Spa Regulation

March 18, 2023


The regulation on registering and running spa businesses (Regulation No: 2023/R-74) came into effect on 21st February 2023 and was subsequently amended pursuant to the 1st amendment to the regulation (Regulation No. 2023/R-81) which came into force on 27th February 2023 (collectively referred to as the “Regulation” hereafter).

The Regulation was enacted under Section 10(c) of the Business Registration Act (Law No. 18/2014) which falls under the mandate of the Ministry of Economic Development (the “MED”).

Definition of spa activities

Spas are considered to be any business that offers:-

  • body treatments; 
  • massages; 
  • water applications (which are treatment-oriented rather than cleansing-oriented); 
  • thermotherapy; and 
  • cryotherapy. 

Scope of the Regulation

The regulated spas are divided into two groups:

Group A

  • Spas located in islands where locals are resident
  • Spas in guest houses and tourist hotels located in islands where locals are resident

Group B

  • Spas located in integrated tourist resorts, tourist resorts, tourist vessels and airports
  • Spas located in tourist hotels in islands where locals are not resident

This memo focuses on spas under Group B above.

Standards for operation of spas


  • The owner of the spa must ensure its customers that the spa adheres to safety and protective measures, as may be stipulated within relevant safety standards encompassed within laws and regulations. 
  • Spas must have protocols established to deal with fire incidents, any danger to health or other emergencies and staff must have the necessary training on such protocols and be familiar with them. 
  • Staff must have information relating to the use and safe maintenance of items and devices used in the spa. 


  • Spas must be routinely cleaned. 
  • Items used in the provision of services must be cleaned after use for each customer. 
  • Items like towels and bedcovers must be replaced after use for each customer. 
  • Spas must have an established waste disposal system.


  • Staff must possess the relevant qualifications and training for the service they provide. 
  • Staff must keep themselves clean, and wear uniforms that display their name and that of the business. 
  • Foreign staff must have valid work permits.

Advertisement and provision of service

  • Services offered by the spa and their prices must be displayed in a manner which is clearly visible to the customer. 
  • Advertisements must follow the Consumer Protection Act (Law No. 12/2010). 
  • Customers must have access to protective measures such as masks and gloves when necessary. 
  • Staff must not, in their private capacity, circulate photos/videos of the spa and its services on social media.


  • Items used must be appropriate and fit for purpose.

Registration of a spa

Spas that fall under Group B can be registered up to a maximum of 5 years. For renewal of registration, businesses must apply 1 month prior to expiry. A fee of MVR 5,000 will be charged for registration and renewal of registration.

Spas that are already in operation must apply for registration within 90 days of the Regulation coming into effect (i.e. before 22 May 2023). Registration will take place via MED’s Business Portal (www.business.egov.mv). Failure to register can result in the spa being ordered to immediately cease operations and also result in the imposition of a fine amounting to MVR 10,000.

The following documents must be submitted for registration:

  • Name of business activity; 
  • Registration number of the sole proprietorship, company or partnership; 
  • Spa’s address, contact number and email address; 
  • A letter confirming that the spa has been inspected and meets the standards above (as included in Annex 3 of the Regulation); 
  • ID card / Passport copy, contact number and email address of the contact person for the spa; 
  • List of services offered; 
  • Attested qualification / certification of the persons providing spa services if there are services being provided which require a special qualification; 
  • Copy of the spa’s floor plan which shows the functional allocation; and 
  • A letter including the details of the floor plan including the amenities offered in the establishment and number of rooms and beds.

It is worth noting that the amendment to the Regulation removed the requirement for spas in the Group B category to submit the following documents. The documents are: - 

  • Declaration that the spa has been inspected (Note: a declaration that the spa meets the requisite standards above is required regardless) 
  • ID card / Passport copy, contact number and email address of the contact person for the spa; 
  • List of services offered; 
  • Attested qualification / certification of the persons providing spa services; 
  • Copy of the spa’s floor plan which shows the functional allocation; and 
  • Details of the floor plan including the amenities offered in the establishment and number of rooms and beds.

However, we have included these in the list above as MED’s portal has automated fields which presently does not let an application progress without the submission of these documents. At the time of writing, we sought clarification regarding this from MED, who have written to us confirming that notwithstanding the change in the amendment, MED will continue to insist on the submission of these documents.

If there are any changes in registered information, it must be updated via MED’s Business Portal. Failure to update appropriately will result in a fine of MVR 1,000.

If a spa stops operating, the business must submit for a cancellation of registration within 14 (fourteen) days of ceasing operations. Failure to do so will result in a fine of MVR 1,000.

A spa cannot be registered to operate in the following locations:

  • Industrial villages / islands or zones allocated for industrial purposes; 
  • Islands leased for fishing / agriculture; and 
  • Uninhabited islands.

Registration applications from spas which have had action taken against them, or against one of their owners or directors or partners or have any ongoing investigation against them under any of the following laws within the past 5 years will be rejected. The laws are: -

  • Business Registration Act (Act No: 18/2014); 
  • Employment Act (Act No: 2/2008); and 
  • Anti-Human Trafficking Act (Act No: 12/2013).

Prohibited Activities and Services

The Regulation prohibits the following activities and services from being carried out in a spa:

  • Treatment of skin conditions; 
  • Laboratory tests and x-ray services; 
  • Any skin treatments that use acids or machines; 
  • Removal of pimples, scars and skin tags and the usage of surgical skills for the removal; 
  • Surgeries and any such health-related services; 
  • Invasive procedures by non-qualified persons; 
  • Employment of foreigners without work permits; 
  • People living, sleeping and eating within spa premises; 
  • Provision of services that require regulatory approval without obtaining the requisite approval; and/or 
  • Unlawful activities.

Actions for Breach

If a registered spa violates the Regulation, either one or more of following actions can be taken against them by the MED depending on the gravity of the violation:

  • Issuing an order to rectify a breach within a specified duration; 
  • Cancellation of the spa registration; 
  • Issuing an order to cease operations of the spa immediately (In such an event, a party will be eligible to apply for a spa registration after 5 years); 
  • Imposing a fine for the activity, as follows: 
Activity Fine (MVR)
  • Violation of advertisement standards
  • Absence of CCTV cameras in spa reception area and corridors and the absence of continuous CCTV footage of the past 6 months (Note: this standard is not imposed on Group B spas) 
  • Sexual acts within spa premises
  • Other activities that the authority believes necessitates closure of the spa
10,000 and order to cease spa operations
  • Violation of employment standards
  • Violation of provision of service standards
  • Disobeying order to amend existing violation
  • Repetition of violation
8,000 - 10,000 
  • Violation of cleanliness standards
  • Violation of standards in relation to items which are to be used
6,000 - 8,000
  • Other violations
4,000 - 6,000 


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