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The rise of social media has given birth to a new breed of professionals: bloggers and influencers. These individuals have significant sway over their followers and can impact consumer behavior and opinions. Recognizing the power and reach of these influencers, the UAE has established regulations to govern their activities. One critical requirement is obtaining a license to operate legally within the country. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to severe penalties. This blog delves into the legal landscape surrounding the licensing of bloggers and influencers in the UAE and the penalties for non-compliance.

UAE Without a License

UAE Without a License

Regulatory Framework

National Media Council (NMC) Regulations: The UAE’s National Media Council (NMC) oversees media-related activities, including the work of bloggers and influencers. In 2018, the NMC introduced new regulations mandating that all influencers and bloggers obtain a license to legally engage in commercial activities.

Types of Licenses

Influencers can choose between two types of licenses:

  • Individual License: This license is for individual influencers who use their personal social media accounts for commercial purposes.
  • Agency License: This license applies to influencer marketing agencies that manage a network of influencers and handle commercial agreements on their behalf.

Requirements for Licensing

To obtain a license, influencers and bloggers must meet several criteria:

  • Application: Submit a formal application to the NMC.
  • Fees: Pay the required licensing fee for individual influencers.
  • Renewal: The license is valid for one year and must be renewed annually.
  • Compliance: Adhere to the UAE’s content and advertising standards.

    UAE Without a License

Penalties for Operating Without a License

The UAE imposes stringent penalties on bloggers and influencers who fail to obtain the necessary licenses. The key penalties include:

Financial Penalties: Unlicensed bloggers and influencers can face substantial fines:

  • Initial Fines: Fines can range from AED 5,000 to AED 500,000, depending on the severity and frequency of the violation.
  • Increased Penalties: Repeated offenses can lead to higher fines and additional penalties.

Legal Action: Continued non-compliance can result in legal action:

  • Court Cases: Influencers may be taken to court for violating the regulations.
  • Civil and Criminal Liability: Depending on the case, violators could face civil or criminal charges, leading to further fines and potential imprisonment.

Suspension of Activities: The NMC has the authority to suspend the activities of unlicensed influencers:

  • Account Suspension: Social media accounts can be temporarily or permanently suspended.
  • Business Closure: For agencies, operating without a license can lead to the closure of the business.

Reputational Damage: Being penalized for non-compliance can significantly harm an influencer’s reputation:

  • Loss of Trust: Followers and brands may lose trust in the influencer.
  • Brand Partnerships: Brands may avoid collaborating with influencers who have a history of regulatory violations.


The UAE’s stringent regulations for bloggers and influencers underscore the importance of operating within the legal framework. Obtaining the necessary license is not only a legal requirement but also a step towards maintaining credibility and trust in the influencer market. The penalties for non-compliance are severe, ranging from financial fines to legal action and reputational damage. Influencers and agencies must prioritize obtaining their licenses and adhering to the regulations to ensure their activities remain lawful and respected.

By understanding and complying with these regulations, influencers can continue to thrive in the UAE’s dynamic social media landscape while contributing to a fair and transparent digital economy.