Drinking Age By Country 2019

if you live in a country like the United States, you probably already know that you must be at least 21 years of age or older in order to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages. Surprisingly, this is one of the highest drinking ages in the world. Just to the north of the US is Canada, which has a legal drinking age of 18 to 19.

Believe it or not, there are even some nations where the drinking age is far lower. Some nations have laws in place prohibiting minors from purchasing alcohol but no laws preventing the consumption of alcohol. In other nations, drinking is outlawed entirely, regardless of age.

This article will focus on the legal drinking ages in nations around the world. We’ll kick this off by taking a look at the nations that require residents to be at least 21 years old in order to consume alcohol. These nations also require a person to be at least 21 in order to even purchase alcohol unless otherwise noted. Those nations are:

Cameroon: Can purchase and consume at age 18 if accompanied by a person 21 years of age or older Central African Republic: Only required when sold on-premises (such as in a bar or restaurant) Egypt Equatorial Guinea Guam India: Varies from 18 to 25 based on jurisdiction Indonesia Kazakhstan Malaysia Northern Mariana Islands Oman Palau Samoa Sri Lanka United Arab Emirates: Varies from 18 to 21 based on jurisdiction United States

Some nations require a person to be at least 20 years old to consume alcohol. A person must also be at least 20 in order to purchase alcohol in these nations, unless otherwise noted:

Finland: Must be at least 20 to possess or purchase alcohol that is 23% to 80% ABV Japan Lithuania Paraguay Thailand

In the following nations, you must be at least 19 years old to consume alcohol. All people must be at least 19 in order to purchase alcohol unless otherwise noted:

Canada: Must be at least 19 in certain provinces

In the following nations, the legal drinking age is at least 18 years. A person must be at least 18 to purchase alcohol unless otherwise noted.

Albania Andorra Argentina Australia Austria: Must be at least 18 to purchase or consume distilled beverages Bahamas Belize Bermuda Bhutan Canada: 18 in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, 19 in other provinces Cameroon: When accompanied by a person 21 years of age or older Cayman Islands Chile China Comoros Estonia Eswatini Falkland Islands Fiji Finland: Must be at least 18 to purchase or consume drinks that are 1.2% to 22% ABV or to drink in bars, clubs, and restaurants Gabon: On-premises purchase or consumption online Germany: Must be at least 18 to purchase or consume spirits Ghana Grenada Guatemala Guyana Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Jordan Kyrgyzstan Lebanon Lesotho Liechtenstein: Must be at least 18 to purchase or consume spirits Maldives: Illegal but can be sold to tourists that are 18 years of age or older Mexico Micronesia Mongolia Montenegro Mozambique Nepal Netherlands Niger Nigeria North Korea North Macedonia Pakistan: Illegal for most but a drinking age of 18 is enforced for non-Muslims Papua New Guinea Philippines Puerto Rico Rwanda Senegal Seychelles Singapore: Must be 18 to purchase alcohol and consume it in public places Slovakia South Africa South Sudan Spain Switzerland: Must be at least 18 to purchase spirits Syria Taiwan Tajikistan Tokelau Tonga Turkey Turkmenistan Ukraine United Kingdom U.S. Virgin Islands Vanuatu Vietnam Zambia

In the following nation, you must be at least 17 to purchase or consume alcohol:

Brunei: Non-Muslims can drink at age 17 with restrictions Malta

In the following nations, you must be at least 16 to drink alcohol. You must also be at least 16 to purchase alcohol unless otherwise noted.

Austria: Must be 16 in certain provinces. In other provinces, you can purchase beer, wine, and cider at age 16. British Virgin Islands Germany: Can purchase and consume beer, wine, and cider at age 16 Guyana: Can purchase beer, wine, or cider with meal. Otherwise, must be 18 to purchase or consume. Liechtenstein: Can purchase beer, wine, and cider at age 16. Must be 18 to purchase spirits. Palestinian Authority Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

In these nations, you must be at least 15 years of age or older to consume alcohol. You must also be at least 15 to purchase alcohol unless otherwise noted.

