Abu Dhabi’s New Licensing Requirements for Influencers and Businesses: Essential Information

Starting July 1, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) will enforce a new regulation requiring all businesses and social media influencers to obtain appropriate licenses for advertising on websites and social media platforms. This mandate, reported by state news agency WAM, aims to ensure compliance with local regulations and organize the rapidly evolving digital advertising landscape.

Compliance and Regulations

ADDED urges all economic establishments and social media influencers to obtain the necessary licenses for advertising services via electronic platforms. Penalties for non-compliance range from Dhs3,000 to Dhs10,000, with persistent disregard potentially leading to business closures.

Purpose of the Licensing Regulations

The primary goal is to regulate advertising activities and uphold standards within the growing field of digital marketing. These regulations ensure that businesses and influencers operate within a legal framework, promoting transparency and accountability in the industry.

Who Needs a License?

Licenses are mandatory for:

  • Individual social media influencers operating in Abu Dhabi.
  • Groups or collectives of influencers working together under a registered company.
  • Businesses that engage influencers for promotional activities.

Licensing Fees

The cost of obtaining the required licenses through ADDED’s Tamm platform is as follows:

  • Individual Influencers: Dhs1,250.
  • Companies or groups of influencers: Dhs5,000.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Unlicensed social media influencers and businesses face fines of up to Dhs10,000. Companies operating without the necessary permits could also face closure.

Additional Licensing Requirements

Influencers in Abu Dhabi must also secure a permit from the UAE Media Council, ensuring compliance with both local and national media guidelines.

How to Apply for a License

Applications can be made through the Tamm website, the official portal for Abu Dhabi government services. The process involves registering and paying the relevant fees for either an individual or company license.

Benefits of Licensing

Holding the proper licenses allows influencers and businesses to:

  • Legally engage in advertising and promotional activities on digital platforms.
  • Ensure compliance with Abu Dhabi’s regulatory standards.
  • Avoid potential fines and legal issues associated with unlicensed operations.
  • Contribute to a more transparent and regulated digital advertising environment.

Considerations for Influencers Operating Outside Abu Dhabi

Influencers earning revenue from social media posts anywhere in the UAE must also obtain a National Media Council license. Licensing requirements and costs vary across different emirates:

  • Dubai: Requires both a UAE Media Council license and an individual freelance trade license, with total costs reaching Dhs30,000.
  • Ras Al Khaimah: Offers a social media influencer license for Dhs3,550 annually, inclusive of the National Media Council permit.
  • Ajman: Provides licenses starting at Dhs2,500 for individuals and Dhs10,000 for companies, with an additional Dhs260 for National Media Council approval.

Industry Reception

Many industry professionals and marketing agencies support these regulations, viewing them as necessary for maintaining standards and compliance. The rules are seen as beneficial for ensuring transparency and accountability in the fast-growing field of influencer marketing.

By complying with these new regulations, businesses and influencers can contribute to a more organized and transparent digital advertising landscape in Abu Dhabi and beyond.

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