Drinking Age By Country 2020

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:

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:

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

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

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:

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

Drinking Age By Country 2020

Country On Premise Drinking Age Off Premise Drinking Age Notes Population 2020
Nauru2121No info provided by WHO; other sources list 21 as the drinking age.10,824
Palau212118,094
Micronesia2121115,023
Kiribati2121119,449
Samoa2121No info provided by WHO; other sources list 21198,414
Equatorial Guinea21211,402,985
Mongolia21213,278,290
Central African Republic21154,829,767
Oman21215,106,626
Sri Lanka212121,413,249
Ivory Coast212126,378,274
Iraq2121Sources say only Iraqi Christians are permitted to sell alcohol; alcohol sales were banned entirely from 2006-08.40,222,493
United States2121331,002,651
Iceland2020341,243
Paraguay20207,132,538
Uzbekistan202033,469,203
Thailand202069,799,978
Japan2020126,476,461
South Korea191951,269,185
Vatican City1818No info provided by WHO; other sources say 18.801
Tuvalu181811,792
Monaco181839,242
Saint Kitts And Nevis181853,199
Andorra181877,265
Seychelles181898,347
Tonga1818105,695
Barbados1818Sources say children ages 10-17 may drink in the presence of a parent or guardian.287,375
Vanuatu1818No info provided by WHO; other sources say 18.307,145
Bahamas1818393,244
Belize1818397,628
Cape Verde1818555,987
Suriname1818586,632
Montenegro1818628,066
Bhutan1818771,608
Guyana1816786,552
Comoros1818869,601
Fiji1818896,445
Swaziland18181,160,164
Mauritius18181,271,768
Estonia18181,326,535
Trinidad And Tobago18181,399,488
Latvia18181,886,198
Slovenia18182,078,938
Macedonia18182,083,374
Lesotho18182,142,249
Gabon18No minimum age2,225,734
Botswana18182,351,627
Gambia18182,416,668
Namibia18182,540,905
Lithuania18182,722,289
Albania18182,877,797
Jamaica18182,961,167
Armenia18182,963,243
Bosnia And Herzegovina18183,280,819
Uruguay18183,473,730
Eritrea18183,546,421
Georgia18183,989,167
Moldova18184,033,963
Croatia18184,105,267
Panama18184,314,767
New Zealand18184,822,233
Ireland18184,937,786
Liberia18185,057,681
Costa Rica18185,094,118
Norway1818On- and off-premise age miniumum is 18 for beer and wine/20 for spirits.5,421,241
Slovakia18185,459,642
Finland1818Off-premise age minimum is 18 for beer and wine/20 for spirits.5,540,720
Denmark1816Off-premise age minimum is 16 for beer and wine/18 for spirits.5,792,202
Singapore18185,850,342
Turkmenistan18186,031,200
El Salvador18186,486,205
Kyrgyzstan18186,524,195
Nicaragua18186,624,554
Bulgaria18186,948,445
Laos18No minimum ageOn-premise age minimum is 18 for beer; no age minimum listed for wine or spirits.7,275,560
Israel18188,655,535
Serbia18188,737,371
Papua New Guinea18188,947,024
Belarus18189,449,323
Tajikistan18189,537,645
Hungary18189,660,351
Honduras18189,904,607
Sweden181818 for beer/20 for wine and spirits10,099,265
Azerbaijan181810,139,177
Jordan181810,203,134
Greece181810,423,054
Czech Republic181810,708,981
Dominican Republic181810,847,910
Cuba181811,326,616
Tunisia181811,818,619
Burundi18No minimum age11,890,784
Rwanda18No minimum age12,952,218
Guinea181813,132,795
Zimbabwe181814,862,924
Chad181816,425,864
Senegal1818WHO lists the drinking age as 18; other sources say 20 or that there is no drinking age.16,743,927
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.”17,134,872
Syria181817,500,658
Ecuador181817,643,054
Guatemala181817,915,568
Zambia181818,383,955
Kazakhstan181818,776,707
Chile181819,116,201
Malawi181819,129,952
Romania181819,237,691
Niger181824,206,644
Australia181825,499,884
Madagascar181827,691,018
Venezuela181828,435,940
Nepal181829,136,808
Ghana181831,072,940
Mozambique181831,255,435
Malaysia181832,365,999
Angola181832,866,272