Central African Republic: Must be at least 15 for off-premises consumption and possession

In the following nations, there is no legal age limit for consuming alcohol. There is also no restrictions on purchasing alcohol unless otherwise noted:

Angola: No age limit except in Luanda Province, where you must be 18 to purchase or consume alcohol Anguilla: Must be at least 18 to purchase Antigua and Barbuda: Must be at least 16 to purchase Armenia: Must be at least 18 to purchase Azerbaijan: Must be at least 18 to purchase Bahrain Barbados: Must be at least 16 to purchase Belarus: Must be at least 18 to purchase Belgium: Must be at least 16 to purchase beer, wine, and cider. Must be at least 18 to purchase spirits. Bolivia: Must be at least 18 to purchase Bosnia and Herzegovina: Must be at least 18 to purchase Botswana: No legal drinking age but it is illegal for any person to supply a minor under age 18 with alcohol Brazil: Must be at least 18 to purchase Bulgaria: Must be at least 18 to purchase Burundi: No legal drinking age, but people under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to purchase Cambodia Cape Verde: Must be at least 18 to purchase Colombia: Must be at least 18 to purchase Costa Rica: Must be at least 18 to purchase Croatia: Must be at least 18 to purchase Cuba: Must be at least 16 to purchase Cyprus: Must be at least 17 to purchase Czech Republic: Must be at least 18 to purchase Denmark: Must be at least 16 or 18 to purchase, based on ABV Dominican Republic: Must be at least 18 to purchase Ecuador: Must be at least 18 to purchase El Salvador: Must be at least 18 to purchase Eritrea: Must be at least 18 to purchase Ethiopia: Must be at least 15 to purchase France: Must be at least 18 to purchase Gambia: Must be at least 17 to purchase Georgia: Must be at least 18 to purchase Gibraltar: Must be at least 16 to purchase beer, wine, or cider. Must be at least 18 to purchase other alcohol Greece: Must be at least 18 to purchase Guinea-Bissau Haiti: Must be at least 18 to purchase Iceland: Must be at least 20 to purchase Ireland: Must be at least 18 to purchase. No age limit if alcohol is consumed at a private residence with permission from a parent or guardian. Israel: Must be at least 18 to purchase Italy: Must be at least 18 to purchase Jamaica: Must be at least 18 to purchase Kenya: Must be at least 18 to purchase Kosovo Latvia: Must be at least 18 to purchase Liberia: Must be at least 18 to purchase Luxembourg: Must be at least 16 to purchase Macau Malawi: Must be at least 18 to purchase Mauritius: Must be at least 18 to purchase Moldova: Must be at least 18 to purchase Morocco Myanmar: Must be at least 18 to purchase Namibia: Must be at least 18 to purchase New Zealand: Must be at least 18 to purchase Nicaragua: Must be at least 14 to purchase in a restaurant, 18 to purchase elsewhere Norway: Must be 18 or 20 to purchase based on ABV Panama: Must be at least 18 to purchase Peru: Must be at least 18 to purchase Poland: Must be at least 18 to purchase Portugal: Must be at least 18 to purchase Republic of the Congo: Must be at least 18 to purchase Romania: Must be at least 18 to purchase Russia: Must be at least 18 to purchase Serbia: Must be at least 16 to purchase Singapore: No age limit in private places. Must be at least 18 to purchase. Must be 18 to consume in public places. Slovenia: Must be at least 18 to purchase Solomon Islands: Must be at least 21 to purchase South Korea: Must be at least 19 to purchase Sweden: Age restrictions on purchase of alcohol based on ABV Switzerland: Must be at least 18 or 19 to purchase Tanzania: Must be at least 18 to purchase Togo Trinidad and Tobago: Must be at least 18 to purchase Tunisia Turks and Caicos Islands: Must be at least 18 to purchase Uganda: Must be at least 18 to purchase spirits. Must be at least 16 to purchase wine, beer, porter, cider, or native liquor with a meal. Uruguay: Must be at least 18 to purchase Uzbekistan: Must be at least 20 to purchase Venezuela: Must be at least 18 to purchase Western Sahara Zimbabwe

In these nations, the consumption or possession of alcohol is illegal:

Afghanistan Bangladesh: Illegal for Muslims Iran Iraq Kuwait Libya Maldives: Illegal for residents Pakistan: Illegal for Muslims Qatar Saudi Arabia Somalia Sudan Yemen

