Mohammed Naqi, Director of Non-Benefit Public Associations Department and Mona Khalil, Director of Government Communications Department, at the press conference held by Ministry of Community Development in Dubai on Wednesday. Image Credit: Anjana Kumar/Gulf News

Dubai: Unauthorised individuals and entities collecting funds during Ramadan will be liable for fines up to Dh500,000 or even imprisonment, the Ministry of Community Development announced at a media briefing in Dubai on Wednesday.

A senior Ministry official, addressing UAE media also said restaurants will not be allowed to directly donate food boxes in Ramadan.

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The regulations are governed under Federal Law No. 3 of 2021. The law aims to maintain and protect donors’ funds from exploitation and ensure that they reach the right beneficiaries.

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Mohammed Naqi, Director of Non-Benefit Public Associations Department said: “Thirty four entities including charitable organisations and government institutions have been approved by the Ministry to receive and collect donations during the month of Ramadan.

Naqi added: “A fine not less than Dh200,000 and not lexceeding Dh500,000, or imprisonment, shall be imposed on anyone who collects or receives donations from outside the UAE in violation of the applicable regulations and procedures.”

“A fine not less than Dh150,000 and not exceeding Dh300,000 or imprisonment, shall be imposed on anyone who uses donation funds for purposes other than those accepted or collected for. A fine of Dh100,000 shall be imposed on any entity that labels itself as a “charitable or humanitarian” association, organisation or institution without obtaining certification from the competent authority,” said Naqi.

He added: “Coinciding with the holy month of Ramadan, the UAE will witness significant donation amounts in all forms, therefore, the Ministry calls all philanthropists and donors to ensure that the entities which receive these donations whether ‘cash, in-kind or digital’ are authorised to collect the donations.”

Rules to follow by permitted entities

The Ministry of Community Development said regulations were in place for the 34 authorised entities collecting donations within UAE.

“Authorised entities are required to obtain a permit for fundraising from the competent authority, while the process of collecting donations must be carried out through charitable organisations only. A normal person is prohibited from establishing, organising, or engaging in any activity aimed at collecting or accepting donations from the public by any means of fundraising, in line with the announced guidelines set by the Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.”

Ministry and competent authorities to oversee

He said in addition, the Ministry and competent local authorities will oversee, supervise and monitor the non-benefit public sector, by intensifying field visits, to ensure the commitment of the associations and their members with the provisions of the law to avoid accountability and legal violations. “All licensed and accredited authorities are allowed to collect and receive donations in all Emirates in accordance with the laws of the local authorities.”

Raising awareness

Naqi said the Ministry is working diligently to raise awareness within the Emirati community to protect funds and familiarising them with the endorsed regulations and requirements. He also urged community members to adhere to the Fundraising Regulatory Law as being essential to protect their funds from any exploitation or misuse that are unrelated to any charitable and humanitarian work. “The law aims to prevent donors from the risks of funding terrorism and financing illegal organisations, pointing out that donors must verify the licensed entities which collect and receive donations including charitable associations, federal and local authorities, as well as accredited NGOs in the UAE.”

Methods of fundraising

Naqi said the Fundraising Regulatory Law has specified methods for donations’ collection - whether “cash, in-kind, or digital,” through funds or paid vouchers, cash donations in exchange for receipts, SMS text messages, markets, exhibitions, auctions, charity events. In addition to monthly deductions from personal accounts, bank accounts dedicated to donation collection, various marketing and promotional offers accompanied by donation requests, ATMs of licensed banks in the UAE, as well as digital platforms adopted by the competent authority for donation collection, social media channels, and direct deposits into bank accounts.

Ramadan traditions

With regard to Ramadan traditions, the law allows the provision of support and assistance between family members or within the neighbourhood to help those in need among relatives and friends. There are no restrictions on collecting these donations as long as they are within the permissible limit that does not reach the level of the licensed charities’ work.

It is emphasised that these authentic community traditions reflect our values and principles established in extending a helping hand to those who deserve it. The law allows the preparation and distribution of food, clothing and Zakat; donating clothes and money to licensed charitable organisations, depositing donations in boxes available in public places, and distributing Iftar meals in mosques, neighbourhoods and others.

Restaurants not allowed to distribute meals on behalf of donors

One of the practices prohibited by law is the collection of donations by any person, and the outsourcing of restaurants and kitchens to distribute food, which are only allowed to receive donations to make meals, but are not authorised to distribute them, as these restaurants must coordinate with charitable associations in this regard.

Some unlawful actions include responding to unlicensed or unreliable campaigns to collect donations or interacting with these campaigns via social media, collecting donation funds from relatives, friends to deliver them to charitable organisations inside or outside the UAE, and using the donation funds in financial speculations or distributing any revenues therefrom to members and employees of licensed and authorised entities.

The Law and the list of accredited entities and associations licensed to collect donations have been uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Community Development All suspected practices or cases of receiving donations can be reported informally through 800623 call center for legal action.

Rules for donations during Ramadan in UAE

• Ministry of Community Development, local authorities to oversee and supervise associations.

• Restaurants are prohibited from distributing food packets during Ramadan

• Funding donations and their expenditure to be closely monitored by concerned authorities.

• Donors must go with only licensed entities to donate funds for Ramadan

• Violators of donation collection face fines of up to Dh500,000, imprisonment, and more penalties

Institutions licensed to collect and receive donations

Abu Dhabi

Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation

Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation

Emirates Red Crescent Authority

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Operation Smile UAE

Faraj Fund


UAE Water Aid Foundation, Suqia

Noor Dubai Foundation

Dubai Cares

Al Jalila Foundation

Tarahum Charity Foundation Duabi


Sharjah Charity House


Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi Charity Foundation

International Charity Organization

Al Etihad Charity Foundation

Umm Al Quwain

Saud Bin Rashid Al Mualla Charitable and Humanitrian Est

Ras Al Khaimah

Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Charitable Education Foundation

Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi charity and Humanitarian foundation


Hamad Bin Mohammed Al Sharqi Foundation for Humanitarian Affairs

Associations licensed to collect and receive donations

Abu Dhabi

Emirates Nature-WWF

Cancer Patient Care Society Rahma


Beit Al Khair Society

Dar al Ber Society

Dubai Charity Association


Sharjah Charity International

Friends of Cancer Patients


Al Ihsan Charity Association

Umm Al Quwain

Umm Al Quwain Charity Society


Fujairah Charity Association

Government agencies licensed to collect and receive donations

Abu Dhabi

Authority Of Social contribution - Ma’an

Zakat Fund


Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation


Sharjah Social Empowerment Foundation

The Big Heart Foundation