Forex Brokers in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai)

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE), specifically its well-known emirate of Dubai, is arguably the lifeblood of foreign exchange trading in the Middle East & North African (MENA) region. It is essential to understand how forex trading in the UAE works to get an idea of how we came up with the list of forex brokers in the UAE.

The UAE has a large expat population. So unlike what you may see in many countries, Dubai and the UAE have a lot of foreigners who have made Dubai home and are trading forex. Dubai makes for an attractive environment for those who want to trade forex. Dubai has many free trade zones allowing individuals and businesses to operate investment activity on a tax-free basis. The non-tax environment within the free trade zones allows forex companies to do business at lower costs than they would have done elsewhere, which benefits consumers.

What are the Needs of UAE Forex Traders?

The prospect of not paying any capital gains tax or any other form of tax on financial investments is an excellent incentive for forex traders operating in the UAE. There is also the attraction of picking regulated brokers who regulators do not constrain to put very stringent capital requirements or margin rules on their clients. These traders also desire to trade within the three major time zones, which is something that trading in the UAE offers. In summary, here are the needs of forex traders operating in Dubai and the rest of the UAE.

  1. Forex traders in the UAE will relish the ability to fund accounts using the local currency (Dirham) or the US Dollar. Using local currency makes local payment channels an excellent way to fund their accounts quickly. The US Dollar is readily available, and traders can expect to have good access to the US Dollar, unlike many other countries that operate under strict forex controls.
  2. Use credit cards and other available payment methods that guarantee the speed of deposits and withdrawals.
  3. Regulation that guarantees trader protection without stifling the operating environment.
  4. Access to the MT4 and MT5 platforms.
  5. The locals constitute a large Muslim population in the UAE. For this target group, access to forex trading products designed to be Sharia-compliant is a must.

Forex brokerage activity in Dubai and the UAE is regulated. There are two regulators here. There is the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), the country regulator for Dubai. The Financial Regulatory Services Authority for the Middle East (FRSA) also exists. You can think of this regulatory structure replicating what is obtainable in Europe. There are country-specific regulators for every EU country, who all answer to the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

The DFSA was founded in 2004 and regulates all financial market operators in Dubai and the operators within these companies. All intending forex brokerage companies in Dubai must pass a credibility test set by DFSA.

Forex brokers in the UAE (Dubai) must set up shop in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and there must be a substantial representation of UAE citizens in the ownership structure. Authorization to provide forex brokerage services in Dubai is not given to the companies only; the DFSA must also authorise individuals working in these companies. Authorization comes as an electronic licence specifying what financial services the company is expected to provide. The DFSA's Fit and Proper test assesses the forex broker's ability to perform the listed financial service honestly and competently.

Generally speaking, a forex brokerage seeking DFSA licensing must have the following in place:

  • A) A physical office in the DIFC.
  • B) Must be registered as a legal entity in Dubai. The company is free to have other branches as long as the principal registration in Dubai is done.
  • C) The company must have a Compliance Officer, an Anti-Money Laundering Reporting Officer, Senior Executive Officer and Finance Officer, all with the relevant industry-level qualifications. Individuals holding these positions, except the Finance Officer, must be residents of the UAE.
  • D) Must provide information about any sister or affiliated firms whose links to the brokerage may stand in the way of adequate supervision.

The Fit and Proper test is carried out periodically on an ongoing basis. The brokerage must first get the DFSA licence before it can register with the DIFCA Registrar of Companies. It typically takes 120 days to process the licence application if the entire process was done as required.

Individuals working in these firms must also be authorised. The forex brokerage must sponsor the licensing application for staff who carry out functions that are licensed within the firm. Such individuals must meet the requirements for knowledge, experience and academic/professional qualifications. The entire process has been structured so that whenever a person opts to trade with a forex brokerage in the UAE, they get service from thoroughly vetted companies.

What Do the Forex Brokers in the UAE Provide?

Forex brokers in the UAE are domiciled and licensed in the Dubai International Financial Centre. Therefore, they have offices that can be traced and located.

Here is what forex brokers in the UAE typically offer their clients.

  1. Unlimited access to the MT4 and MT5 trading platforms. These also allow traders to use software, indicators, EAs, scripts and other plugins found on the MQL marketplace.
  2. Low spreads. The EUR/USD will typically have a spread of 1.5 pips. This is the pair with the lowest spread. Spot gold comes with a spread of 0.35 points. Asian stocks carry the lowest spreads. Alibaba comes with a spread of 0.13 points.
  3. With variable spread accounts, traders get reduced spreads but pay a commission on trade entry and exit.
  4. Card deposits and bank wires from local bank accounts are popular means of funding and withdrawing funds from a forex broker in the UAE. Accounts can be maintained in Dirhams or US Dollars without restrictions.
  5. Forex brokers in the UAE provide their clients with segregated accounts to house their money without mingling with the firm's capital.
  6. It is common for some forex brokers in the UAE to form tripartite arrangements where clients' funds are not held by the DFSA-licensed entity but by a parent company in the UK or Europe. This holds if the forex broker in the UAE holds a Category 4 licence.
  7. Traders generally have access to higher leverage, usually to the order of 1:500. This reduces their margin requirements and brings down the bar for the minimum capital required to open an account.
  8. Traders can access many Asian indices and stocks as part of the CFD asset index on each brokerage platform.
  9. Considering the importance of Islam to the local UAE populace, forex brokers in the UAE usually provide Sharia-compliant forex trading conditions such as swap-free accounts. This is despite the provision of these conditions not being a mandatory requirement for companies operating in the DIFC.


There is a full list of forex brokers in the UAE contained on this page that you can use. The brokers here have been carefully selected according to the quality of their forex trading products and the contract specifications that they offer. Go through the list and select the ones that give you what you desire in a forex brokerage.