Explained: Legalities for Unlicensed cosmetic surgery in the UAE

Posted by Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants on September 8th, 2022

Practicing medicine in the United Arab Emirates without a license is strictly prohibited under law. In the recent past, there have been instances where medical cosmetic surgeries have been conducted by individuals without a license. This is illegal in accordance with the Federal Law No. 5 of 2019 On the Regulation of the Practice of the Human Medicine Profession (Medical Law).

An explanation is set out below.

What does the Law Say? 

According to Article 4 of the Medical Law, a person may not practice the profession of human medicine including dentistry, unless they are licensed to do by the concerned health authority.

Health Authorities in UAE

The Health Authority is the ministry of health affairs of the country, or the federal or the local government entity in charge of health affairs in the countries. At the federal level, Ministry of Health and Prevention is the authority which is responsible for implementing the federal policies in healthcare and works in collaboration with all health authorities at both federal and emirate level. Some Emirates have established their own health authorities with rules and regulations.  These include the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi, Dubai Health Authority in Dubai and Sharjah Health Authority in Sharjah.

The Department of Health in Abu Dhabi has been established under Abu Dhabi Law No. 10 of 2018 on the Establishment of the Department of Health and regulates the health care sector in all aspects in the Emirate by issuing licenses to authorities operating in the sector, and supervises the healthcare sector in general.

The Dubai Health Authority in Dubai has been established under Dubai Law No 13 of 2007 (since repealed). The Dubai Law No 6 of 2018, the present applicable law for the DHA makes DHA the competent government entity to regulate the health sector throughout Dubai, including the free zones.

What are the Conditions to be met in order to get a Medical License? 

As mentioned, in order to practice medicine in the UAE, it is necessary to obtain the requisite license from the health authority. The following conditions, as set out in Article 5 of the Medical Law, will have to be satisfied by the applicant to obtain this license.

a. Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in human medicine, including dentistry,

b. Completed Internship.

c. Good character and conduct, with no previous judgment issued against him in a felony or misdemeanour involving moral turpitude or dishonesty

d. Medically fit to perform duties.

e. Other conditions as may be prescribed.

The health authority will decide on the license application under Article 6 of the Medical Law within 30 days from the date of submission. In the event there is no response from the health authority, the application is deemed to be rejected. If an application is rejected, a grievance may be filed to the chairman of the health authority within a period of 30 days from the date of notification of rejection. The grievance will be decided by the chairman within 15 days. The decision of the chairman is final.

Scope of the License

It is important to note that the physician who has received the license will only practice the profession within the limits of the license granted to him and the license of the health facility where he works. This is in accordance with Article 23 of the Medical Law.


Any person who practices the profession of human medicine without holding a license and without meeting the conditions permitting him to obtain the license will be subject to punishments under Article 25 of the Medical Law. The punishment includes imprisonment and fines ranging between AED 200,000 to AED 2 million or either of these penalties.


Performing cosmetic surgeries in the UAE without a license is a criminal offence and can lead to jail time in addition to fines and therefore one must be sure that the doctor performing any surgery or the health facility in which the surgery is being performed is duly licensed.


Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultantancy is a full-service law firm in UAE, duly licensed to perform legal services and advocacy in the United Arab Emirates with a head office in Dubai and a branch office in Abu Dhabi.  Our firm serves and represents both local and expatriate companies and individual clients.

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Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants
Joined: February 3rd, 2021
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