Get a license for international financial services in the UAE

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Doing financial business in the UAE is advantageous: it's a business-friendly and comfortable jurisdiction with a solvent audience. However, many entrepreneurs, particularly citizens of the Russian Federation, require qualified assistance at the start, as obtaining a license for international financial services in the UAE is quite challenging. It requires meeting specific requirements and operating in accordance with the country's standards.

What opportunities does obtaining a payment license in the UAE open up for businesses?

Dubai is the largest financial hub in the region, influencing major market players in South Asia and North Africa, and connecting these promising regions with other parts of the world. Companies that are part of the UAE's business ecosystem thrive in an optimal climate and proximity to major global markets, benefiting from advanced infrastructure and effectively optimizing their tax burden.

To enjoy all the advantages offered to foreign investors and businesses, it is necessary to conduct business in full compliance with UAE legislation. For payment service providers, in particular, certain requirements must be met, and serious restrictions apply due to the higher risks associated with their activities.

What does a payment license entail in the UAE?

Any commercial activity in the UAE must be licensed. This includes businesses planning to attract and place funds in various projects, work with securities, accumulate third-party savings for crowdfunding, engage in brokerage activities, and provide payment services.

There are specific classifications for payment agents:

  • Small banks and other organizations processing online payments and money transfers between individuals, as well as minor government payments.
  • Companies dealing with micropayments in non-banking markets.
  • Government entities processing online payments.
  • Corporations capable of conducting transactions independently (to reduce the burden on the banking system) but not providing services to retail stores and individuals.

A payment license (Payment Service Provider – PSP) confirms that the company exists within the legal framework of the UAE and is operating legally.

Requirements for businesses to obtain a PSP:

  1. Confirmation that the company falls into one of the categories mentioned above, i.e., accepts and processes payments.
  2. Physical presence of company representatives in Dubai (business activities can be conducted both on the mainland and in one of the free zones).
  3. Possession of the necessary experience to work with digital payment instruments and provide corresponding services.
  4. Implementation of effective policies for identifying potential customers (implementing KYC principles), corporate governance mechanisms, and protection. Conducting internal audits. Fulfillment of commitments aimed at combating fraud.

How to register a PSP in the UAE?

Licenses are issued according to the terms of the Electronic Payments Regulation. The Central Bank of the UAE, located in Abu Dhabi, is responsible for issuing these types of licenses. For businesses registered in free zones, authorized registrars and regulators of the United Arab Emirates issue permits and licenses.

The registration of a legal entity and the acquisition of a license take 3-4 weeks. The entrepreneur must personally visit the country to submit documents and apply for a PSP, open a bank account, and commence operations. Obtaining a payment license is a complex process that requires a responsible approach. To save time and money, seek reliable support – the experts at The Level Consulting are ready to assist.

What do you get if you decide to obtain a license?

Companies that have obtained a PSP become full-fledged payment service providers and can operate within the legal framework of the UAE. You automatically gain residency and access to banking services, providing an excellent opportunity to optimize your business in conditions of tightening control and increasing international sanction pressure. Additionally, you will be able to operate in a comfortable tax regime and enjoy other advantages of the jurisdiction:

  • Access a developed market with a solvent audience.
  • Operate in the international space since the country has well-established logistics chains, guaranteed personal freedom of movement, and no issues with flights to any part of the world.
  • Receive protection from the state against mergers, acquisitions of companies, etc.

The specialists at The Level Consulting can help you obtain a PSP in the UAE. We provide professional consulting services, offer comprehensive legal support, and engage in business management. Our experts have extensive experience in business activities in the UAE and excellent qualifications, so you can be confident in the positive outcome of our cooperation.

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