UAE social media influencers must pay up to $8,200 for licences

The county’s influencer community had been operating without regulation up until recently



Social media influencers based in the UAE reportedly face having to pay up to Dhs30,000 ($8,167) for licences to continue operating legally.

The National Reports that the new requirement comes under new regulation announced in March.

Read: UAE issue new regulation for influencers, e-commerce, news sites

However, it has only recently become clear how much influencers, who promote brands to their sometimes millions of social media followers, must pay to remain on the right side of the law.

Al Tamimi & Co senior associate Fiona Robertson told the publication that influencers must first have a trade licence before applying for a special e-media licence that will enable them to post content promoting or endorsing brands.

“We have also confirmed that with the National Media Council. Note that this can be a freelancer visa, such as those provided by Dubai Creative Clusters Authority and twofour54,” she was quoted as saying.

“A trade licence varies depending on the type, the authority and the location that is chosen. The e-media licence is set at Dh15,000 ($4,084).”

The new law will come into force in the first week of June.

Those that fail to comply face fines of up to Dhs5,000 ($1,361) and the potential closure of their website or account.

The high cost of obtaining a licence is expected to impact the county’s less established influencer community, some of which post on social media part time but still boast thousands of followers.

For other more established names with followers in the millions business may still be lucrative enough, given reports of some quoting Dhs75,000 ($20,418) for a single sponsored Facebook post and one Instagram story.

Last month, members of the UAE’s Federal National Council called for the government to crackdown on social media influencers, saying the March law did not go far enough.

“It has not been activated yet in a way for people to understand that when you are getting paid to endorse a product, you must say so. What if I go use the face cream you were pretending to be using and my skin gets irritated?,” Ras Al Khaimah member Naama Al Sharhan was quoted as saying.

Read: UAE council members call for influencer crackdown