age Limits Worldwide

ICAP has gathered information from over 100 countries around the world on the minimum ages to legally purchase and consume alcohol. The table below records the minimum legal purchase ages both on- and off-premise and by beverage type (beer, wine, and sprits).

The World Health Organization defines on- and off-premise as follows:

On-premise retail sale refers to the sale of beverage alcohol for consumption at the site of the sale, generally in pubs, bars, cafes, or restaurants.

Off-premise retail sale refers to the sale of beverage alcohol for consumption elsewhere (not on the site of sale). Off-premise sales take place, for example, in state monopoly stores, wine shops, supermarkets, and petrol stations or kiosks, depending on local regulations. (World Health Organization, 2004, Global Status Report on Alcohol Policy, p. 15)

This table is updated as international laws change (last updated: August 2013). The data have been confirmed by sources in each country. If you have information about a country not listed here or if you find any of the information outdated, please email us.

This table is also available in Russian.

 

Country Drinking Age: On premise Purchasing Age: Off premise Notes
Albania 18 18  
Algeria 18 18  
Argentina 18 18  
Armenia 18 18  
Australia 18 18  
Austria 16/18 (see notes) 16/18 (see notes) For distilled spirits and drinks mixed with spirits, the age limit is 16 in three Federal States and 18 in six Federal States (there are nine Federal States in Austria). 
Azerbaijan 18 18  
Bahamas 18 18  
Bangladesh None None  
Belarus 18 18  
Belgium 16 for beer and wine; 18 for spirits 16 for beer and wine;18 for spirits  
Belize 18 18  
Bolivia 18 18  
Botswana 18 18  
Brazil 18 18  
Brunei Illegal Illegal

Non-Muslims over 17 years of age are allowed to import a specific amount of alcohol (“not to exceed 2 bottles of liquor [maximum total volume 2 litres] and 12 cans of beer at 330 ml”) for personal use, once in 48 hours.  This alcohol must be “stored and consumed at the place of residence of the importer,” … “not to be given, transferred or sold to another person.” (Liquor Form, Royal Customs and Excise Department, Ministry of Finance)

Bulgaria 18 18  
Burundi 16, unless accompanied by parents 16, unless accompanied by parents  
Cambodia None None  
Cameroon 18 21  
Canada 18/19 (see notes) 18/19 (see notes) 18 in Manitoba , Alberta, and Quebec. 19 in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.
Cape Verde 18 18  
Central African Republic 18 18  
Chile 18 18  
China, People’s Republic of 18 18  
China , Republic of ( Taiwan ) 18 18  
Colombia 18 18  
Comoros None None  
Congo, Republic of 18 18  
Costa Rica 18 18  
Croatia 18 18  
Cyprus 17 17  
Czech Republic 18 18  
Denmark 18 16  
Dominican Republic 18 18  
Ecuador 18 18  
Egypt 21 21  
El Salvador 18 18  
Equatorial Guinea 18 18  
Eritrea 18 18  
Estonia 18 18  
Ethiopia 18 18  
Fiji 21 21  
Finland 18 18  
France 18 18  
Gabon 18 18  
Gambia 18 18  
Georgia 18 18  
Germany 16 for beer and wine;18 spirits 16 for beer and wine; 18 spirits  
Ghana 18 18  
Greece 18 None  
Guam 21 21  
Guatemala 18 18  
Guinea-Bissau None None  
Guyana 18 18  
Hungary 18 18  
Iceland 20 20  
India 18 to 25, depending on state 18 to 25, depending on state  
Indonesia 21 21  
Ireland 18 18  
Israel 18 18  
Italy 18 18  
Jamaica 16 16  
Japan 20 20  
Kazakhstan 18 18  
Kenya 18 18  
Korea, Republic of (South Korea) 19 19  
Kyrgyzstan 18 18  
Lao PDR 18 18  
Latvia 18 18  
Lesotho 18 18  
Libya Illegal Illegal  
Lithuania 18 18  
Luxembourg 16 16  
Malawi 18 18  
Malta 17 17  
Mauritius 18 18  
Mexico 18 18  
Micronesia 21 21  
Moldova 18 18  
Monaco 18 18  
Morocco None 16  
Mozambique 18 18  
Namibia 18 18  
Netherlands 18 18  
New Zealand 18 18  
Nicaragua 18 18  
Niger 18 18  
Nigeria 18 18  
Norway 18, but 20 for spirits defined as 22% ABV 18, but 20 for spirits defined as 22% ABV  
Pakistan Illegal (21 for non-Muslim population) Illegal (21 for non-Muslim population)  
Palau 21 21  
Panama 18 18  
Papua New Guinea 18 18  
Paraguay 20 20  
Peru 18 18  
Philippines 18 18  

 

Portugal 16 for beer and wine, 18 for spirits 16 for beer and wine, 18 for spirits  
Qatar Illegal Illegal  
Russia 18 18  
Samoa 21 21  
Seychelles 18 18  
Sierra Leone None None  
Singapore 18 18  
Slovenia 18 18  
Solomon Islands 21 None  
South Africa 18 18  
Spain 18 (16 in Asturias) 18 (16 in Asturias)  
Sri Lanka 21 21  
Swaziland 18 18  
Sweden 18 20, but 18 for beer with ABV of 3.5% or less  
Switzerland 16/18, depending on the canton, for beer and wine; 18 in all cantons for spirits 16/18, depending on the canton, for beer and wine; 18 in all cantons for spirits  
Thailand 20 20  
Togo 18 18  
Tonga 18 18  
Trinidad and Tobago 18 18  
Turkey 18 18  
Turkmenistan 18 18  
Uganda 18 18  
Ukraine 18 18  
United Arab Emirates Illegal Illegal  
United Kingdom 18* 18  *16 for beer, cider, and wine with a meal and bought by and accompanied by an adult. This does not apply in Northern Ireland.
United States 21 21  
Uruguay 18 18  
Uzbekistan None 20  
Vanuatu 18 18  
Venezuela 18 18  
Vietnam  None 18 for wine and spirits  
Yemen Illegal Illegal  
Zambia 18 18  
Zimbabwe 18 18