Peru181832,971,854
Canada181818: Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec; 19: British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Yukon37,742,154
Poland181837,846,611
Ukraine181843,733,762
Algeria181843,851,044
Argentina181845,195,774
Uganda181845,741,007
Colombia181850,882,891
Kenya181853,771,296
Myanmar181854,409,800
South Africa181859,308,690
Tanzania181859,734,218
Italy181860,461,826
France181865,273,511
United Kingdom181867,886,011
Turkey181884,339,067
Dr Congo181889,561,403
Vietnam181897,338,579
Egypt1818On- and off-premise age minimum is 18 for beer/21 for wine and spirits.102,334,404
Philippines1818109,581,078
Ethiopia1818114,963,588
Mexico1818128,932,753
Russia1818145,934,462
Nigeria1818206,139,589
Brazil1818212,559,417
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 30.1,380,004,385
Malta1717441,543
Cyprus17171,207,359
San Marino161633,931
Liechtenstein1616No info provided by WHO; other sources list 16 for beer and wine/18 for spirits.38,128
Dominica161671,986
Saint Vincent And The Grenadines1616110,940
Grenada1616112,523
Saint Lucia1618183,627
Luxembourg1616625,978
Republic Of The Congo1618On-premise age minimum is 16 for beer and wine/18 for spirits.5,518,087
Switzerland161616 for beer and wine/18 for spirits8,654,622
Austria1616Alcohol laws vary by state: three states have an age minimum of 16 while six states have a minimum age of 18.9,006,398
Portugal161610,196,709
Haiti1616No info provided by WHO; other sources list drinking age as 16.11,402,528
Belgium1616On- and off-premise age minimum is 16 for beer and wine/18 for spirits.11,589,623
Morocco1616No info provided by WHO; other sources list 16 or 18 as the drinking age.36,910,560
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.46,754,778
Germany1616On- and off-premise age minimum is 16 for beer and wine/18 for spirits.83,783,942
Antigua And Barbuda101097,929
Sao Tome And PrincipeNo minimum ageNo minimum age219,159
Solomon IslandsNo minimum age21No info provided by WHO; other sources say drinking age is 21 but there is no minimum age for purchase.686,884
Timor LesteNo minimum ageNo minimum age1,318,445
Guinea BissauNo minimum ageNo minimum age1,968,001
Sierra LeoneNo minimum ageNo minimum age7,976,983
TogoNo minimum ageNo minimum age8,278,724
BoliviaNo minimum ageNo minimum ageThe drinking age used to be listed as 18, but the WHO no longer lists any age minimum.11,673,021
BeninNo minimum ageNo minimum age12,123,200
CambodiaNo minimum ageNo minimum age16,718,965
MaliNo minimum ageNo minimum age20,250,833
Burkina FasoNo minimum ageNo minimum age20,903,273
CameroonNo minimum ageNo minimum ageThe WHO lists no drinking age; other sources say 18 on-premise and 21 off-premise.26,545,863
IndonesiaNo minimum age21273,523,615
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.1,439,323,776
BruneiTotal banTotal banNon-Muslim tourists over age 17 may be allowed to import 2 bottles of liquor and 12 cans of beer for personal use.437,479
MaldivesTotal banTotal ban540,544
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.1,701,575
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.2,881,053
KuwaitTotal banTotal banNo info provided by WHO; Alcohol has been banned since 1964 and drinking has been a criminal offense since 1983.4,270,571
MauritaniaTotal banTotal ban4,649,658
LibyaTotal banTotal ban6,871,292
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.9,890,402
SomaliaTotal banTotal ban15,893,222
YemenTotal banTotal banIn 2012, Al Qaeda militants reportedly gave four people 80 lashes each for drinking alcohol.29,825,964
Saudi ArabiaTotal banTotal ban34,813,871
AfghanistanTotal banTotal ban38,928,346
SudanTotal banTotal ban43,849,260
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.”83,992,949
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.164,689,383
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.220,892,340