Law: Federal Decree-Law No. 45 of 2021 on the Protection of Personal Data.

Effective as of: 2 January 2022.

Compliance period: There will be a compliance period of six months from the date of the publication of the executive regulations, which are due to be released in March 2022.


The long awaited Federal Decree-Law No. 45 of 2021 on the Protection of Personal Data (PDPL) provides on-shore companies in the UAE with a clear legal framework in which they must operate in terms of collecting, storing and processing personal data. The PDPL has extra-territorial scope where companies outside the UAE process personal data within the UAE.

With similar themes to data privacy frameworks in other jurisdictions such as the EU, the PDPL reinforces the UAE’s continued focus on innovation, data protection and cyber security.

It’s anticipated that the executive regulations (due to be released in March 2022) will provide further guidance for companies on how to effectively implement robust data privacy practices in order to remain compliant and competitive in this fast changing market.

The main takeaways:

  • The PDPL brings the UAE in line with the global shift to protect personal data, similar to the GDPR in Europe.
  • The UAE Data Office is established through the PDPL and will act as the federal data regulator in the UAE.
  • The PDPL does not apply to government entities and government data, nor data which is already regulated by the ADGM or DIFC data protection laws, or pursuant to special legislation (e.g. personal health data and banking and credit personal data).

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