Setting up a Money Transfer Business in UAE
A money transfer license in UAE is mandatory if you want to operate as a money services business or a money transfer company in the country. Under this license, businesses can provide currency exchange and money transfer services.
To set up your money transmission business, you will have to understand the regulatory environment of the UAE. There are three different license regulators in the country – Central Bank UAE, ADGM and DIFC. Each regulator has its own set of rules and regulations regarding the licensing process and fees.
Application Process for a Money Transfer License in UAE
Here’s an overview of the licensing process as outlined by the regulators.
Central Bank UAE
Companies that do not wish to establish their business in the financial free zones (DIFC & ADGM) are required to apply for a license from the Central Bank UAE. According to the Central Bank UAE, businesses undertaking the financial activity of money exchange and money transfer services, require a license. Here’s how you can apply for a license with the Central Bank UAE:
- Money transfer companies need to make an application to the Central Bank UAE.
- After receiving the application, the Board of Directors at Central Bank UAE examine the application on the basis of:
- Fit and proper criteria.
- Resources required for carrying on the activity.
- Control and monitoring systems.
- The minimum capital requirement is specified by the Central Bank UAE on the basis of the financial activity(s) you intend to undertake.
- Based on your application, the UAE Central Bank Board of Directors may ask for additional documents and information.
- If all conditions and licensing requirements are met, a decision within sixty days of the initial application is made. If a decision is not made within the specified time period, the application shall be considered an implicit rejection.
- In case of rejection, the applicant will be notified within twenty days of the decision. The notification shall include the rejection reason and the applicant’s right to submit a grievance against the decision.
Establishing a money transfer business in this financial free zone, Abu Dhabi Global Market requires applicants to submit their application in accordance with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) guidelines.
- To operate as a licensed MSB, you will first have to meet or conference-call with the FSRA representatives. Be prepared with your business structure, resources, and internal control systems (audit, AML compliance program, KYC, etc.) prior to this meeting.
- Submit the application form along with the required documents and fees. To expedite your application process, you can:
- Submit initial drafts of the touch-points and process flow diagrams to the FSRA authorization team for their comments.
- Set up a conference call or meet with the FSRA team for their feedback.
- Revise your application based on the comments received from the FSRA team.
- Submit your final application along with the official fees to the FSRA team (detailed information on official licensing fees is available here).
- Prior to making a decision, the FSRA team will conduct interviews with the authorized person.
- A decision will be made and the applicant will be notified of the decision.
- If the applicant accepts the in-principle approval conditions, steps to satisfy these conditions should be made.
- The applicant is then required to contact the FSRA team for the commercial licensing process.
- A money transfer license for UAE is granted.
Dubai International Financial Centre is another financial free zone in the UAE. Businesses willing to operate from DIFC are required to apply for a license with the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). Here’s how you can apply.
- To apply for a license with DFSA, the applicant will have to find and fill out the suitable form here.
- Submit all required documents along with the application. These include, but are not limited to, financial statements, compliance reports, proof of adherence to KYC and AML program, etc.
- DFSA will assess the application based on the applicant’s
- resources, including financial resources
- fitness and propriety
- compliance arrangements
- Depending on the application and the financial activity the applicant wishes to undertake, DFSA may require applicants to submit more information and documents.
- Upon submission of the application, applicants have to pay the official fees.
Additional Information On Money Transfer License UAE
Need more information on the licensing process in UAE? Find out details regarding the application form, required documents and checklist for all three regulators here.
Central Bank UAE
This page was last updated on June 27, 2023.