One can do charity in the UAE by setting up a charitable organisation, donating and raising funds, volunteering, paying zakat and sponsoring individuals.
Setting up a charity
UAE nationals wishing to set up a charitable organisation in the UAE can apply online to Ministry of Community Development.
Expatriate residents need to submit their application to the ministry through their respectiveembassy or consulate in the UAE.
The ministry will consider the application and refer it to the Cabinet, which takes the final decision on registering the organisation.
In Dubai, the following entities can give official recognition and licenses for charitable organisations, NGOs and humanitarian relief organisations:
- Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department
- International Humanitarian City
- Community Development Authority
- Tips to build up a community activity group – The official portal of Abu Dhabi Government
Government entities responsible for social, charitable and humanitarian work within and outside the UAE:
- Ministry of Community Development
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
- Zakat Fund
- National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority
- National Rehabilitation Centre
- General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments
- Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department
- Community and Development Authority
Charitable organisations in the UAE:
- Emirates Charity portal
- UAE Charities and not-for-profit organisations – Dubai Chamber
- Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation
- The Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation
- Emirates Red Crescent Authority
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s foundations
- Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives
- Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation
- Al Maktoum Foundation
- Dubai Cares
- Noor Dubai
- Dar Al Ber Society
- Beit Al Khair Society
- Emirates Foundation
- Charitable Associations in Dubai-Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai (IACAD)
- Charities licensed in Dubai – Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department, Dubai
- Organisations to volunteer with – Dubai Humanitarian City
- Sharjah Charity International
- Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services
- Human Appeal International
- Fujairah Welfare Association(Arabic only)
- Al Ihsan Charity Association (Ajman)
- The Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research (Ras Al Khaimah)
- Zayed Giving Initiative – the official portal of Abu Dhabi Government
- Knowing the right charities in Dubai – the official portal of Dubai Government
- Charitable organisations in Ras Al Khaimah – the official portal of Ras Al Khaimah Government
- Emirates Voluntary Academy – the official portal of Abu Dhabi Government
Humanitarian organisations for women:
Donating and raising funds
You can raise funds only after obtaining the approval of General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments at the national level or Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department at Dubai level. After obtaining the approval, the initiative must be in co-operation with licensed charity associations.
The UAE also bans calling for, promoting and collecting donations through online channels without first obtaining proper licensing from the competent authorities, as per Article 27 of the Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combatting Cybercrimes (PDF, 61.2 KB).
You can donate clothes and money to registered charitable organisations by depositing them in boxes located in public places.
Beit Al Khair has several donation sites.
You can donate money through online payment, net banking, phone banking and text messages. Check with the organisations for the ways you can pay.
During Ramadan, many organisations set up tents near co-operative supermarkets for receiving donations.
Learn also about UAE initiatives to fight hunger locally and globally.
- Donate online – Emirates Red Crescent
- Donating for charity – the official portal of Dubai Government
Paying zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. It involves paying money to the poor or the needy.Zakat Fund accepts zakat and allocates it to its own projects and activities and to those undertaken by their partners . Read about the different ways of paying zakat .
How to apply for Zakat?
If you meet the criteria to receive Zakat as determined by the UAE’s Zakat Fund, you may request for zakat online. You may also apply for a petition to restudy your case if your request was rejected or the amount allocated is insufficient. You may check processing time for each service in the service card itself.
Financial sponsorship to the needy
You can provide financial sponsorship through Emirates Red Crescent Authority to:
- Poor families
- Individuals with special needs (people of determination)
- Needy students.
Taking care of prisoners
According to Federal Law No. 2 of 2001, Ministry of Community Development provides monthly assistance to the families of prisoners.
You can contribute to the care and rehabilitation of prisoners and their families in cooperation with:
Begging for alms is a crime. The fasting month of Ramadan historically records an influx of people arriving into the country as part of an elaborate con to raise funds, stated the UAE’s Ministry of Interior.
The ‘Fight Begging’ campaign is initiated by MOI and aims at combating this uncivil phenomenon, and raise security awareness amongst members of the public on the risks of sympathising with beggars. Read about what to do if you come across a beggar in the UAE.
Beggars are liable to fine and/or deportation as decided by the courts. You can report beggars in:
- Abu Dhabi on 999 or 8002626 (Aman Service)
- Dubai on 800243
- Sharjah on 065632222
- Ras Al Khaimah on 072053372
- Ajman on 067401616
- Umm Al Quwain on 999
- Fujairah on 092051100 or 092224411
- Stop Sympathising: UAE cracks down on Ramadan begging – Emirates247
- Ramadan: Legal Considerations – Ministry of Interior (PDF, 100 KB)
- Maktoum Centres for memorising the Holy Quran – Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department
Read about charitable activities during Ramadan.
- United Nations Development Programme in the UAE
- CSR in Dubai – Dubai government portal
- Charity in Dubai
Updated on 13 May 2018