Country On Premise Drinking Age Off Premise Drinking Age Notes Population 2019
Samoa2121No info provided by WHO; other sources list 21197,097
United States2121329,064,917
Palau212118,008
Micronesia2121113,815
Nauru2121No info provided by WHO; other sources list 21 as the drinking age.10,756
Oman21214,974,986
Mongolia21213,225,167
Iraq2121Sources say only Iraqi Christians are permitted to sell alcohol; alcohol sales were banned entirely from 2006-08.39,309,783
Kiribati2121117,606
Equatorial Guinea21211,355,986
Sri Lanka212121,323,733
Central African Republic21154,745,185
Uzbekistan202032,981,716
Thailand202069,625,582
Paraguay20207,044,636
Japan2020126,860,301
Iceland2020339,031
South Korea191951,225,308
Zambia181817,861,030
Venezuela181828,515,829
Uruguay18183,461,734
Belize1818390,353
Tanzania181858,005,463
United Kingdom181867,530,172
Egypt1818On- and off-premise age minimum is 18 for beer/21 for wine and spirits.100,388,073
Ukraine181843,993,638
Uganda181844,269,594
Albania18182,880,917
Tuvalu181811,646
Turkmenistan18185,942,089
Turkey181883,429,615
Tunisia181811,694,719
Trinidad And Tobago18181,394,973
Tonga1818104,494
Tajikistan18189,321,018
Syria181817,070,135
Brazil1818211,049,527
Sweden181818 for beer/20 for wine and spirits10,036,379
Suriname1818581,372
Botswana18182,303,697
Zimbabwe181814,645,468
South Africa181858,558,270
Slovenia18182,078,654
Vietnam181896,462,106
Slovakia18185,457,013
Singapore18185,804,337
Bosnia And Herzegovina18183,301,000
Seychelles181897,739
Serbia18188,772,235
Senegal1818WHO lists the drinking age as 18; other sources say 20 or that there is no drinking age.16,296,364
Saint Kitts And Nevis181852,823
Rwanda18No minimum age12,626,950
Russia1818145,872,256
Romania181819,364,557
Bhutan1818763,092
Poland181837,887,768
Philippines1818108,116,615
Peru181832,510,453
Papua New Guinea18188,776,109
Panama18184,246,439
Norway1818On- and off-premise age miniumum is 18 for beer and wine/20 for spirits.5,378,857
Nigeria1818200,963,599
Niger181823,310,715
Nicaragua18186,545,502
New Zealand18184,783,063
Vanuatu1818No info provided by WHO; other sources say 18.299,882
Netherlands1818The WHO lists age 16 as the on- and off-premise age minimum for beer, but the Netherlands government website says that as of Jan. 2014, “It is a criminal offence for anyone under 18 to have alcohol in their possession in public and selling alcohol to minors is illegal.”17,097,130
Nepal181828,608,710
Barbados1818Sources say children ages 10-17 may drink in the presence of a parent or guardian.287,025
Namibia18182,494,530
Armenia18182,957,731
Mozambique181830,366,036
Montenegro1818627,987
Moldova18184,043,263
Monaco181838,964
Mexico1818127,575,529
Mauritius18181,269,668
Malaysia181831,949,777
Malawi181818,628,747
Madagascar181826,969,307
Lithuania18182,759,627
Bahamas1818389,482
Liberia18184,937,374
Latvia18181,906,743
Lesotho18182,125,268
Laos18No minimum ageOn-premise age minimum is 18 for beer; no age minimum listed for wine or spirits.7,169,455
Kyrgyzstan18186,415,850
Kenya181852,573,973
Jordan181810,101,694
Kazakhstan181818,551,427
Jamaica18182,948,279
Italy181860,550,075
Israel18188,519,377
Ireland18184,882,495
Australia181825,203,198
India1818The drinking age varies by state. In New Delhi, for example, the drinking age is 25, while in Goa it is 18. Mahrashtra’s Wardha district has a drinking age of 30.1,366,417,754
Hungary18189,684,679
Honduras18189,746,117
Guyana1816782,766
Guinea181812,771,246
Guatemala181817,581,472
Argentina181844,780,677
Azerbaijan181810,047,718
Greece181810,473,455
Ghana181830,417,856
Gambia18182,347,706
Georgia18183,996,765
Gabon18No minimum age2,172,579
France181865,129,728
Finland1818Off-premise age minimum is 18 for beer and wine/20 for spirits.5,532,156
Fiji1818889,953
Angola181831,825,295
Estonia18181,325,648
Eritrea18183,497,117
Ethiopia1818112,078,730
El Salvador18186,453,553
Ecuador181817,373,662
Dominican Republic181810,738,958
Denmark1816Off-premise age minimum is 16 for beer and wine/18 for spirits.5,771,876
Czech Republic181810,689,209
Andorra181877,142
Cuba181811,333,483
Croatia18184,130,304
Costa Rica18185,047,561
Comoros1818850,886
Colombia181850,339,443
Chile181818,952,038
Chad181815,946,876
Cape Verde1818549,935
Canada181818: Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec; 19: British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Yukon37,411,047
Algeria181843,053,054
Belarus18189,452,411
Burundi18No minimum age11,530,580
Myanmar181854,045,420
Bulgaria18187,000,119
Malta1717440,372
