VARA's regulatory regime is founded on establishing clear guard rails to foster proactive and responsible market participation. VARA welcomes firms from the UAE or overseas that share VARA’s principles, and applications for its Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) Licence are now being accepted. Any firm seeking to carry on Virtual Asset Activities in or from Dubai (excluding DIFC) must apply for a VARA License prior to commencing operations.
Application submissions can be made through Dubai Economy and Tourism (DET) for mainland firms, or any Dubai Free Zone Authority (FZA) in the emirate of Dubai (excluding DIFC).
For more information about DET and Free Zones, please visit: Why Dubai section
VARA reserves the right not to issue an Initial Approval should the firm’s activities fall outside the regulatory perimeter or where a firm may not meet appropriate standards to be regulated.
Following receipt of an Initial Approval a firm can apply for a VASP Licence:
Details of VARA’s Licensing and Supervision fees can be found in Schedule 2 of the Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations 2023.
Details of VARA’s Capital Requirements can be found in Part IV of the Company Rulebook.
VARA reserves the right not to issue a VASP Licence should the firm’s activities fall outside the regulatory perimeter or where a firm may not meet appropriate standards to be regulated.
Firms carrying on VA Activities in or from Dubai [excluding DIFC] prior to 7 February 2023, were required to contact their commercial licensor (DET or the relevant FZA) by 30 April 2023 to submit an Initial Disclosure Questionnaire (IDQ).
Firms that did not complete the IDQ by 30 April 2023 should contact their commercial licensor urgently and arrange to do so.
For firms that have completed an IDQ, VARA has commenced issuance of Application Acknowledgement Notices (AAN). Upon receipt of an AAN, a firm must complete a VASP Licence application by 31 August 2023. Completion of the VASP Licence application is described above.
The following information is a non-exhaustive list of documents required for a VASP Licence application. Through the process of licencing VARA may require further documentation to be supplied.
1 Certificate of entity incorporation
2 List of Ultimate Beneficial Owner(s) (UBOs)
3 Fit and Proper confirmation
4 Source of funds evidence
5 Organisational structure
6 Governance framework
7 Local entity website
9Regulatory Business Plan
11 Group-level financial statements
12 Proof of paid-up capital
13Available capital locked-up
14Reserve account report
18Close links / associated entities analysis