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Do you need an Influencer license in UAE?

Here is everything you need to know about getting an Influencer license in the UAE

Influencer License

Influencer licenses in UAE

UAE Law requires Influencers to obtain a license from the National Media Council (NMC) in order to legally operate in the UAE. This license requires the influencer to adhere to ethical standards and guidelines, including not promoting illegal or harmful products or services.

The NMC is aiming to bring a sense of transparency, legitimacy, and well-being for everyone, who chooses to use social media to consume content and was first introduced in 2018. The license is designed to regulate the social media influencer industry. The National Media Council falls under the Media Regulatory Office –  Ministry of Culture and Youth.

Do you need a license to be an Influencer in the UAE?

If you are an influencer in the UAE, you do not need any specific Influencer license to post content normally. However, if an influencer is paid to promote products or services as part of their content, they may need to obtain a trade license or register their business in accordance with the laws and regulations in Dubai.

This means the NMC Influencer license does not apply to the owners of personal websites, bloggers, or people who promote their brands on social media. It also doesn’t apply to people who do unpaid reviews of products (assuming they are independent of the brand they’re reviewing and receive no remuneration).

It is also important for Influencers to adhere to the laws and regulations related to advertising, such as disclosing sponsored content and following complete transparency in advertising guidelines.

Everything you need to know about NMC Influencer Licenses

The law applies to UAE residences and influencers operating in the UAE, specifically those who use their social media channels to promote and/or sell products.

It is the responsibility of the owner of the account to provide the license (i.e. not a third party) for their social influencing activities, including items, services, and experiences an influencer may obtain for free from brands (i.e. “gifts”). 

Influencers will need to clarify the content that is sponsored and/or paid vs. editorial content on their social channels. This means putting #ad or #sponsored somewhere within the posts, that their audience can easily view (i.e. no hiding it in the comments).

The cost of the license is 15,000 AED if the Influencer is operating in the Dubai area. It is valid for 12 months, which means it needs to be renewed annually. There are three licensing options for the NMC license, as follows:

Category 1 NMC License

Category 1 licenses are Influencer licenses for those who want an individual license that will allow them to continue working as completely independent social media influencers.

Category 2 NMC License

This kind of social media license covers small groups of influencers who want to come together and set up a company. The company needs to be registered and will have to hold a trade license. This approach has the advantage of being less expensive than Category 1 licenses.

Category 3 NMC License

The third NMC license option is for you to sign up with one of the official Dubai social media influencer agencies already certified by the National Media Council. These agencies have a license covering all their influencers, and they will cover you.

If you are found to be working as a social media influencer without holding an NMC license, you may face a fine of AED 5,000 and could even have your social media accounts suspended.

Basic rules all Influencers need to follow

  • Comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including those related to defamation, defamation of religion, and incitement to violence.
  • Respect the privacy of others and do not share any personal information or images without consent.
  • Avoid promoting harmful products or services, such as tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs.
  • Ensure the accuracy of their content and do not mislead their followers.
  • Protect the personal data of their followers and adhere to data protection laws.
  • Respect intellectual property laws and do not use copyrighted material without permission.
  • Do not discriminate against or harass individuals based on their race, gender, religion, or other protected characteristics.
  • Do not engage in activities that could be considered a threat to national security.
  • Do not engage in cybercrime activities, such as spreading false information or defaming individuals or organizations.

Violation of these guidelines can result in fines and/or legal action being taken against the social media influencer. Remain aware!

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