Cyprus17171,198,575
Switzerland161616 for beer and wine/18 for spirits8,591,365
Spain1616WHO lists the drinking age as 16; other sources say that the minimum age varies by region, that it is 18, or that minors may purchase alcohol if accompanied by their parents.46,736,776
San Marino161633,860
Saint Vincent And The Grenadines1616110,589
Saint Lucia1618182,790
Portugal161610,226,187
Belgium1616On- and off-premise age minimum is 16 for beer and wine/18 for spirits.11,539,328
Morocco1616No info provided by WHO; other sources list 16 or 18 as the drinking age.36,471,769
Luxembourg1616615,729
Liechtenstein1616No info provided by WHO; other sources list 16 for beer and wine/18 for spirits.38,019
Austria1616Alcohol laws vary by state: three states have an age minimum of 16 while six states have a minimum age of 18.8,955,102
Haiti1616No info provided by WHO; other sources list drinking age as 16.11,263,077
Grenada1616112,003
Germany1616On- and off-premise age minimum is 16 for beer and wine/18 for spirits.83,517,045
Dominica161671,808
Antigua And Barbuda101097,118
Solomon IslandsNo minimum age21No info provided by WHO; other sources say drinking age is 21 but there is no minimum age for purchase.669,823
Burkina FasoNo minimum ageNo minimum age20,321,378
TogoNo minimum ageNo minimum age8,082,366
Sierra LeoneNo minimum ageNo minimum age7,813,215
BoliviaNo minimum ageNo minimum ageThe drinking age used to be listed as 18, but the WHO no longer lists any age minimum.11,513,100
Sao Tome And PrincipeNo minimum ageNo minimum age215,056
Guinea BissauNo minimum ageNo minimum age1,920,922
MaliNo minimum ageNo minimum age19,658,031
IndonesiaNo minimum age21270,625,568
BeninNo minimum ageNo minimum age11,801,151
ChinaNo minimum ageNo minimum ageThe WHO lists no drinking age; other sources say a 2006 ban instituted a drinking age of 18 but say it is not enforced.1,433,783,686
CameroonNo minimum ageNo minimum ageThe WHO lists no drinking age; other sources say 18 on-premise and 21 off-premise.25,876,380
CambodiaNo minimum ageNo minimum age16,486,542
YemenTotal banTotal banIn 2012, Al Qaeda militants reportedly gave four people 80 lashes each for drinking alcohol.29,161,922
United Arab EmiratesTotal banTotal banNo info provided by WHO; other sources say alcohol is banned in UAE, but non-Muslim tourists may apply for a drinking license. The license is apparently very difficult to obtain and may be limited to those over 18 or 21, depending on location.9,770,529
SudanTotal banTotal ban42,813,238
SomaliaTotal banTotal ban15,442,905
Saudi ArabiaTotal banTotal ban34,268,528
QatarTotal banTotal banNo info provided by WHO; other sources say that alcohol is banned for Muslims. Alcohol for non-Muslims is highly restricted and may be purchased at certain hotels or with a permit to shop at a government­-owned store. The country has said it intends to find “creative” solutions for the alcohol restrictions while hosting the 2022 World Cup.2,832,067
PakistanTotal banTotal banAlcohol is illegal for Muslims and consumption is a crime in Pakistan punishable by whipping. Non-Muslims more than 21 are are provided special permits to purchase liquor but they are not allowed to use it in public. Pakistan penal code, under the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order of 1979, awards 80 lashes to those convicted of consuming alcohol.216,565,318
BangladeshTotal banTotal banAlcohol is illegal for Muslims and purchase by others is highly restricted. Non-Muslim tourists are allowed to bring two bottles of alcohol for personal use.163,046,161
BahrainTotal banTotal banNo info provided by WHO. Alcohol is illegal for Muslims, and drinking in public is forbidden. Only certain places are allowed to sell alcohol. Drinking age is 18 for non-Muslims.1,641,172
MauritaniaTotal banTotal ban4,525,696
MaldivesTotal banTotal ban530,953
LibyaTotal banTotal ban6,777,452
KuwaitTotal banTotal banNo info provided by WHO; Alcohol has been banned since 1964 and drinking has been a criminal offense since 1983.4,207,083
AfghanistanTotal banTotal ban38,041,754
IranTotal banTotal banThe alcohol ban was instituted after the 1979 revolution. In 2012, an Iranian news organization reported that two people were sentenced to death for drinking alcohol following two previous convictions for those same people, for which each received 80 lashes. A 2004 WHO report noted that “Religious minorities can buy alcoholic beverages from very few specifically licensed shops owned by shopkeepers of the same minority.”82,913,906