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VARA Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations

The Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations (VARA), comprise a comprehensive set of guidelines governing the operations of virtual asset service providers in Dubai. The primary objective behind VARA regulations is to establish a regulatory framework aimed at safeguarding consumer interests, combating money laundering, and fostering transparency within the virtual asset sector.

What are the Regulated Activities of VARA in Dubai?

Regulated ActivitiesDescription
Virtual Asset Custody ServicesIt includes the protected storage, management, and handover of clients' virtual assets. 
Virtual Asset Lending and Borrowing ServicesIt includes the facility of loans or borrowing facilities by means of virtual assets as collateral. 
Virtual Asset Issuance ServicesIt covers activities associated with generating and issuing new virtual assets, such as ICOs and STOs. VARA obligates those entities involved in virtual asset issuance services to get a license to guarantee obedience to regulatory standards.
Virtual Asset Mining and Staking ServicesIt comprises providing services for users to contribute to blockchain authentication activities and earn rewards. 
Virtual Asset Exchange ServicesIt refers to platforms simplifying the buying and selling of virtual assets amongst users, for instance, cryptocurrency exchanges. 
Virtual Asset Payment and Remittance ServicesIt includes using virtual assets for electronic payments and money transfers across borders. 

What are the VARA Regulations in Dubai?

Dubai's Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) showed its complete regulatory framework in 2023. It signs the Emirate's hold of the dynamic virtual assets (VAs) realm. The VARA Regulations in Dubai are;

VARA Licensing and Registration Requirements

VARA's strict licensing regime forms the support of Dubai's virtual asset framework. Entities must obtain explicit licenses such as;

  • Exchanges
  • Custodians
  • Issuers
  • Miners

It ensures market integrity and defends investor comfort. The process obligates the measures such as;

  • Anti-money laundering
  • Combating the financing of terrorism
  • Strict know-your-customer protocols
  • Transaction monitoring

With a focus on impassable cybersecurity, VARA adopts trust through impartial market practices. It makes a level playing field and alleviates possible risks in Dubai's active virtual asset landscape.

Compliance and Enforcement

To work within Dubai, VASPs must get a license from VARA. It is obligatory for conducting virtual asset services. The regulations, are valid across Dubai including distinct development zones and free zones (excluding the DIFC).

It emphasizes strict compliance. Non-compliance is encountered with penalties ranging from AED 20,000 to AED 200,000. It highlights VARA's pledge to keep regulatory standards and ensures market integrity.

Consumer Protection and International Collaboration

VARA's regulations are intended to offer a regulatory framework for VASPs and also to guarantee;

  • Consumer protection
  • Prevent money laundering
  • Promote transparency in the virtual asset industry

Also, these regulations’ purpose is to correspond with international standards. It enables association with global regulators to support best practices and boost the integrity of Dubai's Virtual Assets landscape.


The VARA Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations show Dubai's obligation to a safe and transparent virtual asset network. With a strong licensing context, VARA guarantees compliance, market integrity, and stakeholder interest protection. Directing this landscape needs conscientiousness, making a VARA audit in Dubai imperious. For consistent help, Farahat & Co. is the top audit firm in Dubai. Their proficient team offers proficiency and support in line with VARA regulations. They encourage trust in the dynamic world of virtual assets.


What is the difference between ADGM and VARA?

ADGM highlights consumer protection and market demands, whereas VARA's method is personalized to Dubai's exclusive economic and financial landscape. ADGM and VARA validate the firm implementation of their protocols, as seen in numerous compliance actions

How do I apply for VARA?

  • Complete and submit the Initial Disclosure Questionnaire (IDQ) to either Dubai Economy and Tourism (DET) or the related Free Zone Authority (FZA).
  • Include any supplementary documentation demanded.
  • Start the application review process by making the preliminary payment, typically corresponding to 50% of the license application fee.

How much is the VARA license in Dubai?

VARA will confirm a company's processes with its viable licensor. Companies involved in proprietary trading, as recognized during the assessment, must yearly pay a NOC fee of AED 1,000.

What is a VARA license?

The VARA licensing outline is all-inclusive, addressing a miscellaneous array of virtual asset activities such as;

  • Advisory services
  • Broker-dealer services
  • Custody services
  • Exchange services
  • Lending and borrowing services
  • Management and investment services
  • Transfer and settlement services

What virtual assets companies are in Dubai?

The DWTC Free Zone receptions both developing enterprises and famous worldwide entities into its fold. It places itself as the recent hub for the virtual assets network. Illustrious worldwide virtual asset companies have already designated Dubai and the DWTC Free Zone as their active headquarters such as;

  • Binance
  • OKX
  • Komainu
  • GCEX
  • Hex Trust

Read More: VARA Sets New Regulations for Virtual Assets in Dubai

Ervee is a CPA with international experience in Tax and Accounting. He has over 12 years of experience in accounting and bookkeeping and over a year in VAT implementation, registration, and accounting in UAE. He regularly drives out inefficiencies in company operations and loves the challenge of helping clients find additional ways for an easier and improved compliance and verification of transactions.