Fundraising Regulatory Law in the UAE

In UAE, there exist strict rules regarding the regulation of fundraising and donating money for charity. According to the existing laws in the UAE, anyone can legally raise funds and contribute for charity purposes through registered charitable organizations. But such fundraising can be done only after obtaining approval from the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments at the national level or the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in the Emirate of Dubai. According to Article 27 of Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combatting Cybercrimes, the UAE bans the calling for, promoting, and collecting data through online portals without obtaining a proper prior license from the competent authority. In case of not complying with this provision, a penalty of imprisonment up to 3 years and/or a fine between AED 200,000 to AED 500,000 will be imposed. But one can donate money and clothes to any registered charitable organization by depositing them in boxes kept in public places.


Article 3 of the Decree Number 9 of 2015 on Regulating the Raising of Donations in the Emirate of Dubai states that donations raised through print, audio, visual, or any other mode of communication and media are not permitted unless obtaining prior written approval from the IACAD. But the prohibition will not be applied to the funds raised on initiatives by the H.H. the President of the UAE, H.H. the Vice President of the UAE, the members of the Federal Supreme Council, crown prices, and deputy rulers of the UAE, and by any Government Organizations, provided that such fundraising is followed in advance with the IACAD.  The information provided to the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) to obtain a license to raise funds are as follows: the purpose of raising funds, the name of the authorized person to collect the donations, the place where the donation will be collected, the method of collection, the period proposed for raising funds, the organization to which the funds will be transferred and also the number of contributions to be raised. Due to these long procedures, it is better to approach a legal consultant to make this process easier and more transparent for you. The duties and powers of IACAD include motivating the people to make donations, considering the applications for fundraising, authorizing and taking necessary steps in this regard, supervising and controlling the fundraising programs in the Emirate, and also have the power to audit the funds received. After receiving the application for a license for fundraising, the IACAD will issue its decision within 15 days, and if no decision is issued within these 15 days the application is deemed rejected.


The OECD in its report pointed out that the charities getting are used for money laundering and tax evasion. And it also mentioned that “there are shreds of evidence in many cases to suggest that the charities are misused for money laundering and tax evasion, and is not only individualistic.


 To tackle money laundering and terrorist financing in the country, the United Arab Emirates is implementing a law that will further regulate the existing law regarding fundraising and donation for charity in the country. A senior official has said that the upcoming legislation aims to govern the mode of charitable donations are made and the way non-profit organizations are operating. The upcoming legislation named the “Fundraising Regulatory Law” will apply to non-government organizations seeking funds in the country.


Mr. Nasser Ismail, the assistant undersecretary at the Ministry of Community Development (MOCD) told the state news agency WAM that it is a part of ongoing efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. Mr. Ismail mentioned that “We must refer to the new federal law called the fundraising regulatory law being developed by the ministry will stipulate a set of conditions and regulations for licensed charitable and humanitarian authorities within the UAE”


He also mentioned that “another series of awareness programs ensuring the safety, security, and stability of the community” regarding the new legislation will be announced shortly by the Ministry of Community and Development (MOCD). Along with this statement, he also said that “the new rules will hold up the social development and motivate the humanitarian giving, based on the values and traditions of the Emirati society”.